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How to record bicycle rides with minimum wind noise?

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How to record bicycle rides with minimum wind noise?

Postby -sandro- » Thu Mar 18, 2021 9:58 am

Hello,
I'm new here!
I'm writing because I'm desperate trying to find a solution for my problem.
As a hobby I wanted to start a youtube channel where I would record videos of my hikings and walks, mainly in nature with no talking. Among that I wanted to add bicycles rides (nothing extreme) while capturing ambient sounds and the bike sounds. So a stereo wide audio is preferable.
For this purpose I tried to attach my recorder (tascam dr40, I know it's not that good) to my body since on the bike itself is a no go due to the bumps and rattling noise. The results are pretty usable. However for the wind noise I can't find a solution and I'm starting to think there isn't any in this case.
I attached the microphone on my back with a dead cat thinking it would block most of the wind, I was wrong.
I'm not getting any clipping but still the rumbling makes the overall product not watchable (it's supposed to be relaxing content :roll: ).
Do you have any suggestion? I think that even if I buy the most expensive dead cat out there it won't be able to stop this kind of wind coming from all sides. I was thinking some kind of a cage but I'm sure if they even exist or could make a difference.
We're talking about 20-25km/h average speeds with burst up to 45km/h even tough I think I should avoid these speeds all together since the turbulence becomes incontrollable.

Thank you so much in advance.
Sandro
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Re: How to record bicycle rides with minimum wind noise?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Mar 18, 2021 11:43 am

I don't know what 'dead cat' you're using. Rycote make this one for the DR40, and I use something similar on my Olympus OM11:
Image
https://mymic.rycote.com/products/tascam-dr-40-mini-windjammer/

However, these kinds of attachments are inherently limited in how much wind they can cope with, and poor fitting will compromise their abilities very significantly.

They have to be fitted tightly to ensure no air currents can get in around the mic capsules, and turbulent air flows over and around the recorder itself will cause mechanical noise that is passed directly to the mics as well. So shielding the recorder from as much direct air flow as you can is always helpful. I'm surprised you say placing it on your back didn't help.... but the devil is in the detail and you might need to experiment a bit to find a location that really is out of a turbulent air stream.

But fundamentally, these kinds of 'dead cats' don't create a large enough zone of still dead air around the mic capsules to provide a significant reduction in noise in strong wind conditions.

If you look at the windshields aimed at professional users you will see they work by creating a large zone of still, dead air around the mic by enclosing it in a large aerodynamic frame covered in a sound-transparent fabric, and then the 'dead cat' long-fibre fur is placed outside that. This kind of arrangement can cope with much higher wind speeds... although there will still be a practical limit.

Image

Applying a high-pass filter will also help to reduce the audible intrusion of low frequency wind rumbles.
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Re: How to record bicycle rides with minimum wind noise?

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Mar 18, 2021 11:54 am

A while ago I had a broadly similar problem with drum overheads at a breezy outdoor (live) gig. Foolishly had not packed any pop filters but a suitably configured HPF almost entirely removed the problem. Drum overheads don't need much/any low end TBF but you could try that in post production on your recording.
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Re: How to record bicycle rides with minimum wind noise?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Mar 18, 2021 12:03 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:...a suitably configured HPF almost entirely removed the problem. ...but you could try that in post production on your recording.

It can be very effective , as I mentioned above as well... but if the HPF comes after the mic preamp (which is almost always the case) you really do have to ensure that the mic preamp input stage itself isn't being overloaded by the often absolutely huge amounts of LF being generated by the wind -- especially if using omni mics (not a problem for the OP, but it can be when using lavalier mics etc).

You can set a level on the meter from the preamp output that looks to be below the converter's clipping level, but the input stage of the preamp itself can still be clipped by the VLF... Sometimes an input pad is required to prevent that -- which again is not an option for the OP's recorder.
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Re: How to record bicycle rides with minimum wind noise?

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Mar 18, 2021 12:18 pm

:thumbup:

Worth a try in post though, nothing to lose...
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Re: How to record bicycle rides with minimum wind noise?

Postby -sandro- » Thu Mar 18, 2021 12:46 pm

Hello everyone and thank you,
I'm using this windshield https://microphone-windscreen.com/winds ... dr-40?c=21
I'm not sure how it compares to the rode one but from the video sample of the product page I would say they're pretty similar.
I tried applying a HPF in post but it wasn't really effective.
I will post a WAVE sample of my last ride later so that you can try yourself if you want.

Do they make blimps used for shotgun mics for little recorders?
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Re: How to record bicycle rides with minimum wind noise?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Mar 18, 2021 12:48 pm

-sandro- wrote:Do they make blimps used for shotgun mics for little recorders?

Not that I've ever seen... it would make it very hard to operate the recorder and observe the meters. ;-)
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Re: How to record bicycle rides with minimum wind noise?

Postby -sandro- » Thu Mar 18, 2021 12:59 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:...a suitably configured HPF almost entirely removed the problem. ...but you could try that in post production on your recording.

