I have been given permission to record in a factory locally to me, which is something I have never tried before. I have gone on a recon trip and had a tour around which I recorded with my portable recorder an R-26.

One of the issues I can foresee from the recording I took is the facility runs off compressed air for a lot of machines, which creates a constant background drone which for a factory ambiance is great, but there are some machines which have some really cool sounds I want to try to isolate as much as possible.

I was wondering if anyone with some more experience recording in a noisy environment had some advice on techniques I can use to get the best results on the day?


4 Answers 4


Did a recording in a Boning Room recently. The trick is to get as close to the machine in question as possible. Use a cardioid condenser if you can or possibly even a contact mic. Other possibility is to go into the factory when it is mostly shut down and then record the 'interesting' machines in isolation from everything else.

anyways, the closer you are to the sound source, the better your direct/diffuse ratios will be and the better you will hear the target machine.

  • Thanks for your replies, you have confirmed what I thought to be the case. I have a couple of shotguns I can use and I like the contact mic idea so I'm going to try and get one ASAP. I'm interested to see how much more of the smaller moving parts it will pick up. I spoke to the guys at the factory and they are allowing me to record out of hours to isolate the machines and reduce unwanted noise as much as is possible, there will always be the compressors. In payment they want me to produce a version of jingle bells out of the recordings. Fun project! Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 14:39
  • Jingle Bells?! Awesome. Please let me hear this!
    – Mark
    Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 11:46
  • It's going up on their news letter in December I will link to it for you when it's available :) hope I can do a good job of it. Will most likely create various instruments from the recordings using Kontakt 5 Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 14:33
  • Contacts for sure. I'd add a directional lapel mic to that - especially for those small moving parts. If you mix the contact and the lapel you should be able to get a cool sound. Commented Oct 19, 2013 at 23:14

The R26 has phantom powered inputs, so you could use a microphone with a more directional character than the built in mics, a short or a long shotgun for instance; the Sanken shotguns are working very well in loud environments from my experience,maybe you can borrow one from a rental service. Don't expect miracles though - if you definitely need a clean recording of an isolated machine, you should ask if they could power it up and let you record it outside their daily business ...



  • Another option would be a lav microphone that you could attach to the machine, maybe even on the inside; Mark's idea of using a contact mic is also very good. Just keep in mind that the closer you get with the mic the more different the result will be from what you hear when you are standing a few meters away from the sound source; a bit similar to listening to a piano note while standing in the same room as the piano vs. putting your ears to the piano itself, if you know what I mean ... :-) Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 13:42
  • Hi, So I went in to the Factory and did some recordings. I used a Rode NTG3, a Rode NT4, Some JRF contacts and the internal mics on my Roland R-26. I have some useful recordings from the session but I was disappointed with the results from the contact mics, they seemed very dull recordings so I wonder where I went wrong there? I am able to go into the factory again to record so any advice would be useful, Thanks. Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 17:03

I recommend contact mics. I did some really cool Machinery recordings with astereo setup a hal year ago.


I had to boom dialogues in the industry for several Times. If you have a shotgun -> Play with the positioning and try using different plates to Isolator the mic from direct noise! Also -> if the drone is realy steady -> Record it in the Same Place You would Record the drone and try Phase inversion.

Another trick is to envelope the Sounds so that the BG noise feels like a Part of it!

Good luck and have Fun experimenting!

  • Tobias. I'm uncomfortable with anyone thinking that you can simply remove noise by phase inverting the signal. This is simply not the case. You can only remove a signal through phase inversion when the signals are identical and in phase. The questioner might be able to try some de-noising tools, but these are only a last resort.
    – Mark
    Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 11:48
  • I had great success once with phase inverting the shimmering sound of a Lamp. (Really steady waveform) But for general de-noising, i agree. Good point to clarify this Mark Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 13:07
  • My objective is to record with the minimum noise possible, I have izotopes RX if I need to use it but ideally I wouldn't want to. I will be taking a snap shot of the drone just in Case and perhaps to use as a background sound. Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 14:29
  • soundcloud.com/rorymc/jingle-bells heres the quick and dirty jingle bells promo track I did with the factory recordings Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 10:19

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