Crazy Stupid Sound Of The Week 2011-08-05

This is a new series at The Recordist that showcases a crazy stupid sound recorded while attempting to record serious sounds for my collections. Every week I will try find a sound I captured that is worthy of being called crazy stupid.

Water Pipe Photo

This week’s sound is from a session I did at the local Fish Hatchery back in May 2011. Since the lake level was low from the winter I was able to walk out onto the rocky shoreline well below the drainage pipes and record the water flowing out. This two foot round pipe was the main drainage pipe from the hatchery and had a good steady flow of water splashing out onto the rocks before draining into the lake.

After recording many perspectives from the outside and inside of the pipe I was just about to leave when I swung the AT-835ST microphone away from the pipe and noticed a cool panning splash effect. I proceeded to swing the mic back and forth and in and out of the pipe. I did hit the pipe a few times but after all is said and done it’s a crazy stupid sound. Enjoy! -Frank

Water Pipe Panning by therecordist

Next up: Office air conditioner convulsions

Inside A Pipe Truck Monks

I was out recording with my Sennheiser MKH-416 the other day trying to record a small dribbling stream down behind the house. On the way back up to the house I walked by and old satellite mounting post set in concrete that I had removed years ago. I thought that if I stick the microphone inside the 7 inch steel pipe I might hear something strange. I’ve hit the post before and it makes a standard metal clank so I was curious to hear that from the inside. Just as I stuck the MKH-416 inside a truck was driving by the house. My location was down a hill behind the house far from the road. This is some of what I recorded, speaks for itself.

Inside A Pipe Truck Monks by therecordist

Pipe Monks

The Water Barrel

As I was cleaning up the yard after years of Ultimate debris from making all the Ultimate sound effects collections I tried to move a 55 gallon barrel drum that has been sitting around for the last year or so. To my surprise it was half full of water. I assume the water had dripped in from the 3 inch hole on the top over the winter and spring. I found out that as I moved it the water sloshed around inside the 55 gallon drum. This was a col sound but I had an even better idea… I should tip it over and record the water flowing out. I set up a MKH-8040 and a SD-702 about 3 feet away from where the top of the barrel should touch the ground.

Water Barrel 2011

I waited for a few cars to drive by and proceeded to push the barrel over. It made this cool glub sound as the air needed to be sucked back in through the same hole the water was gushing out. The resonating barrel sound and the pulsing it made really surprised me as I was not sure how air tight the barrel was since I shot a hole through it last year and patched it with roofing sealant. I recorded at 192K and when pitched down it sound amazing. Someday this will make it into a collection or a SoundBox Single release, who knows? Enjoy! -Frank

The Water Barrel by therecordist

Ultimate Rockslide II Recording


Recording is underway for Ultimate Rockslide II Sound Effects Library. I traveled back to the site where a majority of the first library was recorded. This time I was armed with a Sennheiser MKH-8040 and a few new ideas for rock sound effects.

VIDEO: There is no fancy music and I quickly synced the recorded sound effects with the video. It’s all SFX!

The last time I was crawling around on these rocks I used a Sony PCM-D1 and a Audio Technica AT-835ST. Both of these set-ups are light and easy to carry around on the side of a rock infested hill. Balance is key when on steep terrain so these made sense. This year I wanted to try a single MKH-8040 on a very light weight boom pole. The 8040 is very small and light. I found it easy to hold the mic out over the rock action and move it when needed.

I’m still learning about the Sennheiser MKH-8040 and it’s sonic character. The other microphones and hand held recorders I have been using for years are comfortable to me and I can predict what I’m going to get. The conditions on the rock hillside this day were not that out of the ordinary. There was a light, variable wind with some stronger gusts depending on where I was and a bird. Yes, that bird did drive my crazy. I tried to position the MKH-8040 so the bird was off to the side or behind and at the same time aim it at the rock correctly. With the location of the rock I was about to push over and the issue of where I could put my feet on solid ground made for a tough time. I was disappointed to hear a lot of bird chirps. The bird eventually moved further away and in later recordings there was very little or none.


One of the things I did learn about the MKH-8040 is that it picks up quite a bit more distant background sounds and “tones” from things like cars and boats and sometime even wind. In the past I would have used one of my shotguns microphones and they are more forgiving with distant background sounds.

The other thing I learned about the MKH-8040 is that it has some seriously heavy low end thump. Since I was not using any kind of low cut filter while recording I had to be very careful not to bump the mic boom. Holding a boom and attempting not to get handling rumble noise while on the side of a rock cliff is no easy task. My safety is the first concern so any rumble that is recorded because I had adjust my position or move the boom around I can live with. After loading the files into Soundminer back at the studio I played around with different pitches and at 50% playback speed these rocks sound huge!


