Running Time:

88 min

Release Date:

July 2018

Recording Location:

Camp 13 (scientific camp), reached from Boksavin village, Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea

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Highland Rain

A gentle rainstorm begins in a highland cloudforest.

It is late afternoon, and the mists swirling through the treetops are building to rain. At first, there is just a spattering of raindrops, but the precipitation grows and is soon falling steadily. The background whisper grows to a pervasive hiss, emanating from the folliage above as rain lands on the canopy and then falls, spattering off leaves and onto the forest floor.

After a while, the rain subsides, leaving the forest soaked and residual moisture still falling from overhead. With the quiet, birdsong returns. 

And not just any birdsong. This recording was made in the high cloudforests of New Guinea, and many of the species you can hear are found nowhere else on the planet.

So prepare for a soaking in this unique environment.

Andrew comments:

"Recording rain authentically is a challenge. The first problem is that its wet, and electrical equipment really doesn't like 100% humidity. Audio recorders are usually fairly robust, and can be tucked away in a bag. But microphones need to be open to the environment, and are far more sensitive. The majority of them can't handle tropical conditions, let alone full on rain - they snap and fizzle badly. The microphones I use (Sennheiser MKH8020s) perform perfectly in extremes of weather, as this recording demonstrates.

"The second problem is that water drops hit things - like microphones - with a Thunk! The challenge is to shelter the microphones in a way that keeps direct rainfall off them, but allows open exposure to all the subtle sounds of water hitting leaves and the forest floor. Man-made materials, like plastic sheets, are useless because they're so audibly obvious.

"On this occasion, I found a diagonally growing tree trunk, and sheltered the microphones under it, facing outwards to each side. The moss-covered trunk absorbed the rainfall, and kept the mics dry. Meanwhile, I was listening a little way off, and got well soaked!"

 

Audio sample of this album

1.

Highland Rain - New Guinea

1.27.32

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About the audio formats

Mp3:

Mp3 is a universal audio format, playable on iPods, computers, media players and mobile phones.

Mp3 is a compressed format, allowing smaller filesizes, offering faster download times and requiring less storage space on players, but at some expense to the audio quality. Many listeners can't really hear the difference between mp3 and full CD-quality audio, and hence its convenience has lead to it becoming the default option for audio.

Our albums are generally encoded at around 256kbps (sometimes with VBR), balancing optimal audio quality without blowing out filesizes excessively. We encode using the Fraunhoffer algorithm, which preserves more detail in the human audible range than the lame encoder.

Our mp3 files are free of any DRM (digital rights management), so you can transfer them to any of your media technology. You've paid for them, they're yours for your personal use without restriction.

Mp3 files can be burned to disc, either as an mp3 disc, or an audio CD after converting them to a standard audio (.wav or .aif) format first.

FLAC:

FLAC is a high-quality audio format, allowing CD-resolution audio. It is ideal if you wish to burn your files to a CDR, or listen over a high resolution audio system. However files usually require special decoding by the user before playing or burning to disc.

FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is a LOSSLESS compressed audio format. This means that it preserves the full audio quality of a CD, but optimises the filesize for downloading. Typically, file sizes of around 60% are achieved without any degradation or loss of audio quality from the source files at the CD standard of 16bit/44.1kHz.

Obviously the file sizes are larger than for the mp3 version - usually around 300-400Mb for an album, compared to 100Mb for an mp3 album.

In addition, you'll need to know what to do with the files once you've downloaded them. In most cases you'll want to decode the files to wav or aiff, either to import into programs like iTunes, or burn to CDR. Some programs will play flac files natively.

There is a lot of information about flac online (eg: http://flac.sourceforge.net/)