Yesterday afternoon, I braved the chill of the great outdoors to try my surround rig on location. I drove to Jamestown Island and headed for Beavertail Point, a site that holds many fond memories for me.
I had hoped to get some surround samples of ocean waves breaking on the rocks, and use them in the first piece I recorded using the Seaboard.
Alas, the recording just didn’t work out; the wind screens I used on the microphones just weren’t up to the task of saving the audio from wind-generated rumble. It really wasn’t a surprise; when I bought the windscreens, I knew they were for studio use, but thought I’d gamble and see how well they worked outdoors.
The good news was that during the brief intervals between wind-induced distortion, the microphones and preamps sounded great, and the surround environment in my studio had a palpable feeling of space and volume. So I’m greatly encouraged that the star-pattern technique of arranging the mics can deliver viable surround results. (Surround miking is an arcane field full of varying techniques and priorities; I’m just trying to get an immersive impression of an environment that I can use for effect, and not a phase-accurate symphonic recording.)
The “blimp” enclosures commonly used for outdoor recording can get quite expensive, and it really isn’t an option for me to buy five of them. So now the challenge will be to design and build a blimp system that creates a volume of still air for the five-microphone array. Do I construct individual tubes, or one large volume that contains all five? Whatever I build will be one unwieldy, funny-looking furry beast.
That’s a question for another day… for now, I need to come up with a different idea for that first Seaboard piece, and today I have a good block of time to dedicate to practicing. So on to it!
As I was clambering about out on the rocks, I received a phone call I’d been hoping for… the custom Parker guitar I ordered back in September is finally shipping. My friend Matt at Cascade Guitar Lab in the Pacific Northwest says it should arrive by the beginning of next week, at the latest. Here’s a shot of an earlier version of the guitar that I based my order on.
I realize I’m facing an embarrassment of musical riches at this point, but it’s a fantastic feeling. I have high hopes about what all this new fuel will do for my work. The combo of the Parker and the Axe-FX II will be unbeatable, and even though my abilities with guitar fall into “I’m not worthy!” territory, the fun I’m having could easily fill a stadium on its own.
And by the way… her name is Fern.