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The strangest thing you've recorded
Old 11th June 2003
Lives for gear
David R.'s Avatar

I've recorded a flexing sheet of aluminum. Great when doused with reverb.

Lots of foot stomping.

A fake bar scene.The artist wanted a 'live in a club' sound, so I had a few people over and we talked and passed beer bottles. Double track that and you have a bar.

Pots and pans, lots of them. Children's album, a song about a chicken running around the kitchen. It was only vocal and kitchen utencils.

A glass washboard. Yikes, those things are piercing!

And more...

Old 11th June 2003
Lives for gear
Fibes's Avatar

Well that would be this:
Attached Thumbnails
The strangest thing you've recorded-larry2.jpg  
Old 12th June 2003
Lives for gear
Berolzheimer's Avatar

So let me guess...
421 in the bass drum, 57 on the snare, contact pickup on the washboard, Royers on the cymbals.....
Old 12th June 2003
Gear Nut
gregrw's Avatar

Here's a list of things that I've done or seen done:

Someone needed an explosion in an elevator sound for "House of Blue Leaves." Strange show...Anyway, he hit some metal duct for the explosion sound, and slid a mic base along the concrete floor for the elevator scraping along the shaft sound.

I used a 421 on a bed frame. The kid put the thing on end and banged away.

I saw a typewriter on stage. I've seen a few phones.

A friend wanted to know how this big old *thing*...well, I don't know what the hell it was, but it kinda looked like those bottles of water you see in offices...would sound. Kinda neat.

I was doing an audio-only trailer for a sci-fi script I wrote (long story, don't ask.) I used a Coke bottle for a laser-gun sound. Just blow across the top like a flute...

We did a reenactment of "War of the Worlds." I close mic'd a fan for a propellor sound, used an egg timer with lotsa reverb for the astronomy observatory instruments sound, and you know that sorta pulsing-humming sound that is usally associated with aliens? I had an old delay unit with a grounding problem; it would hum if you plugged in a cable and touched the tip. I took that 60Hz hum and fed it to a Lexicon Vortex. That unit is just plain strange! But it made a great effect.

I recorded crickets at night in surround sound. That was on-site while recording an acoustic guitar. After the crickets, we said, what the hell, let's record the guitar outside, too.

Old 12th June 2003
Lives for gear
Fibes's Avatar

Originally posted by Berolzheimer
So let me guess...
421 in the bass drum, 57 on the snare, contact pickup on the washboard, Royers on the cymbals.....

Old 16th June 2003
Gear Maniac

An auratone hanging out the window 10 stories above varick st. at Chung king, with the main vocal sent to it. hung an earthworks out the window to capture it along with the ambience.

I also recorded a "daxophone" which is a really weird instrument that looks like a cross between a camera tripod, a platform shoe, a bunch of carved, wooden shingles and a viola bow...

That went direct though because it had a pickup in it. easy to record. sounded like an alien lullaby/ devil baby crying. It still haunts me.

I recorded a guy walking around with quarters taped to his feet, and the sound of the Iso booth door closing slowly (the vacuum suck sound of the door sealing)

with a memorymoog with drifting oscillators through a leslie droning a sub type drone for a "space station" sounding intro to a rock record.

That turned out really cool. we patched the talkback through a little movieola sqwak box and had a guy repeating fake space dock type stuff like " you are clear of the cargo bay" and other nerdy dry statements.

That was captured by a wireless mic on a record player turntable because i only had one leslie!!! i love that trick. spinning microphone...
Old 16th June 2003
Lives for gear
covert's Avatar

Originally posted by Joel Hamilton
I also recorded a "daxophone" which is a really weird instrument that looks like a cross between a camera tripod, a platform shoe, a bunch of carved, wooden shingles and a viola bow...
That's dauchsaphone, if it's Hans Reichel's thing. Same German root as dauchshund, meand badger.
Old 16th June 2003
Gear Addict
smoothmoniker's Avatar

this is a great thread.

closest thing I've done is have a DAT of an african village singing "Oh the Blood" in Kee-sa-ku-me (tribal language) flown over here, played back live to a crowd at a live worship recording, and tracked a band and the crowd singing along with the african tracks.

not that far out of the box, but a lot of fun.
Old 16th June 2003
Lives for gear
blackcatdigi's Avatar
Back in the 80s, I was playing drums in a hair band project with some serious connections. We had run up a rather huge bill at the studio, so the bass player (good engineer) and I were co-engineering another hair bands' record, to work off our debt to the house. The band we were recording was typical for the time, so there were tons of drugs and groupies around all the time.

