edit [recordings are at the bottom!!!!]

Hey guys,

Excited to say I'll be heading up to silverstone - with no special permission...just a crowd member with lots of time to spare over the weekend.

I have the impression the cars will be excruciatingly loud, my setup is rode nt5 pair --> Fostex FR2LE. Probably won't monitor, just will have earplugs in.

Any tips on technique and/or things that would be useful to know in this sort of situation?

Will I need in-line pads or anything special for the mics? In addition to the software -20dB pad?

Unlikely I'll be let in any media areas...but having fluffy mics have worked out well for this in the past, with a little bit of blag/charm.

thanks T

  • seeing that the event is underway, would you care to post your impressions and/or results afterwards?
    – georgi
    Jul 10, 2011 at 13:25

7 Answers 7


I found two challenges when recording the F1 before.

  1. security - in Montreal at least they were really touchy about anyone bringing any gear into the event. I'd suggest being discreet. At the Honda Indy here in Toronto they required anyone with even DSLR cameras to have a press pass. They search all bags. Most gate security may not know how to spot a recorder. Something to keep in mind though
  2. the days of sporting events without PA blasting into every corner are sadly long gone. You'll have to explore the track to find a nook without people, compressors, music or PA. There's always one or two so get there early, stake your spot and be patient

Love the F1 - good luck and have a great time.

PS - I wrote a post about recording the Honda Indy with some samples on my blog, you're welcome to check it out at this link


  • couple years ago i got to go to press day and the edwards airshow. did not expect the PA nightmare. Bad 80's music and constant chatter. got a couple of good loud things, but nothing subtle or distant. Jun 29, 2011 at 20:19
  • Thanks Paul - I'll have a think about the security and what I can do to be discreet. I've emailed Silverstone and they have said I should get in touch with FOM (Formula One Management) although I can't imagine they will be too lenient. I wonder if I can leave the gear on the side somewhere (although may never see it again!)
    – Tom
    Jul 1, 2011 at 9:22

Inline pads for the mics are a must, as these cars put out a lot of spl.

I'd recommend trying to go to a time trials instead of a race if possible. That way you can get isolated passbys, which are much more useful on a mixstage than the din of a bunch of cars racing. Also try to vary the part of the course you record from as the cars sound different at various speeds and cornering versus straightaways. I like the sound of cars downshifting, so the entrance to a hairpin turn might be a cool place to position yourself.

Good luck.

  • Some really helpful comments here also Justin - I think they've just introduced some new rules which change the way the exhausts work, and hearing it on the last broadcast, they come in when the engines are being driven by the weight of the car - I'll look for breaking and accelerating points.
    – Tom
    Jul 1, 2011 at 9:24

Silverstone is windy. Been there a while ago, that wide open space gets a fair amount of wind so think about wind protection in advance.

The cars are loud. They will be at their loudest. The nt5s have no pad switches, so do get some pads.

The gear downshifts peak quite a bit, if i remember correctly, so allow for headroom. You only get them good at certain places but they sound massively cool. Explore the areas you're allowed in.

By all means do monitor. Get sealed headphones, you can use them as ear protectors.

Good luck! It's a cool experience.

  • Got the windshields...hope they stand up to the battering! I'll pick up some pads too
    – Tom
    Jul 1, 2011 at 9:24

Thanks everyone for all the tips. Audio below:

I was up by Abbey and managed to get lots of useable material. I sampled at 24/96 but there's not much going on above 20-25k, only the really raspy exhaust stuff.

I hired out some low sensitivity DPAs and ran them into a fostex FR2LE at almost 0dB gain, coming up to -10dBFS.

The cars were LOUD. I must have been 50 metres away. The recordings do sound small and tinny. I remembered distinctly they had weight and size to them, although if you played them back at normal levels, you'd probably get near to the feeling - it's the extreme volume. The gear changes gave a real kick in the chest.

I got F1, GP2 and GP3, as well as Challenge Porsche, and the safety cars - from lots of perspectives. The Lotus F1 engines had a new front firing exhaust and this made some entirely wierd noises, great for SFX.

F1 @ silverstone


Hanger straight on the way down to Stowe is a good place to get a full-speed flyby. It is very loud, but I have never tired recording. Do let us know how you get on.


Sounds good. I've not heard the current engine spec "live", but going to Hungary in a couple of weeks so will have a better idea after that. (Not been to a GP for a few years and the engines do sound very different.) Interestingly I'm sure I can hear the blown diffuser at a couple of points.

  • Ferrari kept their system which is similar if not the same.. that might be what you're hearing?
    – georgi
    Jul 14, 2011 at 13:22

You could rent some binaural mics. Act like your recorder is a cellphone or an Customized IPad? Maybe try and bring a smaller recorder.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.