These are near the last sounds from my broken old Isuzu Wizard V6 4WD, which I parked up a few years ago with the intent of recording it, before sending it away for recycling. My first aim was to capture its faulted engine. Diagnosed with a cracked head its V6 engine was running rough with lost compression. Combined with a broken muffler it presented a unique opportunity so I captured it in that state, and then made it worse: disconnecting spark plugs one by one, until it wouldn’t start at all. I was surprised it would start with only two spark plugs, but it had to be the right two… Running on two cylinders it sounds like a banger and has no power, sounding rough as hell! The passby in the video is very slow because thats all the power it had.
I wasn’t sure how much I could record before it broke down completely, so I started out cautiously. I rigged the car with an MKH8020 wrapped in foam in the engine bay:
Two mics on exhaust: MKH8050 in its Rycote, gaffer taped with foam to the back of the car & a dynamic Sennheiser MD421 mic wrapped in foam. It is interesting to hear the tonal difference between these two mics, but they both reproduce bottom end beautifully.
Usually rigging mics and cables on a car is done very, very carefully for fear of damaging paint but in this case it did not matter. I also used a Sanken CUX100K mics on the back seats for interior. Total 5 mics onboard, creating a lot of options to rebalance and position engine, exhaust and interior.
Exterior I used pair of Sennheiser MKH8040 in one position and MKH70 pair further along the drive, hoping to capture multiple perspectives of the same event eg wide & close, or passby & up stop.
I first recorded the car stationery, as I messed with the spark plugs.
Then moves were captured (with a few engine configurations) including start & away, slow passbys, and up & stops with the 5 onboard mics sync’d with the EXT microphones in two positions.
This ProTools screenshot shows how the onboard & exterior recordings are sync’d for takes.
Next I captured an onboard recording, driving for 15 minutes in varying conditions, uphill and down. But it barely made it home, losing all compression and taking three attempts to get it up my drive. No fast passbys were recorded due to safety concerns.
Onboard recorded 32bit 192kHz with SD MixPre10 II
– ENGINE Sennheiser MKH8020
– EXHAUST Sennheiser MKH8050
– EXHAUST Sennheiser MD421
– INT Sanken CUX100K x2 LR
Exterior recorded 24bit 96kHz with SD788T
– Sennheiser MKH8040 x2 EXT LR
– Sennheiser MKH70 x2 EXT LR
Released multitrack with onboard mics sync’d with EXT mics
24bit 96kHz with full UCS metadata and photos.