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Thread: Recording screaming whistles

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    Recording screaming whistles

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    I sell a whistle called an Aztec Death Whistle. The whistle screams very loudly imitating a human female scream. I make product videos, but have only been using the microphone on my iPhone to record. I'm looking to improve the capture of the whistle's sound and could use some microphone suggestions. Price is a factor, but I would spend extra if the jump in sound quality warranted it. Most of my audience will be on youtube, so playback will be limited by what they are using on their computer or phone. I don't require a connection to the iPhone. Most likely will be moving to a better camera than what the iPhone can provide.

    thank you

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Goldsmith View Post
    I sell a whistle called an Aztec Death Whistle. The whistle screams very loudly imitating a human female scream. I make product videos, but have only been using the microphone on my iPhone to record. I'm looking to improve the capture of the whistle's sound and could use some microphone suggestions. Price is a factor, but I would spend extra if the jump in sound quality warranted it. Most of my audience will be on youtube, so playback will be limited by what they are using on their computer or phone. I don't require a connection to the iPhone. Most likely will be moving to a better camera than what the iPhone can provide.

    thank you
    If you are moving to a better camera, are you intending to record the audio along with the video, i.e. do it all at once? Or had you been thinking about recording the video on the camera, recording the audio on some other device, then matching them later?

    The answer to this determines the sort of mike you would get.

    For example, if you want audio and video on the camera together, you would (a) need to decide whether the camera's inbuilt mike is good enough, and if not, (b) make sure it has an input for an external mike, then, (c) select something fro the range of mikes built for this purpose. I'd consider the range of Rode camera mikes for this.

    If you are happy recording the audio separately, then matching with the video afterwards, you would need to decide whether to use (a) a field recorder, such as a hand-held Zoom recorder, or (b) a computer-based system which would require an interface, assorted cables, and an appropriate mike. Again (and partly because of my admitted bias), just about any Rode mike would do the job. But, in fact, so would any other reasonable mike. By 'reasonable' I mean one that is not a plastic karaoke mike, but has solid build and has good credentials in the audio industry. It doesn't need to be expensive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gecko zzed View Post
    If you are moving to a better camera, are you intending to record the audio along with the video, i.e. do it all at once? Or had you been thinking about recording the video on the camera, recording the audio on some other device, then matching them later?

    The answer to this determines the sort of mike you would get.

    For example, if you want audio and video on the camera together, you would (a) need to decide whether the camera's inbuilt mike is good enough, and if not, (b) make sure it has an input for an external mike, then, (c) select something fro the range of mikes built for this purpose. I'd consider the range of Rode camera mikes for this.

    If you are happy recording the audio separately, then matching with the video afterwards, you would need to decide whether to use (a) a field recorder, such as a hand-held Zoom recorder, or (b) a computer-based system which would require an interface, assorted cables, and an appropriate mike. Again (and partly because of my admitted bias), just about any Rode mike would do the job. But, in fact, so would any other reasonable mike. By 'reasonable' I mean one that is not a plastic karaoke mike, but has solid build and has good credentials in the audio industry. It doesn't need to be expensive.
    Thank you!
    Most likely would attach an external mic to the camera. However, the quality of the recorded whistle is what sells my products. If the quality of the recording would change substantially with separately recorded audio that I then match back to the video then I would go that route, but if I can get a quality Rode mike attached to the camera that can do the job that would simplify the process.
    Do you have any Rode mikes in mind or basically I can't go wrong with any of them?

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    I cannot find any information Neil as to the sound level (in dB SPL ) that the whistles produce. From the website I would expect it to be well in excess of 100dB and so some capacitor microphones will start to get "ragged" at those levels and even those that don't will surely overload the device they are plugged into!

    With all that in mind my suggestion would be for a dynamic mic and the Shure SM7b is noted for sound quality, its rather feeble output is a positive advantage in this application! Another quality dynamic is the Electrovoice RE20.

    But do get the whistles checked over with a sound level meter* The question also arises as to the "weighting curve" best to employ? Most "noise" signals are quoted in dB "A" but the almost flat "C" weighting might be more approriate here?

    *Some of the more expensive SPL meters have an AC signal output (and a DC facsimile) That would save you buying a mic!

    Dave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Goldsmith View Post
    Thank you!
    Most likely would attach an external mic to the camera. However, the quality of the recorded whistle is what sells my products. If the quality of the recording would change substantially with separately recorded audio that I then match back to the video then I would go that route, but if I can get a quality Rode mike attached to the camera that can do the job that would simplify the process.
    Do you have any Rode mikes in mind or basically I can't go wrong with any of them?
    I'd say they are all good. I've been looking at the specs, and the Stereo VideoMic X looks pretty impressive with a maximum SPL of 143dbSPL.

    ROEDE Microphones - Stereo VideoMic X

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    After watching a few online videos for the Death Whistle, I'm tempted to say that the microphone is only a starting point. Mic placement, post-processing, and the room where the whistle is recorded--all seem like important variables. How do you place a mic for an Aztec Death Whistle? I have no idea and I'm guessing neither would most qualified studio engineers. So you will have to experiment or find out how other high pitched/ high SPL instruments are set up and recorded. I would also do some thinking about compressors and limiters and how they might help--either on the front end or in post. This whistle thing is sort of like playing a harmonica in a hurricane with your wife standing behind you and screaming at the top of her lungs. And that sort of thing screams compression/limiting.

    The other issue is EQ. Watching Death Whistle players on YouTube I hear a lot of breathing, huffing, puffing, and wind. I also hear a lot of unwanted low-mid noise, depending on how the whistle is held. It's kind of like recording a harmonica when the player cups the instrument. My guess is that this would have to be dealt with first in mic set-up and then by working on some low-mid equalization.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gecko zzed View Post
    I'd say they are all good. I've been looking at the specs, and the Stereo VideoMic X looks pretty impressive with a maximum SPL of 143dbSPL.

    ROEDE Microphones - Stereo VideoMic X
    Yes Mr G, those mics will certainly cope with the level but with a healthy sensitivity of 25mV/Pa I am a bit concerned for the pre amps? There is a 10dB gain reduction but even so?

    Dave.

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    Thank you for all the feedback. I'm not very sophisticated in the audio department, so alot of the tweaking pre and post might be beyond my ability. It might be worthwhile to look into finding a local audio expert and get some recording time with them? I'll also check out the mic recommendations too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Goldsmith View Post
    Thank you for all the feedback. I'm not very sophisticated in the audio department, so alot of the tweaking pre and post might be beyond my ability. It might be worthwhile to look into finding a local audio expert and get some recording time with them? I'll also check out the mic recommendations too.
    Ah yes! ALWAYS a good idea to go to a professional if you can. They would probaly relish something different and challenging from the endless stream of punk wannabees!

    If you post your 10/20 I am sure some studio pro here will "know a man who does". You are running a business? Recording would I am sure be tax deductable?

    Dave.

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