Noise levels

The noise level here in Canada is nothing compared to what we had to endure in Brazil : the constant barking from the neighbors dogs every time someone walks by in front of their house, the noisy motorcycles, the vendors announcing loudly what they’re selling by yelling or playing their jingles on loudspeakers from their bike, car trunk, or pickup truck (eggs, cheese, bread, sweets, or gas canisters — they all came around at least once a week if not everyday) and, of course, the neighbors who honk the horn when they leave (to say bye?) and when they arrive home (to have someone open the gate for them). Those were the daily, constant, background noises. There were also the occasional days when a neighbor decided to a party and every one else, many streets over, had to enjoy whichever loud music was being blasted through (again) loudspeakers, for as long as the party was going. Brazilians are just loud people. All the time. I don’t think I ever got used to it.

During our last year in Brazil, we were living in a dead end street in a relatively quiet neighborhood. But even so, in contrast, when we arrived in Canada, here in the house where we currently live, which is not even in a dead end street, it was shockingly quiet.

And yet, when I started recording, I became aware of the many noises that I would unconsciously tune out: the train that blows his many whistles at the railway crossing some streets away on one side, the ships that blow their whistles too when they pass by the river (as they pass under the bridge, I think) on the other side, the neighbor that mows his lawn in the summer, the occasional airplane, etc. The house makes many sounds inside too: the fridge, the water pipes, the heating system, even my laptop fan makes a small humming sound!

So I had to find the quietest room in the house, which was surprisingly not upstairs where the bedrooms are, because I could hear too much noise from the streets (cars passing by), even with closed windows, but downstairs in the basement… Yes, the dungeon of the house. Small windows, very little light : not necessarily the most agreeable space, but indeed the quietest.

Besides, as I would learn soon enough, producing an audio book is : 10% of the time recording and 90% of the time editing. I absolutely need to have the best recording booth possible (which should ideally stay in the same condition during the duration of the whole project), but once I have the raw recording, I can bring my laptop/headphones/mouse upstairs with me and do the editing wherever I want in the house.

I don’t know why I can wax lyrical so much about something so… ugly? ordinary? boring? Maybe because to me, even if I had to set it up in the basement where it’s cold during winter and humid in the summer, my recording studio is functional, extra-ordinary, and far from boring (the job I get done with it is not boring to me anyway).

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The desk with the bright light (it’s my light therapy lamp — I had to lessen the intensity for the picture) and the microphone is where I record. The surrounding soundproofing is done with moving blankets. The structure holding them are 3 clothes racks (1 at the back  that I found for $5 on Kijiji, and 2 better ones on each side that I bought at Ikea), topped with a piece of plywood that was lying around the house and some cardboard (to prevent sagging), all topped with another layer of blanket. D was thinking of building me a real solid wooden frame, but it would have been heavier and harder to take apart when we need to move again.

I covered the table top with a small blanket too and I put a carpet on the floor to absorb as many little noises as possible.

The white desk is where I usually put my laptop, a bit further away from the microphone to avoid picking up the hum of the fan (very small noise, but the less sounds I need to edit, the better).

7 comentários sobre “Noise levels

  1. Ah, super de découvrir tout ça ! Ça a dû être une vraie aventure d’aménager tout ça. Un vrai casse-tête, tous ces petits bruits… Il y a quelques mois, j’ai fait quelques enregistrements dans un “vrai” studio (des petits textes et dialogues pour des exercices de compréhension orale en français, haha). Ça fait une drôle de sensation de se retrouver dans un endroit aussi feutré, où tous les sons sont absorbés.

    Sinon, quand j’habitais chez mes beaux-parents à l’Ile Maurice, il y avait aussi un tapage d’enfer à toute heure de la journée… Ils habitent juste à côté de la principale voie d’accès à la (petite) capitale, Port-Louis, et c’était un défilé constant de bus/camions/voitures/motos/vélomoteurs pétaradants. Et pareil, la musique à fond des voisins qui ont décidé de faire la fête, les camions de glace avec leur petite musique, les vendeurs divers… Heureusement, après, on a habité dans un quartier très calme, une impasse aussi. J’étais tellement soulagée… et je suis toujours triste pour mes beaux-parents qui doivent encore supporter ce boucan quotidiennement.

    (Désolée pour ce commentaire à rallonge… ça fait du bien de raconter de choses, parfois 😉

    • Ahhh, j’aime les commentaires à ralonge ! Oui, pour le studio il a fallu que je fasse beaucoup de recherche pour traficoter quelque chose d’efficace et de compatible avec mon budget minime. Heureusement que mon premier projet a déjà remboursé l’investissement initial.

Oi! Tudo bom?

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