mix or re-record natural reverb from backyard forest?

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by Audiofreek, May 19, 2013.

  1. Audiofreek

    Audiofreek Active Member

    I was outside (I was afraid I might pop another capacitor can,and stink up my studio) firing up my pre wwII RCA tube recording amplifier for the first time since I replaced the bad capacitors.I was using the headphones,and my old RCA Varicoustic ribbon mic to test it.The back of the figure 8 lobe was pointing into the heavily treed lot in front of me as I belted out whatever tune was running through my head at the time.I was very surprised at how lush the reverb of the forest sounded coming back into the mic,and through the phones.I think I'm going to buy a couple of boundry mics,and rig up an amp,and a speaker or two underneath the eaves of the studio.I'm sure at times it will be too noisey,or windy,but I think it could be great for mixing.Anyone else ever try this?
  2. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Welcome to old skool!

    I don't often use outdoor reverb, but I have when it warranted it. Being on top of a hill, it makes it pretty hard to get a clean reverberation most times.... but there's a dandy slap I get between the tree line and the front of the studio, and another verb & slap between the side of the studio and the house... facing the natural amphitheater I've turned into the fire pit.

    I also use the bathroom for a chamber, and when I'm tracking horns, I really like placing a mic in the bathroom and opening the doors all the way to the bathroom... it's ~120' from the tracking room, down the hallway, across the lounge and into the tiled bathroom.

    Not a slam to anyone using artificial delay and verbs, as I use em' quite extensively myself... but there's just something about a natural verb/delay that's hard to beat, and damn near impossible to duplicate.

    Of course, you could capture/create an impulse response on a quite day and have the impulse available any time you want it if you have a convolution verb.
  3. Audiofreek

    Audiofreek Active Member

    I have Waves IR1,but I've never tried creating an impulse for it.
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Anyone ever mix,or re-record natural reverb from back yard forest?
    @Audiofreek How did I miss this thread!
    INDEED!!! This is the bomb and not only for outdoor forest but for all sorts of effects in music. imho, Outdoor effects, even just the sound of space adds so much life into a track. It will take a recording to a completely new level.

    To add, when you posted this, I didn't know you. We have to do another project sometime.
    The track you recorded for BSB, that i was honored to mix for you (thank you again), I actually used an outdoor background of slight breeze through trees that sounded amazing to me. You can hardly hear it but its there. I use automation to move it dynamically in the song.
    Another song I just did for Sage that was played for the Canada Winter Games had a track with winter cheering. It made the track.

    What gave you the idea?
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Yes.. but I didn't mean to. LOL.

    The first year I was in my house, that spring/summer we had several months of incredible thunder storms. I was working on a song for a client where he wanted it to begin with the sound of thunder... Keeping in mind that, at the time, sound effects libraries were very expensive and not easy to find - so I saw dark clouds rolling in and set up a 414 - in Omni - just outside my back door, facing my woods. I recorded the thunder to a small mixer and then to a DAT machine.

    When I played it back I was amazed by the reflection from the woods. I don't know if it was because stands of timber are the ultimate reverb diffuser, or because of the lay of the land, which drops off about 18 ft.... but the sound was awesome... and it wasn't necessarily the direct sound of the thunder, but the reverberation of it that was incredibly wide, deep and spacious.
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    30 years back, I was tracking in a hotel, where they gave me the top floor to work on an album lol!!! Ah, the good old days... Anyway, a train ran behind it and it was like clockwork.
    I was producing this song and as you know, I was in the zone, tape was running and I wasn't going to stop. I kept working on this one line and when I finally had my voice just right, that whistle starting going. I kept the tape going as it ran by me singing. I was so pissed at myself thinking, I finally nailed it and that train killed me. Well, to my complete surprise, the track and that train was magically in tune in an eery way. The song was perfect. It was the beginning of my love for those magic moments that come by fluke.

    I want to produce an album of me with outdoor sounds in the background. Kind of an acoustic electronic twist with nature.
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I would think that you have the perfect environment for that, with your lake house... ;)
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Yes, and within an hour each way the compass goes are wilderness areas hardly ever seen'.
    There are rainforests a few hundred miles west where old growth forest have trees it takes ten men hand to hand to hug.
    They reach 240 ft in places and the sound inside these areas is unbelievable.
    I want to get a Sound Devices rig for that.
  9. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I wonder what mics would be best for this type of recording .. ?... LD, SD, Maybe an Earthworks Omni? Have you visited that site I gave you the link to? They may have some recommendations...
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    yes, thanks. I have plenty of research. It will be fun posting my work if and when I actually get it all happening.
  11. Audiofreek

    Audiofreek Active Member

    Hey Chris,
    Haven't heard the BSB mix yet, they promised me a CD, but I have been working a lot of night shifts, and wasn't able to catch any of their shows. I heard Lorne Creek Mountain man on CBC, and sounded great and the performance was spot on, did you mix that one?
    I haven't rigged up a speaker and mic for a back yard reverb yet, but this thread has rekindled the idea.
    Maybe today, or tomorrow I'll rig it up. I just wonder how the neighbours on the next road over will like hearing snare drum blasts four two hours.
    I've got an old AKG D60 Omni that rarely gets used, and should be able to stand up to the weather if I tuck it in under the eves of the back of my garage/studio.
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    No, I dropped out of that project last year. I have no idea who did it but I'm glad they are getting press, they deserve it. Their message is great! Love the lyric and acoustic direction. Very timely and Canadian friendly.

    I caught the act at the Games, it was terribly bassy, but listening past that, I really enjoyed them. It was fun to see a group I mixed, but never met!
    Talent aside, they have serious need for volume coaching about now. I personally think it would help launch their career into stardom. Everything is slammed when they play. I sense what you were up against during tracking. The bass and tuning was savage. That part hasn't changed.

    I loved the Salmon song. I would love to be in on the tracking and mix with you, should you ever do that one. Thanks again for the opportunity.

    Re outside:

    Take a mic and just track the outdoors. Thats what I am talking about. Then I add that into the music as an effect. Its amazing to my ears!
  13. Audiofreek

    Audiofreek Active Member

    I've tried rain, thunder ,babbling brooks, but at the time I was pretty new to recording and I was pretty wet behind the ears. I had to have small generator to provide power out at my property on the upper Nechaco ( near Cheslatta Falls). The generator was audible and the rain and the creek sounded like white noise on tape.
    These days a guy could use a hand held digital recorder or a solar power full HD rig, lots of birds around, like King Fisher and Bald Eagles. Spring is a noisy time now that the Redwing Black Birds are here. Most people from the city get out there and comment how spooky quiet it is at night, when all you hear is the river running by, and occasional owl hoot, coyote, or wolf howl. They claim to have trouble sleeping without the noise of the city.
    One cool bird sound bite I'll like to catch is the sound of a Moskito Hawk(Night Hawk) diving. When they open their mouths to catch Miskitos as they dive, it makes huge WHOOOW sound, like sound of a Jake Brake on a big rig. If you've ever had one do that a few feet above your head when your hiking alone in the bush, it'll scare the pants right off you.

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