Field Experiment No1: Bees

“One idea that’s always intrigued me, can you record the sound of bees and play it back to them? Would they be attracted to it as if it were coming from their own source…”

My name is Sam Nightingale and I’ve been a freelance documentary and television sound recordist for over 10 years.

I have a passion for sound and music, and am lucky enough to have had the opportunity over the years to record in some pretty unique environments; however, one place I’d never placed my ears was inside a hive before.

Growing up in the countryside on a farm, the natural environment around me has hugely influenced me, and we’ve had beehives on the farm as long as I can remember.

Bees, given their integral place in nature, appealed to me and the chance to work with local beekeeper Ian, next to my family farm was unique. I instantly loved the idea of the honeycomb analogy, and as a proud owner of B&W 801’s this was a unique opportunity to collaborate.

A favourite technique of mine for naturalistic environment and close up stereo recording, is the use of a spaced pair of DPA4060 omnidirectional microphones mounted on a coat hanger, this is a trick I learned from wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson (who’s probably been one of my biggest wildlife recording inspirations). With this setup recording to my Sound Devices 788T digital recorder, I was able to place the microphones right inside the hive.

Being the first time working with bees I was blown away by the sounds of the internal workings of the hive. We tried a variety of different microphone techniques around the hive including a MS stereo pair but in the end my choice set up for this experiment was the spaced pair in the entrance to the hive, which we replayed through the Bowers & Wilkins T7 speaker.

The opportunity to work on a project that was at such a cross section of my interests was fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found this experience fascinating.

Watch to find out the results of our first field experiment:

To find out more about this portable,
wireless Bluetooth speaker: Explore the T7


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