January 21, 2019

I’m on a boat!

Last week, the HartFX crew (aka me and Johnny), spent the weekend recording boats in Sarasota.

The first boat we recorded was a 2008 Sea Ray Sundancer 340. It has two T-VD-8.1 S Horizon MerCruiser DTS 370hp engines (loud!). We spent two days recording the boat. The first day we wired it all up and did a bunch of engine starts and stops, as well as revs and other engine sounds. The second day, Captain John Hart (my Pops!) took us out on the Sarasota Bay to get a bunch of different maneuvers and cruising speeds (and have lunch!).

We did a whole bunch of different recordings, from Cub-01s in the engine room and a shotgun on the exhaust, to 4 channel (Dual Sanken CSS-5) ambiences in the forward berth and hydrophone (Aquarian H2a-XLR) recordings of the engines.

Overall, recording this boat was more difficult than I expected it to be because of all of the vibrations from the engines! We got a lot of good material from this boat, but we have to set up a second session to complete the workup. Another problem was the extreme low end coming from the engines. The Sanken Cubs are rated up to 126db. I thought I wouldn’t have a problem miking up the engine bay with these guys, but apparently I was wrong… there is so much low end coming from the engines that it just turns the signal to complete distortion at the diaphragm. Time to rent some DPAs!

Here’s a preview of one of the recordings. It’s a combination of a stereo Cub-01 setup in the engine room and a Neumann Kmr81i on the port side exhaust.

Fun fact about the video: I had a 744T strapped to me, while holding the Neumann and my iPhone (video), basically laying on the swim deck. I was only able to hold on with whatever my feet were able to grab, so I was praying we wouldn’t hit any serious wake!

Keep your eyes out for more boats and a library announcement in the near future 🙂


  1. Colin, really interesting – not something I’ve seen, or heard, other people focus on much (beyond, say, seaborne reality TV production audio). Nice punchy, powerful sound. Quick questions on the CUB-01’s: Since they’re cardioids, how did you arrange them to achieve decent stereo separation? Just following a 3:1 rule for separation, or with something in between as a baffle? And, finally, as boundary mics, did you choose them because they picked up more engine noise than room noise?

    Looking forward to hearing more soon!

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