Nature Sounds.ca - About Creating Wilderness Sound

Nature Sounds.ca is dedicated to sharing the natural wilderness sounds and experiences of the woods, forests, and waters of northeastern North America. No musical instruments are added. Great care is taken to exclude noise that is made by human activity or domestic animals. The goal is to portray the natural inherent music of the pristine wilderness experience.

Nature Sounds.ca is solely owned and operated by Karl Hamilton in Ontario, Canada. I personally handle every CD order and take an interest in the satisfaction of each and every customer. I personally guarantee satisfaction to every customer with a 60 day no quibble money back guarantee or free replacement. I may be contacted at sales@naturesounds.ca .

A free mp3 sample of about 10 seconds in length is offered for every sound download or CD so that you can get an idea of what the sound is like before you buy. The sounds on this website are sold for personal use by the original purchaser only. Use in public performance or any other form of distribution is not allowed without permission.

Nature Sounds as Sleep Aids

Particular attention is given to creating soundscapes that have only very small amounts of distortion or noise (we try for none). The result are soundscapes that are ideal to use as sleep aids and to mask the background noises of the urban environment that most of us have to deal with. Waterfalls, rivers, creeks, and other sounds of running water all create a broadband noise of constant volume or intensity that mask other sounds very effectively, and many of our customers do use the sounds they purchase as sleep aids. I have heard back from young and old, those at home, at school, even those on the battlefield use nature sounds as a sleep aid. Link to the list of sleep aids in the mp3 download section of Nature Sounds.ca.

Nature Sounds for Relaxation

Most of us live in an environment where we can't just stop and listen to the rain, wind, waves, birds, or crickets because these sounds are absent. Sometimes the seasons prevent us from listening to a favorite sound, and sometimes we move to a different environment which lacks a particular sound. Nature sounds can often help. And relaxation becomes easier to achieve when we practise a routine to relax. For more information, here is a Link to the Relaxation page on this website.

My Background

I studied music at York University, Toronto, (Hon. BFA) with studies emphasizing electronic music composition, recording and mixing. Even at that time, (early 70s) I was experimenting with the inclusion "found sounds" within electronic compositions. Juxtaposition, contrasts and similarities, of electronic and natural sounds developed into musical language. I also experimented in alternate scoring techniques, bio-feedback, and I participated in the Aesthetic Research Centre of Canada.

After school I worked in broadcast radio, where I honed my editing and production skills for about 10 years. Then, through the 90s, recording nature sounds was more of a hobby, though still a passion. It was a time of experimentation and development of techniques specifically aimed at making better recordings of nature.

Since 2000, refining recording techniques, updating studio and recording equipment has been a continuous process. I think that anyone who attempts to record nature finds it necessary to innovate when it comes to techniques. In addition to these outward refinements, there have been changes happening within myself as well. A greater sensitivity to the slow natural rhythms, and more sensitivity is developing to what animals and the environment is saying through their sounds.

Every Sound Tells a Story - Recording using Binaural Techniques

I have designed a microphone baffle on which to mount my mikes and attach to a camera tripod in the canoe. The goal was to record the small acoustical clues of frequency response, time delay, and volume differences that each ear receives as a result of their positioning, and shape, as well as the shape of the head. These small, precise differences are what the brain uses to determine the direction of different sounds; so if these differences can be exactly recorded, then the result during playback is the perception of a three dimensional placement of sound, instead of the linear placement of sound (a straight line between two speakers) of a conventional stereo recording.

In the canoe, the baffle performed exactly as planned and the effects were literally stunning wearing headphones. All the audio clues as to front/back, left/right, and up/down are recorded. This type of microphone recording technique is called binaural recording. The three dimensional effect is experienced when listening using headphones. When listening to ordinary music in headphones the music sounds like it is "inside your head". Listening to a binaural recording is different because all the directional and distance cues the brain interprets are played back as well as the basic recorded sound. This makes the recording sound like it is all around you. For more information on binaural recording The Binaural Source is a good start. Here is a link to the FAQ page at The Binaural Source.

Hearing the Sound in 3-D

Since the microphone baffle only approximates the human head, and everybody's head and outer ears are shaped a little differently, it takes a little listening for the brain to "get the knack", or "catch on" to the spaciousness of the binaural audio recording. The visual equivalent would be those "Stereoscopic Viewers" which use two pictures of slightly different perspectives to produce a 3-D image. It often takes a few minutes to see the 3-D effect. So it is with these audio recordings. And the 3-D effect only comes through when using headphones. Using speakers will still reproduce an excellent stereo rendition of the sounds.

Omni-Directional Microphones for Realism

Another thing I stay away from is directional (dish or shotgun) microphones. Although they do increase the S/N ratio (decreasing noise), their drawback is that they remove the soul and the spirit of the sound. In the wild, each sound reaches our ears via multiple paths, bouncing off countless things on the way to our ears. Directional mikes greatly reduce the number of paths recorded. But each of these paths has its own individual characteristics of time delay, frequency, and volume. These paths result from not only the particular place, but also the weather, the season, and the time of day. They speak of hills and cliffs, of lakes, of trees and branches, of dew on leaves, of moss covered rocks, - of everything present - and that is not something that can be reproduced with studio reverb and delays. By using a directional microphone, one might as well be recording in a zoo!

The Location is Everything

I choose my locations with care. I try to find those "special spots", which exude both an individuality and a spirituality. The landscape, vegetation, and nearby topography all provide an influence to "colour" the quality of the recorded sound. Then, within those spots, I choose my microphone placement to best capture not only the primary sounds of the place, but also the character of the place. In the past, I have often mixed and edited from similar sources, and I have often edited to maintain a tempo within a soundscape. As time progresses, I find that my touch is getting softer and softeron the material.

Nature Sounds Downloads

Nature Sounds.ca offers free preview downloads of soundscapes or sonic landscapes that may be purchased as CDs and/or full length downloads. It is the policy of Nature Sounds.ca to give potential customers the opportunity to preview a segment of all cuts from a CD, so that the customer will have a clear idea of what they are buying. In this spirit, I offer you an edited sample of the CD cuts in the downloads section of this website. My attention to detail means that the CD cuts can be listened to repeatedly, and still be interesting. Each time little things will be heard that the listener hasn't noticed before.

Connecting to that Inner Essence

Although, the sounds of birds, insects, mammals, air and water may be featured in the natural music, it is not the goal of Nature Sounds.ca to create "sound bites" of any single species. The goal is to capture the atmosphere and ambience of a space, of a habitat, and to find those unique magical places, places that seem to have that special aura or character, then to capture the sonic soul of that place, and finally, to recreate that experience on CD or download. Enjoy.

If you own a webpage or website and would like to link to Nature Sounds.ca, please link to www.naturesounds.ca/ .


Page URL: http://www.naturesounds.ca/about-nature-sounds.htm
Revision date: July 17, 2012.

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