April 16th, 2010

Recorded waves on the shore at lake Sam Rayburn in the Black Forest community on April 4, 2010, around 7 to 9 pm. Used a Marantz PMD661 with 2 Rode NT1A mics. Had issues with a *lot* of boats on the lake and several airplanes passing over. Tried a new approach in post processing with using side-chained dynamic eq plugins to handle frequency pegs from boats and planes alike. Figured it would be nice to just drop those frequencies down a good bit when they peak over a certain level, then let everything come back up when the pegs disappear. Worked like a charm. Very interesting ways to handle pegged frequencies instead of trying to hammer them all down individually with narrow-band EQ for small periods of time. Anyhow, side-chained dynamic eq seems to more efficiently let the sounds "breathe" as the airplane and boat motors change frequency and intensity. Not much less headache than hammering all the pegs down manually, but it certainly sounds more fluid for the most part. Just my opinion with this particular field recording of shoreline waves. Also, I tried to find waves that were a bit more elongated than what I typically hear on lakes.

Side Notes:

I also used a slight variation of the Olson stereo technique. Center of mics were 20cm apart, but instead of the 135 degree angle, I used 140 degrees. Only a 5 degree difference, but it had the width that sounded best to me with my distance from the waves. I also set all frequencies under 100 Hz to mono. No stereo width adjustments were made to frequencies above 100 Hz. The waves in this section were a touch erratic, but settled into a steady rhythm eventually. Wind speeds that night were roughly 10-15 mph steady with occasionally 20 mph gusts. I think this gave the surf the occasional yet slightly erratic sound. Also, dips for boat and planes sounds ranged from 40 Hz to 200 Hz, but mostly centered around 150 Hz.

Technical Side Notes: Try these 2 plugins out sometime - 'IQ4gui' (free) and the Brainworx 'bx_dynEQ' ($). I used 'IQ4gui' (can download here: http://audiosoftplanet.com/platinumears-iq4gui.htm) in Downward Expander mode to dynamically dip hiss around 7300 Hz when sounds get too quiet and the hiss shows up. I use the bx_dynEQ plugin to dynamically eq huge numbers of airplane and boat motor spikes when they get so numerous that it becomes crazy to try and spend a week nailing pegs down manually for just a few seconds of each peg.



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