Listening through the world of a sea shell!

Throughout my latest road trip, about 5 weeks long around North-East America, I did take with me a conch (sea shell) which I brought from Peru.
I experimented and recorded from inside the shell in various settings as the busy city streets, cafes and restaurant crowd, nature, train, rivers, sea.

Natural Resonator

Approaching our ears close to a shell will make us hear the ocean. Only poetically this is true, the reality is that it makes our surrounding sounds resonate in a filtered way, the same as when we put our hands around our ears.

I found it fascinating to listen to ambiences from this perspective.
The sounds is somewhat occluded and some frequencies are amplified at the same time. It makes the reality distorted in an interesting and organic way.

I recorded around the water, with the sea waves and river wavelets; but also the city traffic, pedestrian street, room tones. But I think crowd wallas was the most interesting recordings.

This seashell has also the specificity to be a traditional musical instrument, used by the Incas. It is called ‘Pututo’ and by blowing into it like a trumpet you get a nice loud and low note.

Get all the sounds recorded from sea shell in the articulated library:

3 Replies to “Listening through the world of a sea shell!”

    1. That’s an interesting challenge, because the recording inside the shell is already an impulse response of its ambience. Since you cannot pop a balloon/fire a gun INSIDE the shell, you have to do it outside so that you are inevitably picking up the room it is in. So: record the impulse outside in an open field? You can’t record underneath blankets for a baseline, because then nothing activates the shell’s resonance. Record simultaneously inside the shell and outside the shell with identical microphones, then subtract one from the other?

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