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.”



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Happy Birthday

YAY! Today we turn three years old! But hopefully there wont be any sugar fueled tantrums!
To celebrate three years of existence of HISSandaROAR we are having a party, but you get the presents! We’re having a short term sale, so for the next week you can access a massive 50% discount – just go to HISSandaROAR and add any libraries you like to the cart, and then use the discount code MEOW to access the discount.

This is a great opportunity to pick up any new library releases you may have missed over the last year, bolster your ambience library or discover a few new creative favourites. If you are new to HISSandaROAR and have checked out the free sounds, then this is an affordable opportunity to own and explore the full resolution and creative options available.

HISSandaROAR: “We provide the organic ingredients, you do the inspired cooking!”

or something ;)

Happy Birthday!

NOTE: The discount isn’t available for Site Licenses or for COMPLETE…

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Field Recording – Rubber band

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 a rubber band? Twangs and? Have a listen:



ANDREAS USENBENZ – Rubber Band Bowed Between Fingers And Teeth Contact Miced


Andreas: “I bowed the rubberband mounted between my fingers and my mouth. Like shown on the photo. I bowed it with a cello bow and recorded the sound with two schertler basik contact microphones. I moved my hands slightly between mouth and hands to produce these kind of pitch fx.



ANDREW ING – Rubber Band snap on metal sheet


Andrew: “The rubber band was actually one of the harder sounds for me to figure out. I decided to have one “classic” type of sound, and that it would be a rubber band snap. I knew that it would have to be a good one to make it work. I tried to find the biggest, thickest rubber band I could to achieve this. I tried snapping the rubber band on different surfaces to find the right sound. I tried wood tables, walls, doors, a plastic tub, etc. I finally decided on a metal sheet. I miked it up using a Sennheiser MKH 416 shotgun mic, and ran it through a Toft atb console, into Pro Tools. The mic was probably about 5-6 feet away from the point of impact on the metal sheet, and I just let her rip and got a real big “snap” kind of sound.”



HENRIQUE BRION – Rubber Band releasing after being rolled


How did you discover this particular sound?
Henrique: “Sincerely it was a random discovery, I stay on floor for hours and hours with three sizes of rubber band trying to make different and original sounds, so it is possible to choose later. This particular sound it was one of last ideas that appeared. Basically the phrase “Rubber Band releasing after being rolled” says it all. I put a rubber band on the middle of another that was one of edges triangle made with rubber band as you can see on picture, and rolled the rubber band till it couldn’t roll more, and then drop it. The sound it’s the natural unroll.”

How many takes did you do to find it?
“Practically it was one of the first takes of this idea. I have to confirm which exactly, to be precise. I know I recorded three or four takes and spent lots more time on other ideas.”

What gear did you record it with? recorder? mic/s?

“I recorded with sound devices 702T and mic CMITu5.”



JUSTIN DOYLE – Rubber Band Twang Over Guitar Pickup Paperclip Taped To It

Justin: “The thing I liked the most about the rubber band as a prop was it’s potential energy and movement. Plucking it sounded great and by either increasing and relaxing the tension you could get some nice pitch bends, as I’m sure most of us experimented with. I thought a lot of people might go for this type of sound, treating the rubber band like an instrument string, maybe getting a note from it or stretching it across a resonating chamber, so I wanted to do find a way of recording it differently.

I thought if I taped a paper clip to it and plucked it, I could record it with a guitar pickup mic, as the small piece of metal would swing past the pickup, much like a electric guitar string. This way I could trace the movement of the rubber band and to capture it’s energetic motion in an abstract fashion without so much of it’s audible sound.

I taped one end of the rubber band to the desk and stretched it over the guitar pickup with the paper clip right in the middle. I might have recorded about 5 minutes of plucks, trying to get the band as close to the pickup as possible, but not too close or it would stick to it as the pickup becomes an electro magnet when plugged in.

