October 29th, 2012

Recording made on 21st October 2012 with a Sony PCM-M10 on a Hama mini-tripod, using the built-in microphones covered with a Rycote Mini Windjammer. I have used a graphic EQ profile in WavePad to compensate for the slight muffling of the sound caused by the Windjammer.

On this day, with large surf coming in and crashing on the cliffs, I had a hike on the North Cornwall coast path from Portreath to Perranporth, hoping to get the odd recording of the quintessential sound of the powerful Atlantic surf crashing on the cliffs, with the various deep thuds and whoomphs including very low, 'earthquake' frequencies. However, on this walk, up to the cliff prominence on the SW side of Porthtowan, I had been disappointed, for I had heard almost nothing of those really deep sounds, and all the surf sounded most genteel and undramatic from my cliff-top perspective. But then, to get out of the breeze to be comfortable for my lunch break, on that prominence I started just a little down a narrow and scarily exposed track that contours obliquely down the almost sheer cliff face to the beach in Lushington Cove; the track is used by anglers and surfers of a certain non-nervous disposition. I sat there on the edge of the track for my lunch, with cliff face immediately behind me, having set up the recorder nearby, just off the track, in a rather precarious position.


In this particular situation, the cliff face was acting as reflector and resonator for the very low frequencies from the sound of the breaking surf, so there was a constant extremely deep rumbling and gentle booming. I and the recorder were facing across the bay, so that the surf was breaking generally on the right, with the hiss of the de-frothing sea pushed in by each of the breakers spreading out in the centre of this grandstand view over the bay. This recording is of 'straight' surf breaking on a beach, so it is not the primary type of sound that I was particularly seeking.

However, I was quite disappointed in the recording of this, for I found that the very low frequencies were not reproduced at all as strongly as I heard them, despite my hi-fi speakers having a pretty good very low frequency response. I suspect that my having the recorder on the mini-tripod and thus close to vegetated ground may have been the primary cause of that deficiency. Anyway, with a bit of trial and error, I gave a considerable boosting of those frequencies in WavePad, and uploaded this recording as #168106. Since then I experimented further, and this version replaces that one, with a more effective shaping of the bass boost, and also a small additional treble lift (all guided by the frequency spectrum graph displayed in Voxendo's Span plug-in), which adds considerably to the detail and sense of spaciousness. The recording now comes much nearer to what I actually heard, although even now I think the very low 'earthquake' frequencies in the recording are not as strong as I originally heard - but to boost them more in this recording would result in too much clipping or an overall reduced volume, which I did not want.

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.

(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
    derekhoward 4 years, 3 months ago

    superb, your dedication to detail is appreciated around the globe

  • avatar
    enisj 5 years, 2 months ago

    Thanks for sharing. I'll see how I can integrate some of your recordings in my music.


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