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Wide open field on a calm day. Perfect?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Wide open field on a calm day. Perfect?

I'm fairly new to acoustics....

but theoretically speaking, wouldn't a wide open, flat field (nothing but grass for miles) on a day with no wind be the perfect recording environment?

I know that at well designed room will enhance sound, but if we're talking a perfect reference recording...

I can't seem to find any documentation of this being done, but I'm sure has been done many times.

I don't know, I'm bored, thought this might be a good topic. cheers.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Here for the gear
 

By "Perfect" do you mean perfectly dry?

Like would it be completely reflectionless? Like an anechoic chamber?

So, yeah, it might be almost perfectly dry. But there is one reflective surface so the ground will offer a little something, though it won't be like standing waves or anything so it will be pretty good. But less than the platonic ideal of the perfect space.

Well, I guess also except for the fact that you always have noise in nature. Birds chirping. Bees buzzing. Lions, tigers, and bears-oh-my roaring, or whatever, so there will be more background noise. There's nothing to stop all those sounds getting to you. In those cases, an anechoic chamber would likely be better for a perfectly dry recording as it can isolate sound from the outside and have a lower noise floor.

But, then, an anechoic chamber might be theoretically close to ideal from one standpoint, and that's why they're great for getting real testing data for mics, for instance. But they're impossible to work in. Stay in a truly anechoic room for long and you go sort of crazy. It's freakish, in fact. There's a place in Minnesota that's so quiet nobody has ever been able to stay in the room for more than 45 minutes. You could never expect to do work in there beyond testing.

So, again, it's what do you mean by perfect here? Anechoic chambers are more perfect, even an open field has reflections off the grass and the ground, so even if you aren't worried about the crickets they won't be as perfectly perfect.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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Earcatcher's Avatar
Most instruments are designed to be played within a reflective acoustic: the room is the other half of the instrument. A violin, for example, will radiate different sound waves into different directions and only when the instrument is surrounded by a reflective space, that bounces the sound back, all of these waves can be heard in one place. This is why we, acoustic location recordists, can endlessly discuss about how to record this faithfully. We record the room with the instrument in it. If we would be in a field as you describe we would only hear a very narrow aspect of the instrument.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
Lives for gear
I recall recording a bunch of amateur Dixieland jazz musicians (8 of them) at their back-garden rehearsal around 35 years ago, onto a Tascam 244 4-track tape recorder. Using mostly SM57's and Tandy/Realistic pzm's on acrylic sheets.

When it came to mix time, it was as if they were each in an isolation booth...despite being seated in a wide circle. Not even any traffic noise. Mics were pulled back about 1.5 metres, so 2 instruments could share a mic.

Needless to say, I needed to add quite a bit of spring reverb from a little old Boss box ! A fun exercise, mainly through being so far removed from any similar sort of hall recording experience I'd had to date.

i recommend it, if you have a bunch of musician friends who like to rehearse outdoors on a warm summer evening...but don't cheat and use omni condensors, you do have to go with insensitive cardioid dynamics to really ramp up/accentuate the experience !

What most shocked me was the 'dead stopping' of the dynamics envelope of all the instruments: percussion, tuba, trumpet, clarinet, banjo, double bass...no overhang whatsoever !

It was like a super aggressive gate on each mic...and really brought out the 'fiction' of pan potting multiple mics, to simulate their seating positions. Fun learning times....

Last edited by studer58; 2 weeks ago at 12:01 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
Lives for gear
One of my first music recordings was of a Trad Jazz Band playing under an oak tree in Ashton Park Bristol, overlooking the city and gorge.
A Sony WM DC6 fed by 2 spaced PZMs on the floor.
It was quite amazingly good.
Spacious, detailed and fun.
Bonzo Dog madness from a bunch of medicos.
Dr Jazz.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
Even out in the desert on a windless day you hear airplanes and stuff. I do love recording outside without room effects. Mic placement will overcome external noises.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
Very cool info. guys. Thank you!!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher View Post
A violin, for example, will radiate different sound waves into different directions and only when the instrument is surrounded by a reflective space, that bounces the sound back
Used to play low brass and occasionally tympani. Sitting behind the horns was telling. It was not always a pretty sound. Those things have the bells pointed backwards for a reason! But man are they great sounding when you're out in front hearing them reflecting off the back wall.
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