After a little finessing and wrangling of the original blimp, I was able to attain a symmetrically balanced equilibrium between the two omnis in an attempt to capture as complete an audible image as possible," he explains. "It really did assist in an easier and smoother workflow, but as I do most of my work in surround sound, I also intend to start using DPA's d:mension™ 5100 Mobile Surround Microphone
because I believe it will augment this compact rig and enable myriad configurable possibilities: most importantly, surround recording."
Blinkhorn also experimented with mic placement, at times using a single omni and other techniques. "Given the expansive, extreme and varied audible materials in the left and right axis in many of the places I was recording (Maasai villages, open savannah, dense jungle), practicality and versatility were key – dismantling the rig quickly and easily was a major and time-consuming consideration. "One of the most impressive aspects of the DPA microphones was how adaptive they were to audible diversity. They captured the smallest nuance of animal sounds, yet also were incredibly well suited to acquiring people and cityscape ambience.
As long as I kept a close eye on monitoring signals for unexpected transient and harsher industrial sounds, the d:dicate™ 4006As
captured every nuance of sonic environment across such a wide range, very effectively." Blinkhorn adds that the 4006A microphones overcame almost every issue he had encountered when using other manufacturers' equipment. "Previously when I have recorded in the field on (allegedly) high quality microphones, I have faced numerous issues with durability and cheap componentry within the manufacturing process," he says.
"Suffice to say this has had a negative impact on the final recordings. Some of these issues included extreme self-noise, internal (XLR) pins bending and snapping, power switches malfunctioning, phantom power completely failing, cracked casing, thread stripping on grilles and even inexplicable frequency response omission (in the mid ranges of all places!) on certain microphones.
Thankfully, none of these problems arose with the d:dicate™ 4006A microphones. They may not originally have been designed for field recording purposes, but they work beautifully within that context. "Also, as opposed to studio-based recording where very careful consideration must be given to avoiding ‘leakage’, recording in the field makes you very accepting of leakage – indeed, it can even be desirable. I found the full gambit of sound could be captured flawlessly thanks to the quality of the d:dicate™ 4006A’s and their remarkable omnidirectional design.
" For Blinkhorn, the crux of his work lies in using sound to tell the story of preserving natural African habitats and the creatures reliant on them. He describes his compositional language as 'a cross-pollination of instrumental, electroacoustic and videophonic music, all drawing from environmental sound'.
His aim is to give audiences the chance to 'contemplate the diversity and extreme sensitivities of habitats, coupled with the need to better understand our roles as custodians'. Blinkhorn's most recent audio release is frostbYte, a suite of four tracks ranging from MP3 to 5.1 surround sound, on UK label AudioBulb.
As a composer, Blinkhorn has won over 25 international awards for work based on environmental/ecoacoustic music and field recordings. He is also a 2011 Churchill Fellow who has worked in a variety of creative, academic, research and performative contexts, and is the representative member for composition at Music Australia. He has been a visiting scholar at the University of Virginia Music Department, the Conservatory of Music, University of Kansas City Missouri, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver and faculty member for Ecosono Alaska, a joint initiative between Ecosono Institute and Alaska Pacific University. For more information on Blinkhorn and his work, please visit www.danielblinkhorn.com