British Heart Foundation


Sunday, June 20th, 2010 | Uncategorized | No Comments


Everyone who helped me reach my fund-raising target for the British Heart Foundation, you are very lovely people!

I should be in bed now getting some rest before rising at 6am (ouch) to cycle down to the start line in Clapham, however I’m really moved that you people have been so generous.

Also I just remembered I need to charge the batteries in my Sony recorder….

Take care all,

J x.

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Charity bike ride Update.

Thursday, June 17th, 2010 | Building Things, field recording | No Comments

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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Sponsor Leafcutter John for BHF London to Brighton charity bike ride – And get a free exclusive track!

Thursday, June 10th, 2010 | field recording | No Comments

Hello everyone,

My friends and I have been talking for years about taking part in the British Heart Foundation’s London to Brighton charity Bike Ride, and this year thanks to Rich, we are finally going to do it. The ride is about 60 miles, and I’ll be undertaking it with the iconic and stylish ‘Team Cash’ (Tom Haines, Chris Branch, Richard Wigley, Josie Long, Jim Slade and Johnny Moonface).

Will we all make it without incident?!?!

Who knows, but know this – all the money raised will go directly to the BHF.

Plus anyone who donates will get a free exclusive piece of music I’ll make from field recordings made on the day of the ride!

PLEASE REMEMBER to include your email on the donation page or I won’t be able to say thank you and send you your exclusive track!

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

So please dig deep and donate now. Click on the donate button above or click here to go to the donate page!


Did I mention that I do a lot of good work for charity?

A million thanks,

Leafcutter John xxx.

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