Windy City – Chicago – 4am

Wind is a tricky thing to record. There are a couple inherent problems with the idea of recording wind:

1. Wind doesn’t really make sound. – Any aural sense of wind depends on physical objects. We hear the wind moving leaves, grass, sand, etc. The one instance in which the air itself creates part of the sound is the “whistling” of wind across objects. When conditions are right, the air and/or object its blowing on vibrate strongly enough, at a high enough frequency, to emit sound.

2. Wind and microphones do not get along. – It’s a funny thing. A microphone depends on vibrating air to capture sound. Vibrating air causes the microphone’s diaphragm to vibrate. However, continuous air flow can easily distort the diaphragm by keeping it from naturally vibrating.

I’ve had limited success in recording wind. It’s something I’m trying to improve on. I’m always looking for nice locations to record wind. Luckily the street right outside my window can make a lot of noise on a windy night.

A couple nights ago I set my Zoom up in my window and left it to record for around 40 minutes. Around 10 of those minutes ended up being some really great wind with very little traffic.

It took a bit of EQ to really bring out the wind but I’m really happy with how this turned out. There are some hints of traffic every now and then, but it makes for an awesome city wind sound effect!

(Photo by vonderauvisuals)

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