Wednesday, December 31

Equipment and Techniques

My goal over the last few years has been to obtain as many of the commonly heard calls in my local birding region as possible. This was done with easily portable recording gear. The equipment I use most is simple and inexpensive, a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc recorder and a Sennheiser ME66 shotgun microphone. Recordings with this combination have a sound typical of that heard by a birder in the field, and while not necessarily of the highest quality, they do represent accurate reproductions of the sounds as they were heard at the time. On occasion I use a Telinga parabolic dish with ME62 microphone. Sounds using a parabola are amplified, especially the higher frequencies, and often pick up sounds inaudible to the unaided ear.
The recordings are edited using Audacity (free downloadable software), and no changes have been made to most recordings other than amplification where necessary. In a limited number of the recordings excessive background noise has been reduced using Sound Soap software. The sonagrams are obtained using Raven software, free from Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and I've kept the time and frequency scales of comparable calls constant in any one post, unless noted. Some of the phonetic descriptions of sounds are my own, some are those used in field guides or on commercial recordings. Recordings are of perched birds, unless noted, and of spontaneously calling birds (ie no pishing). No tape playback to encourage calling or singing has been used. Many posts are incomplete, and as I get more recordings, I'll add to them (see Recent additions).

Addendum June 2010: I'm now using an Edirol R09-HR and editing my recordings with Adobe Audition.

All recordings copyright Paul Driver.

Nightingale recorded May 1979 in Hertfordshire, England with a Phillips cassette recorder.


Hilke Breder said...

Amazing recording especially given the equipment! I always imagined the nighingale song would be more melodious. This sounds like one of the mimics.

Joe Verica said...

Great website! I have been using to learn flight calls over the past few weeks. I am interested in starting to make my own recordings. I looked at some reviews of recorders on Amazon. The Erdiol R09-HR that you use and the Zoom H4n both look pretty good. What is your opinion of these recorders? I assume both are compatible with the Sennheiser ME 62 & 66 mics. Thanks, Joe Verica

Paul Driver said...

Hi Joe,
Both are great little recorders, the Edirol is now named Roland. They are compatible with Sennheiser mics or can be used with their own internal mics.

Pat O'Donnell said...

Glad I found this website, thanks for sharing so many recordings. I use the same mic with an Olympus LS10 to do recordings, mostly in Costa Rica.