What was the most unusual and innovative technique of capturing or generating sounds in your entire experience with sound design ?

What you have you been forced to do, to achieve the goal?

6 Answers 6


Neither of these are too extreme, but what the heck.

I once placed my windscreen/zeppelin on guy wires while striking them, in order to both capture the in-air sound as well as the low-frequency mechanical vibrations, not unlike a contact microphone. Worked pretty well for that single purpose.

I also tried using boundary layer mics for recording urban stereo ambiences. While not wholly successful, it was a great learning experience.

(This is in addition to the standard silly things we all do: putting cheap mics in condoms for underwater recording [EDIT: unlubricated!!], wearing minature mics in public, strapping mics to moving objects in dicey places, dangling mics in front of things that might eat them, et multiple cetera.)

  • wow! so many useful applications hahah Jun 2, 2010 at 16:15
  • It's better than putting expensive mics in cheap condoms... I like your mic on wire example, did you get the laser type sound as well? Jun 2, 2010 at 22:31
  • Andrew, you can hear the results here - it's the very, very last sound with the natural delay effect (no post, I swear), near Tim's timed comment: noisejockey.net/blog/2010/03/17/more-guywire-shenanigans Jun 3, 2010 at 2:37
  • @Noisejockey wow, that sounds amazing. Just as one would expect from a contact mic. Will try that with my MKH... Do you mind if I edit your post and add an embed of the Soundcloud file? Jun 3, 2010 at 6:48
  • @Andrew-Spitz: Nope, go for it. Jun 3, 2010 at 14:23

I once caused a large traffic jam in Belfast. I needed lots of different car horn sounds to recreate the sound of Mumbai. My wife and I stood next to a dual-carriageway, I had an MD recorder and my wife was carrying a sign asking people to toot their horn.

Got loads of great toots. Even people from Mumbai have said that the film perfectly captured the atmosphere of the city.

+1 for using condoms in microphones, works really well.

  • Love it! "Toot if you're happy". Brilliant! Jun 3, 2010 at 6:50
  • Nice!!! But what about the putt putts. They are pretty distinctive for Mumbai. Also, there are alot of old vintage cars still hacking it out on the roads there. Love the idea. Much try it here in SA.
    – oinkaudio
    Jun 3, 2010 at 18:14
  • 1
    This is one of the most amazing stories I have ever heard in my life...
    – Colin Hart
    Jun 3, 2010 at 21:59
  • @oinkaudio - Thankfully the film was from the perspective of a taxi driver and the sound of his engine (a 30 year old VW Polo in a junk yard) which meant there was little room for other engine sounds, mostly horns were left in the mix.
    – ianjpalmer
    Jun 4, 2010 at 8:16
  • interesting.. while working as an assistant sound guy, I with the main engineer once went on a search for an old banger taxi.. luckily found a perfect one and got our gear ready...recorded all possible worn out taxi sounds.. we also went different streets and traffic signals to get all kinds of horns and jam sounds.. it was fun.. made a good library with interesting sounds ... btw I am from Mumbai but currently in the UK Jul 22, 2010 at 3:29

putting cheap mics in condoms for underwater recording

I LOVED this idea! Hahahaahahah

I don't have that much recording experience - not to say none at all - but I'm looking forward to try something crazy, like the things they did when recording the sound design for the lightsaber.

  • do you mean recording a sound of luminiscent lightbulb? Jun 2, 2010 at 16:17
  • No, he means getting a doppler effect from a speaker in a studio with a SM57 on the end of a stick and "ADRing" the saber swishes and acting out the movements.
    – Utopia
    Jun 2, 2010 at 22:10

I don't know about most unusual, but I like to record things from the far end of long pieces of PVC pipe, to use the resonance of the pipe as a filter. Another good trick is to drag the mic through the pipe from one end to the other while recording, so the character of the filtering changes over time. Put it on a sock or something to reduce handling noise.


Making the sound of elephants walking in studio using 2 10kg weights with lapel mics attached to them. Worked really well.


Mine is mildly unusual but I'm proud of it :) I can make rain on a window with only my fingers, and a glass pane (like a window...). I found that fingers tapping on the glass sound just like water drops if you find the right velocity. So for a light rain, just record your finger tapping for 2 minutes, then expand, split into four 30 seconds tracks and here's your light gently hitting the window.

Heavy rain? Lay the glass pane flat, spread some water to give a bit more impact to your fingers and get on with the tapping. You can call in some friends to make the tapping a social activity and to vary finger textures :D

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