Case Study: Naturespace


3D Sound Collecting and Recording with Seagate’s SSHD Drives

Naturespace is the leading force behind 3D sound collecting and recording. John Buehler and his team are the leaders in perfectly mixing the sounds of each track that they record, so that each track feels 3D. This takes lots of time and hard drive space to make sure that every sound collected out in the field makes it back to the studio. Once there, those recordings are the foundation that will eventually become a full album. Because people naturally hear in 3D, it is extremely important that John and his team take the time to collect every aspect of the sound, no matter how long it takes gathering it.

John and his team have been recording nature, and storing individual sounds, for over a decade. During these years they have found themselves dealing with a wide range of experiences—bugs, weather, fear, high adrenaline, high frustration and cold rivers—then coming to realize that pristine natural sound “was potentially unattainable.” Nevertheless, being on the constant quest for the pristine natural sound has often pushed John to travel to less than desirable places. Even so, his equipment is always with him, and he is still getting the sounds that he needs to produce top-quality tracks.

While recording in the great outdoors is challenging, it is of course where the sounds are. This is also where John and his team find themselves recording up to 100 hours per trip but where only about 5% of that content is usable. With such a small percentage of the hours of recording being utilized, it is important for the Naturespace team to know they can count on their hard drives to maintain the quality of the recordings. They cannot worry about degradation of their field recordings.

Obtaining quality recordings out in the field requires that everything is portable and lightweight. Not only that, it also requires that their batteries can hold out. John expects all of his microphones, recorders, laptops, cameras, cables and hard drives to be in top-notch shape, ready and dependable when they head out for a recording session. “I could record for 18 hours, but ultimately I wouldn't need more than the best 30 minutes of that particular place.” If for any reason, and if any piece of equipment is not working, then all of that time could be wasted.  

John also understands that, “nature is not in the loop regarding our plans. Once we are out, we stop. And we listen. And we feel. Intuition is the primary tool we use. When all the planning is done, when all the knowledge we can gather is acquired, it is intuition that guides us.” However, nature often has different plans for John and his team. It could be that they are going to have to work to get the sounds needed, or that the gnats are going to buzz around the microphones, making some recordings unusable.  Recording in the natural environment is important, but as John points out,



Data is life. And as an engineer, I am quite focused on the fact that it’s not just sound I’m dealing with, it’s a digital bit stream that has its own requirements. If at any point during the recording session something goes wrong during data collection, then the entire session may have been for naught. I’ve had hard drive failures in the field, but I’ve never lost any data because everything we do is recorded redundantly on multiple, independent solid-state media, and immediately backed up to two different drives.”

Having to depend on only a couple of hard drives is never an ideal situation. That is why John makes sure to have multiple ones at his disposal both on the road and in the studio.



I only use a system with a Seagate® Desktop SSHD inthe studio; I have 8 × 3TB online, and plenty more on the shelf as medium-term archives. In the field, I have successfully used laptops installed with Seagate Laptop SSHD drives.”

A company like Naturespace could not do what they do without the use of Seagate Laptop SSHD drives. With so many hours of sound recordings collected but without the ability in the field to have an Internet connection to upload all of that data to a server requires high-quality hard drives. While nature might not be able to be recreated, Naturespace is doing a wonderful job making it sound as if you are there.

Challenges
  • Collecting data in a challenging environment
  • Not being able to upload data immediately over the Internet
  • Time commitment and the storage capacity needed to collect all necessary sounds
Solution Seagate® Desktop SSHD and Seagate Laptop SSHD
Benefits
  • NAND flash and HDD technology work better together to deliver improved reliability
  • Laptop SSHD: Available in a thinner, 7mm z-height model for ultra-thin, ultra-light laptops
  • Desktop SSHD: Massive 1TB or 2TB capacities combined with SSD-like performance <1>, <2>
  • Backed by a 3-year limited warranty

—By Kelly Brown

1 One terabyte, or TB, equals one trillion bytes when referring to drive capacity. Your computer’s operating system may use a different standard of measurement and report a lower capacity. In addition, some of the listed capacity is used for formatting and other functions, and thus will not be available for data storage. Actual data rates may vary depending on operating environment and other factors.

2 Performance may vary depending on user’s hardware configuration and operating system.

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