How close do you need to get to record aircraft?

So probably this close.

Fiesler Storch up close

Fiesler Storch up close

North American F-86 Sabre, June 2013

Another Cold War jet, a North American F-86 Sabre.

Full display here from June 2013 show at Old Warden.

Hawker Hunter T.7

The Hawker Hunter is my favourite cold war jet. This is a T.7 display from this year.

Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk XI, June 2013

Another display from the June Old Warden show this year, a MkXI Spitfire. Features a head on, full speed fly over, worth waiting for!

This is the full display, after a short display with Shuttleworth’s Sea Hurricane.

Theres a great photo of this Spit on Flickr here

AVRO Lancaster recording, June 2013

No updates for a while so I thought I’d add a few recordings from this year.

This is a full display recording of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Lancaster at Old Warden this year.

 

Roland CS-10EM binaural microphone tests

I’ve recently bought a set of Roland CS-10EM binaural microphones. Here are a few test recordings. Monitoring is a strange experience; a strange hollow sounding output which is completely unlike the played back recording. As headphones, these units are OK for a quick review but detail is quite poor.

As with all binaurals like this, moving your head is a problem and produces some cable movement noise. Roland have provided a slip knot type ring on the headphone cable which holds things a bit more securely but not a solution to the problem. The microphones come with silicon earbud fittings. I’ve swapped these for foam based fittings and I’m unsure whether this is an improvement or not. These recordings are using the standard silicon earbuds.

All recordings using Olympus LS-5 using a variety of settings. Getting the setting was a problem although combined with the limiter on the LS-2, the microphones handled sudden noises quite well. Handling wind noise was a real failure.

Recording 1

Street recording, busy traffic and people. LS-2 set with low gain and mid recording volume.

Roland CS-10 test recording 1

Roland CS-10 test recording 1



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Recording 2

Wind noise a problem with low cut turned off. Olympus set in high gain with mid recording volume.

Roland CS-10 test recording 2

Roland CS-10 test recording 2



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Recording 3

A quieter recording inside the London Underground station at King’s Cross, London. Low cut is on, gain setting high and mid recording volume.

Roland CS-10 test recording 3

Roland CS-10 test recording 3



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Fitting a Rode NT4 to a Rode Blimp

I’d looked around for some information to replace the standard mono XLR connector in a Rode Blimp handle with the stereo connector required by an NT4.

Step 1. Remove the forward grip

Remove the front grip first

This grip is held in by friction but you may need a credit card type plastic lever to help out the tabs if they are a bit sticky. Previous information I found was that both front and rear grips are held in by friction. This is not the case with the Blimp handle I have. You need to be a little careful here as the tabs are moulded as part of the grip. If these get broken you’ll end up with gaffer tape all over the handle.


Step 2. Get ready to move 2 Allen bolts from the front grip

Locate screws and get ready to remove

The rear grip is held in by 2 screws at the front and one screw on the rear. The pair of two screws s highlighted in the photo. Not sure exactly what size these are but the look to be 3mm.


Step 3. Handle split

Rode Blimp handle split

With the handle split into 2 you can see how the rear grip contains the XLR connector. Once the grip is removed, the XLR connector can be slipped out.

The fitting behind the front grip is the fitting for a pole or boom.


To reassemble, either insert your replacement stereo XLR or leave with a hole through for later.

A4 ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’

Probably my best recording of an A4 chime. The loco Sir Nigel Gresley was the 100th built Gresley Pacific and was completed in 1937, built by the London and North Eastern Railway.

All the A4s have a distinctive chime whistle. Recorded on 27th November 2010 using a handheld Olympus LS-5. A windy and cold day.

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More information about this engine from The Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Preservation Trust.

Olympus LS-5 Review – First Impressions

I’ve had an Olympus LS-5 for a couple of days now and these are my first impressions of the unit.
The LS-5 is a relatively new addition to the LS 10/11 range of hand-held flash recorders and is visually the same (apart from the unit colour). There was speculation that the LS-5 was a repackaged LS-10 but as I have never used an LS-10 I can’t say for sure.

