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Recording the opening "pop" of a wine bottle

Technical Details

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There is little justification for recording a fraction-of-a-second sound-effect in stereo, and the final .WAV file was produced in mono to keep the file size as low as possible. But, while recording the pop, we decided to record these other sounds too:

  1. Screwing in the cork-screw
  2. The "pop" as the cork is removed from the bottle
  3. Removing the cork from the cork-screw
  4. Pouring two glasses of wine
  5. The "chink" of two glasses beign touched together

Pouring wine into two glasses could have a meaningful stereo image, so we used a pair of Rhode NT2 large diaphragm condenser microphones in a standard co-incident stereo pair configuration, about 1 metre from the action.

The process of setting recording levels was great fun and involved opening several wine bottles and pouring their contents!

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Joemeek VC1Q microphone pre-amps were used on each channel. Tone controls and enhancer were switched out, but compression was switched in at about 2:1 with a medium threshold, fast attack (1ms) and 1 second release.

Analogue to digital conversion was performed at 24 bit, 44.1K using channels of the Spirit 328 console. The digital signal was taken via a MOTU 2408 direct to hard disk under the control of Steinberg Wavelab 3.

Each bottle opening was recorded, and checked for level overloads. Once a clean recording was achieved, this "take" was retained.

The final stereo "take" was archived to CD ROM, then Wavelab was used to trim the very brief "pop" from the remainder of the recording. The final duration of about half a second was mainly the reverberation tail. The file was normalised, and Apogee UV22 dither applied to reduce to 16 bit, then re-sampled to an 11k .WAV file optimised file size.

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