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It was a dusty studio day when a package foil from some new piece of studio gear entered my vacuum cleaner - and sounded pretty interesting. I instantly thought about recording that squeezy-farty flapping suction noise but needed a solution to get it separated from the motor noise which came from the vacuum cleaner. So I went to the hardware store, got a 20-meter plastic hose and gafa-taped it to the machine. On start, it made an extraordinary loud and unbearable screaming sound. That’s where the Sennheiser MKH 8040 and the Sanken CO-100k high-frequency mics entered the game. And a pair of good ear plugs.
I placed the vacuum cleaner in a common room of the studio and routed the hose and also the power cable into the recording room. And recorded the screaming part of the library. With the hose unwinded completely, the screech noise from the hose stopped and it was possible to record various objects being sucked into/onto the hose without the vacuum cleaner’s motor sound.
For the last part of the recording session, I routed the tip of the hose out of the recording room, miked the hose in the middle and covered the scene with absorbing elements and blankets. Then, various small items like chickpeas, rice and screws were fed to the hose, which produced nice, very separated pass-by sounds the like I had not heard before anywhere else. And when pitched down to half or quarter speed, I imagine bigger objects like empty water bottles passing by, almost completely separated from the wind that carries them.
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