The Sounds of Mendocino, CA

Recording waves crashing at Greenwood State Beach in Elk, CA.

Recording some crashing waves at Greenwood State Beach with my “go-to” setup. A modified SASS that’s housing a pair of Sennheiser MKH 20s (seen on the tripod), a Sound Devices 744t (in the Portabrace bag on my shoulder), and HD25-1 headphones.

I recently went on vacation to a town on the northern coast of CA called Mendocino where I was able to record some really amazing sounds. In field recording the location itself is almost always the most important thing. Microphones, placement of said mics, etc. doesn’t make any difference if you’re trying to record something that isn’t interesting to listen to, or is polluted with man-made noise — if you’re trying to avoid getting that in your recordings. Mendocino, CA is a town that has some amazing sights and sounds though, so capturing good recordings was fairly easy — except for the occasional (or sometimes frequent) plane(s) of course. The epitome of a field recordists’ true nemesis is the relentless fleet of planes that seemingly follow us around everywhere we go to record!

I was lucky enough to find myself on several beaches and shorelines with huge rocky cliffs that were not only far removed from the road, but were also far enough away from any major city that there were hardly any cars driving around anyway. I was also fortunate enough to be out recording during a lot of times when the planes actually stopped flying overhead long enough for me to get some great takes at several locations in and around Mendocino.

I brought my “go-to” setup, which includes a modified SASS that houses my stereo pair of Sennheiser MKH 20s, my Sound Devices 744t recorder, and my Sennheiser HD25-1 headphones, so I was fully prepared (gear-wise) to get some good recordings. With a little luck on my side I was able to get some great takes without a car or plane in sight (or close enough to be heard through the mics).

I’ll be adding some sound clips that I was able to record in the Mendocino area to this post soon, so please check back!