Vince Hancock

is creating Documentary Audio Recordings
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About Vince Hancock

Click here to hear some sounds right now.

Thunderstorms were a rarity in my childhood. Once a year or so, they'd push their way into the Sacramento skies, rip apart the suburban silence around our house, and continue ahead.

After years of fiddling with tape recorders, I eventually gathered small clues to the mystery of how to capture these monsters.  Experiments finally led to a recording rig that hung from a hook in my bedroom.  Before the first peal of distant thunder had stopped reverberating through the neighbors' cabinets of fine china, I was out the door with my gear.

Two external mics, secured in X-Y formation with zip ties to an old badminton racket, meant that true stereo imaging was possible.  In the backyard, I stood in a clearing and held my improvised mic holder as still and as high as I could above my head.  I steeled my nerves against the menacing growling that crept over the horizon and I resolved not to flinch.  Even with the one-handed convenience of the badminton racket, any handling noise could still mar the recording.  I stood stock-still as the lightning flashed, wiping all color from the grass, the side of our house, the terracotta tiles and my memory.  Thunder came right behind it, erupting in deafening explosions.

The noise subsided, I went inside, and hung my gear back up for next time.

My mom questioned the wisdom of holding a metal 
stick in the air, upon which perched two metal microphones, connected by wires to a device with batteries (liable to explode with even a mismatch of types, went the warning).

But I had gotten the recording.  A year is a long time to wait.

Since then, my appreciation for other sounds--often, more subtle--has increased.  My time in radio developed my skills for listening to speech and meaning.  But attention to ambient and environmental sounds has stirred questions about traditions, seasonal rhythms and the meaning of progress.  

If car mechanics can diagnose problems by hearing bumps, rattles and shudders, what could we learn from our own time spent actively listening?


Does this mean I have pay to hear the sounds you record?

Nope.  You can find most of them for free, here:

So if I don't have to, why should I?

You should only pledge if you like this sort of stuff, and it doesn't break the bank.  No pursuit is worth insufficient-fund fees.  Pledges go towards gradual equipment upgrades and other resources to make and share more recordings (see the Goals section).

If I decide not to, does that mean you'll quit?

No.  Like anything else, patronage means it happens more often, and sooner, rather than later.

Do small amounts add up, such that they function like tiny, classified ads--thus providing a revenue stream?

Yes, they certainly add up, and you can see some of my notes and ephemera, as a small thank-you.  But this isn't a get-rich scheme.  Why are you even talking like that?  Please, stop watching infomercials.
$4 of $15 per recording

Boom Arm

Attaches to a standard mic stand. Allows for the extension of a microphone out from the vertical stand. Useful for placement of mic above streams and uneven terrain. And for reaching canyon-dwelling pterodactyls.

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Recent posts by Vince Hancock

By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 9 exclusive posts
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 9 exclusive posts