May 29th, 2010

Waterfalls at Boykin Springs, recorded May 2, 2010 with Marantz PMD661, 2 Rode NT1A mics, a custom-built wind cage, and a comfortable camp stool. Used Olson stereo mic technique slightly modified - used 140 degree angle between mics instead of 135 degrees; did use the standard 20cm between center of mics, though. Positioned the mics about 2 feet in front of the waterfall section that stands about 2 feet high, and elevated them about 6 inches off the stone stream-bed at the base of the small falls. There are 4 or 5 waterfall sections located there, each one progressively taller or shorter (depending on which direction you're walking, of course). After Hurricane Rita, the park was closed for 3 years due to all the tree damage to these falls. The original waterfalls were built back in the 1930s by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) from what I've heard among local people, but they had to be completely rebuilt since 2005. They used to have trees all around them, too. None around them now - there's still trees in the park, tons actually, but just none around the man-made falls, which I've recorded in this sample. These falls vary with water flow this time of year because they channel run-off water from a large pond located about 20 feet above them. Add the summer heat (90-95 degrees daily here) and sometimes the water dries up totally, like it did only 2 days after I made this recording. Went back to do more recording and, well, nothing but a struggling trickle was left, not even enough for the Rode NT1A's and quiet modified preamp in the PMD661 to handle. Anyhow, I'm glad the falls (completely rebuilt) are still there. Wish they were like they used to look. Fortunately I got pictures of them in 2003 and 2004, but no audio recordings of the original falls. Do wish I had a pre-Rita recording, though. There was more hard clay (and some occasional sand) under each original waterfall back then, and would've made a much prettier sound I think than small, softball-sized rocks held together with concrete (as now it is). But, be it clay, sand, or rock, each has its own unique texture and sound, that's for sure. Note: Will be returning there after Memorial Day weekend (fewer folks camping) to do some early morning bird recordings. Wind speeds are sitting about 1-10 mph at best right now. Even without much water-flow (which, in my experience makes a beautiful, gentle recording), the birds in Spring and Summer should make a pretty recording I expect. Extra Note: If it sounds like both a waterfall and stream, that's because it is. The mics picked up the stream flowing away from the waterfall underneath as well. If you try EQ'ing down 900 Hz and 1700 Hz, that will further minimize the stream sound. I left that in the recording if anyone wants to experiment with it. Also, if after dipping 900 and 1700 Hz the higher end sounds real bright, I noticed that dipping 6600 Hz will help that out significantly. I also left that in the recording for anyone wanting to experiment. In other versions of this recording (which I've not posted yet), I lowered all 3 of these frequencies to smooth out the sound and minimize the stream sound moreso.


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