[Archive] I Recorded Some Rain and Put It On The Internet

(1:59:45, 274MB)

Hi. If you enjoy sitting underneath the porch or carport, listening to rain hitting the tin roof with a thunderstorm nearby, go ahead and listen to that file above, and relax. This is an unlooped soundscape created from three hours of audio, recorded from a Zoom H4n handheld recorder and edited using the REAPER digital audio workstation using several ReaJS effects.

In the meantime, let me go into a bit more detail on how something like this gets done.

I don’t really plan to record these soundscapes, more often than not I’m just taking advantage of the current conditions or conditions of later in the day. In this case I had attempted to record something earlier that week, but the resulting rain audio I ended up with was less than ten minutes long. This time, it was very much spur of the moment as I did not expect any rainfall, or as much rainfall as we ended up getting.

The Zoom H4n was placed in an obscured location underneath our home’s carport, where it managed to be protected from most, if not all wind. This also meant the sound needed to be adjusted as it was recording the rain through several layers of glass. After this setup, the recorder was left to record as long as its battery would allow (in Stamina Mode). As the AA batteries in the recorder hadn’t been replaced since early 2019, where I’d only used the recorder once for an hour - plus the few hours I’d attempted recording last week - this ended up being a three hour session, but more than enough to capture the main section of rainfall.

I’ve done my best to use REAPER after the fact to remove most things that would bother me in a rain recording (like people coming in and out to watch the rain, most voices, our dog playing around in the wet weather, or my neighbor’s loud motorcycle), but it is not perfect. These noises are cut and the adjacent audio crossfaded into each other, so there should not be any noticeable cuts.

In terms of post-processing, I used a couple of things here to get the audio EQ where my personal tastes are:

  • adjusted the stereo width (made it sound more ‘3D’ than it already is)
  • added an Exciter preset (that is, lifts the higher frequencies - which in this case makes you feel like I’m right in the middle of the rain)
  • adjusted volume
  • brought down the loudest rain with a compressor, and added a -3db limiter for good measure

Afterward, it is rendered, I give it a test listen (I do a lot of that as I edit, really), and then I upload it, or just hold onto it for future relaxation.