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Howdy! I've been searching this site and various other ones extensively for an answer to my problem, but so far I've not found a satisfactory solution.

I'm going to the Bolivian Amazon in about a week to record ambiences and wildlife, and because it is rainy season, it is likely that I will encounter some heavy rain from time to time. Especially because my plan is to set up my rig for overnight recording, to let it run for about 12 hours straight, so I might be asleep and not ready to run out and get my gear back indoor whenever a serious rain downpour begins.

I'm aware of the Remote Audio Rainman, which lots of people recommend, but it also seems that this product is mostly focused on dampening the sound of rain drops - if my mics with a Rainman on will be left for more than, say, 30 mins in heavy rain it seems pretty likely everything will still get very wet. Any users of the Rainman who could confirm that?

It seems that the best option in this situation might be to use non-lubricated condoms for protectecting the mics, and some form of dampening for over the zeppelin to soften the impact of drops. Perhaps wrap a towel around the zeppelin for dampening purposes in case I can't get hold of a Rainman here in the UK?

Anybody have any other suggestions to protect mics in a zeppelin against torrential rain that could potentially last for several hours?

I'd prefer to not use an umbrella or a roof (due to the noise of raindrops).

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3 Answers

A Rainman would be a good start. Condoms work great on SM57 and other dynamics as hydrophones, but I'd be concerned that any sort of condenser in one would loose high end frequency response (which is pretty important if you're recording rain).

My suggestion would be to build some sort of tarp/structure out of soft rubber packing foam like this. Perhaps cut it in a round shape that will cover the top of an umbrella? Kind of a poor man's Rainman. This sort of material should work pretty well at absorbing the drops without a ton of sound.

Good luck.

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I agree with Justin, condoms will probably degrade your recordings too much.

IMO you should seriously consider some sort of large and tall tarp on sticks that can protect a rig you intend to leave out in the rain. If the structure is tall enough then the sound of the rain hitting the world around you will mask the sound of the rain hitting the covering. It would also have to be pretty wide in order to accommodate winds blowing rain diagonally towards your rig. You could even go the extra step and cover the tarp in local foliage in order to acoustically camouflage it into the rest of the surroundings. Be sure to give it a pitch so that the rain can roll off in a controlled manner.

I'd also consider rolling hypercardioid mics to focus the pattern away from the tarp and out towards the world in front of the mics.

If that kind of structure is in place, you should be able to get some pretty rockin rain recordings without any unwanted noises. For you purposes I'd bet that setting something up like that would be worth it.

When it rains near my apt complex I tend to go outside where my front door is covered by a balcony about 12 feet up. That gives me perfect access to the rain sounds and I never hear the rain hitting the balcony in the recordings.

I'd also suggest looking into Tim Prebble's recent treks to Samoa. He recorded tons of rain there and from the looks of his videos was using a similar "distant canopy of protection with directional mic" type of technique.

Here's a link with a vid. http://www.musicofsound.co.nz/blog/samoa-field-recording-5-rain

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