Microphones and Tips to Record Nature Sounds

For over a century, humans have mastered the art of preserving sound and music for centuries. For the purpose of posterity, conserving creativity and knowledge, or maybe to simply keep the memories of the years alive, various tools and instruments have been developed for this purpose.

Microphones and Tips to Record Nature Sounds

Nature lovers, scientists, and researchers in their efforts to preserve and understand the subjects of their study may have a similar need to record sounds. Various equipment, depending on the subject and the needs of the users, may be counted on for recording nature sounds.

Recording the sounds of a single species

Recording the best quality sounds for single species would require equipment that would allow users to limit unnecessary sounds that might be captured in the sides and rear of the camera. The best equipment for this would be shotgun microphones. These microphones are easily recognizable because of their shape – shotgun barrels which they are named after. Shotgun microphones are the best for single species recording because they are unidirectional. This means that they can only capture recordings of excellent sound quality only when they are pointed directly at their subject. However, since users might need to zoom in on their subject if they are far away from them, it is also advisable that shotgun microphones are used hand-in-hand with a parabolic dish. Parabolic microphones have two leading manufacturers: Telinga and Wildtronics. Similar to a parabolic antenna that is used for radio waves, these microphones are really useful for faraway recording subjects as they utilize reflectors to collect and focus sound waves and feeds them into a transducer which converts the sound into electronic recordings.

Capturing soundscapes 

Soundscapes refer to a sound or a combination of them that could be captured and recorded in a vibrant and mesmerizing auditory environment. These kinds of sound-rich environments may be found in natural habitats and conservation sites. Soundscape recordings are typically done in stereo mode in order to capture the variety of sounds in the area. Enthusiasts and researchers can pick from an array of microphones and may choose from several ways of setting them up to generate the best recording.One type of stereo microphone placement technique that could be chosen for soundscape recording is the XY, also known as the coincident. A problem commonly faced in a stereo recording is when phase cancellation happens because two separate microphones are set up in different areas. The XY microphone placement strives to avoid this problem by preventing the timing differences as the microphones are placed in the same location.

Capturing soundscapes

Another type of microphone that could be used is the M-S or the mid-side. In this technique, a uni-directional microphone is used for capturing sounds at the center of the environment while a bi-directional mic is used for the sound waves on the side. This miking technique allows the user to control the width of the stereo image – making the center wider will make it narrow while focusing more on the sides will make it wider. Other consideration for recording soundscapes should be the self-noise of the microphone, and its physical quality as its sturdiness should be checked for outside use.