Exercise – Listening

Above image from Francis Ford Copula’s movie ‘The Conversation’ 1974.

In this exercise I have connected my headphones to my Tascom digital audio recorder and simply listened to the variety of ambient noises that my equipment can detect.

The first thing I notice is I can control the mic sensitivity by turning two dials for left and right microphones built in to the unit.  This I understand is the gain control, the higher I set this gain the louder the background ambient noise plus I appear to hear a very soft hissing sound at maximum gain which disappears around the one o’clock or two o’clock position for the two dials.  This must be from air movement across the mics, as this varies from inside and outside locations.  I guess for atmosphere recording the gain will have to be set for a fairly sensitive mic in order the record the background noises that will be the atmosphere for the shot.  Using headphones whilst recording is essential if you are to be sure that you are recording what you want and eliminating wind noise and anything else that can be distracting.  I have a shotgun-mic / boom-mic for improved sound recording for dialogue this works on any of the four gain controllers depending on which plug socket it is connected to and can work in conjunction with the two built-in mic but will need to plug in to either of the sockets for the the first two gain controls.

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