2007 Chevy Tahoe Recording 9-12-10

Here is another one of my blog posts on a Sunday afternoon even though I have more pressing things to do. This one is about my experience recording cars. I am by no means an expert in recording any type of vehicle. There are people way more skilled and experienced than I am but I’m fascinated by the sound of engines, pass by’s and the general motion of anything. I have never recorded from the perspective of “on the car” before and figured that it was time to give it a try.

I have a 2007 Chevy Tahoe V-8. I love the sound of this car…. from the outside. The inside is very quiet. So, yesterday morning I got up the nerve to strap a microphone to the back of the Tahoe near the tail pipe and see what I could get. I use my AT-835ST stereo shotgun microphone because it’s light weight and has barely any handling noise. I found the location where when you want to tow a trailer you can mount a ball hitch. The square hole was just large enough to shove in the Rycote pistol grip wrapped in a small towel to reduce vibration. I aimed the microphone down towards the tail pipe and fed the cable through the rear window hatch to the front. I was able to drive the car around with the SD-702 recorder inside and monitor the recording as I drove. I also put the Sony D-50 inside the Tahoe in the back section to record the interior.

A one minute drive from my ranch there is a vacant housing development (welcome to the new economy) that has a freshly paved road and winds up a mountain with some serious switch backs. After some testing in the driveway I was ready to go. I also brought along my Sanken CSS-5 and a Sony PCM-D1 for some exterior recording once I got to the top of the mountain.

It takes some serious pedal to the metal to get up the mountain and the V-8 sounded great as I sped up and then slowed down for the switch backs. I did notice this cool whining sound from the siped tires as soon as I was on the brand new pavement. I had to remember that this road has no guard rails and it’s a long way down if I drove off the side. Once I got to the top turn around area I set up the CSS-5 and the PCM-D1 and recorded some starts, stops, drive away’s and high speed passes. The road has lots of turns and hills so I got some pretty cool stuff. Check out the sound clips below and if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

2007 Tahoe Recording

AT-835ST on the back of the Tahoe

2007 Tahoe Recording

AT-835ST on the back of the Tahoe

2007 Tahoe Recording

Setting up for exterior drive by’s and manuevers

2007 Tahoe Recording

CSS-5 and my 2007 Tahoe in the mountains

2007 Tahoe Recording

CSS-5 and my 2007 Tahoe in the mountains cooling off

When I was working on Supreme Commander in 2006 I needed lots of combustion engine sounds for a faction called the UEF. They were a futuristic race but still used gas or diesel powered engines in the tanks and other ground vehicles. I was always looking for high performance engine sounds to warp and pitch around as an element in the final composite sound effects. I wish I had the time to go and record source for these but I had none. I ended up using some of my car and truck recordings from my personal archive and library material. All in all I was happy with the results but I now try and record any vehicle I can get my hands on.

When I travel I am always looking for stuff to record and auto or truck engines are one of them.

Below are some recordings I made back in July when I was visiting my sister and her boyfriend outside Seattle. I recorded an 1992 Acura Legend V6 with one of the funky cans on the muffler and a brand new 2011 Ford F-350 Turbo Diesel Super Duty beast truck. We just parked them in the driveway and let them rip. Enjoy.


Acura Muffler

1992 Acura Legend V6

Ford F-350 Truck

2011 Ford F-350 Turbo Diesel Super Duty beast truck

Note: I am digging through my archives for some of the engine recordings I used in Supreme Commander. Stay tuned for a blog post soon.

3 replies
  1. Colin Hart
    Colin Hart says:

    Awesome stuff! Very clean! I wish I had an easily accessible empty development at my disposal – it’s so noisy here in Orlando! Did you use any noise reduction at all or are these pretty much raw recordings?

  2. The Recordist
    The Recordist says:

    Thanks Colin. Yeah, it’s a noisy world except here in North Idaho we still have places where it’s quite. I was up at 3000 feet when I recorded this stuff, very quite up there. Just the occasional grasshopper(s) on the road and some leaves here and there. These are basically the raw recordings, just some Lin-Eq on the low end (32Hz hi-pass) and L2 for leveling.


  3. Christian Rivest
    Christian Rivest says:

    Great Job ! You have a really quiet neighborhood ! I like to put some small capsule omni mic in the engine compartment and on the back, near the pipe (like you did with the AT). Omnis have more bass naturally, even at close range. I dig the natural sound you capture with your Chevy. Cool site !

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