DPA mics record ‘Insects & Swarms’ for new sound library

DPA’s d:screet 4060 miniature microphones were recently selected by sound recordist David Kamp to put together audio for a new sound library collection entitled Insects & Swarms.

For the project, Kamp recorded thousands of flies, bees, mosquitos and locusts, some of which were recorded individually while others were captured as part of a large insect swarm.

Kamp, who records and designs sound for animation, art and museum installations, as well as for commercials, short films, games and VR, chose d:screet 4060 miniature microphones for their sound quality and because they were small enough to fit inside tight places such as bee hives and terrariums full of flies.

Based in Berlin, Kamp decided a few years ago to actively go out hunting for sound effects and ambiences to use in his project work. This newly found interest led him to form Shapingwaves, a company that makes these sounds available to other sound designers as themed collections. Kamp’s Insects & Swarms collection began when he needed a sound effect of a long continuous wing buzz for a project he was working on and realised that his personal sound library did not cover this.

The project started in his studio, but Kamp was soon recording beehives in Germany and cicadas in remote olive groves in Greece. With the help of a doctor friend at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin he managed to capture mosquito sounds by recording the insects in the Institute’s massive Insectariums.

Kamp’s collection was recorded at 96 kHz with the microphones running into either a Sound Devices 633 or a Sonosax SX-R4+ recorder.

“They were ideal for some extreme close-ups and other unusual perspectives where many other microphones simply wouldn’t fit,” Kamp explained. “I’d had good experiences using them for stealth ambience recordings for a Korean city sound collection I made in Seoul last year, so I knew the sound quality would be excellent. The big advantage of the d:screet 4060 mics over other bigger condenser microphones is their tiny size – capsule and cable.

“For the bee hive sounds, I used the 4060s in many different places: on the exterior left and right of the entrance to get close pass by sounds, and between the racks containing the hives,” he continued. “Some of my favourite recordings were done by placing them inside the hive’s box only inches away from the insects. It sounds like being in another world."

Despite close exposure to creatures most people would run away from, Kamp says he has never been stung by any insect bigger than a mosquito in his entire life. Insects & Swarms is now available through Shapingwaves and Kamp has already used some of the sounds on animated short films.