January 21, 2019

A Whole New World! Exploring with a Hydrophone

About a month ago, I finally (after a year of deliberating) bought an Aquarian H2a Hydrophone. I love it! Very cool mic. As you may know, I’ve been playing with hydrophones for about 2 years now – most of which I’ve made by myself – with mixed results. This mic is lightyears better than what I’ve been using!

So Johnny and I set out to find some cool things to record last week. We headed up Longboat Key, and ended up stopping at the park by the draw bridge at New Pass. I threw the hydrophone all the way out and let it settle, then started recording. The Gulf was definitely alive that evening! Depth charts estimate the water to be between 10′ and 15′ where the hydrophone had landed.

Here’s one of the more active recordings from the session:

I used the H2a XLR (30′ model) plugged straight into a 702T, recorded at 24/96.

It was such a cool recording that I had to do another recording at 192 and force it to play back at 44.1 (one of my favorite things to do). Interestingly enough, I captured what I originally thought to be a nearby fish finder or something (broadcasting somewhere between 37.5kHz and 39kHz – which manifests itself somewhere around 8.7k – 9k in this recording). The sound isn’t consistent though, so I’m not quite sure what it is! Take a listen here:

Again, same mic, same recorder, same mic placement, just recorded at 24/192.

One last recording. I threw the hydrophone off the front of a 40′ boat. The boat has two 400hp Mercury engines that were idling at the time. It had an amazingly cool very low frequency rumble. The only processing done here was a Low Pass filter with a -12db slope set around 250hz. No compression, no pitch shift. I left some of the water sounds in there because I thought it sounded kinda cool. You could easily roll this off if you wanted to use it purely as an LFE effect. You can hear it below: (FYI, you’ll probably need a sub or decent headphones to get the full effect!)

Same mic, same recorder, recorded at 24/96.

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