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Rolls Royce Phantom

August 11, 2009

Rolls Royce Phantom

Had a busy afternoon yesterday recording this silver Rolls Royce Phantom!

Originally, I thought I was only going to have it for one and a half hours which was a bit daunting because it can take half an hour just to get all the mics attached.  However, the guy who leased it to me was really cool and ended up letting me have it for three hours which made it possible for me to get everything I was after.

I put six mics on altogether:  Four into a Sound Devices 744T and two into a Fostex FR-2LE.

The 744T took care of all onboard mics:  DPA 4062 mics on the engine, the exhaust and the rear wheel arch, and a DPA 4061 (because it’s more sensitive) inside the cabin.

The FR-2LE was my roaming recorder with a Schoeps CMC 5 and one side of a stereo Schoeps CMXY 4V for, once again, getting the cabin sound when driving around but also for getting in close to record all the switches and doors, etc. as well as for jumping out of the car quickly and getting all the passes and pull aways, etc. that I needed.

I kind of played safe with the mic setup because this opportunity came about a bit out of the blue so I had to prep for it really quickly.  I would have liked to have tried some new mics or techniques that I’ve had in mind recently (check out my earlier post, Recording Cars) but I didn’t have time to do any tests so instead I opted for my tried and tested setup that has produced good results for me on many other occasions in the past.

Anyway, the car’s amazing.  It feels more like you’re in a ship than a car, but the acceleration is immense.  I think that the tyre sound from the wheel arch mic is going to be important for getting a sense of the smoothness of the car on exterior shots; only a hint of the engine and exhaust mics will be necessary.  It’s obviously quite a different beast to the muscle cars that I recorded last year.  With them it was all about the exhaust sound, but with the Rolls, I think the engine mic will provide the acceleration surge and then the tyre sound will take over.

I’ve only had a quick play through so far, so it’s difficult to tell which of the interior mics will be the most useful but the two Schoeps certainly provide more low end than the DPA 4061 which can be used for it’s cleaner mid to high frequency detail when necessary.

I got some good interior sounds too; obviously the doors, which closed with a servo whine and then a thick clunk shut (all at the push of a button!) and the windows but then also various dashboard gadgets such as the SatNav display which flipped over to reveal/conceal itself and the parking aid which beeped faster as we got closer to an obstacle behind or in front of us (I wonder –  would this sound be copyrighted?)

The irony is that it is unlikely that the engine sounds will be heard as anything more than a mere whisper once the music and dialogues are brought into play in the dubbing theatre.  However, it’s still reassuring to know that I’ve got the sound of an actual Rolls Royce Phantom, otherwise there’s always the fear that the issue of authenticity will rear it’s ugly head during the Final Mix.

In any case, it was great to discover the servo sound that the doors make because it’s exactly the sort of interesting detail that isn’t too intrusive but which really helps to express that notion of luxury – far better than any engine revs – that one associates with a Rolls Royce.

Rolls Royce Phantom door closing at the push of a button!

Rolls Royce Phantom Accelerating

From → Post Production

  1. Very interesting – please do post some audio samples someday! For the engine compartment, I’m most curious not where you placed the 4062’s, but how: Mounting style? Gaffer tape? Isolation from vibration? Would be curious to hear more…

  2. sonicskepsi permalink

    Yeah, I keep meaning to get some more detailed photos of mic positions, etc but once I’m into the thick of it I’ve got my mind on so many other things that stopping everything to take snaps always seems the lowest priority. Should make sure I get them though – would obviously be handy for future reference.
    Mounting is relatively straightforward with the 4062s – I basically get them as close as possible to the source. They seem to be virtually indestructible sound pressure-wise so even with the exhaust I’ll have it right at the ‘lip’ of the pipe, pointing across the opening rather than directly into it to avoid the exhaust blowing on the mic. Having said that, no matter where I’ve put 4062s they never seem to have wind or vibration noise so I’ve almost stopped even considering this as an issue when placing the mic.
    This is because they are low sensitivity mics so gentler sounds such as wind and road noise don’t really seem to register. I’ve never tried these mics on quiet sound sources so I don’t know how they cope with that but with very loud sounds they are incredible for isolating the dominant sound, ie the engine or exhaust.
    However, as you’ll see from my ‘Recording Cars’ post – this is one issue I want to crack with my car recordings; it’s great having these really isolated car elements from the DPAs but as well as cutting out road noise, wind, etc I feel that some of the sound reflections (basically how the sound evolves into the environment, which makes them recognisable as the sounds we hear in normal everyday listening as opposed to these unnatural micing positions I’m using, eg. no-one listens to an exhaust with their ear right by the exhaust!) get neglected too. I’ve just recorded a Stinger Mustang (post to come soon!) and the exhaust was underneath the car which really helped with this as I felt the reflections got amplified or at least sustained for longer because they bounced around under the car for a while rather than simply disappearing out of the back. With normal exhausts though I’m thinking the only solution is the fishing pole technique I’ve described in my posts before. In comparison to the DPAs, mounting a fishing pole securely on a car doing 150mph would be quite a job!
    Vibration noise, etc is much more of an issue with dynamic mics, which I also want to use more for reinforcing my DPA recordings – I left a comment on one of Tim Prebble’s posts ages ago regarding this, which he gave an interesting and extensive response to; I’ve linked to it at the start of my ‘Recording Cars’ post.
    I always use duct tape for applying the mics to car surfaces (is that the same thing as gaffer tape?) Sticks hard but (touch wood) so far never had any paint removing accidents. Nothing technical here either except I try to place the tape across some of the cable and it’s little windshield as well to make sure I don’t lose that halfway up the motorway.
    I’ll try and stick some actual Rolls sounds on very soon – I could do with a multitrack audio app for WordPress!

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