So, with Irene making a projected bee-line for DC (and the rest of the East Coast) I'm thinking I don't have enough Hurricane in my library. After the recent question about recording wind I have some good ideas, but still a couple questions remain.

1. What's the best way to get great recordings with the gear I have on hand and keep it all safe and dry-ish?

Here's the equipment I have at my disposal:

  • DPA 4060 matched pair
  • Barcus Berry 4000xl Contact Mic
  • Rode NT4
  • Rode NTG3
  • A couple of beat up SM58s
  • Rode Blimp
  • SD MixPre
  • Sony M10
  • 15lbs sandbag
  • Cheap mic stand

I'm thinking that my best bet is mounting the 4060s in the Blimp in as close to an ORTF configuration as possible, feed those to the MixPre and subsequently the M10. Anyone see potential issues off the bat?

The MixPre/M10 both fit in my shoulder bag which I can double bag in garbage bags once I set levels. But keeping the mics dry is something I've never considered. Can I get away with wrapping the Blimp in a towel lengthwise? I'm thinking this will leave the side-facing ORTF setup exposed but still offer some protection. Although I'd also imagine that I'd get some weird high-frequency rolloff as the towel gets wetter and wetter.

If it's as bad as they say it'll be, I'll more than likely be sticking nearby the neighborhood. But there are some great massive trees that I can find shelter under and a few covered porches. I'm also thinking of keeping things dry by going to my car or just cracking a window in the house to get some great wind howls. Maybe the NTG3 would be better for the cracked windows?

2. What's on the record list?

I'm already thinking of how this storm's going to interact with my neighborhood. The various foliage, the slat fences, the garbage cans that will probably just be strapped down rather than removed. There's the drain at the end of the ramp to the common laundry room that should sound cool depending on the reflections of the brick walls on either side of the ramp. I thought of using the contact mic on the windows. They're the newer triple-paned kind so I'm not certain how good it'll sound with that dead air space, but I'll give it a try anyway.

3. Am I crazy?

If you believe the news hype, Irene is a potential Category 4 Hurricane. You know all those reporters that go down south to tell us "Hey, look! It's really a Hurricane!" as we watch them in our cozy dry homes? I always feel sorry for the cameraman. You hope he's at least getting hazard pay.

There's a cautious, self-preserving side to me that says "Screw that, stay inside. Crack a window. Stuff a towel in it. Roll tape. You get what you get." But then there's the huge audio side that wants to go jump around in 115mph wind and puddles the size of children's swimming pools with all my recording gear rolling (not literally, but you get the idea). Because, you don't gain experience by sitting on the internet talking about experience.


  • Big +1 for the word imagery you created in my mind with the last paragraph ;) Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 0:02
  • I've got a nice sized, covered, porch (you've seen it) where I've been recording rain from lately. You're welcome to come hang out and keep your mics relatively dry. ;) Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 0:35
  • @Steve Urban Ive never gotten hazard pay for hurricane ENG also never used a boom in large storms ..usually handheld dynamic with windscreen, you can't hold onto the boom well in 100+ mph wind. :( Also dont even have your windows exposed to open them ....buy some plywood and cover them, especially if it is cat 4. Go crazy with the 58s haha! Also indoor perspective is vital in my opinion. Keep your house and yourself/family safe and record in the downtime, there is lots, it takes a day or two for them to pass through :) Also don't forget the southern tradition....HURRICANE PARTY! :P Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 5:17
  • That was a lot of also's now that I read it again. English fail. Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 5:17

2 Answers 2


Great idea to include the contact mic on your list, especially with such high winds expected. I would try attaching it to assorted large items or structures, ie. lamp posts, highway signs, glass buildings, etc. I captured some great stuff using this technique last year.

Riffing on what @Michael Gilbert wrote on this post, it would be really cool to drill a hole in a large tree (when no one is scrutinizing you!) and place one of these in it. It would be perfectly suited for the job, since it can't be damaged by water, comes with a 30' cable, and is really, really rugged. If you don't own one, perhaps you can borrow one?

Regarding the SM58 pair, I would consider them near-disposable for this purpose (read: subject them to the nature's full force!). Perhaps duct tape them to tree trunks or hang them down storm drains? I'll edit my answer as more death-defying ideas pop to mind.

I expect Chuck Russom to chime in on this post since he did quite a bit of rain recording last year.

Have fun, be safe, and prepare to get wet!

  • Nice recording, super eerie. Can't wait to see what SSD turns up after this disaster's through..
    – lucafusi
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 1:47
  • That's an awesome idea about the hydrophone. Sadly I know of no one I could borrow one from in time. I was heavily considering sacrificing the 58s to the storm and see what they can offer, but I don't think I have suitable wind protection for them. Maybe that wouldn't matter? Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 11:45
  • Knowing chuck, hes in the rain right now
    – ChrisSound
    Commented Aug 27, 2011 at 1:35

All I have to say is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaufort_scale.

  • So what you're saying is that instead of wearing my 7506s I should go with the ear buds and a helmet? ;) Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 11:49
  • I'm just saying that you can always protect yourself and your gear from rain, but if you're out in 60+ mph winds, a helmet and serious rock-climbing-class harnesses aren't stupid ideas. :-) Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 19:47

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