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Humidity and the tone of places...

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Simmosonic, Nov 11, 2007.

  1. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    A thread elsewhere about dehumidifiers inspired me to post this recent observation here...

    My Nagra V/Schoeps MS rig and I have made many recordings in the Himalayas, where the high altitude and cold air mean there is very little humidity at all. Photographs of distant objects remain clear and distinct due to the lack of 'haze-creating' moisture in the air. Likewise, sound recordings made there, especially outdoors, are always very crisp and clear, and sounds from considerable distances are rendered with remarkable clarity.

    I have also made recordings in and around the low-lying Terai regions of Nepal, where it can get quite humid, and noticed a difference in tone to the Tibet recordings. But I never thought much of it until now - over the last week or so I've been making recordings in Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo), where it is currently *very* humid.

    The Borneo recordings do not have the crispness of the Tibetan recordings, nor do they sound like the low lying Nepalese recordings. They all sound warmer and more 'liquid' (back in your box, you cursed inner audiophile!), as if someone has put a gentle Baxandall HF roll-off on everything - beginning at around 3kHz and dropping 3dB or so at 20kHz. It's not at all dull, just sweet and warm. Everything I have recorded here so far has this over-riding tonality.

    Same recording gear, of course.

    I find it fascinating to contemplate, and can think of many musicians who'd like to put this 'Borneo' tone over their recordings. Perhaps it's time to start working on the 'Humidifier' plug-in, and load it up with a bunch of Geographical Location Options and a Google Earth link?
     
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Interestingly enough, I've made quite a few recordings in quite a few churches. One of which I was the primary sound person for a Washington DC church for 2 years. Since this particular church did a lot of classical music performances, I always found it interesting as the seasons changed. Reverberation in a humid environment is actually accentuated in comparison to a dry environment. And yes, the tonality is always warmer in a humid environment.

    I can't imagine what it's like in the Himalayas? There's not enough air to breathe much less pass sound through.

    Gulp....Oh2 breathe again. But that might only be 21% accurate?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     
  3. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    Accentuated? That's interesting. I wonder what factors are at play there...

    I just Googled this, from Rane corporation (who always put out good white papers and so on):

    http://www.rane.com/pdf/eespeed.pdf

    Very interesting information about the effects of humidity and temperature on sound propagation and frequency response.

    I don't go THAT high!!! The only time I intend to need an oxygen mask will be in an airplane, and if that happens I'll remember to put my own mask on before helping others - just like the stewards tell me. ;-)
     
  4. Plush

    Plush Guest

    Often I like to record important record sessions in the humid August weather here in Chicago. The churches and halls I use become humid and the acoustic lends a blending and liquid effect to the sound. It is hearable and
    wonderful.
     

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