A multi-disciplinary journey in music, sound, and field recording.

The Bear Locker

Posted: October 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: field recording, found sound objects

Beer, toiletries, ice chest, field recorders. Yep, that's a well-stocked camping trip!

The metal bearproof food locker is a common sight in the developed campgrounds of the Sierra Nevada mountains. They’re infamously noisy to open, close, and move things around in, and are usually the first sounds you hear in the morning. They do their job, though…provided you have them closed. I once had a close encounter with a bear whose head was stuck right into my slightly open bear locker (in my defense, it was in the midst of dinner preparation), but that’s another story for another blog.

I finally decided to record one on a trip this summer. It was a kayaking trip, so I had both my Zoom H2 [yeah, this is an older sound] and a hydrophone, so I decided to use both: The Zoom would get the stereo effects and the hydrophone would pick up the raw vibrations. I placed the H2 horizontally centered in the locker, and placed the hydrophone on the single shelf inside. Holy resonance, Batman!

Today’s sound is a collection of hits from this outdoors session, made with hands, metal objects, and a rubber mallet, first at normal pitch and then an octave lower. It wound up mixing rather well with my collection of shovel-in-wheelbarrow sounds from a while back. Get those subwoofers ready for the second half…


[Zoom H2 (120° capsule spread), Aquarian Audio H2a-XLR hydrophone into Sound Devices 702 recorder]

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8 Comments on “The Bear Locker”

  1. 1 Carl said at 9:21 am on October 29th, 2010:

    What sort of windscreen is that on the H2? I’m still using the one it came with and would love an upgrade; that stock unit is useless!

  2. 2 Adrian said at 9:27 am on October 29th, 2010:

    The half speed version could definitely be used as a large beast moving or part of an explosion. Nice sound.

  3. 3 Nathan said at 9:34 am on October 29th, 2010:

    @Carl, that’s the Rycote Mini Windjammer. It fits over the foam windscreen that comes with the Zoom H2. It’s been great, a very solid solution.

    Thanks, @Adrian! It may be time to redub part of a “Transformers” scene… :-)

  4. 4 Nathan said at 9:35 am on October 29th, 2010:

    Oh, and @Carl, here’s a super-handy hint: The Zoom H2 windscreen, and that Rycote, fit perfectly over the Sennheiser MD-421! :-)

  5. 5 Adrian said at 9:51 am on October 29th, 2010:

    Ah 421, you could probably through that mic off a building and it would still work. All rounder that mic great for anything in a studio.

  6. 6 Carl said at 4:59 pm on October 29th, 2010:

    @Nathan – Thanks for the info! I will most likely order one of those little guys up this weekend…

  7. 7 Michael Raphael said at 7:59 am on October 30th, 2010:

    Great stuff Nathan. Really great.

  8. 8 Gunnar said at 12:29 pm on November 4th, 2010:

    Really cool sounds. It’s a nice blend between nontonal, white-noisy, gong-like sound and chordal. I expected it to build up to something like an Einstürzende Neubauten song.


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