Field Recording

Field Recording

The art of sound recording, outside of the studio.

What is Field Recording?

Field recording is a key part of Soundscape Composition, but can also be an art in its own right.

A field recording of a Country Garden

This is a short recording taken in an English country garden during summer.

It is all to do with microphone choice and placement. It is not about capturing sounds and then editing them later. It is about capturing exactly the sounds that you want in the first place.

The aim of field recording might be to capture a specific sound within a space (for example: the sound of a specific bird), or to capture the whole soundscape (for example: to capture a sense of place and the whole range of sound activity going on).

Field recording takes place ‘on location’, outside of the studio.

What does Field Recording give us?

The art of field recording can allow us to hear places that our ears can’t reach, or to hear sounds from a completely new perspective (just as we see new things by looking at a familiar object through a microscope or magnifying glass).

Underwater Sound

This is a recording of gurgling water made by using a special type of underwater microphone (a hydrophone).

Simon making field recordings in a woodland.

Sharing Sounds

There are many projects which map out and share field recordings across the world. We can use these to hear the sounds of other locations or even to hear what a certain location sounded like in the past.

Check out this project on the Isle of Dogs in London, and explore the sounds around the island.


Chris Watson is famous for his work in Field Recording and has worked to record the sounds on many BBC nature programmes.

Keywords: Acoustic Ecology Environmental sound, Microphone