Sunday 11 December 2011: Adelaide, Woomera

  • Jetstar fretstar. Woke up at 4:30 am after less than three hours of sleep to catch a 6:30 flight only to arrive at the airport to hear that our flight was cancelled. Noise!. That explained why I wasn’t able to check in online the night before. After much to-ing and fro-ing, we ended up on an 8:20 flight with Qantas. Smooth and easy. Had a conversation with the woman sitting next to me. She was an academic pharmacist of Polish Jewish descent, had a son in Glasgow seemingly doing what I do, and was leaving for Poland to reclaim property her family had owned before the Holocaust. A very nice conversation that made the flight – uh – fly by.After landing, we picked up the car, stocked up on food and started driving north. As we were two hours behind schedule, we didn’t stop to record but drove pretty much straight to the Eldo Hotel in Woomera. Had dinner and spent a long time organizing all the equipment. Did a few recordings outside, mostly to test everything but also to mentally start the project. Then recorded my hotel room and crashed. Deep sleep.
  • About the equipment: I’ll be using three different recording set-ups.
    First set-up is a pair of head-worn DSM microphones (Sonic Studios DSM-1S/High). They’re supposed to simulate the ears and are worn on the side of the head, in front of the ears. The main reason I use these is conceptual: the fact that I or my head become the microphone fits the nature of this project. Silence, or the absence of sound, is a man made concept. Nature doesn’t care about silence. So rather than placing a microphone and then removing myself from the scene, I need to be in the scene, trying to be as quiet and absent as possible.
    Unfortunately I have yet to find head-worn microphones that are “good” enough. Even the not-really-cheap-ones I’m using for QUIES are a bit of a disappointment as they’re simply too noisy. Which is why I have a second set-up, a hand-held stereo microphone (Rode NT4).
    After listening for quiet and/or interesting sound with the head-worn microphones, I aim to use this microphone if and when the self-noise of the head-worn microphone is too loud. Inevitably even this microphone won’t be silent enough, in which case I will go for the third set-up, a (mono) studio condenser microphone (Neumann TLM 103) with very little self-noise. As this microphone is designed for studio/indoor use, the space has to be dead quiet. The least amount of wind will disturb the recording as this microphone has no windscreen protection like the other two.

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