Winter Rain. Recorded in oak forest near Ithaca, NY, on New Year’s Day 2020.© Lang Elliott. Please wear headphones.

Note: The recording featured here is a “3D binaural soundscape”. Please wear headphones for a profound listening experience that will make you think you’re actually out there, immersed in the natural world!

Happy New Year 2021! After nearly a year of ignoring my blog (a break I sorely needed), I’m jumping back into it, with the goal of posting regularly in the weeks and months to come. I have many soundscapes to share, including quite a number from the spring, summer and autumn of 2020. Plus dozens of great photos of singing birds and other delights. And if all goes well with regard to the pandemic, I plan to hit the road on March 1st for a three-month recording expedition to the Southwest, the Prairie States and other as yet undetermined locations.

To commemorate the New Year with nature sounds, I spent a number of hours attempting to record light rain falling in an oak woods, the raindrops splatting against compressed leaves and patches of snow. Altogether I’m quite happy with the result, but the task was not exactly an easy one. In fact, the segment featured above was actually captured just before midnight, after numerous failed attempts due to: 1) excessive wind, 2) the rain becoming too heavy or else stopping altogether, and 3) distant traffic or airplane noise spoiling my effort. When the clock struck midnight I was wet, cold, tired and totally miserable … yet I had somehow prevailed! So I breathed a long sigh of relief, wished the forest a Happy New Year, and headed home on icy roads to a warm and cozy bed.

Red Oak leaf on snow, covered with raindrops. Lang Elliott.

Red Oak leaf on snow. © Lang Elliott.

Rain is actually quite difficult to record, at least if one desires a natural sound. Given that the microphone setup must be placed outdoors, preferably in a wild area far from human habitations, it must somehow be protected from the rain, but in such a way that the listener does not hear raindrops hitting the microphone setup itself or else hitting an umbrella or other structure placed overhead (as you can imagine, rain hitting an umbrella sounds very unnatural).

After much experimentation, I have developed an effective solution to this problem that involves placing my soundscape mic within a special frame that is wrapped with acoustically transparent speaker cloth (to dampen the effect of wind), and that has a thick layer of absorbent furnace filters placed on top (to dampen the sound of raindrops hitting the frame). The proof, of course, is “in the pudding,” so please tell me … do the raindrops in my recording sound natural to your ear?

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Amy
Amy
2 months ago

Hi Lang, A quick question – Any chance you can make your PureNature app available to us loving android users? 🙂

Amy
Amy
2 months ago

Thank you so much, Lang, for sticking it out through all the misery in order to get this fabulous recording! And yes, it sounds very natural. I felt transported. My husband and I were out with our 2 kids years ago when they were young teens. When we came home it was pouring rain. They went in the house laughing at us, because we both chose to sit outside in the car a bit longer just to listen to the rain. A beautiful sound. Your recording is a million times better than the sound in a car. 🙂 … By… Read more »

Laura
Laura
2 months ago

Hi Lang- It does sound natural, lovely! I can hear the iciness, and the sound of the drops on leaves is very nice, thanks for posting this.

john greenly
john greenly
2 months ago

Hi Lang,
this is absolutely, perfectly beautiful. I am just home from a time in the hospital with some kind of seizures or something, I’ve been feeling very confused and scared. your recording fills me with happiness and peace, Im soaking up that sound of rain like water on the dessicated land of my mind. Thank you, thank you,

John

Joy Harp
Joy Harp
3 months ago

Lang…..I have so missed your postings and I love these raindrops. So completely soothing after the week we have all had! Funny thing is I just got through writing on “January Quiet in the Ozarks”….and this reminded me that it’s not always quiet in January. Your work is so interesting and I share it with a lot of friends. Thank you so much. Cheers, Joy Weigel Harp

Joy Harp
Joy Harp
2 months ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

Hi Lang….I live in Mountain View, Arkansas…have been here since 1993 and absolutely love it…the clear waters, the woods, clean air…my kind of living..
My brother Bill lives in Berkeley CA. and I just talked to him tonight about your Music of Nature. I’ll have to search back into your archives for the Leatherwood Wilderness soundscapes. Let me know if you come to Mt. View again….Cheers, Joy

aimee Evoli
3 months ago

hello, Lang. Sorry you got cold, wet ,and miserable recording the Winter Rain. sounds like eggs frying )( no insult intended. I must be hungry. Lol. Pictures are beautiful Thank you, Aimee E. 1/5/21 Happy New year/. So glad you are back.. ( But, A good thing came of it)

Juanita Roushdy
Juanita Roushdy
3 months ago

Welcome back, Lang. I closed my eyes and was immediately transported to the woods standing under a tree listening to the rain as it ran and dripped and splashed, soaking the into the ground. I loved it when it slowly stopped!

Juanita R
Juanita R
3 months ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

All is good. Miss having you on the island – always such fun. Perhaps we’ll see you again one of these seasons back at Hog Island.

lorraine
lorraine
3 months ago

welcome back and happy new year, lang!!! ‘wished the forest a happy new year’……….no doubt, it replied back. nature always does.

Carol Tanck
Carol Tanck
3 months ago

Welcome back! Your recordings are a great gift and very much appreciated!

Nancy Marrison
Nancy Marrison
3 months ago

The description of how you’ve gone about recording this particular “Rain Oak forest” is quite technical. Very interesting. Thank you for braving the cold, icy, wet weather of Ithaca NY so your readers/ listeners can enjoy your recordings. I truly mean that because I could never be out in such weather. Thanks for I have truly been relaxing beside my pellet stove here in East Tennessee soaking in the sounds. Very relaxing.

