January 6th, 2013


A real corker!
This recording was made on 5th January 2013, yet again on the very steep and rather precarious grassy slope below the rather exposed coast path a bit south-west of Perranporth, Cornwall, which contours the main cliff slope from near Cligga Head to Droskyn Point, at which latter point you are in Perranporth proper - but with a crucial difference this time, and let me say right away that, at least for me, this one is the highest in the 'wow!' stakes of all my recordings so far.

I had an earlier start for my hike this time as compared with my previous hikes when I got Shag Rock recordings, owing to a more favourable hitch-hike from Exeter to Portreath, and I was aiming to squeeze in a full hour's Shag Rock recording this time before it got too dark for it to be sensible for me to continue. However, it worked out a bit differently, because once I had got my recording under way, at my usual spot on a very low drystone wall, this time I wandered down a rather vague narrow exposed and quite precarious little track descending obliquely to the left as one faces the sea, to see if I could find a yet more interesting spot to make a recording. In particular I had noticed that very often the heaviest and most thundering breaking of waves tended to be a bit to the left of where my regular recording position was facing. Anyway, I concluded that it was worth terminating the currently running recording and then to commence another in that other position, some way down there to the left, much closer to the actual cliff top and altogether closer and more exposed to the 'action'.

The action around Shag Rock (to right), although still audible, is therefore somewhat more distant, BUT not only is the recorder now altogether closer to the thundering 'action' of the waves, often with tremendous eruptions of spray as powerful rebound waves meet the bigger incoming waves, but also now it is getting significant whoomphs from another spot on the cliff a bit further to the left, where plumes of spray frequently shoot up to as high as the recorder (though, thanks to an undercut immediately below the recorder, nothing came up quite that high at the recording position, otherwise I'd have retreated a bit for the sake of the recorder).

Curiously, what seemed to be the loudest wallop of them all was not caused by a wave hitting the cliff at all, but by two breaking sections of a particularly big wave coalescing and evidently trapping a large volume of air under a fair weight of water, causing effectively a small explosion.

What is really striking about this soundscape is that it feels so powerful and indeed menacing not just through brute force of sound but through the graceful and elegant movements of the water, as though this were some gargantuan ballet performance.

In order to avoid one having to turn up the volume for this recording for the correct sound level, I adjusted it to a level at which a small number of thump / whoomph peaks clip somewhat, but I haven't been able to detect those clipping points in my own listening test, and so am happy to have made that compromise.

This recording made with a Sony PCM-M10 on a Hama mini-tripod, using the built-in microphones covered with a Rode Deadkitten. There was a force 3-4 breeze coming from the left, but it appears that the Deadkitten has been fully effective in eliminating any noticeable wind noise.

http://www.broad-horizon-nature.co.uk/arrow-long-right.gif Please note that all recordings from 5th January to 2nd Feb 2013, inclusive (i.e. including this one) did not receive any correction for high-frequency attenuation caused by the new Rode Dead Kitten windshield. Subsequently I was able to work out a graphic EQ profile to apply to all recordings that used that windshield, and have applied it retrospectively - but I have no plans to go through the hassle of re-uploading here the recordings that originally missed out on that correction. Therefore, copies of recordings made in that period, including this one, which I supply on CDs or as licensed copies for commercial use, will have better sound quality and will sound clearer, more 'present', and with more precision of detail than what you hear from here.

Please note that only very good speakers / headphones with a very extended bass response will do this recording real justice. Also, it may sound unpleasantly boomy on speakers that have any sort of boominess (like my computer speakers!). Please also note that the volume level of this recording has been carefully adjusted for listening purposes, and ALL my recordings so far are meant to be listened to with a volume setting that would give a realistic level for playback of CLASSICAL music (a large but not exceptional symphony orchestra). If you have the right volume setting, you should not need to change that setting from one recording of mine to another.

Oh, and finally (now the monkey tells us), I have yet to get a recording of a really wild sea here! That will clearly be quite some recording challenge when it eventually happens (i.e., if it is to be done really well)! :-)

(Later note: This recording - with better sound than here - is on one of my commercial CDs, and can be found in my e-Store.)

**Please remember to give this recording a rating! http://www.broad-horizon-nature.co.uk/me-icon_wink.gif **


  • avatar
    beantrouser 1 year, 7 months ago

    You're the MAN, Philip!!
    Used in my short:


  • avatar
    noiseannoysoyster 4 years, 7 months ago

    I can shut my eyes and imagine I am on that wild and beautiful cliff path. Thank you :)

  • avatar
    Philip Goddard 4 years, 9 months ago

    I took considerably more risk than that last Wednesday (9th January) to get my first recordings of the Boscastle blow-hole in action! Those who don't go the sort of places I do (and, generally, have no proper mountain walking / scrambling experience) generally get comically nervous of my actually relatively timid little antics! :-)

  • avatar
    klankbeeld 4 years, 9 months ago

    Ha Philip, thats nice, this inspires to to buy an extra memory for the holidays. So I don't have to carry the computer around.
    And..... please do not take to much risk down there ;-) It would be a pity when this was your last recording. hahahaha

  • avatar
    Philip Goddard 4 years, 9 months ago

    Ah, Marcel, you've caught me with my pants down, so to speak! When I originally set up the recorder after I received it back in June, I set the recording quality to the standard 44/16, because, I reasoned, then I could be sure of not running out of memory storage on the recorder, and I really didn't see any cause for me to use a higher quality than was required for a standard audio CD. In the event I fitted it with a 16GB memory card, which allowed me a whacking 25 hours' estimated recording in addition to the c.6 hours on the built-in memory, whereas it would never have to store more than, say, some 8 hours for an overnight storm (extremely unlikely here), and my field recording sessions on my outings would total no more than about 3 to 4 hours - but I negligently didn't bother to change my quality setting to take advantage of the available 'slack'.

    However, I take your comment as a very constructive prompt, and have just changed the setting, so that all future recordings will be 48/24.

    Fortunately, I doubt whether it will be all that long before I have the opportunity for a repeat recording, and I know the spot to go down to straight away then - well, except that there are some other exciting positions still further down that rather scary little track to try out as well - though I think some of those may be too close for a really pleasant listening experience, and the spot that I chose this last time probably gives the most balanced and 'perfect' performance.

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