Charity bike ride Update.

Thursday, June 17th, 2010 | Building Things, field recording

With only 2 days to go until the London to Brighton charity bike ride fundraising is going well. I have reached raised £268.00 so far which is 80% of my target. A massive thank you to all the generous fine folk out there who have given. There is still time to reach the target of £333.00, if you have not donated yet why not give it a go! DONATE HERE And please don’t forget to include your email so I can thank you!

If you donate you’ll receive a free and very exclusive track which I’m going to make using field recordings made on the 50 mile ride. (Another good reason to include your email!)

I have been wondering how to record the sounds of the journey, and I have come up with what i think is a cunning plan. Recording on a bike has several inherent problems:

  1. Wind noise caused by the microphone’s movement through the air
  2. Mounting the microphone so it does not pick up vibration from the bike
  3. Manipulating the recording device – you need your hands to steer & change gear
  4. Monitoring the recording – wearing headphones is dangerous and uncomfortable while cycling

I decided to put my Sony pcm-d50 & my Soundman Binaural microphones to use for this task because they are both very portable and fairly robust while giving good sound quality


Sony PCM D-50 & Soundman Binaural Microphones

The solution I came up with solves most of the problems of recording on the move at very little cost. I made a cardboard microphone holder which cups the two microphones into position using friction. The cardboard holder is made out of 4 sheets of thin corrugated cardboard glued together with the corrugations  at right-angles for added strength. The little mic cups are made of two layers of the same cardboard and secured using hot-glue. They don’t join the base board but leave a tiny gap big enough for the mic-cable to fit through. The capsules fit snugly and can only come out via the ends of the cups (they will be held in by the wind shield)


Soundman Capsules being "cupped"


whole assembly, note the Sony is note actually attached to the board

The square base of the cardboard fits exactly into the front pocket of my rucksack which when zipped up holds everything securely in-place. Because the bag is worn on the back, I can use my body as a shock-mount to reduce the vibration reaching the micrpohone. The recorder goes in a separate part of the bag where it can’t rattle around. I decided not to try and monitor the recording in real time, instead I’m going to set the recording level cautiously and rely on the Sony’s excellent onboard limiter which will tame any unexpected peaks.


zipped in

Finally the little hairy windshield (which came with my Sony when i bought it) is slipped over the microphones, it’s elasticated and holds on well. This coupled with the Sony’s low-cut filter should help cut out excessive wind noise.


topped of with aged Troll

In testing the set-up worked surprisingly well, there was very little vibration coming through the bag, the only real problems were caused by the wind shield.  Which tried its best but could not hold out the wind at high speeds. The wind shield also noticeably reduced the high frequencies in the recorded material but it was fairly easy to correct with hi-shelf equalisation in an audio editor.  All in all not bad for a half hour DIY hack.

Wish me luck on Sunday,

… did i mention you can still Donate?

Leafcutter John x.

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