Stealth Recording in the town of Baños

Banos Ecuador

I wandered around the streets of this small touristy village.
It is a really interesting village that is threatened at all time by the neighbor volcano Tungurahua.  I think I walked at least 7 times the same streets throughout all the village since it is pretty small. Some streets are steep and as a result I did a lot of exercise ;-). Without counting that I hiked up the mountain this morning.


All in all I surely walked 18km  today. I haven’t seen a lot of tourist along the way. It is impressive afterwards to think I didn’t feel insecure at any time. A lot of people told me about crimes in South America but it looks that it doesn’t apply to this little town, at least from what I’ve experienced around.

Banos Ecuador

My recorder is packed with interesting Ecuadorian ambiences from the church, the market, the gymnasium, cafes.
For these recordings I chose to record with my Custom Quad Surround Stealth Setup (CQSSS) since I am really akin to translate the immersive aspect.

Banos Ecuador Panorama

Troubles with NT45-O capsule

It’s been few days I have troubles with my newly purchased NT-45-O microphone capsules from Rode.


I recently bought 2 of them in an attempt to extend the possibilities with the NT5, and have them capture omnidirectionally.
While one of the capsule is working just great, the other one is doing its own concert of loud glitchy electronica.
I am assuming they don’t like the condition in Ecuador with too much humidity.
It is a bit frustrating as I have to set back from some recording setups I had planned.
I guess this is the price to pay for the difference in buying price compared to other manufacturer.

Rode NT5

I have to admit that during past recording trips, I also experienced some glitches with Rode. Although I found them to be not horrible and I was able to remove them at editing with pretty clean results.
But this time, the issue and the resulting noise is so predominent I won’t be able to use this track for its purpose. Maybe I can collect them for a glitch sound library 😉
I have to say the sound quality from Rode is usually really excellent and that is why I kept using Rode for many years. But if their behavior is unpredictable and they can’t stand a little humidity I have no choice other than removing them from my recording setup once and for all.

In comparison I had no problem with Sennheiser MKH under any conditions. Plus the weight make them much more suitable for field recording.

High Hike around Laguna Cuicocha

Laguna Cuicocha

laguna cuicocha

This morning I got a taxi ride until the entrance of the reserve at Laguna Cuicocha. I hiked up on the edge of the mountain encircling the Laguna.

laguna cuicocha

What a wonderful scenary! From up here it is possible to see all the Otavalo valley.

Otavalo Valey

Country and urban soundscape resonates in harmony along with some birds.

Laguna Cuicocha

laguna cuicocha

In a glimpse, I recorded some Quad ambiences. Everything went so fast, I had to take the taxi back in the hour so I can jump into the bus to southern direction near the volcano Tungurahua.

my gear setup prior to Ecuador trip

audio gear setup for Ecuador

Before taking off to Ecuador , I carefully chose and packed my equipment and stuff. Here is a picture of those.
Briefly, I brought 2x Sennheiser MKH8090 for ambiences along with 2x Rode NT5 with capsule NT45A. I packed a MKH 418s for more specific subject, I took the Sanken CO-100K for extra high frequency pickup, the Tetramic from CoreSound for ambisonics recording. I also have a just correct hydrophone in case. The main recorder Sound Devices 788T-SSD. A Supplementary Battery unit RavPower, a second recorder only for security, Zoom H5.
Windshields, suspensions. I also bring a camera and a tripod I found, a Sirui which is really compact, light and practical.

From the village rooftop

Rooftop recording

At noon, I took a little time spent on top of the roof of the hostel at Cotacachi. Allowing to capture compelling and authentic Ecuadorian ambience.
From distance I can hear announcing trucks, those truck that have speakers and navigate around the village to announce whatever they try to sale.
I found them really typical and they sound great from up here, bouncing all over the houses walls and mountains. Also the view is really nice here. Could spend the day on the roof! But more adventures await me…

rooftop ambience ecuador

rooftop sound

A little extract:



This Morning Dawn Chorus in an Andean farm near Cotacachi Village

dawn in cotacachi

Early this morning I got waken up by incredibly wonderful bird songs along with some roosters around the farm.
I found it so a magical time, I was just opening my ears to the world and laid down still just enjoying this soundscape.
dawn in the farm

Then I thought: I couldn’t I record this and share it to others? I thus jumped out of the bed and in a hurry grab two microphones that I hung out of the window where the sound were coming from.

morning chorus from the window

It was difficult to access the place from outside directly as a hill was standing just in front of the wall. However the ambience was also great from the window.
I am sharing here a little sample from this little special morning at Cotacachi’s country in Ecuador:

Along with the birds, we can hear from far distance the village waking up with its church bells and some dogs.


Recording Roomtones of a Traditional Andean Housing

Traditionnal Andean Roomtone

I have been blessed to find a traditional quechua family near the town of Cotacachi in the Andes of Ecuador. They were so nice, prepared meals and having a bed in their farm. I could record great room tones of the place. I setup my beloved quad mic config, a double ORTF, and got some nice quiet sounds.


