The Ambience of Switzerland

Switzerland– More than just a country

Welcome back! Today I will be talking about the country with the world’s most famous inventions. I will be talking about my experience in Switzerland. After my rendezvous in Iceland in March 2018, I decided to visit this strange country. I had never been to Switzerland before. I arrived in Geneva and from there I rented a car and decided to go in the direction of Interlaken. I passed by Bern (the capital city of Switzerland), and Zurich (the upmarket banking city and the financial capital of Switzerland), to finally drive myself to Basel. I stayed more than one week in Switzerland, as an adventurous sound recordist, I spent most of the time roaming around Switzerland.

Along the way, I stumbled upon beautiful hilly scenery, typical to Switzerland. And of course, I could record some incredibly authentic Switzerland soundscapes!

Gear Used

I recorded with a prototype config which consists of 2 pairs: 2x MKH 8090 ORTF with 2x DPA 4060 omnidirectional microphone. I loved the image that was reproduced through this setup and I am fascinated by the way the 2 ORTF mics allow for detail and focused capture. The DPA 4060 took more of the air and room, with large spacial information. Although, the DPA 4060 captures blurrier and detailed sounds, it so much more pleasant for ambiences.

The set up was a nice setting for surround recording, even though it’s technically a quad; the front is more centered than the back which allows better encoding in 5.1.

View of the Alpean Mountains

As for the sounds recorded, I had to drive on a narrow road that curved along the mountains, to get the best Switzerland ambience sounds. I was able to record herds of ships, and cows. The perfect Switzerland ambience! These are nice ambiences to meditate. Take a listen:

then close your eyes and imagine yourself surrounded by the famous Alpean mountains in the middle of an open field.

My Thrilling Experience in Switzerland

I can’t end this article without sharing one of the electrifying experiences I had while in Switzerland. At one point during my tour around the mountains of Switzerland, I had difficulty with the car and couldn’t maneuver through a narrow path. I got stuck! To make things worse, another car was coming from the other side, I had to drive backward for hundreds of meters with a cliff on the side. I was really scared I was going to lose control of the car and fall from the precipice down to the valley. Fortunately for me, everything worked out right.

 I had the most thrilling experience in Switzerland apart from an expensive ticket I had to pay for not parking at the right place in Bern!

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2 Replies to “The Ambience of Switzerland”

  1. Hi Stephane,
    Thanks for sharing your field recording experience in Switzerland. I am from and live in Switzerland and I’m wondering how you found the airplane noise levels? I find it very difficult to record more than five minutes in one go even in the most remote areas. What was your experience like? How did you combat that and was there any particular place that you’d recommend?
    Thanks in advance.

  2. Hello Marc,
    Thank you for your comment.
    Yes, it is true the airplane noise levels have become omnipresent.
    It is hard to combat that, there are more and more planes flying around in the world these days and it is particularly true for Europe.
    I don’t have a secret recipe or miracle solution about that.
    I think the best is to be patient and to avoid the proximity of major hub cities.

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