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!
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.
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?