Field Recording – Soda can

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??

First up is the soda can. Before you listen to any of these sounds, what would you expect? Or more importantly what would you try yourself? I expected the classic open, the hiss/spray of a shaken up can and the sound of an empty can being dropped or kicked…. And that’s what many people submitted very good recordings of, so respect to them. But I was really after the unusual, and thats what I got from these recordists – such intriguing sounds!



ANDREAS USENBENZ – Beer Can Ripped Bowed Contact Miced


Andreas: “This was a really long process. I recorded several sounds from opening the can till the complete deconstruction. Bowing wasn’t quite easy as i had to hold the can between my feet and hands to make the tension that i wanted to have. Than i bowed it and recorded the sounds via the schertler mics. I varied the tension of the can by moving the hands a bit. I hope you understand , what I did.



BILLY WIRASNIK – Soda Can underwater blow bubbles into can contact mic




COLLIN RUSSELL – Can Drag Thumb On Bottom


Collin: “I am currently studying as a Electronic Production and Design student at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. One of my all-time favorite instructors, Michael Brigida (ARP, Kurzweil) teaches a course called, “Advanced Studies: Techniques in Digital Sampling.” In this class, Michael asks us to find an object and “exhaust” any and all sounds from that one object. I kept this advice in mind while experimenting with the different props for the Hiss and a Roar competition.

I tested many different ideas with the soda pop can. I tried bowing it with a violin bow, plucking the tab, crinkling it, crushing it, etc. I can honestly say that I exhausted all of the ideas that I could think of for that particular object. In the end, I decided to rub my thumb (with a considerable amount of pressure) up and down the bottom of the can. This gave me a sound that had a ominous, door creaking quality. Needless to say, I loved it.

This sound was performed on an aluminum Yerba Mate tea can. It took 9 takes to get this particular sample. I recorded it with a stereo pair of Neumann KM-184 microphones through a True Precision 8 preamp. It was all captured on a Pro Tools HD192 System. “



JAVIER ZUMER – Soda Can old and rusty pipes

Javier: “This sound was produced by a regular soda can. After trying the obvious sounds like hits or playing around with the tab, I thought It would be interesting to use the can’s metallic resonance.
I also tried those bigger energy drink cans looking for more interesting “acoustics” but the regular european 330ml can sounds the best. The sound is articulated rubbing a plastic fork against the can’s edge (the drinking hole sharp edge). I tried other objects, like a metallic fork or a knife, but they introduce their own metallic harmonics and I wanted to have the “purest” sound as possible only coming from the can itself.

I did about 15 takes of the same sound and then cut the more interesting one.

The sound was recorded with a Sennheiser MKH 416 and a Tascam HD-P2. I also tried a lavalier microphone inside the can, which I imagined could sound interesting, but it wasn’t very much. So, good old 416 close to the can and pointing to the hole.”



MIKE NIEDERQUELL – Soda Can Laser Boing Launch

Mike: “The soda can was probably the most fun for me to record. The first few things I tried were flicking and plucking the tab on top of the can after I had opened and drained (drank) it’s contents. Kind of neat but nothing too exciting there so I then began to shred the can into a spiral pattern. It now kind of looked like an art piece you would see hanging at a garbage dump. After performing on that for a couple minutes I still thought it sounded too identifiable and nothing extremely captivating. Since the can was more or less ruined at this point I grabbed another and drained it’s contents again. While I was standing at the sink where I had drained the can I had a thought to fill it back up slightly with some water. I then started flicking the body of the can with my index finger and got something I thought was pretty unique. Depending on how high the can is filled with water it would cause the pitch and resonance to vary. I thought it sounded the best with the can only filled 1/8 to a 1/4 high. The biggest tip to capturing the sound though is to bend the can’s tab so it’s vertical and hold it only by that. This will prevent the sound from being dampened and will cause it to resonate more. In the end, I think it took me three to five minutes to come to a sound I wanted to submit and maybe another couple minutes to get to a performance I liked. I used a Sony PCM-M10 to record the various takes. I love that little guy!”





Raquel: “To capture the sound of the soda can I used my cat’s metal comb to hit the soda can (in the middle) filed with liquid. Once I hit the can, I tilted the can so the liquid could move inside it. This motion produced the sound!
After about 40 takes I got the sound I liked!

For my recordings I used the following equipment:
– audio interface: Edirol UA-4FX by Roland
– microphone: NT5 by Rode
– DAW: Logic Pro 9
– headphones: AKG K271 MkII”



TEIS SYVSIG – Beer can meditation chime


Teis: “When I drink from a can I usually bend the metal on the top – that way the opening of the can gets larger (more liquid goes through) and the round piece of metal on top of the can turns upwards. The way I discovered it was when I held the can in the upper metal piece and hit it with my finger it made a cool chime-like resonance.
I then hit the bottom part of the can against my old H4’s internal mics – which creates a low boom in the attack, but a can resonance in the sustain and release.

I think 5 different sounds from the can and with this particular sound approximately 5-10 takes”



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