The band had tracked their latest masterpiece the night before, and had decided that we really needed a female orgasm during the breakdown to take it over the top. We called a very nice young lady friend of ours, and asked if she would mind "performing" for our client's recording. She of course, was more than pleased to do so, so we set up some candles and incense, and had the lights dimmed when she arrived. We partied a bit, and when she was more comfortable, she moved out to the live room where we had setup a makeshift bed and a mic for her, and we cut the lights to give her some privacy.

She was a bit slow to start, but after about 5 minutes, started really getting into it. By 15 minutes in, the idea of 20 people listening to her moaning and "working her bits" was really getting her off, and she was becoming much more vocal. We could also hear the sound of her fingers and other parts 'performing' very audibly over the big mains, as well. By that time everyone in the control room had gone dead silent, and everyone was starting to really be 'affected' shall we say, by her solo experience out in the studio.

When she finally 'completed' the job, after about 40 minutes or so, she asked if that was okay, cuz she'd really be happy to do a 'retake' if we needed. We assured her that the first take was truly excellent, and everyone in the studio immediately left with his/her respective partner, as every single male and female in attendance was absolutely and totally aroused by her very sensual performance. That session was the shortest of the project!

The album never came out, but that recording is treasured by the studio owner to this day.

U87 in omni around 3' away, into 1176 @ 20:1, really captured the sounds of her artistry...

Ah, the 80s...
Old 16th June 2003
Gear Head

Erm...follow that!

Well, somebody has to...

The crow in the tree recording reminded me of the time I shared a flat with a cat called Dylan (feline cat, that is!). I used to come back from the pub and play "I'm faster than you, cat", which involved getting him really riled and then trying to scratch his belly without getting clawed. Used to end up with a hand that looked like a road night he let me scratch him, and even began to like it. When he started purring I reached for the microphone and recorded him. Then I played it back through a big hi-fi speaker. Dylan went berserk. Another alpha male cat in the room! I still have the speaker, though the grille-cloth bears the scars from that night!

Some of the FX asked for by the Education department of the radio station I work for would tax creativity. "Gerbil crawling around inside a piano" was one that some other poor guy had to invent, as was "Rotting horse thrown from castle battlements" for a historical drama. The thing that worries me these days is what are we going to use for someone walking through undergrowth now that we longer have a ready supply of 1/4" tape?!
Old 18th June 2003
Lives for gear
Berolzheimer's Avatar

"what are we going to use for someone walking through undergrowth now that we longer have a ready supply of 1/4" tape?!"

There are all those Exabyte & DLT tapes that are rapidly becoming obsolete....also VHS, 8MM video, Dat...
Old 18th June 2003
Gear Head
Fat Cat's Avatar

I was engineering a project about 2 years ago for Ronnie Montrose. He had the drummer go find a medium sized cardboard box which he then mic'ed with either a D112 or a A/T 4060, I can't remember which. Then doubled it and put a 1/4 note delay on it. Sounded like ass, but sure was interesting.
Old 18th June 2003
Gear Guru
jwh1192's Avatar
last year worked on IMAX film and did underwater recordings of old military gas cans, metal salad bowls (different sizes and upsidedown of course to hold the air), and other assorted objects. should be out very will not beleive that this was done live sounds really cool....Mike Roberts was sound designer , i was tape op/mic-pre/timecode and all around run interference between a couple of guys that butted heads guy ...big fun and can't wait to see and hear it on the big ass screen..

peace john
Old 20th June 2003
Lives for gear
Berolzheimer's Avatar

This very afternoon---
I've been doing overdubs here at my place on a record; part of the deal is a trade for some construction work on my house. So of course in one song that is mostly acoustic & quiet and pretty, & then there's a section that explodes with drums & wild electric guitars and now, of course, power saws. Used an AT-4050 through a GML pre for that one.
Old 20th June 2003
Gear Addict
Etnier's Avatar

I've done a lot of strange stuff over the years... ask anyone who knows me...