It can be very effective , as I mentioned above as well... but if the HPF comes after the mic preamp (which is almost always the case) you really do have to ensure that the mic preamp input stage itself isn't being overloaded by the often absolutely huge amounts of LF being generated by the wind -- especially if using omni mics (not a problem for the OP, but it can be when using lavalier mics etc).

You can set a level on the meter from the preamp output that looks to be below the converter's clipping level, but the input stage of the preamp itself can still be clipped by the VLF... Sometimes an input pad is required to prevent that -- which again is not an option for the OP's recorder.

I'm trying to understand what you mean here (sorry I'm still a novice in the world).
I set a cut-off at 120Hz on the recorder. And still in post the removal didn't work because as you said there was a huge amount of LF generated by the wind.
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Re: How to record bicycle rides with minimum wind noise?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Mar 18, 2021 1:10 pm

-sandro- wrote:I'm trying to understand what you mean here (sorry I'm still a novice in the world).

Wind noise can cause a microphone to generate a very strong output at extremely low frequencies. That signal level can, in some situations, overload the mic pre-amp's very first input stage (or the mic input transformer if present).

The gain control in a preamp normally affects the later stages of circuitry, so while it's possible to turn down the output level of the preamp, it's already been overloaded. So the meters can look fine, but the sound is already distorted...

This isn't something that happens often, but it certainly can happen in extreme wind conditions and I've suffered it myself on more than one occasion in my former professional life working on Outside Broadcasts and exposed locations shoots.

The solution is an in-line balanced mic attenuator placed between mic and preamp (you can also get in-line balanced mic-level high-pass filters to cure the same problem too).

Of course, these solutions aren't practical with your recorder...

But what I'm saying is that it's possible the LF problems you're getting could be caused by preamp overload beyond your control, and nothing you do in post-production will resolve that. Only a much more effective windshield would improve that situation.

And a much more effective windshield is a much bigger windshield with a good volume of still air between the surface of the windshield and the mic capsules.
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Re: How to record bicycle rides with minimum wind noise?

Postby Luke W » Thu Mar 18, 2021 2:03 pm

Now that we're a few good and sensible replies in, I just can't help thinking that this is the perfect chance to go for an exercise bike and a green screen.

"Cyclist Jumps Volcano" has got YouTube star written all over it. :lol:
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Re: How to record bicycle rides with minimum wind noise?

Postby -sandro- » Thu Mar 18, 2021 2:04 pm

Got it now!

Unfortunately this is just a hobby I want to try so I can't afford to spend a lot on money on this with high end equipment.
Is there a maybe a portable recorder that can do this? That is a HPF filter before the pre-amps? Or maybe external mics with function to attach to the recorder?

As for the windshield, what about two in top of each other?
I should try to use a rubber band that runs along the "joint" of the windshield maybe. In my tests I tried to run it "vertically" above the windshield and that definitely pressed the windshield on the mics and made things worse. Just the lower the noise though not solve it.
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Re: How to record bicycle rides with minimum wind noise?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Mar 18, 2021 2:10 pm

-sandro- wrote:As for the windshield, what about two in top of each other?

I suspect that would give a rather muffled sound. As I say, it's really about creating that volume of still air around the mics, and moving the surface of the windshield -- which is where the noise is generated -- further away from the mics.

So building a larger DIY enclosure for the recorder is probably the way to go -- but make it as smooth and streamlined as you can to minimise turbulence, and cover it with an artificial fur fabric.
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Re: How to record bicycle rides with minimum wind noise?

Postby ManFromGlass » Thu Mar 18, 2021 2:43 pm

This is a long shot and maybe useless but if there were wind turbulence tests of a rider on a bike available to watch then you might find a less turbulent place on your body to place the recorder. Not a solution but might help a bit. Is there less wind just below the shoulder blades or just above the lower back?
Or what about a home made fur covered back pack? Like a wire cage covered in fur that you strap on?
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Re: How to record bicycle rides with minimum wind noise?

Postby CS70 » Thu Mar 18, 2021 2:53 pm

-sandro- wrote:Got it now!

Unfortunately this is just a hobby I want to try so I can't afford to spend a lot on money on this with high end equipment.

Just for clarity, a microphone which has a built in high-pass filter in the input stage is not necessarily "high end". You just need a small one. The behringer B5 for example, -10dB HPF on the mic (just the first I found). Your recorder should have an XLR input and even phantom power so all you need is a cable and a mount to the bike - perhaps a dampened one to attach to the bike, but you could also DYI some dampening using foam pieces, rubber and a clamp for example. You still put a foam cap or the cat on the mic, and see what happens.
Also, a GoPro without waterproof case might do just fine..
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Re: How to record bicycle rides with minimum wind noise?

Postby -sandro- » Thu Mar 18, 2021 10:38 pm

This is the test from yesterday. Don't mind the handling-like noise because the recorder was temporarily in my backpack pocket. As you can hear in the middle of the recording the wind noise became louder. I can think of two reasons:
- the windshield moved inside the back pack pocket so more air could come in
- the mic was more directed towards a more windy direction

https://gofile.io/d/Zjx71M

I'll look into the DIY cage...

Is there a cheap lavalier-like mic a HPF? Or another record that has that built in?
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