Susan Fay
Susan Fay
3 months ago

So healing! This recording is such a fantastic antidote to the chaos all around us. Thank you, Lang, for this soothing clip of a Gaia lullabye.

Cathy
Cathy
3 months ago

I could use this recording to fall asleep every night, so soothing. Thank you

Andalyne
Andalyne
3 months ago

I never thought of how recording rain could be difficult! I think it sounds mostly natural – enough that it made me feel like I was standing outside under a tree, listening to the varying heaviness of rain drops falling around me. As always, thank you for sharing this lovely soundscape.

John
John
3 months ago

very difficult to get rain right ! thank you for this offering. it does sound very natural. alas, ‘right as rain’ has a sonic solution. it’s mesmerizing. I look forward to more posts.
btw, what is your preferred binaural mic out in the field ?

John Petersen
John Petersen
2 months ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

wonderful information, Lang. thank you. sorry for the lapse in replying. I was reminded to finish exploring your links when your Coyote Moon email came in. that was a revelation! truly extraordinary moment. all the best. yours in sound.

Saille
Saille
3 months ago

Great that you are back ! So looking forward to hearing some of your recordings again. I love this rain- cast and hope it made being wet and cold at the end of it worth it!

Ruth
Ruth
3 months ago

Lovely gentle splats and drops – how luxurious to hear it while staying dry and warm.. Thank you.

Becky Sewell
3 months ago

I really enjoy this! However, I tried putting my headphones on my 90-year-old dad’s head and he could hear nothing. The rain sounds too much like the ‘normal’ static he hears in his right hearing-aid! He couldn’t tell the difference – but I can! Love it! I had some nature-sound CDs that I played as “night music,” as well as ambient-noise in my large backyard greenhouse full of tropical plants. One CD featured a thunderstorm, which I used all one winter to habituate my dogs to the sound of thunder, and they didn’t bark at the “real thing” the next… Read more »

Nancy WV
Nancy WV
3 months ago

Love it…. your back story reminds me of the effort dancers give to make their leaps look effortless.

Dick Dent
Dick Dent
3 months ago

Amazing sound quality. Really captures being in the woods while it’s raining. I have all your Pure Nature albums. Strangely enough – or perhaps not so strangely – I listen to your Thunder Gods section in Pure Nature app to lull me to sleep. Glad to have you back.

SGVD
SGVD
3 months ago

I think I know those woods or at least have stood in a rainy forest within a couple miles of them! Very grateful to experience those soft drips and drops and splatters and plops again.
My internal editor wants to check … did you capture the sound on New Year’s Day 2020 or 2021?

Susan Roland
Susan Roland
3 months ago

Yes, it sounds just like when I go into the woods when it’s raining.
Welcome back Lang.

Burke Carson
Burke Carson
3 months ago

Great reentry into your blog world. Actually took me to a couple of past experiences. Thank You

Antony Gravett
3 months ago

I can attest to how difficult (and at times infuriating!) it is to capture this kind of sound in the modern world. A Foley artist might capture a few seconds and be happy to loop it, as it would remain hidden as a ‘bed’ for other sounds such as dialog and music; a true recordist has to be ready to ‘begin again’ over and over. Well done, Lang! Your binaural recording is superb, as it seems to quietly wake up the soul.

Scooter
Scooter
3 months ago

So happy to see/hear you back – it’s like getting a soul massage to hear this latest recording! Thank you for your efforts and for sharing with us, Lang!!

Dee
Dee
3 months ago

simply Yes thank you.

lwc
lwc
3 months ago

thank you

Dolores
3 months ago

Simply exquisite. Love the backstory. And, YES, welcome back!! With all the noise we seem to live with, you find and deliver the best by-products of silence.

Gail Shapiro
Gail Shapiro
3 months ago

Welcome back Lang! Looking forward to many more recordings and the rain recording is spot on! Peaceful.

Susan
Susan
3 months ago

I love this!

Lyn
Lyn
3 months ago

This podcast is so relaxing. Glad to see this post and listen to the rain.

CariciaJean
CariciaJean
3 months ago

Ooh I love the backstory here. Would love to see a photo of this contraption. Always appreciative for what you do…keep on. 🙂

Rebecca De La Torre
3 months ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

GENIUS! As an audio engineer I can COMPLETELY appreciate that setup. It sounds absolutely wonderful. So good to have you back!

Lisa
Lisa
3 months ago

ahhh – delightful natural “music” – thank you Lang

Carolyn A Waddell
Carolyn A Waddell
3 months ago

Good to see and hear your posts again.

Mary
Mary
3 months ago

When I listen to your other recordings that include rain (like Spring Delights from 2018), I often wonder how you record rain without recording the sound of rain hitting whatever is protecting the microphone! So I was thrilled to read this blog post. I’ve been listening to your podcasts over and over during the pandemic. I’m very grateful for your work–thank you!

Bev Johnson
Bev Johnson
3 months ago

Nice to hear your recordings again. The rain takes me right there in the canopy on a fall day!!!

Jean-Yves Boutet
Jean-Yves Boutet
3 months ago

Thank you Lang ! And happy new year with sunshines also…
Jean-Yves from Bordeaux (FR)

Jay Stephens
Jay Stephens
3 months ago

A perfectly natural sound! Beautiful and one of my favorite sounds- gentle rain in the woods whether I’m birding or sitting in a tree stand. A really wonderful recording Lang. Thank you and Happy 2021

lynn
lynn
3 months ago

Thank you. A comforting sound in winter’s chill. We need to be able to be calm in the midst of the pandemic threat and keep ourselves and our families safe and sane.

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