I love recording sounds. To me, nothing beats being able to start a project off with a fresh batch of sounds. I’ve recorded all sorts of unique and interesting sound sources; guns, explosions, exotic animals, car drops, electricity. The real fun comes in the everyday sounds. The sources that are all around you, but you just need to learn to listen for them. There is a wealth of great sounds sources within 10 feet of you right now.
In January, I started a sound recording blog. I had 3 goals with starting the blog. First, I have so many sounds that I’ve recorded over the years that have never been properly edited, mastered, and imported into my database. The blog would be a good motivator to go through and work on those old recordings. Second, I have a lot of really great recording equipment which goes unused for long period of time. Running a sound effect recording blog would force me to stop being lazy and record more. And third, I’ve enjoyed reading the other sound recording blogs that are out there and I thought that there are others who might enjoy what I have to share.
For the month of April, I will be doing my weekly blog posts here on Designing Sound. I felt that bringing the blog here would give readers of this site a sampling of what I am sharing on my blog. I’ve received a lot of great feedback over the last few months, and I’m happy that so many have enjoyed what I’ve had to share. I’ll continue sharing recordings that I find interesting for as long as I can.
This post is about those everyday sounds that you can find in your own home. A while back, the garbage disposal in my kitchen started making awful sounds. The first thought that any normal person would have would be that it is time to fix or replace the disposal. Not me. My first thought is to grab some recording gear, and see what I can capture. I had just purchased a new contact mic and needed a source to test it out anyway.
These recordings are a mix of a Barcus Berry Planar Wave contact mic and a Shure Beta 57a dynamic. I recorded at 24bit 96K onto a Sound Devices 744T. You can’t really slate using a contact mic, since it picks up vibrations off of the sound source you are recording instead of picking up soundwaves in the air. So I always have a second mic, sometime a lav mic, just for slating. In this case, I thought it would be good to use the dynamic not only for slating, but to pick up a different perspective of the disposal. I stuck the contact mic under the sink, on the bottom of the garbage disposal. I placed the dynamic mic right at the hole in the sink that the food goes down. The contact mic picked up more of the clicky-mechanical type sounds. Where the dynamic capture some of the electrical whirl that the contact mic was missing. I mixed both mics to my taste and that is what is here.
Empty disposal, run at various lengths:
Disposal with a single orange inside, run at various lengths:
Since I was already in the kitchen with my recording gear, I figured I might as well record every small apliance in my kitchen. I spent a couple hours recording everything I found in the kitchen. Then I spent the rest of the day going through the rest of the house and my car looking for anything mechanical that I could stick a contact mic on.
These recordings were also done with a mix of the contact mic and the dynamic: Blender, various speeds:
Kitchen Aid stand mixer, various speeds:
Written by Chuck Russom for Designing Sound