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Recording Toilets


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Easy enough to do, but probably much harder to get sounding right on playback. The problem, I think, would be the reverberations masking the original sound.


Try directional microphones; maybe pointing a rifle into the toilet from outside...



The SFX guys on the Orson Wells radio version of "War Of The Worlds" used a toilet flushing, slowed down, for the artillery fire!!

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He tried a dynamic mic from desk to MD, this didn't work.


Does anyone have any suggestions?


To start with a dynamic mic probably isn't the best for this job, as suggested before I would use a directional condensor mic.


I recorded the sound effect of a toilet flushing using a se300 with a 91 head.


Important to consider <particularly relivant to the getting it to sound right during playback> is the room in which the toilet you are recording is situated.


A large bathroom will give you a larger reverberation time and create a completely different effect to a small downstairs bathroom.


Finally I would not use a minidisc to record the sound effect due to the compresson employed by the minidisc system. I know there are many debates over this, especially with the current codecs employed being very good, however I still believe it is not best practice to record mastered effects using a compressed format. This is particularly relivant if you intend to proces the sound effect on an audio editing suite...reverb is particularly nasty!



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I had this "challenge" a couple of years back...and spent ages playing with this recording!


First off, I agree with the use of a condensor mic. In ended up with either the 391 (as previously mentioned) or a 451EB...honestly don't remember which I finally used but they're relatively similar.


Second, WCs tend to be hollow, echoey rooms, not conducive to good recordings. In my case, I was able to record the downstairs "cloakroom" in my house...a room so tiny that there's not much room for reverberance! :blink: I cut the room echo even more by draping some old duvets around the place.


Third, the sound of a toilet flushing is actually way more complex than anyone would think...there's the mechanical clank of the flush mechanism, the first rush of water through the siphon, another rush as the water enters the bowl, draining noises as the water goes "down the pipe" and various gurgles etc to end with. I played quite a lot with mic positions, and in the end actually mixed together several takes from different positions for the final effect.


In my case I was able to just string a mic cable from my home studio to the loo, so no minidisks etc involved.


Re-reading the above, I can't believe the effort I went to!


Have fun!




PS....if you can't be bothered to do all this, feel free to email me off list...I'd be happy to send you a couple of variations.



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