The recording took place in the private shelter for wolves The Hall of the Wolf , many thanks to it’s founders for giving me this opportunity. The shelter is located 150 km from Moscow, about 1 km away from the nearest village, on the edge of a forest, so it’s a rather quiet place. The volaries are large, so the place has beautiful natural acoustics. There were practically no bird sounds because it was a cold November and I recorded at the dark.
I used 3 microphone systems simultaneously: Nevaton MC50 Quad large condenser, Sennheiser MKH8040 ORTF + Center system in Cinela blimp (thanks to Alexander Volodin for giving me the system) and Neumann KMR81i short shotgun, with the Metric Halo ULN-8 mobile preamp and converter. No compression, limiting or filtering was applied at the recording stage. I managed to record 60 hours of wolves’ life within a week.I placed the mics sometimes identically and sometimes at different spots to get the best coverage of the multiple and moving sources.
Editing and mastering was done in my professional 5.1 calibrated mixing room. The level of the monitoring was set at 79dBc and the files were mastered in such a way that they sound a bit louder than in reality. The dynamic range of the recordings is preserved untouched.
Only clean recordings of wolves’ vocal and breath sounds with minimal wolves’ movement noise like rustles and dirt steps went into the library. If there are steps and rustles in the file, they are mentioned in the File Name and Description. Three recordings contain 1-2 distant dog barks, they are also mentioned in the File Name and Description. Filtering, hum removal was done very accurately to preserve the richness of the voices. Some close growls have useful frequencies down to infrasound, in these cases I didn’t apply any highpass filter at all. A lot of short noises were surgically removed by spectral editing. I didn’t apply any broadband denoising, although I own the most sophisticated denoising tools and have extensive experience with them. I hear them destroy the micro breaths that bring life and presence to these vocalizations. I had to apply brickwall lowpass at 60kHz due to some ultra high frequency interference from the power supply line. Still I provide 131 final files at 192 kHz because there is sound up to 55kHz useful for pitching the recordings down. The 20 files at 48 kHz are from the first recorded take. I had just positioned the mics and the wolves started their evening chorus, so I hit REC having no time to set the correct sampling rate. Still the quality of that recording is so good and the perfomance is so expressive , I include it at 48kHz mentioning it in the filenames and metadata. After editing and mastering it appeared that the final files are mostly (123 of 151) XY stereo pairs from Nevaton. For this material Nevaton outperforms Sennheiser in low self noise, rich sound in the audible range, and even in ultrasonic range, because it has frequency response up to 55kHz, but does not have the increase of noise in ultrasonic range unlike Sennheiser. 21 files, mostly from Sennheiser and Neumann are mono due to the nature of recording. The chorus howling recordings are provided in LRLsRs or LCR to provide the sense of being inside the pack of wolves. For some choruses all 3 mic systems are provided simultaneously, aimed at different groups of wolves.
Natural sequences of howls are preserved, just the intervals between the events were shortened to conserve space. Multiple takes of short one-shot sounds are compiled into bigger multi-take WAVs.
The files are embedded with rich Soundminer and BWF metadata including WAVE markers pointing at interesting events in the files and visible in Soundminer, Reaper, Izotope RX and other DAWs, a CSV file with exported Soundminer metadata is included for import into other sound librarian applications. As each wolf has a special voice and manner, I provide the names of the wolves in CAPS in File Names, Description and BWF Description. Then when you find the sound of a particular animal you like named HORT, you can just search for HORT. The special metadata feature of this library is that the Soundminer “Artwork” field contains photo portaits of the wolves as additional means of sorting. A folder with the photos in jpg format is also included for those who don’t use Soundminer.
I wanted to employ the latest Soundminer feature – predefined regions for the RADIUM sampler. The regions are embedded for the series of short events like teeth clacks, short growls, barks etc.
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