I teach a short course in creative sound production each summer at the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on the Isle of Skye - for the people who attend it’s a chance to learn a little about studios, audio, music and technology… and for me it’s a chance (ok, an excuse) to find fun ways of playing with sound that we all hopefully learn from. Here are the results of two experiments from the 2019 course, created with the assistance of Archie MacLean.

Blackburn Pendulum

Inspired by the wonderful Professor Julius Sumner Miller, we set about building a blackburn pendulum in the studio, making full use of the high ceiling / a funnel / 1kg of table salt to draw lissajous figures on the floor. We then experimented with positioning speakers around the room and hanging recording devices from the pendulum, but also with setting up stereo mic rigs and hanging a bluetooth speaker from the pendulum, to try and capture these figures in a stereo sound file…

An Talla Mhòr
(The Big Hall)

We also fulfilled a long time ambition of mine to capture an Impulse Response of the legendary Talla Mhòr, the ceilidh hall at the college and one of the all time great venues of the Scottish trad scene. We ended up using a 50s sine sweep in logic’s Impulse utility, captured through a spaced pair of DPA 4000 series omni SDCs. The result is a really nice hall reverb and a piece of history! You can download the IR for use with Space Designer (logic) or any other convolution reverb. Melda Productions have a free one which requires the flac version.