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Old April 14th, 2008, 09:13 AM   #1
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Fireworks Audio

I was just wondering if there were any audio engineers out there who could give me some input on how to record audio that is at extremely high levels?

Specifically fireworks which spike into the range of 160-180 decibels at the moment a shell breaks.

The equipment needed would also have to automatically adjust for lower sound levels once the initial spike dissipates. The setup would have to be able to pick up the rest of the range of noises like echoes, less intense secondary effects and ambient noises. The microphone would also need to hear a very wide range of sounds to pick up the shrill whistles and low booming thuds of the fireworks.

I would have to imagine that thereís some sort of mixer/recorder with a very quick AGC that can keep up with the rapid changes of a fireworks display without getting overloaded. And a microphone that could handle those spikes without peaking while simultaneously handling the range of noises that fireworks produce.

I've tried several setups but they all seem to be unable to properly capture the "bigness" of fireworks.

And now that Iím writing this down Iím noticing that there is probably no single magic microphone that can do all of this.

Any input would be appreciated.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 09:27 AM   #2
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Not sure if its the right way but I have used two mics on my XH-A1, I set one up for the loud sounds and the other for the quiet sounds. In post I mixed them together for the complete sound.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 09:27 AM   #3
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Good old SM58 should do it. For level issues you could run two tracks at different recording levels and have a load more headroom in one track for the quiet sections. A simple y cable will do it for plugging the mic into both channels. Dynamic mic's are a good safe bet for fireworks, Concorde etc..
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