A few which spring to mind quickly-
  • Remote recording of an old upright piano to five tracks. Special wireless mic rigged into the piano body, two PZM's on the ground near the piano, two 4006's further out. Big crowd: it's an art happening. Construction crane lifts piano 100 feet or so into the air and releases.... CrAAAAAAAshhhh.... (Crowd immedidately rushes debris for souvenirs, trampling two PZM's.)
  • A country artist who recorded the solo to his song "Chain Saw Man" using a... chainsaw.
  • Windup toy deer set loose on the strings of a grand piano, for a piece of mine called "Bambiville".
  • For a song I called "Shayla Fay"- recorded numerous calls to directory assistance operators all over the deep South asking for the phone number of "Shayla Fay" and incorporated their responses into the song. This was done by holding a mic up to the phone in our kitchen, so I got the sound of my next door neighbor starting his car as well....
    (forgive the audio, it was 20 years ago and I was just getting started...)
  • "Cradle": a dance score: I needed a sound like a hospital respirator, so I put my wife on a rented aqualung mouthpiece, which didn't really work right until we closed up her nose with cotton balls. Thus our Xmas card that year...

The piano drop...
Old 20th June 2003
Gear Nut
caughtup's Avatar

You are all aware of course that this newbies mind is absolutely reeling right now.

I was thinking just last night while I was putting down super clean acoustic guitar using a stereo omni set-up, how cool it would be to try to emulate Frank Zappa's pignose by blowing my Digitech GNX-1 into headphones around some good mics, I think I could get 3 different headphones at the same time with my current rig while still having my own cans on for playback... hmmmm if you care, I'll let you know if it works this weekend!

and, maybe I can convince my wife to help me record a little sumpthin sumpthin for the sake of ... ART. yeah that's it baby,.. art!

heh heh

Old 20th June 2003
Lives for gear
stealthbalance's Avatar

i once recorded a bagpipe quartet in the middle of a parking lot
outside the studio building. very strange indeed.
Old 29th August 2008
Here for the gear

recorded my friend tapping a beat on my freakin' collar bone using home-made contact mics on my sternum

the only drum track on that tune

very internal sounding
Old 29th August 2008
Lives for gear
Berolzheimer's Avatar

Originally Posted by pietro79 View Post
recorded my friend tapping a beat on my freakin' collar bone using home-made contact mics on my sternum

the only drum track on that tune

very internal sounding
A friend of mine recorded some body punches & hits by SWALLOWING a lav mic. Now THAT'S internal sounding.
Old 29th August 2008
Lives for gear
Sigma's Avatar
an anvil..a pencil tapping a metal standing ashtray... the SSssss sound to fix someones tape who cut with a sibilence controller
Old 29th August 2008
I was doing some foley work for a friend's short film and he wanted body punches and slaps. The punches were fairly normal. He took a pillow and wadded it into a ball on his chest and had me punch him. I miked it with a C414. It sounded good. Then, for the slaps, he took his leather jacket and did the same thing and told me to slap the jacket. I agreed, but instead of slapping the jacket, I wacked him as hard as I could in the face. I mean, why fake the sound if the real deal is right in front of you
Old 29th August 2008
Gear Guru
jwh1192's Avatar
about 20 years ago i worked on the MTV sports shoot of Street Luge up in the hills near bakersfield ... had one of the guys wearing a wireless lav while riding the luge .. well we were chasing him in an old dodge mini-van ... at 70 miles per hour ... and i lost sight of him but could hear him (had the mixer on the dashboard) ... well he starts asking me to slow down because he was sliding under the front bumper of the van ... at 70 mph ... later we tied the camera op to the hood of the producers jeep ... director was holding onto him with a rope ... again at 70 mph ... now a few minutes are fine but this was like 20 minutes with him holding the cam out in front of him and the heat from the hood of the jeep was baking the poor guy .. it was a good day to be the soundman / driver ... i sometimes cannot believe we did this with the highway patrol there closing the road for us each time we made the run .. and we made that run about a dozen times ...

i chock that up to things you can not get away with anymore ...


Old 29th August 2008
Deleted User
Originally Posted by Dot View Post
I produced a punk band in the early 80's. The song was somewhat sexual and I wanted some moans and groans in the mix. But I wanted them to be authentic. I asked the male lead singer and the female keyboard player - who were living together - if they wouldn't mind going into one of the rooms and having a good shag while we miked it. They each got a pair of headphones so they could hear the song and their own "vocals".

The girl really got off on the whole thing and became very excited as her boyfriend serviced her.

The song had the excited sounds of a real couple ****ing in the mix.

Another strange one was some Foley work I recorded for Sesame Street. There was a cartoon of a chrysalis becoming a butterfly - and it was decided that the sound that would best express that was to get someone to chew on and bite small pieces off of a styrofoam cup. Actually, I think the guy who did that won an Emmy.
as i was reading this thread ive been just waiting for someone to have a story like it ha i new it was gonna be in here.
Old 29th August 2008
Lives for gear
Greg Curtis's Avatar

Doing some foley, and we needed to make that sound that you know so well in your head, but rarely hear; the sound of the wind wooshing by, as it blows smoke off of the titles to the film. We tried all sorts of stupid mouth "wooshes, swooshes, etc.," fans, billows, etc, but it was obvious that this sound does not exist in nature like it does in our heads.

