March 16th, 2013

The original version of this recording was highlighted in the Freesound blog for the quality of its description ("The new gold standard for Freesound descriptions" - Wow! http://www.broad-horizon-nature.co.uk/me-icon_confused.gif). While of course I felt duly sort-of honoured to get such an accolade, I also felt a little wryly miffed that that particular recording had been picked upon for that honour, for, as I noted in its original description, it was more of curiosity value rather than being a good recording of Boscastle Harbour / blowhole, and so actually it was rather a bizarre choice for getting featured at all! That recording then got several 5-star ratings, whereas my three other, really good, recordings of the Boscastle blowhole had only one 4-star rating between them!

So, finally I've chosen to re-upload the recording as it now exists on my system, with two carefully shaped EQ adjustments, both of which I now apply routinely to all my recordings: one to correct for the slight attenuation of high frequencies caused by the Rode Dead Kitten windshield, and the other, to correct for an audible broad 'hump' in the lower bass frequencies - an issue that appears to be intrinsic to the Sony PCM-M10, no matter what clean bill of health any reviews may have given that model. The latter adjustment has had a particularly dramatic effect on this recording, because it was so replete with just those frequencies that tally with my recorder's bass hump. All the peaks were thus greatly reduced in size, and that enabled me at last to raise the overall level to get me a realistic level for the sea sound. To my ears, listened to through my hi-fi speakers, the recording is now really beautiful and lifelike (albeit, naturally, sounding a bit weird because of the recorder sitting in almost a mini-cave), and against this version the original, which got all those 5-star ratings, sounds quite horrible http://www.broad-horizon-nature.co.uk/me-icon_lol.gif (I'll leave others this time to make some delicious faecal comparisons)!

I am not (at least for some time) deleting the original here, because the comparison is so educational. On my Freesound home page you can see the graphic EQ curve that I've used to improve this recording so much.

Here follow the general notes (i.e., that are still applicable here) belonging to the original version - with the odd relevant amendments.

Recording made on 2nd February 2013, on the north-east side of Boscastle Harbour, in a decidedly unusual position somewhat below the main path along there, overlooking the stone jetty on that side of the harbour and pointing obliquely across the mouth of the harbour - though my saying that actually wouldn't mean very much to anyone who doesn't know the funny shape of the harbour, which bends round to the left and then opens to the right (seaward). The blow-hole is at the waterline when the tide is low-to-middling, and is a bit right of centre in this soundscape. It is actually an early stage of the breaking-through of a sea cave on the seaward side of the hulk of Penally Point, and waves hitting the end of the cave there cause shockwaves in the air and cause the violent ejection of often quite long jets of spray with impressive heavy whoomphs. Those jets of spray are generally roughly horizontal or very slightly inclined upwards, and you can hear the ejected water splashing down following many of the whoomphs.

I had intended to place the recorder in exactly the same precarious position on a protruding ledge, where I placed it for the equivalent 9th January recording, but as I came round the side of that crag I thought the wind was a bit on the strong side there, and also I was looking rather nervously at the clouds, which had lightly showered on me several times during the morning and were looking as though they might fairly imminently do so again. I was in fact about to give up the idea of setting up this recording and just make do with the one right above the blowhole, when I noticed right beside me a small overhung recess in the crag, probably about 60 to 70cm high and not much wider, and I noticed that as I stuck my ear in there I could hear a whole lot of booming from the sea that I was not otherwise hearing. So, for the hell of it I placed the recorder in there.

That has predictably resulted in a really weird recording, which not only has a distinct boomy element (though much less so in this adjusted version), but also has a narrow, sort of 'tunnel-vision' main stereo image (though actually apparently quite a bit wider in this adjusted version than in the original), apart from the thumps and booms, which are more omnidirectional. This recording, therefore in normal terms could be viewed as a poor one, but I present it here as a GREAT recording of the sound of Boscastle Harbour and blowhole as could be heard by a mouse or small bird in a little recess in a crag! http://www.broad-horizon-nature.co.uk/me-icon_wink.gif It is also really quite beautiful in its own way, and I may well even repeat this such time as I'm there with a higher sea making the blowhole more exciting.

The blow-hole in operation at the foot of the cliff.
This recording was made on this side of the harbour,
but a fair bit further removed, in the inland direction.

This recording was made with a Sony PCM-M10 on a Hama mini-tripod, using the built-in microphones covered with a Rode Deadkitten. The breeze reaching the recorder appeared to be a straight-on force 3 on the Beaufort scale (upper end of 'light').

Higher quality version of this recording available
The recordings that I upload to Freesound are of standard CD quality (44.1KHz, 16-bit). As from my recordings made on 9th January 2013, all my recordings are additionally available in 48KHz 24-bit, FLAC format. If interested, please see my Broad Horizon Natural Soundscapes page for details.

(Later note: This recording - with better sound than here - is on one of my commercial CDs, and can be found in my e-Store, where you can also find another CD of the Boscastle blowhole.)

Please note that only very good speakers / headphones with a very extended bass response will do this recording real justice. Also, it may sound unpleasantly boomy on speakers that have any sort of boominess (like my computer speakers!). Please also note that the volume level of this recording has been carefully adjusted for listening purposes, and ALL my recordings so far are meant to be listened to with a volume setting that would give a realistic level for playback of CLASSICAL music (a large but not exceptional symphony orchestra). If you have the right volume setting, you should not need to change that setting from one recording of mine to another.

** Please remember to give this recording a rating! http://www.broad-horizon-nature.co.uk/me-icon_wink.gif **


  • avatar
    cunlumby 7 years, 8 months ago

    Again, your description blows my mind.

    1 comment

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