podcast "the Difficult Listening Channel"

Experience "the Difficult Listening Channel" podcast where the sounds in my head become the sounds in yours. more

CD Trauma
CD Trauma!
First, I abused tape. Now, I take sand paper and razor blades to perfectly good CDs. more
radio as a processor
Radio as a Processor
Give your music some amazing new character by transmitting it over the FM airwaves. I show you how. more
DAT Killer!
My new field recorder is the Sound Devices 702 solid state digital recorder. DAT is Dead! more
SD 702 digital field recorder review.
Zombies in the Basement! Scary sounds for Halloween on CD
THE SOUNDS NIGHTMARES ARE MADE OF.... Who needs cheezy ghosts in the attic when you can have "Zombies in the Basement!". This CD scares up a dark, haunting sonic backdrop that is perfect for haunted houses and other horror themed events. more
prepared ak47
the Prepared AK 47
"This is the AK47 assault rifle, the preferred weapon of our enemy. It makes a distinctive sound...." So I sampled it. more
microphone wind protection solutions
Mountain Streams and Waterfalls CD

How well did this microphone wind protector work?

Well enough for me to make a CD with it! Mountain Streams and Waterfalls CD
Expertly captured and presented in this 56 minute uninterrupted CD are the pure and relaxing sounds of nature's beauty. more

Field Recording - Solving Problems With the Wind
Here's an even better solution!

Field recording
Field recording with the Rode NT4 stereo condenser microphone
Like the "reptile cage" wind protection idea but crave something a bit more mobile (see this page for more info)? Well, I had an idea....

How about a screen reptile enclosure that folds up? Enter the Exo Terra Explorarium 45 mobile enclosure! Less than $40 shipped to my door, this little wonder showed a lot of wind protection potential. Right out of the box, helped to cut wind noise. But it needed a little modification *** (check the bottom of this page where the modified Explorarium goes into the field).
Field Recording
Get out of the studio and record the sounds around you. more
Right: Again with the Rode NT4 microphone outside. Even with the supplied foam cover AND Rycote Windjammer ($60), a 10 mph breeze can ruin a recording. But not so fast....
Enter Tulle... I figured that by adding an inside layer of fine mesh, like mosquito net, I could increase the wind protection capabilities of the enclosure. Mosquito net's kind of expensive, though. My wife suggested I use a mesh fabric called "tulle" (sounds like "tool"). So, with her in tow, I headed for the nearest fabric store. 4 yards of black nylon fine-mesh tulle set me back $3. Since my wallet was so lightly impacted from my fabric purchase, I added 50 safety pins to the lot as well ($2.50). Safety pins for securing the internal mesh to the outer mesh, of course.
Exo Terra Explorarium reptile enclosure can be modified to be a good microphone wind protector.
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Right: The Explorarium 45 folds into a flat disc that fits into the supplied carrying cover and weighs about 5 pounds WITH the added internal fabric layer.


Once out of its cover, the Explorarium is expanded when 2 snaps are released.
This is my first tape record!
Safety Pins: So instead of gluing, or sewing (yeh, right) the inner mesh in place, I tried safety pins. And, damn if they didn't work. Safety pins made it easy to make adjustments to the inner lining so that I could either add or move pins to keep sections in place.

I "doubled" the tulle mesh so that there were actually 2 inside layers of tulle fabric inside the outer nylon netting. With the inner mesh doubled, I used all 4 yards of tulle.
Explorarium enclosure with microphone inside.
Left: Looking somewhat like a half-melted trash can, the Explorarium is now a free-standing microphone wind protector. It still neatly collapses into its carry case even with the added inner lining (click image for larger view).

You can see the safety pins which gently hold the inner lining in place. I purposely wanted the inner layers to have some "give" so that they'd absorb and deflect the wind while being able to still allow the Explorarium to collapse and be quickly put away.

Note the microphone cord coming out of the "zipper door" on the side of the enclosure. This is your access point.

