I like to think of natural silence as the canvas upon which other sounds are painted. (Dr. Timothy C Mullet)
This was my first parabolic microphone system: a 53 cm Rochè fiberglass dish that I bought directly from Jean Claude Rochè‘s Oiseaus Musicien (now Sittelle) in the early 1980s.
The parabolic dish is quite heavy when compared to the current polycarbonate and PetG dishes. I paired one of the best dynamic microphones out there at the time, the Beyerdynamic M88N(C). This Hypercardioid microphone, with slight variations (M88-TG), is still in production today. I liked this combination very much for the “roundness” and “warmth” of the sound that was obtained from it, although it is a microphone inserted in the dish, which notoriously degrades its quality compared to the microphone free from parabolic disc.
To be honest, I would say that even today it still remains the best combination to use in the dish if you want a sound as natural as possible, personal opinion of course!
This is a recording I made in 1990, as soon as the Sony TCD-D3 DAT was released. At that time, a TCD-D3 paired with a Beyerdynamic M88 and the Parabola Rochè, was for me the best portable ensemble for field recording. In the background we can hear several Italian sparrows (Passer italiae) singing, a species that has become rare in just about ten years (from 2010 to 2020).
However, the signal obtained from it was very low, even using the parabolic dish, incomparably low when compared with the signal obtainable by using a condenser microphone. But I liked the sound that came from its use: what could I have done to get more recording signal?
After a few years of use, I came in contact with Klas Strandberg, the owner of Telinga. Talking to him about various things (first of all the purchase of one of the first productions of the Telinga Twin Science model), I explained my problem, and he said to me: “Marco, no problem at all, I can solve it for you, I’ll build you an ad hoc preamplifier (designed by Sten Wahlström, the father of the stereo parabolic microphone) for your dynamic microphone, with which you will get an amplified signal without having to introduce noise from the using of this preamp”, …the rest is history!
The microphone preamplifier built by Klas Strandberg to Sten Wahlström’s specifications