A multi-disciplinary journey in music, sound, and field recording.

Whining Flashguns

Posted: August 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: found sound objects, gear, sound design
"Flash directly into the microphone, please."

"Flash directly into the microphone, please."

As an avid photographer and aficionado of the Strobist school of lighting, I’ve got a mixture of modern, high-tech flashguns and some older ones I’ve picked up for cheap on Craigslist. Their age discrepancies don’t have any impact on how well they work…but my aging flash units sure sound strange.

After taking a shot with any flash, you hear almost always hear the flashgun’s capacitors recharging for the next shot. But my Nikon SB-26 (about 15 years old now) makes this warbling, incredibly”digital” sound. They sound like a 2400 baud modem that’s half asleep and dreaming, or a sweeping sample-start effect heard in glitch-centric music. The sound is incredibly soft and high-pitched, so only my large condenser mic has the sufficiently low noise floor to capture the sound without a lot of hiss.

Possibly useful for other recharging or power-up effects, some grimy and gritty digital process, or as part of a data-transmission sound effect..?

Whine of an aging Nikon SB26 Speedlight by noisejockey
[Røde NT1a mic into Sound Devices 702 recorder]

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