Field Recording – Apple

Following up on the HISSandaROAR Field Recording Competition I asked the winners in each category to explain a little about their sound, what were they thinking??

OK what would you expect from an apple? I received plenty of bites, breaks, crunches & crushes… But I didnt expect these!



DANIEL CLAY – Apple squawk chatter animal

Daniel: “Before I started trying to find a sound with the apple I washed it – out of habit I guess, as if I were going to eat it – then shook off the majority of the water and walked into my improvised recording booth at home (a closet hung with blankets) where the mic was already set up and armed. I put on the headphone monitors and immediately started playing with the apple in my hands in front of the mic. I almost immediately found the sound just by running my index finger across the skin in an angled pushing motion – just like you would on the head of a tambourine or pandero to get a roll via friction. The instant I heard that chattery squonking sound I decided that was my sound. I promptly hit record and improvised for a while until I got a good range of expressive variations of the sound. During performance I was trying to evoke an animal call, some imaginary sea bird or something. I later comped my favorite bits of that first take together into the clip I submitted. The mic was a Sennheiser ME 66 shotgun (typically used for interviews) through an M-Audio ProFire 610 interface into my MacBook Pro running Ableton Live 9 recording at 96khz/24 bits.”


JAVIER ZUMER – Apple nervous roots growing in the soil



PAUL LOVE – Apple two halves rubbed together

“1) I’m mainly a percussionist, so my first instinct is usually to hit things until they sound good, my second is then to rub them (I’m terrible at dinner tables). I’d been squashing one half of the apple, then tried a heat gun to see if to see if I could get any nice popping sounds. The two in tandem had left the skin cooked and loose from the flesh of the apple, as well as covered in juice, so I took the other half of the apple and rubbed the two halves together. Shiny things are usually good for friction noises.

2) It couldn’t have been any more than two or three tries, I just left the tape rolling and experimented

3) I used an apogee duet going into a mac, recording onto Cockos Reaper. Mics were a pair of little Audio Technica small diaphragm condensers: 2021, I think. Great little mics, very versatile, can handle big SPLs and have quite a nice high end.”



STEFAN KOVATCHEV – Apple Shovel Tunnel Hit


Stefan: “I began by examining what kind of sonic textures could be achieved with each prop – the apple in particular proved difficult because it’s relatively dense flesh limits its resonance. We smashed, bit, and mushed our fair share of produce, but more often than not what I ended up with were short, uninteresting transients. We also tried to heat and cool the apples rapidly to attempt a squealing or fizzing sound.

Ultimately, I decided to impact the fruits with different tools, hoping that this would impart some of the tool’s sonic characteristics while retaining that of the apple. I ended up going with the square spade – Given the right angle, the thin flat surface gave an interesting resonance upon impact. I had also decided early on, like many, that the space was key.

We found a large subterranean sewer tunnel that suited our needs nicely, as wind and ambient noise were reduced, while reflections were amplified. The floor was a nice, quiet damp dirt.

I placed the microphone just out of shovel reach, pointed towards the direction of the projectiles. I think the fact that I was willing to swing close to my cheap, beat up mic made this particular sound what it is.

Anyhow, one person pitched from behind, as to not get sprayed with apple debris, the other swung with all their might, and we switched off every couple of apples. After about two bags we packed it up. Scrubbing through everything at home, I found my favorite impact, and bounced to spec. You can hear the apple smash to bits against the spade right after it swings by the mic, then get thrown across the tunnel, and finally tumble across the ground as the spade rings out. It was such a satisfying hit that I decided to go with it.

As for my gear, it is still very basic. H4N, Sennheiser HD 280 Pro for monitoring, and an MXL V63M cardiod condenser.”



2 Responses to Field Recording – Apple

  1. Tim Finnegan says:

    I would like to make my own sound library for beat making/percussion sounds. I was curious if anyone could recommend a nice field recorder to capture low end and high SPL with at least 24Bit 96K.

Leave a Reply

Please use your real name instead of you company name or keyword spam.