So, we ended up using fine sand pouring into a particular deep glass, cooking pan, using just a regular 414. It was perfect, right on the money! That perfect wooshing sound is sand pouring unto glass.


Old 29th August 2008
Lives for gear

Phone vox is such a cliche, but doing it through a real telephone sounds wicked so we did it on our extension line.

I've only done it once because the woman telling you "the number you have dialled has not been recognised" every 60 seconds gets annoying pretty quick.

Weirdest was probably an old speaker dunked into a 5 gallon drum of water for a snare hit then the drummer hit the drum with a stick to make the sound wobble.

It sounded really odd and interesting/cool but didn't get used strangely...
Old 30th August 2008
Gear Maniac

Four things come to mind, all of which ultimately appeared on well known, major label releases. Don't ask which, when or why:

1) A female member of a very well known art rock band wanting the sound of her new born infant suckling her breast. I used a U87. Cardioid. No pad, no rolloff.

2) A well known remix producer wanting the sound of cocaine being sucked up through his nose to appear on a dance mix. We used a $20 bill. Yes, it got played at Studio 54.

3) An alt-rock singer insisting on the sound of live crickets over his vocal. We went into the woods at night with a portable Sony dat recorder. We got bitten by insects.

4) The sound of a male drummer playing, with blast-sticks (and with gusto) the naked ass of the male artist I was producing. The artist was stooped over a drum throne, butt up for the recording. His ass was painfully red by the end of the take. We used a pair of U87's (notice a trend here?) for tight mics (no pun intended) and some KM 84's for overheads. Interestingly enough, it was a contemporary christian artist. Yes, I have video. No, I will not share it.
Old 30th August 2008
Gear Head
Bruno5150's Avatar

recorded a singer trying to sound like a chicken... the song was kidda about some guy, that the band refered as chicken, wich is quite offensive here in brazil.... so we said " man, we need a chicken for the intro" and the lead singer starts to... i dont know how to call the noise chicken make... ***kk ended up quite funning, and no one can tell its the singer....
Old 30th August 2008
Lives for gear

I once had to spend HOURS in my studio with Jim Dandy Mangrum of Black Oak Arkansas and "THE" washboard was recorded.
He had a washboard that he used from day one in Black Oak.
Somehow it was more weird than impressive... it was THE Jim Dandy Washboard...
Still, it was a washboard.
I will say this:
If you ever do a live p.a. mix of a band with a lead singer who plays a washboard (maybe a B.O.A. tribute band?) be ready when he hangs that thing in front of the mic and strums it.
It will be VERY loud!

But STOOPIDEST thing I have recorded?

By far it was the speed metal type, what-ever guys that wanted to record the sound of "a fight" which would be inserted during the middle instrumental break of a song.
After I questioned how it would be heard over the wall of drums, bass and guitars we went ahead and recorded "the fight."
They were half drunk and went out into the parking lot behind my studio and staged a "fight."
I had a pair of U87s set up, but it wasn't too impressive. Ya' think not?

I played it along with the music and is was just some un-recognizeable rustling going on.
Instead of giving up they went back and embellished the "fight" by kicked the side of their car and kicked a trash can around a bit.
As you can guess.... the "fight" didn't make it in the final mix.
To make this mega stupid, this hour long excursion into time-wasting was in the middle of a marathon, mix the album in one night session.
AND.... I had the flu, but they hated my studio partner's attempt to mix the thing, so as soon as I could drag myself to the studio I mixed the thing again.
The "fight" idea must have occurred to them between the time my partner did the **** mix and before I was well enough to mix.
Old 30th August 2008
Lives for gear

took the fully wired soundboard out of an old funky piano and with friends moved it into my second story apartment -- when it was time to move out, we moved the board outside, and there were about ten concrete steps from the front lawn down to the street -- rolled the thing end-over-end, recoding the wonderful noise it made -- left it on the sidewalk and drove away...
Old 6th September 2008
Gear Maniac
papawhitehead's Avatar
Yesterday I recorded I guy who was in a motorcycle accident a year ago. He needed the sounds of his creaking/popping joints for a lawsuit. It was quite eerie to hear those sounds, especially as a drummer. (his wrists popped and sounded like a rain stick at the same time)
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