Wildlife Sound Recording. By John B. Fisher. Pelham Books, London, 1977. 173 pages; 16 black-and-white photographs; 17 figures. £5-95

Many would-be sound recordists are discouraged by the thought that the subject is too technical. This book explains the fundamental principles of sound recording and offers much practical advice, yet succeeds in being thoroughly readable. Although a number of manufacturers and their current models of recorder or microphone are cited, there is little that will become out-of-date. The choice between a cassette machine or open-reel-- perhaps the most crucial decision for the beginner--is treated in a most lucid and helpful manner. Yet, there is plenty for the more experienced recordist, with diagrams showing how to construct a home-made parabola, filter circuits and microphone pre-amplifiers. The author is a self-confessed recordist-turned-naturalist and this explains why perhaps the book's weakest aspect is its treatment of the biological side, for which the help of a co-author was enlisted for the two chapters entitled 'Identifying birds from their sounds' and 'Some bird sounds of possible interest'. The first contains information treated much more comprehensively in the many field guides, while the second quite fails to highlight any of the more scientific aims of bird sound recording. There is no mention whatever, for example, of the sound library movement and the scientific value conferred to a recording by systematic documentation. In fact, the possibility of furthering the study of behaviour by sound recording is never given a mention. 

Issue 9
Start Page: 
Sellar, P. J
Macmillan, A. T
Grant, P
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