Oh yes, we did have snow!

It was quite lovely for a few hours. It was last week. Snowfall is very scarce in this region. I tend to forget what winter looks like and feels like.

I have taken snowflake pictures from the window. Then suddenly a horrific noise attached the idyllic white silence: A neighbour with his leaf blower he has turned into a snow blower moved into my field of vision. As if he had just been waiting for this moment all the time since last autumn when the last leaf was sucked up.

End of the story



A bit of a break …

… thinking about what is important …

… … … … …

Happy New Year 2016


ZOOM H5 Handy Recorder

This is my new audio recorder since summer 2015 -

for recording interviews and reports on the fly:

The ZOOM H5 Handy Recorder

There are very few user reviews about the ZOOM H5 on the internet from indepentent radio feature producers. Therefore I’d like to share a few experiences.

I was looking for something portable, something flexible in use and solid, outdoors, indoors, on crowded places, in offices, cafés, wherever. Normally I can’t choose the locations, I do not know the acoustic conditions, and there is no second trial, the recording has to work immediately, even with not so good conditions. I need to have a recorder which is quickly ready for use, robust and on which I can rely. The H5 covers these needs. Turn-on time 7 seconds.

Shootings without a tripod
I have been using the H5 quite often since last summer, and I enjoyed it. The red dot on the Rec button is already a bit worn and the display has suffered scratches. Recording without tripod is okay. Some people say the ZOOM H5 hand noise would be “extreme”. I do not know how it is with other recorders of this kind, but, yes, it does pick up handling noise more then I expected and more than I am used to when recording with my old recorder and external microphones. – Walking interviews? I haven’t tried yet.
What else is there to say  –
It has a rubberized surface, it fits comfortably in the hand, and I can use it with a single hand. It has a thread for mounting on a tripod or camera. All in all I can say yes, this recorder fits my purposes in many ways.

This is one of my test shots with the ZOOM H5 using the XY stereo microphone module.

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Recording level 10* of 10. On my old recording device with external microphone I normally turn to 6 of 10 in order to get a recording between -12 and -6 dB. I tried this on the H5 (with XY module). Result: the recording was low, between -18 and -12 dB or even lower.

Effects: None. Hairy windscreen. Recorder in hand. Indoors + balcony (windspeed 30 km/h, autobahn noise about half a kilometer away.

With the wind-’pompom’ mentioned in the audio the H5 looks like this:

ZOOM H 5 Handy Recorder / with windshield


The ZOOM H5 and the microphones
It comes with an XY stereo microphone capsule. In addition,

ZOOM H5 Handy Recorder - 2 XLR inputsit has two XLR/TRS input ports for external microphones, music instruments or line level devices. There are several types of microphone modules to be used with the H5 and changed as quickly as camera lenses, which is absolutely great. I use its directional microphone for interviews.

ZOOM H5 Handy Recorder with directional microphone attachement

This is a test shot using the directional mono microphone attachement SGH-6.

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Microphone: directly at source (5-10 cm), record level: 8 of 10, effects: none, hairy windscreen, recorder in hand, indoors + balcony, windspeed 20 km/h, autobahn noise about half a kilometer away.

Recording level
The recording level can be operated by turning knobs and the small ‘rollbar’ protects against inadvertent adjustment.

If it’s loud – no problem
The ZOOM H5 with its X/Y Stereo Mic or the SGH-6 Shotgun Mic is best  when recording louder sources. Live music or voices close to the microphone. Quiet environmental sounds are not its speciality really, according to my experiences. For quiet sounds I use external microphones anyway. Walking interviews? I haven’t tried yet.

All in all
the ZOOM H5 Recorder is a reliable and versatile tool for me. The important thing for me was getting to know its special ‘behaviour’ in less than ideal acoustic conditions and to be prepared how to compensate.

It is very helpful for the one-woman production crew I am.
There will be more ‘real-world’ shots to come soon.



Ende der Saison, Dangast




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Is it possible to identify a city in sound?

The well-known, the world cities yes. In New York, Lagos, Baghdad, Mumbai there are unique sounds by which someone in Dubai, Berlin or Dakar could identify the city, without having been there. But if you asked people in Tbilisi, Beijing or Bosten to listen to sounds of less-known cities like Manama, Doha or Kiel …? We can only recognize what we have already learned.
These were my thoughts when I realised I had no photo to this recording and tried to find one instead. This recording was taken in one of the less-known cities, in global terms. I did not particularly try to set sound marks that identify the recording location. For my purposes it is much more important to me to capture the spatial quality of a place as good as possible, the movement of people and the ambience.

This recording is a lucky chance. Late-summer day, late afternoon, 4.30/ 5.00 pm, unusually good weather, a scenario as if it was a grand summer finale, what it actually was, as it turned out. The next day summer had gone. I wanted to go across the square towards the main station and get my train quickly but then decided spontaneously against the train and for an extensive recording with ear microphones
(OKM Soundman).

Bremer Marktplatz   02:25   mp3
Unedited excerpt, binaural stereo

Made to be listened to with headphones