sonic tourism

This is one place I am definitely visiting next time I am in the UK!

If only you could rotate & point them at things!

For the record the above photo is of a sound mirror which was used for early detection of approaching planes during the war… thankfully they have been preserved & its possible to visit them on a guided tour.

They employ the same physical technique as parabolic dishes used by bird spotters/recordists the world over – the dish collects & focuses sound to a point which is exactly where people like me place a microphone. The main problem with parabolic dishes is that their frequency response is based on physical size – for recording birds the target sound is mainly in the upper register so a portable dish is very useful whereas for recording the full spectrum (or the drone of an approaching bomber) requires a large scale parabolic dish, hence the sound mirrors

Not quite as spectacular but a bit closer to home is a location with an intriging acoustic phenomena; the Massey Memorial, which is up in the bush on the city side of the Miramar peninsula here in Wellington. It is a big marble monument & at the sea end it is like a big dome with windows in it.

In the centre of the dome is a raised platform which if you stand on it & make any sound, you get an instant acoustic reflection from all angles of the dome. It feels almost perspectiveless, like wearing headphones with the foldback turned way up, while being mic’ed up in an anechoic chamber… Visit it, with your ears open!

& if you know of any other sonically interesting locations in New Zealand, please tell me about it!

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