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A member of the Field Recording Slack had a great suggestion. Let's all record just outside of our homes on Sunday Morning and share the sounds on the Slack.


I rolled on a video so I could share the results of my recordings on here as well. To record this scene I used a WildTronics SAAM and my Schoeps MS (Mid - CMIT, Side - CCM8 with a Colette body) rig.

The WildTronics SAAM is a device that was brought into my life randomly a year or so ago and it had really change my perspective as to what is a great sounding field recording rig. SAAM stands for Stereo Ambient Array Microphone. But it is so much more than a microphone. It has built in pres that are super clean which allows it to go 1/8th inch out to a small handheld like a Sony M10 or a Roland R07. Besides that it also has a special enclosure that is designed to mimic the shape of the human head. As a result of that the stereo separation it picks up in recordings is amazing. And can outshine some of the more expensive/high end options in the market in some situations.


To find out more about the Wildtronics SAAM be sure to check out Wildtronic's Website.

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A little while back I had the opportunity to check out the Oregon Sea Lion Caves with a pair of Mikro Usi's and a Zoom H3-VR. I really did not know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised when I walked in and heard the intense sound of sea lions roaring in a large cave. It was truly an experience for the senses. Unfortunately this experience also involves a terrible smell.


Rewinding back a bit. You enter the Sea Lion Caves through the gift shop where you are immediately greeted with the most beautiful view of the ocean. We were fortunate enough to come right as the sun was setting. It was breathtaking.


Here is a link to a 360 photo of the lookout from their website.


From there you descend a flight of stairs and enter the ocean lookout viewing area. While I was out there I stopped for a bit to grab this video and sound recording with the Mikro Usi's going into a Sony M10.

I really enjoyed how you could hear distant low frequency booms every time the waves crashed against the corner of the rocks. This was a bit of a tricky recording to get as the wind was strong, there was a bird making a rather weird clicking sound in the distance and I had to wait for the traffic of tourists entering and exiting the sea lion caves to be in a lull.


From there you follow the path to a rather large Elevator that descends into the caves.


As the doors open you are immediately hit by the smell. After you recover you start to hear the Walla of sea lions as it bounces all around the long hallway.


Down that hallway you finally see the look out to the caves. Here is a 360 view of the cave from their website. You cannot get too close to the sea lions for obvious reasons but the sound is more then loud enough to capture clearly from the viewing area.


Here is a sound and video recording I got from the viewing area. I was lucky that there was not a lot of tourists so I got a fairly good sound recording of the area. In this recording I used the Mikro Usi's going into the Sony M10 and the Zoom H3VR. I think it is nice to hear the differences in what each rig captured.

I think it is important to note that a pair of Omni Microphones or an Ambisonic rig might not be the best choice for a situation like this. A shotgun microphone or maybe MS (mid side) might be better fitted to get more of the direct sound rather then the atmospheric sound that these two rigs captured. Although MS might suffer from phase issues in such a reverberant environment, with sound bounce all around and off the hard surfaces. Since owning the Zoom H3VR I find it really shines when it is put directly in the middle of the action as it's reach is somewhat limited to about 6 - 10 feet away from it. Anything past that becomes a bit pushed back sound wise (not as detailed and crisp). The Mikro Usi's did good but would have been better with a bit less of a distance between them. These days I try to keep their distance around the standard ORTF mic distance of 17cm. But again they would preform better closer to the subject. The sweet spot of pick up that these mics have are better demonstrated in the next video.


On the other end of the Sea Lion Caves is a beautiful look out towards the most intense Ocean Waves. The waves smash against the rock walls producing stunning visuals and sounds. It is somewhat hypnotic. While we were there, water was dripping down the rock walls above us. The Zoom H3VR and Mikro Usi's definitely singled in on those water drips. This was an interesting demonstration on their sweet spots.

After spending about 30 minutes recording at the Sea Lions Caves we left to enjoy the sunset further down the road. I had a great time at the Sea Lion Caves. I highly recommend them.


Just brace yourself for the smell.

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Sorry for the pun title. For some reason I thought it was funny.


Continuing with the coverage of my recent trip to the Oregon Coast I wanted to share a couple of recordings I did near the Heceta Head Lighthouse.

The Heceta Head Lighthouse is a large tourist attraction and it sits atop a cliff overlooking the Ocean. When we were driving to the coast, the glare from the Lighthouse was one of the first things we saw in the night sky. It was truly breathtaking. I can honestly say I have never seen anything like that outside of a movie. And the movies never really did it justice.


The Lighthouse was built in 1894 and is 205 feet above the Ocean. It also has a near by house that you can rent rooms in or even book it for events.


When you first get there you actually park near a beautiful beach. There are two huge rocks in the distance. We arrived on a pretty rainy day so the tourist traffic was fairly light. I took this as a chance to do a quick field recorder shoot out between my Zoom H3-VR, a Sony D100 and a pair of LOM Mikro Usi's going into a Sony M10.


This beach was a real challenge to record for a couple of reasons:

  • there was a lot of near by traffic and construction so it is not the most quiet place.

  • photographers find this to be a great spot to take portrait photos so there was a lot of people walking around.

  • the beach was covered in small rocks so any time I shifted or moved a little bit you could hear it in the recording.

  • and lastly by the time I set up my camera/field recording rigs the tide had moved out and I was not as close to the water as I would have liked to be. I tried to move closer after the fact but then every so often the waves would charge past me getting me and my gear wet.

Unfortunately they do not let you go into the Lighthouse, I imagine there are some great sounds to be heard up there.


While my Girlfriend was watching the video presentation set up by the people working at the Lighthouse I took this time to do a wind test on my LOM Mikro Usi's and the Wind Bubbles that are sold with them to protect them from high winds.

As we were driving away from the lighthouse we had to pull over abruptly because believe it or not we ran into the end of a rainbow. A beautiful rainbow stretched across the sky and appeared to end at the side of the road where the wreckage of a car crash sat by itself. I could not even make this up if I wanted to.


While we were pulled over, taking selfies in front of the amazing site we noticed a sound coming from the edge of the cliff. Below were a bunch of Sea Lions chilling on the rocks as the waves crashed beside them. Here is the best recording I could get of it with the Mikro Usi's and Sony M10.

I have some more posts of my trip coming soon, next time we visit the famous Sea Lion Caves.

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