October 29th, 2012

Recording made on 21st October 2012 with a Sony PCM-M10 on a Hama mini-tripod, using the built-in microphones.

This photo of Shag Rock was taken while this recording was in progress.
N.B. The sea and Shag Rock are bigger and further below than they look, because this is a long-focus shot.

This recording was made on the very steep and rather precarious grassy slope below the rather exposed coast path a bit south-west of Perranporth, Cornwall, UK, which contours the main cliff slope from near Cligga Head to Droskyn Point, at which latter point you are in Perranporth proper. I had walked on the coast path from Portreath, and had been looking forward to this spot because on certain previous walks I had heard the surf really thundering here. Actually on this occasion, the sound was a bit too chaotic for me to think of it quite as 'thundering', but there was a lot of very deep booming and rumbling, with periodic heavy thuds, as the surf had vigorous and indeed dramatic arguments with the cliffs here that were in its way.

I placed the recorder on a very low drystone wall running down the slope, with top completely covered with vegetation, and the minor headland with Shag Rock connected to its tip was ahead and somewhat to the right. This grassy slope ends just a little further below, in sheer and indeed more or less undercut cliff, so that the big waves make big rumbles and thumps as they hit the cliff (invisible to me on the steep slope above). However, that is not all that is happening, because quite large rebound waves keep interacting with new incoming ones, with the result that we hear sudden almost eruptive disturbances of the incoming waves.

I'd wanted to make a full half-hour recording of this, but it was getting towards sundown and I was concerned that my return hitch-hike from Perranporth to Exeter be not much delayed, so I intended to record for only ten minutes. However, as the sound was so thrilling there, I compromised by extending that to 16 minutes (though still rather regretting it not being a full half hour, and regretting so still more once listening to the recording back at home!).

Roughly half-way through the recording a light aeroplane passes over, which seemed annoying at the time, but actually in the recording it does give a little sense of perspective and so serves a reasonably positive function.

Possibly because the recorder was very close to a vegetated surface, I found that the recording did not reproduce the very low frequencies at all strongly, and so, guided by the frequency spectrum graph in Voxengo's Span plug-in, I used a straight-line graphic EQ in WavePad to give a fair boost to the low bass, and uploaded the recording as #168105. Since then I experimented further, and this version replaces that one, with a more effective shaping of the bass boost, and also a small additional treble lift, the total effect adding considerably to the power and detail and sense of spaciousness. The recording now comes much nearer to what I actually heard.

(Later note: Following further recordings at this location, I now think I was mistaken about that, and the EQ was unnecessary apart from that to correct for the Rycote Mini Windjammer, and thus I now view this recording as it now stands as significantly over-trebly because the recorder was not that close to the sea, and the amended bass, while sounding nice, has not really got the thundering 'welly' that has come out so well in my subsequent recordings there.)

Please note that only very good speakers / headphones with a very extended bass response will do this recording real justice. Also, it may sound unpleasantly boomy on speakers that have any sort of boominess (like my computer speakers!). Please also note that the volume level of this recording has been carefully adjusted for listening purposes, and ALL my recordings so far are meant to be listened to with a volume setting that would give a realistic level for playback of CLASSICAL music (a large but not exceptional symphony orchestra). If you have the right volume setting, you should not need to change that setting from one recording of mine to another.

(Later note: This recording - with better sound than here - is on one of my commercial CDs, and can be found in my e-Store.)

**Please remember to give this recording a rating! **


  • avatar
    grytsje 2 weeks ago

    Another great recording. Thank you!

    1 comment

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