I wanted to record some new and different kinds of rocks for the Ultimate Rockslide II Sound Effects Library. I found a massive flat rock face that I was able to slide rocks down and toss smaller rock debris onto. There was some gravel and smaller rocks on the flat surface that got dislodged and tumble down with the rocks I was sliding down. I also recorded some big rock drops. I was trying to get them to break apart and thump hard on the ground.

It was a good start for Ultimate Rockslide II and I am currently looking into other sources and locations for more rocks of all sizes. -Frank

The video presented here is to show how I recorded rocks. It is not intended as a rock climbing instruction video.


Making the Mangled Metal SFX Library

Mangled Metal SFX Library

Post originally from Designing Sound, Thursday, July 7, 2011. Written by Miguel Isaza. Enjoy! -Frank

Where Do I Begin?

I spent a lot of time with my Grandfather when I was growing up. He was a scruffy old man that liked to keep EVERYTHING. I guess it rubbed off on me and I tend to save stuff that other people think is crazy. Some of the things I like to keep around are metal objects. Large, small, rusty, you name it I’ve got it stored around somewhere. The stove that I recorded is one of those things. I used it for years and then when it was moved to my ranch it fell off the truck and got beat up. It still worked but it was dented and warped. Perfect for sound effects recording!

The Early Sessions

Sometime in 2007 I found an old wood stove on the ranch and jumped on the John Deere tractor and dropped it from the bucket a few times. I liked what I heard and proceeded to get the electric stove (Scrappy is the name, thank you Michael R.) and drop it. The wood stove drop was a test and turned out great but I wanted the sound of them rolling and crashing so I found a location on the ranch with a hill I could access with the tractor. It was winter and there was little snow, very quiet and I was on a roll so to speak. When I dropped the electric stove I left all the rings, racks and pans inside and that was great because it totally had a “scrappy” crashing roll sound. Perfect! I recorded with three microphones from different perspectives.

In 2008 I decided it was time to replace my roof on my house. Since my brother is a metal fabricator I flew him out and we both tackled the crazy idea of “do it yourself roofing” After we were done I thought of recycling the metal but my genetics kicked in and the ghost of my Grandfather appeared in my head and told me “keep it, you never know when it will come in handy”. So, we stacked it next to my garage and it sat there for a few weeks until I had the time and energy to record. The first session with the roofing metal was awesome. I placed a Sanken CSS-5 on one side of the 22 foot long stack and a Sony PCM-D1 on the other. Since we just ripped the sheet metal off the roof quickly, most of the 30 year old nails stayed in the sheets. When I dragged them across each other the nails would catch and make an awesome screeching sound. One of my favorite sounds in the library. I combined both recording set ups and with the PCM-D1 very bright and the CSS-5 with body, I got a great mix of the two.

What else can I record?

Since those early sessions I have been collecting and keeping all the metal I can. I found pipes, huge steel plates, mailboxes, stop sign posts and 6 foot crowbars. The stove has held up well getting the crap beaten out of it over the years and these new objects were used with it. Very recently I dropped the metal junk on the stoves, dragged them around on concrete, pulled them apart and general mangled them.

One of my favorite sessions was when I used the sign post and long crowbar with the electric stove. I slid the bars into the mouth of the stove and got some great slide-clanks. The other session was right after I picked up the Sennheiser MKH-040ST rig. One of the panels on the stove had come loose and as I was moving out of the way it made a great scraping sound. I recorded this sound for 15 minutes with the MKH-804ST rig very close. I recorded at 192K and when they are pitched down they sound like communication towers or old steel bridges collapsing.

I recorded many other metal objects and learned that metal is the wild card. You never know what you are going to get and you can make it into anything.

So, What Did I learn?

Metal is loud! And, it can be very soft and subtle. I never really knew how loud something was going to be and since I record alone I was constantly adjusting the levels and pads on the recorders. I clipped many takes and had to re-record a lot of stuff. I lost some great sound events and in the future I will try to be more careful. I must say scrape metal is also dangerous. I never drew blood on the sessions but I advise anyone recording sharp metal objects to be careful. Pace yourself and take frequent breaks to save you energy. Being tired while tossing metal around is not a great idea.

I also learned that at some point you have to stop recording. I wanted to record a lot more for this library but it got to a point where it felt right and there was a certain “vibe” to the collection. I tend to live in the moment and I suspect there will be more moments in the future for a second library. I’m going to keep following my gut instinct and my genetics that I got from my Grandfather and keep saving EVERYTHING!

The HD Pro Sound Effects Collection:

All images and sounds copyright 2011 Frank Bry, Creative Sound Design/The Recordist

For more go to:

Making of “Mangled Metal”, The New SFX Library of The Recordist