The only comparable unit I have is a Zoom H2 so I’ll use that as a baseline.

Compared to the H2, the LS-5 feels better to use, is less bulky and overall has the impression of being better quality all round.

In the box

In the LS-5 box, the unit, a set of batteries, foam windshields (which nicely click on the mic caps), a strap, a USB cable, a copy of the Olympus file manager ‘Sonority’ and printed manuals. The packaging is good and seems like Olympus are copying Apple to some extent. I did notice that the manuals are heavier than the unit.

In the H2 box (as far as I remember), the unit, a set of batteries, a stand, a mic holder adapter, a mains adapter, some printed manuals and a USB cable.

Start up time

When trying to capture a sound and the unit is off, startup time is of the utmost importance. The LS-5 takes about 3 seconds to start from cold, whereas the H2 takes around 15 seconds with an 8Gb SDHC card. The start up time on the H2 seems to depend on the SD card capacity – the higher the capacity, the longer the start up. One feature the LS-5 does not have that the H2 does, is a pre-record buffer.

Pressing the record button

Both units start promptly but there is a very slight delay on the H2. The LS-5 starts immediately as far as I can tell. The H2 has membrane buttons which are almost silent when used. The LS-5 has mechanical buttons which you can hear has a click at the start of each recording. The ending click on the LS-5.

Pressing the stop button

Stopping a recording is often overlooked. The quicker you can stop, the quicker you can restart. The LS-5 has almost no delay between stopping and being ready for restarting. The H2 does pause for a second or two after stopping and finishing writing to the disk.

Holding the unit

Again, often overlooked is how to hold the recorder. With the H2 mic arrangement I was never sure how to point the mics for best capture and it was certainly more convenient to hold it horizontally that vertically (which was probably the best orientation). Handling noise is about the same for both units.

Sound quality

Without the benefit of a scientific approach the LS-5 sounds ‘better’ and more ’rounded’. The mics seem less sensitive than the H2 (my H2 was used mostly on the mid gain setting at 100 recording units). Best overall setting on the LS-5 seems to be low mic sensitivity with recording gain at about 9.

Other features

The H2 has a 4 channel setting which the LS-5 does not. I’ve tried to use this in the past but with not much real success – post production being the main issue.
Both units have playback effects, not much use I would say.
The LS-5 has 2Gb of internal recording capacity and ‘zoom’ mic settings, although the zoom settings are not compatible with higher bitrate and resolutions.
Both units can record at a variety of resolutions and bitrates, and also MP3 (the LS-5 has the addition of WMA compression too).

Price

2 years ago, the H2 was bought at £150, the Ls-5 at £179, both from high street stores.

The LS-11 / 10 is 30% more expensive than the LS-5. As far as I can tell, you get the same unit but with less internal memory (that the LS-11), no DAW software, no case and no remote control. Apart from the remote control, the rest of these items is of negligible use.

LS-5 Sound recording samples

First sample is a train horn. Recorded using inbuilt mics, on low sensitivity with gain set at about 8/10.

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Second sample is of 60163 Tornado steam locomotive. Recording settings as above. Train passed within about 30 feet of the recorder.

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Both samples are untreated.

H2 Sound recording sample

For comparison, this recording is of another steam loco, A4 ‘Bittern’, using the Zoom H2 from a similar position to the recordings above. The H2 was set to Medium mic sensitivity with gain set to 100.

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Things I have in common with Gary Numan

I read in the Observer this week that Gary Numan also like iSequence, his favorite film is The Battle of Britain, and the thing he likes most apart from music, is second world war aircraft. No mention of lurking about at airfields recording aircraft though. Three out of four then, not bad. If Gary’s out there and fancies giving it a try, I’d be more than happy to share a warm sunny English afternoon fussing over recording Merlins.