May 10th, 2016

Hear the difference!

On 24 April 2016 I took out my recently purchased Sony PCM-D100 recorder to Branscombe Landslip, near Beer, Devon, UK, to record there in the landslip's beautiful reverberant acoustic, for as much of the day as was practical (about 10.15 a.m. to 6.0 p.m.), making concurrent recordings with that recorder and a PCM-M10, to see how they compared. The results can reasonably be described as astounding. Over these last few years I'd been under the impression, like many other people, that the PCM-M10's recordings were brilliant - spacious and full of detail, and generally greatly lifelike. But now, having heard the M10 recordings alongside similar albeit not completely identical recordings made with the D100 on this day, I've been feeling quite embarrassed that I'd been putting in public display recordings that I now recognise as actually having a seriously blurred stereo image and a sort of sonic fogginess that obscures a whole mass of detail. After toying with the idea of using external mics with the M10 in future, I came to the conclusion that I was very unlikely ever again to record with a PCM-M10 at all, as external mics are a lot of additional gear to squeezed into my already very full rucksack on my hiking outings. Instead, in order to have two recorders as I'm used to working with, I actually ordered a second D100.

I should emphasize that I always use the D100 with the 120-degree wide stereo mic configuration. Its 90-degree XY setting produces a very narrow soundstage that has no relevance to recordings of natural soundscapes.

Anyway, I decided I would delete the M10 recordings I made on this day, to save space on my computer, despite their being excellent recordings in terms of what the M10 can do. I thought, however, that some people would appreciate these recordings despite their shortcomings, and so I am sharing them all here before I delete them from my system.

This example, then, is a short excerpt from the 7 1/2 hour recording (reduced to 3h 27m in the editing because of people and aeroplane disturbances) that I made just a little set back from the coast path, close by where I made my final PCM-M10 recording concurrently, in an openly wooded part of the landslip, just round the corner from where a steep and precarious narrow track leading towards a cave high up on the chalk cliff towering above comes out on the main path.

This recorder is facing approximately north-west, obliquely facing the chalk cliff towering above, along it and catching the relatively direct sea sound (to left), with the aim of maximally capturing the echo of each wave as it spread along the cliff from left to right. Whereas the M10 captured little better than a vague haze of sea sound on the cliff,the D100 captured the echoes faithfully, to such an extent that I really felt I could hear the shape of the cliff face towering above! If you listen with good equipment you will hear the echoes moving about - albeit actually often in a more complex manner than simply left to right.

As usual the windshield was the Rode DeadKitten (current, black, version, which performs less well than the original, light grey version). I used Audacity to apply a custom EQ profile to correct for the high frequency muffling caused by the windshield.

In this excerpt you have some time more or less free from birdsong so you can tune into the echos of the sea on the cliff. The menacing squealed wailing sounds are from a peregrine falcon, which was doing some courtship flyabouts, and then the stage is eventually taken over by goldfinches making their characteristic bubbly sounds, and then a blackbird.

Please note that the volume level of this recording has been carefully adjusted for listening purposes, and, except where otherwise expressly indicated, 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.

(Commercial CDs of many of my recordings can be found in my natural soundscapes CD Store.)

ALL my recordings are COPYRIGHT, with all rights reserved apart from the 'attribution' non-commercial use provision of the licence given for this recording. You must give a clearly visible / legible attribution to me and if at all possible with a reference or (preferably) link to this page. If you want to use the recording for a materially money-making purpose, then you must agree a fee with me. Fair's fair!

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


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