Slow Motion Bullets Part-2

Slow Motion Bullets Part-2 Article

Image: 29 Grain .22 on the left. 40 grain .22 on the right

Earlier this year I wrote an article about recording the sound of subsonic bullets using 40 caliber ammunition and learned a lot about the physics and technical aspects of these bullets. Since then I have recorded hundreds of subsonic bullets using smaller 22 caliber ammunition. Keep in mind I am no physics or ammunition expert but since talking with many knowledgable people about subsonic ammunition and actually recording them I have learned even more.

Without going into the boring and extensive details of this process I can can reveal some of the things I’ve learned and experienced. First is that every bullet sounds completely different. I’ve been working mainly with 710 feet per second 22 caliber 40 grain and 29 grain ammunition. The term grain is used to measure the weight of the slug that comes out of the gun. The smaller the number the lighter the projectile is. In a nutshell the 29 grain bullet tends to become very unstable shortly after it leaves the barrel of the gun. It’s using approximately the same amount of powder as the 40 grain but is rounder and tends to start wobbling quicker. Because of this it makes a completely different sound than the 40 grain slug. It also can go off course more easily and can be unpredictable. I’ve shot at the same spot with the same type of 29 grain bullet and it always sounds different. The sound it makes is more like a fast twirl than a ricochet unless it falls to the ground in front of the microphone and bounces off the ground.

The Second thing I learned is the 40 grain bullet makes a better typical ricochet sound than the 29 grain. The slug is heavier and more oval shaped than the 29 grain so it is stable for longer distances before it starts to wobble. It also breaks apart into bigger pieces and that is what makes some ricochets sound really interesting.

This audio demonstration includes both types of ammunition played back at 60% or 50% of normal speed to show in greater detail the differences between the grain size. Also included are some 40 grain bullets bouncing off the surface of water from a 150 meters and a 40 grain bullet that seemed to ricochet straight up upon impact of the boulder and then the slug falls back to the ground right to the side of the MKH-8040ST microphone rig. Enjoy! -Frank

Check out Bullets HD Pro SFX Library and Bullets 2 HD Pro SFX Library for purchasing the sounds. The original sounds from this blog post are included in the library.

Bullets Aug 2012
MKH-8040ST in the rocks

Bullets Aug 2012 MKH-8040ST and MKH-416
MKH-8040ST and MKH-416

Bullets Aug 2012 MKH-416 and MKH-8040 in front of the boulders
MKH-416 and MKH-8040 in front of the boulders

Bullets Aug 2012 MKH-8040ST over water, yikes!
MKH-8040ST over water, yikes!

All images and sounds copyright 2012 Frank Bry – Creative Sound Design, LLC

A Train And A Bird And A MKH8060

SFX Recording 2012

This is an informal test of the off-axis rejection capabilities of the Sennheiser MKH 8060 – Short Shotgun Microphone. As the official product blurb states:

“The MKH 8060 offers true and natural sound in a lightweight, rugged package. Reliable under the toughest climatic conditions, the MKH 8060’s symmetrical RF transducer design produces high sensitivity, low distortion, excellent transient response. Newly designed short interference tube yields a pleasing supercardioid / lobar pickup pattern, suppressing off-axis sound without coloration to create extremely natural and detailed results.”

On August 6, 2012 as I sat outside on my deck trying to record a bird screeching in the late night hours I heard an approaching train in the distance and pointed the microphone North in it’s general direction. When the wind is just right the passing trains sound closer than they actually are and sometimes the rumble can vibrate my deck ever so slightly. The train was 5 miles or so away and was heading South West (as they usually do that time of night) I noticed the bird was barely audible and pointed the microphone 90 degrees back towards it. The bird was quite far away up in the mountains behind the house. As I did this 90 degree switch in direction, I noticed the distant train had virtually disappeared and I was quite surprised at how much it was attenuated especially in the lower frequency range.

As you can hear in the demo below the train is not very loud but has a lot of 100Hz and below. As soon as it stops blaring it’s horn the sound level decreases and that’s when I changed the direction of the microphone. The angle did not completely remove the train but is was enough to hear the bird quite clearly.

So far I am very happy with this microphone and have been recording lots of birds and bugs with it and it seems well suited for this. I have many other things I want to record with it and find out what it is good at. I did try it with some bullet passes and I found the MKH-8040 was better suited for that as a non-shotgun microphone. (More on that in the coming weeks) I do want to try it with close up gun sessions and will post the results and a comparison demo with the MKH-416 and MKH-8040.

Enjoy! -Frank

MKH8060 WS2-MZL 2012
The MKH 8060 with a Rycote WS2-MZL ConnBox and Grip

Asphalt Compactor July 26 2012

Resurfacing Header

I love the unexpected. Especially when it comes to sound effects recording. On July 26, 2012 I was down in my studio working when I felt a strong rumble. Usually a rumble around here is someone blasting rock or a distant thunder boom. This time it was long and steady. I thought… Earthquake. OK, those are rare here so I ran outside to see what was going on. I heard a metal rolling and rumble sound from the yard and saw a compactor heading my way. I realized the road was being resurfaced with hot oil and small crushed stone. I grabbed the MKH-8040ST rig (it’s ready to go most of the time during thunderstorm season) and walked out to the end of my driveway and waited. I knew it would eventually roll on back up the hill and it did.

The resurfacing crew had completed one side of the road so it was just a matter of time before they would hit the other side. The whole crew of equipment and trucks rolled on by as you can see in the second video.

