Complexity of Soundscapes

3D Field Recordings allow exact, spatial recordings and the conservation of sound worlds

Sound is complex. Some of the most extraordinary sound experiences cannot be created from scratch, they must be captured at the source. Adequately capturing the authenticity of culturally significant sound environments requires not only the right place and time, but also the right methods. 

In order to achieve the highest possible quality when transferring a situation to the exhibition space, a wide variety of factors must be taken into account: Does the soundscape sound the same at any time of day? Do different positions in an area have a different sound and therefore require different sonic perspectives? What happens outside of our hearing range (e.g. infra- and ultrasound or electromagnetic waves), what sounds hidden (e.g. under water or above structure-borne sound)? These and other thoughts allow us to bring all the nuances of sound and thus its entire cultural significance into an exhibition and to the visitor*.

We have worked on a number of field recording projects where we can demonstrate our approach to achieving this goal:

>> Application example 1: !Khwa ttu
In our project !Khwa ttu we have captured and reproduced the soundscape of one of the last living hunter-gatherer tribes in the world: the San of South Africa. We developed a multi-channel sound installation in the San Heritage Center near Cape Town. In order to guarantee the highest degree of authenticity, all sounds (people, animals, nature) of the 30-minute space sound artwork were recorded by us in and around the Kalahari Desert. Link to the project

>> Application example 2: Sounds of Silence
For the project Sounds of Silence in the Museum of Communication in Bern, we made various 3D recordings in a Valais mountain village (by day and by night) and of the performance of John Cage's 4'33'' by the Stuttgart State Orchestra in the Beethoven Hall in Stuttgart. These and other recordings were played back in the exhibition in real time binauralized via a 3D headphone system. Link to the project

>> 3D recording equipment:
Schoeps ORTF-3D Microphone (rentable, more info here)
Sonosax SX-R4+ 16-channel recorder + Sonosax SX-AD8+ 8-channel preamp