These mics capture sounds from the edge of human hearing – and beyond

Here’s how much Slovak label LOM loves field recordings and strange sounds: they didn’t just stop with releasing a few wild experimental ambient albums. They’ve gotten into the boutique mic business. They’re creating new hardware that lovingly captures electro-magnetic fields. They’re printing t-shirts with custom designs to show their passion in illustrated form. These are people who are really passionate about recording. And you can get bit by the same addiction. Let’s have a look at what they’re offering.

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adamjohnwilliams

Peek Inside Adam’s Mobile Rig to See How to Be Inspired on the Go

Any trip, anywhere can turn into a creative opportunity – if you pack the right stuff. So if you’re hitting the road this summer, here are some thoughts. Adam John Williams is a media artist and maker and musician and lots of other things. But even among that rarified breed, he’s somewhat unusual. The man brings Olympic effort to hack days – one of the organizers behind Music Tech Fest and a prolific performer and inventor. As a participant at our hacklab at CTM Festival, he was applying painful shocks to himself in time with Ableton Live – and that’s …

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herndonhome

Watch Holly Herndon Talk About Giving Laptops a Voice

American artist Holly Herndon has built an extraordinary musical performance idiom in her live sets and records. She blends deep rhythms with ethereal vocals, interweaving electronic and processed and human sounds with unusual fluidity. Her vocal chords are beautifully present, as are her own custom-made Max patch sound designs. But she can also draw the computer’s electrical vocal chords, harnessing, Nikola Tesla-style, the unseen electro-static and mechanical life of her computer itself. This is not laptop music meant to make the computer invisible. This is laptop music that recognizes that our strange metal devices have become new instruments, machines that …

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This Wearable Necklace Mic Could Change How You Hear – or Record

Listening accurately is all about direction. It’s the power that lets you carry on a conversation in a loud bar, and hear where sounds are coming from. But for anyone trying to record sounds – or anyone who has impaired hearing – those sounds can be lost. Directional microphones can solve that problem, but they have an additional one: size. Some of the more directional mics are simply huge. That’s where Wear becomes interesting. Emmy-winning engineer and AV specialist Eric Rosenthal teamed up with designer and sound artist Michelle Temple, and they’ve created a new solution. (Rosenthal is an ITP/NYU …

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pMic is a 3D-Printed A-B Stereo Mic You Can Make Yourself; Hear It

Now, the next time you want a stereo microphone, you can hit print. Well, okay – that’s not entirely correct. But a combination of last-century DIY (circuits for making the mic) with this-century DIY (3D printing for making a convenient housing) means a custom microphone you can build that’s exactly suited to your needs. And, oh yeah – it’s both cheap and fun. Frank Piesik shares this project via Google+ and his blog. The plans are open-sourced and available on GitHub, so you can try making your own if you like; you’ll just need a 3D printer or 3D printing …

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Zoom H6 Handheld Recorder, Now with Shotgun, Starts at US$399 [Preview]

Zoom has done a lot to popularize field recording, but perhaps equally impressive is how its products have improved. The first H4, for instance, earned the name “handy” recorder, but it was the successor H4N that finally provided dedicated controls, a body that better handled noise and that felt more professional, that didn’t require diving into menus just to set level. Some of the video recording options reverted to more annoyances – I was once in a cab in Philadelphia in which the driver volunteered that he couldn’t stand the Q3’s interface because he couldn’t properly set levels for his …

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Bleeding-Edge Musical Innovation, Live from CCRMA; Full Report, Monolake + Tarik Barri Live

Ivory tower, let down your hair. Make no mistake. The slightly-impossible-to-pronounce acronym CCRMA (“karma”), standing for the not-terribly-sexy “Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics,” is one of the world’s hotbeds for innovation in electronic music. From the lowest-level DSP code to the craziest live performances, this northern California research center nesting at Stanford is where a lot is going on. So, when they put on a concert, this isn’t just another dry exposition of “tape” pieces, academics scratching their chins and trying not to nod off. (Trust me: I’ve … on occasion darned nearly rubbed my chin raw …

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Do It With Lasers: R&D Experiment Makes Drum Microphones, Triggers More Accurate

Sennheiser Element – Laser Drum Microphone System from Andy Greenwood on Vimeo. We cover a lot of experiments that make an interesting proof of concept, or that make performance, frankly, more difficult but in interesting ways. Here’s an idea that might just work. You know, like might actually make an existing technology better. The idea is this: rather than clumsily using gates to isolate individual drum mics, use lasers (“lazorrrs”) to measure vibration. And if the demo video is to be believed, it works damned well. You can use this to get better recordings, or use it to transform a …

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mininova

Novation MiniNova: Little Keyboard, Vocal Effects, $500 – From a Synth Design Great [First Look]

Being popular as a person may be a complex formula. But for keyboard synths, “a fun, cute, cheap date” just about covers it. And — sorry, any snobs out there, but no complaints about that. So it is that Novation has a 37-keyboard that combines lots of sound and effects from the company’s UltraNova into a compact body, bringing the price at dealers to about $500 bucks US. (Actually, to quote Novation’s press release, personally I endeavor to be “compact” and “affordable,” myself, though I don’t think I qualify as “amazingly powerful.”) It’s impossible to look at this and not …

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With Just One Contact Mic, Any Surface Magically Becomes a Gestural Instrument

Look around the room you’re in. Drum your fingers against some of the objects around you. Now imagine that you could turn those touches into any imaginable sound – and all you’d need to play them is a single contact mic. And we’re not talking just simplistic sounds – think expressive, responsive transformation of the world around you, all with just that one mic, thanks to clever gestural recognition. Bruno Zamborlin has made that idea a reality, with hold-onto-your-chair results. It’s not available yet for public consumption, but it’s coming. Bruno explains to CDM:

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