I was monitoring with headphones and knew I had a couple of sounds l really liked in the first few takes. I kept trying to get something more unusual and interesting but I think it was about the third one that was the sound I sent in. On that particular take I’d plucked the band then dropped off a lot of the tension, and it got really close to the pickup so it had a nice low end and warbly kind of saturation to it.

The guitar pickup mic I’d made myself after reading a post on Jean Eduard Miclot’s blog. I ordered a Kent Armstrong stacked humbucker from ebay and wired it to an xlr plug. I’ve been using it for about a year to record electro magnetic hums but I’ve found it also works pretty well on most vibrating or fast moving metal objects. I recorded it on a Sound Devices 722 set to low gain range, limiters on, with a 40hz roll off. The signal would get pretty loud and their was alot of subharmonic being generated.

It was the first idea I had for the rubber band prop as it just felt like an instrument string when I was messing around with it. If that didn’t work I was thinking about different ways I could set it on fire and record those.”



KAI PAQUIN – Rubber Band recorded with solar cell and laser

How did you discover this particular sound?
Kai: “Back in high school I had to write a thesis paper of my choice in order to graduate, so I did mine on experimental recording techniques. My friend Random and I spent something close to 5 months messing around with junk we had laying around our houses building microphones, and transducers. One of the transducers we built was a laser mic based off spying equipment. We used a laser pointer reflecting on a window and a photo resistor cell as the pickup. After messing around a while, we figured out the sound is caused when the laser flickers off the cell and back on, so my friend twanged a rubber band in front of the laser, and that’s how the sound came to be.

A cool offspring project from that was transmitting music through light and back.

How many takes did you do to find it?
It only took one take since we knew what we were looking for, but since I had it out, I ended up recording 20-30 minutes, and messed around a bunch. It was hard picking just one sample because I got a variety of other interesting sounds out of the recordings. I ended up making a small sound effects library out of the session for fun.

What gear did you record it with? recorder? mic/s?

I used a laser pointer, a solar panel, and a Sony PCM-M10 recorder. With some experimentation, Random determined that the solar panel had a better bass response than the photo resistor we had used before.”



RICHARD SAVERY – Rubber Band music

Richard: “Before I started recording the sounds I knew the rubber band could be used to make different notes, but then I wanted to look for a way to make the sound resonate and have different pitches while only using one rubber band. I had a pretty good idea of the sound I was going for and then it was just a matter of creating it.
I had an old large plastic jar lying around which I stretched the rubber band over, then used skewers to hold it in place (I figured I’d use common items), the skewers meant with the one rubber band I could have different lengths of it across the jar for the different pitches.
Aiming to get the most resonance I could I put it on my glass table and used small amounts of blu tac to hold it in place. Then I tested pulling it in certain ways; how tightly stretched the rubber band was changed the pitch far more than the length from side to side.
I placed the mic right inside the jar and used the omni to catch the sound bouncing around inside the jar. I also tried with a cardioid capsule but sound was much, much smaller and less interesting. From inside the omni had a pretty big sound, from outside the jar it was really a fairly unimpressive sound. I think mic placement was everything for this sound!
Once I had the rubber band set up in a cool way there were about 10 different takes. I had many other sounds/takes that I’d been recording and trying out through the process although most of them weren’t particularly interesting till the end.
Gearwise, was nothing special. I used my home setup of a Rode NT55 (Omni Capsule) going into Mackie Onyx preamp, straight to PC.”



ROBIN FENCOTT – Rubber Band large rubber band scraped with finger

Robin: “I told my housemate about the competition, and she came home from work the next day with a whole selection of rubber bands, of different thicknesses and lengths.

The process was very playful and exploratory. I didn’t have any particular sounds in mind when I started recording. In total for all five props I recorded several hours of material, and spent at least that much time again going through to find the best bits.

Initially I was excited by the very thick rubber bands, however the sound I eventually chose came from a long, yet fairly thin band. (perhaps 7mm in thickness). To achieve that effect, I cut the band so it became a long string. Next I tied it off on a spare mic stand, and close mic’d the base of the band near where it was knotted. I then pulled the other end tense and half strummed, half scraped it with my finger. I selected that sound in particular because it contains an interesting balance of fricative noise and pitched content.