Roomtones in traditional quechua house

Funny Guy however not really Sounding

I have been across an Alpaca farm. These are funny animals although they aren’t really noisy. I couldn’t capture any particular sound as they were more preoccupied on chewing their meal. I found them so hilarious though I couldn’t resist to take a little snapshot of their munchy faces. This made my day even though it remained silent.

unfortunate surprise with the recorder

I got some unfortunate bad surprise when I powered on my Sound Devices 788t today. Neither the internal hard drive nor the compact Flash card was recognized.

After few seconds, a screen showed “updating Firewire/USB software”. This really strange behaviour prevent me from recording. I tried to restart the device many times.

After maybe ten attempts, it finally worked fine. I can’t explain why this happen. I contacted the technical support at Sound Devices, waiting now for some info.
I will keep update on this issue.

Recording the Pacific Ocean on Sunset

Today is a little update from the coast on Canoa, Ecuador. I set up my gear gazing at the sea under the sunset. What a wonderful postcard moment.

A magical time where mother nature give us its harmonious show!

One of the time I use the Sanken CO-100K in combination with a MKH-418S and an ORTF pair of MKH 8090.

Canoa, Ecuadorian Fishing Village bound to the Power of Nature

During the last three days, I have meandered through this incredible little fishing town. Situated on the pacific coast of Ecuador, the scenery with its extra-stretched beach of many kilometers and an omnipresent sun makes it a place from heaven where time would stop. Thus making us enjoy the present towards happiness.

With its 2000 inhabitants, the vibe is gorgeously “tranquilo” (laid-back).  I have met so many wonderful people with a big heart. Their way of living is at the opposite of the stressful urban jungle. They are truely authentic people from which we can draw life lesson. It goes without saying that the meal I found there is also terribly delicious.

One year ago, this village got struck by a huge earthquake (magnitude 7.8). This got in the news all around the world. 100 people lost their lives and 90% of the buildings were destroyed.
This is a terrible reality, however people don’t like to talk about it too much. They already turned the page. Daily life has taken its place back. People are successfully dealing with what they have, and what they can do, healing wounds. Many building already got rebuilt. Tourists are back even if they are in low numbers. Kids are playing in the rumbles, the roosters are crowning, the shops are opening again. All along the beach, restaurants, bars, cevicheria are sprawling back again. In fact life is buzzing again with this unmistaken latino feel.

Every afternoon, the ocean gets more agitated and the waves gets more powerful as the tide gets higher and the wind blows stronger.
The sound of the sea thus shifts towards a more bassy constant roar.
At these times, the natural elements just recall us how powerful they can be.
Therefore reflecting how Nature goes beyond the human scale as could be earthquakes.

After my 3 days recording sea and ambiences, I just felt how connected this village was with nature, from the sea they got fish, water, tourists. From the land, plants, stone, and roads.
They are more than any other place I have seen intertwined with the mother nature (for its good and its bad humor).

The Fountains – 1 year

One year ago I started the project ‘100 fountains‘.

At that time I had already recorded a profusion of sounds throughout the city of Montreal. I was about to release a collection of ambiences from Montreal. As I re-listened the tracks I noticed how often I could hear fountains anywhere at any time. It wasn’t just a thing that was belonging to the decor, I felt as if it was such an essential part of a city and its inhabitants. Also it isn’t particularly related to Montreal itself.

Indeed Water is Life!
It is a universal elements and through the sound of water many shades and stories can be drawn. Furthermore it is possible to find the existence of fountains throughout all time period and civilisations.  

It is at that time that I decided to partition my city soundscape project into various parts. Thus having separate elements available would allow creators to shape their own story, their own city atmosphere.

I thus started to focus only on fountains for few weeks. Through my wander I found incredible variety of tones. At first I  assumed water streams and jets are like washy white noises. In fact it is true from a distance but as soon as you get a little closer the caracteristics of the sound start to unravel. Depending on the number of jets, the force, the materials, the bassin… So many variables play a role in shaping this water sound. I found it astounishing, and therefore I tried my best to capture these detailed specificity in a comprehensive manner.

fountains capture

It is funny to think no one usually pay attention those sounds, still fountains can say much more than we think; thus they can play a big role in a scenario. They are powerfull as they can easily mask any other sounds at large flow. They also can emphasize emotions with subtle water drops ryhming with romantism.
Over the course of this library craft I felt empower of a mission, collecting useful and precious windows of time in the city.
Of course it wasn’t so easy to capture, as cities are always buzzing of myriad of sounds. Hence I did most of these recordings at nights so I could avoid as much as possible extranuous noise. From editing I make it esential to create loops for these sounds. And then make them last forever if needed.
Overall it took maybe 1 or 2 months to complete this collection from which some of the recording were made one year pior to the project.


Some of these recordings are included in the free water pack v1 available on articulated sounds here. (it is possible to use them even for commercial project)