The "45" model Explorarium measures 18" diameter by 24" high which is enough room for the Rode NT4 with its foam cover and Rycote Windjammer to sit inside without touching the inner fabric. Safety pins can be quickly added to keep stray parts of the tulle from contacting the microphone.
Rode NT4 microphone inside the Explorarium reptile enclosure
nylon mesh inside the microphone wind protector
Left: A better view of the enclosure with the microphone setup inside (click the image for larger picture).



Right: Looking from the inside through the doubled fabric and outer nylon mesh (click image for larger version).

The test: This is what I used

- 10 to 15 mph Mother Nature supplied outdoor breezes.

- Exo Terra Explorarium 45 (24" tall by 18" diameter - weighs about 4 pounds).

- Rode NT4 stereo microphone with supplied foam cover AND Rycote Windjammer fuzzy cover ($60) mounted to a Rode SM4 shockmount

- Sound Devices 702 digital audio recorder (24 bit, 44.1k, 54dB gain, internal preamps, no filters).

The Results: The Explorarium/tulle combination did a great job of reducing the low end wind noise on the Rode NT4. See below for info on my field recordings in the North Carolina mountains.
waveform representation of my second wind test recording.
Hear my wind test with the mic outside as pictured at the top of this page, then inside the Explorarium enclosure (headphones are recommended).

The first part of the recording has the distant plane passing over with the low end wind noise (see right). The second part of the recording has a higher background ambient noise because my A/C unit had kicked in AND the wind was HIGHER at this point. But virtually no low-end wind noise! The wind sounds you do hear are the rustling trees - which is good! Remember that this recording was made with 54db of gain....


mp3 recording of my turntable playing tapes

Drawbacks: Right off the bat, this setup doesn't look anywhere near as cool as a Rycote system. Plus, it's larger than the Rycote made-for-NT4 Zeppelin counterpart (the Rycote - approx $600 - costing over 10 times what the Explorarium/tulle combo costs).

While light and mobile, the above setup is still large. Plus, I noted some very minor structural movements in the 10 to 15 mph winds - which did not translate into noise. Higher gusts will cause more movement (maybe even knock the whole thing over) and possibly some noise. Putting a small amount of dead weight in the enclosure might help some.

Herptologists might get pissed that all of the audio engineers are purchasing their Explorariums.

I'll be taking this setup to the mountains of North Carolina soon for some more in-depth field recording. Results will be posted here.
In action! (September 2007) I took my modified reptile cage into the field and it was a success. With the microphone inside the Explorarium, mountain breezes were wiped out. This thing worked even better than I thought it would. It held together under numerous setups and breakdowns. No problems at all on my 6 day trip!
recording near the summit of Clingman's Dome
wind protector in the field
Above: Capturing mountain creek and waterfall sounds in North Georgia. Wind plays a factor because gentle breezes become stronger as they are funneled through the creek bed making recordings tough. Not with my mutated trash can looking reptile cage wind protector (click image for larger view).


Above right: Recording bees near the summit of Clingman's Dome. 6000 + feet above sea level and no wind problems. Granted, it was a pretty stable day on the mountain (click image for larger view).
Thunderstorms 2007 CD / mp3
Mountain Streams and Waterfalls CD
Mountain Streams and Waterfalls CD
Mountain Streams and Waterfalls CD
Expertly captured and presented in this 56 minute uninterrupted CD are the pure and relaxing sounds of nature's beauty. more
Thunderstorms 2007
The Best Storms from 2007! Over 66 minutes of all new thunder from the '07 rainy season. more
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F7 Sound and Vision
17732 Nathan's Drive
Tampa, Florida 33647
813-991-4117
Useful Masking Noise CD Michael Oster 2013
Useful Masking Noise
A cross between a closeup waterfall hitting cool rocks, old analog television static, with a gentle touch of industrial fan and a faint hint of radio crackle. Think of it as being a fine wine for your ears. more
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Many of my CDs are now available as mp3 and "Full Quality" digital downloads. more