Just curious who has had success recording the sound(s) of tuning an old-style radio. What did you use for a subject? for recorder? What was your technique?

How did you isolate the tuning sounds of the radio and avoid recording any broadcast content?

Did you like the result? :)

1 Answer 1


I recently did a bunch of recordings of an old Silvertone AM/FM radio as well as a shortwave radio I had lying around. I used a Sennheiser 416 on the shortwave as well as a feed from the headphone jack; on the Silvertone I used a U87. I recorded into ProTools at 96k through a George Massenburg mic pre. With both radios, my technique was to do slow and quick sweeps through the frequencies, and then find interesting bits of static/noise/whatever and record 30 or so seconds of them without touching the dial. If I happened to land on a station where I heard stuff I didn't have the rights to use, I just figured I'd edit that out. And then I'd go back on the dial and flip past the station quickly to get the blip of a station starting to come in without there being any recognizable information there. With the shortwave radio, I didn't have the long antenna connected; I don't think I was able to tune in any actual stations! Maybe I'll do it again with the antenna on and see how different it is.

  • Did the shortwave have a variable dial? (I would assume it would) With or without editing, did you like the result? Apr 14, 2012 at 19:29
  • It had a frequency dial, yes. I did like the result. For the particular project I was doing, the headphone-jack feed proved more useful than the mic, but both sounded good. Apr 15, 2012 at 4:36

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