Road Roller 2012

I was able to record four pass bys of the roller… medium, distant and close up. I don’t know what I will do with these sounds but I’m glad I have them for future use. I’ve used heavy machinery sounds before in SCIFI spaceship and vehicle design so I hope you can use them also. When pitched down it sounds cool, so have fun and have at it. Two of the sounds are free at the original 24-bit 96kHz sample rate and in BWAV format. Enjoy! -Frank

This is really cool synchronized road paving crew action during the resurfacing of my street. Recorded with my iPhone and a Sennheiser MKH-8040ST matched stereo set in XY at 90 degrees.

Road Roller 2012

Road Roller 2012

Road Roller 2012

Please Note: The Soundcloud demo is downloadable for free at 24Bit 96kHz.

Note: The standard single user license applies to this free sound effect.


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All images and sounds copyright 2012 Frank Bry – Creative Sound Design

Boeing B-17 bomber June 25 2012

A Boeing B-17 bomber “Nine-o-Nine” stopped in Sandpoint Idaho on June 25, 2012 and I was there to record the amazing sound this plane makes with the Sennheiser MKH-8040ST. It was a beautiful, sunny summer day out on the airfield. I had no idea this plane was going to be in town that day. I only found out as I was recording bullet impacts and I heard this faint rumble-drone sound. I looked up and saw a B-24 bomber heading my way.

I quickly grabbed the microphone I was recording with and pointed it skyward and there she was… low and flying right over me. I figured where there was a B-24, there was a B-17. I gathered my gear and drove the 10 miles to Sandpoint Airport and they were there… the Boeing B-17 and B-24.

I waited around and talked to the pilots and they told me they would be taking off around 5PM to give some passengers a ride. I was going to take a ride with and record the flight but since they were going to be in town for a couple of days I decided to catch the flight the next day. I wanted to get some new exterior sounds in HD first as I have not recorded this airplane since 1996 in Seattle.

I was able to get a position directly in front of the airplane as it was starting up and taxiing away. I had enough time to get over to the far end of the runway away from the crowd and do more recording. I was able to record the take-off, a fly by and the landing. All in all it was a good day and some helicopters were flying around also and I will post those someday.

Recorded with A sennheiser MKH-8040ST in XY at 24/96. Enjoy! -Frank

All images and sounds copyright 2012 Frank Bry – Creative Sound Design, LLC


Shotgun Ammo Slugfest

Shotgun Recording 2012

Recording the bullets for my new SFX library called BULLETS HD PRO has been quite an experience. So far I’ve recorded over a dozen guns from a .22 to a M-60 but nothing had sounded as cool or as strange as recording a Mossberg 590 shooting a special shell called the “Bolo”. A Bolo is two heavy duty slugs molded on to each end of a 5 inch piece of steel wire and when fire expands 240%.

I took a short ride up the back mountain and found a nice long shooting range. I wanted to get the microphones at least 300 feet away from the blast of the gun but had to settle for around 250 feet. I’m sure with more time I could get more range but since this was a test it worked fine. The range was not level and had a curved rock face along one side and the other side was open to the valley below.

I brought along a few Remington 2 3/4 buckshot shells to shoot along with the Bolo and in the audio demo and the difference is very noticeable. I also shot a .22 with 710 FPS ammo and fired off many of those and I will write a in-depth blog post about the slow .22 bullets that I’ve recorded over the last two months.

I set the Sennheiser MKH-8040ST down range 250 feet or so away and on the other side of the protruding rock face which was at the bend in the trail. I really did not know what to expect from this set up but I did know I did NOT want to hit the MKH-8040ST rig with a shotgun slug or a .22 bullet. Ouch!

Shotgun Recording 2012

So here is the drill: Get the gun ready to go, walk all the way down and place the microphones, hit record, walk all the way back to the gun, shoot a test shot for levels, walk all the way back to check the recording, make any adjustments, walk all the way back to the gun, shoot a few more shells, walk all the way back to the microphone and make any additional adjustments, start recording, walk all the way back and shoot some more… you get the idea. Yes, I’ve lost some weight and I am back in shape after a lazy winter.

I angled the XY-90 MKH-8040ST microphones so they were facing slightly away from the muzzle of the gun. This worked great because one microphone picks up more of the shot while the other one picks up more of the pass by. In stereo it sounds great but the channels can be used separately if need be. I did notice that because the microphones were slightly behind the rock face, the muzzle blast was really beefy with very little mountain echo.

This audio demo showcases 3 shots first played back at normal speed, then at 50% speed and then 25% speed. You will notice the pass by more with the slowed down sounds and the twirling of the Bolo is very nice. The Remington buckshot shell surprised me as you can hear the individual pellets zipping by the microphone. Some fall short and some keep a straight line path, interesting. The demo is only modified with a transient enhancer (Oxford) with 6dB of gain added and L2 to bring up the level a bit. No EQ was added which is nice because you can really hear how well the MKH-8040ST holds up under extreme pitching. Even at 25% playback speed there is still lots of information over 12kHz.

I’m still experimenting with many different types of guns and bullets. Next up for my 12 gauge shotgun is some more crazy ammo called “Terminator” and “Double Mule” and many types of standard slugs. Enjoy! -Frank

Shotgun Recording 2012

Shotgun Recording 2012

Shotgun Recording 2012

Date: July 9, 2012. All images and sounds copyright 2012 Frank Bry – Creative Sound Design, LLC