Fragments of Extinction recorded with DPA
BORNEO: Researcher and eco-acoustic composer David Monacchi has been using DPA Microphones’ 4060 miniature mics to capture the sounds of the rainforest as part of his long-term environmental sound-art project entitled Fragments of Extinction. Professor Monacchi’s most recent trip was to Borneo, but he has also visited rainforests in remote areas of the Amazon and Africa.
Professor Monacchi is a professor of electroacoustic music at the Conservatorio G.Rossini in Pesaro, Italy, and is collaborating with various institutions on this project. This involves travelling to some of the world's most remote areas of intact rainforest to record complex soundscape portraits.
The project embraces collaborations with Greenpeace and several academic institutions and organisations around the world. ‘Its aim is to collect sound data and complex soundscape portraits of some of the oldest ecosystems on Earth, many of which are being damaged and are disappearing at an exceptionally fast rate,’ Professor Monacchi explained.
‘I use several microphone techniques in the field, most of which involve quite heavy and complex systems,’ he added. ‘DPA miniature microphones are extremely lightweight and this makes them highly suitable to field work where I may have to hike long distances in extreme terrain.
‘The 4060s are so small that, if appropriately arranged in a handmade stand, they can be used for self-worn binaural recordings,’ he furthered. ‘When used in this way they give optimum results because their dimensions are perfectly suited to being placed at the entrance of the ear canal.
‘The 4060 mics have very good tonal quality, linear behaviour and immunity to infrasound vibration-driven noises – all of which are very positive characteristics in the field,’ he enthused. ‘Considering their dimensions, the signal to noise ratio of these capsules is extremely high, making them suitable for low intensity biophonies and distant sound sources. In addition, their extended high frequency response to around 40kHz make them suitable for recording non-audible biophonies like some species of insects and bats.’
Working in rain forests brings its own particular set of issues, including high humidity that can oscillate between 70 and 99 per cent.
‘My 4060s perform very well in high humidity condition and are very stable in their performance, even when quick humidity and temperature changes occur,’ he asserted. ‘Also, compared to bigger and heavier condenser microphones, they are extremely resistant to unwanted impacts so they are very reliable in the uncertain conditions of remote field trips.’
Professor Monacchi’s 4060s omnidirectional miniature microphones were supplied by DPA’s Italian distributor M. Casale Bauer.