Everything was recording through an Apogee Duet, and I tried a few different condenser microphones, although I’m afraid I can’t remember which microphone I used for that particular sound.

I normally work entirely inside the computer, so it was a refreshing change to set up microphones and record some real noises. Being very playful with all the props was great fun, but I think next time I’d try and be a bit more organised during the recording phase, so as to not spend as much time afterwards sifting through failed experiments and general setup noise. I also had the computer in a different room to reduce the noise, so some sort of remote control to start/stop recording would have been really useful, as would some way to add markers on the timeline during recording to make auditioning a bit less tedious. I’m sure there must be hardware controllers (or iPhone apps?) which do this sort of thing.



SAMUEL RICHARDS – Rubber Band Bath Twang


“We were trying to think of the different ways the definition of a “rubber band” could be interpreted, we tried a few different ideas. Starting with connecting a hundred or so “regular” size stationary type bands together, then a Pilates band I found. We also made a large ball out of small rubbers bands and rolled it around the bath, which was nice, but it didn’t have the resonance we were looking for. The Pilates band worked really well stretched over the front of a front loading washing machine drum. Finally I remembered that I was given a “3 man” water balloon launcher, with very long and very strong bands to launch the balloons.
We used the bathroom to lessen traffic noise and the bath to create a chamber to amplify the sound, this also provided a convenient means to stretch it and adjust the tension and length easily.
I guess we tried 15-20 takes before we managed to get a reasonable tone without too much vibration or extraneous noise coming through.
I used a Sennheiser 416P and an H4n, moving the mic over and around in the bath before settling on a position where the resonance of the bath was at a maximum.”



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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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HISSandaROAR Field Recording Competition WINNERS!

As per the field recording competition launched last month we received a lot of excellent entries, and I mean A LOT! But what was surprising is that there wasn’t one clear winner. Literally everyone who entered the competition captured good recordings of the five props (an apple, a pencil, a rubber band, a soda can, your hands) but making a good recording was just one aspect of what I was after. So I worked my way through all of the recordings tagging individual sounds that appealed to me. For some props there were a LOT of great contenders eg for rubber band and soda can there were maybe a dozen uniquely great characterful recordings, whereas for pencil and apple and hands there were plenty that did the obvious but few that had really imaginative creative ideas behind them.

So, before I announce the winners I need to announce a change to the prize structure; originally I offered a single grand prize of COMPLETE 25 along with 10 x $150 vouchers, but as there is no one overall winner I have decided to redistribute the prizes amongst all the winners…. So each of the 21 winners listed below win a prize of a US$200 HISSandaROAR voucher.

If you entered and your name does not appear, please don’t be too disappointed – as I said, all of the entries were good and most were very good. But these were the people who captured excellent sounds, sounds that made me smile or feel momentarily elated or perplexed or challenged or who inspired me. Or made me think: HOW DID THEY RECORD THAT!?

HISSandaROAR Field Recording Competition WINNERS:

Andreas Usenbenz
Andrew Ing
Billy Wirasnik
Collin Russell
Daniel Clay
Giorgio Ferrari
Henrique Brion
Javier Zumer
Jim Olivier-Berthou
Jeff Conary
Justin Doyle
Kai Wolf Paquin
Manuel Eisl
Mike Niederquell
Paul Love
Raquel Luis
Richard Savery
Robin Fencott
Samuel C Richards
Stefan Kovatchev
Teis Syvsig

So the procedure from here: if you are one of the winners, I would like to make a series of follow up posts, one for each prop, and include the winners recordings along with some comments from each person about how and why they approached the recording the way they did. It was really inspiring to hear the range of approaches taken, so I think it would be great to share. I will be in touch with each winner, to request permission to include their sound/s, photo and some comments…. AND to find out which prize libraries you would like!

Congrats everyone and especially congrats to these top twenty one field recordists!

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