I was asked if I could incorporate some of the sounds of a gas turbine engine starting up and shutting down into the piece of music I’m writing for the engineering animation. Of course I can! I grabbed my headphones, a couple of Beyer Dynamic M201TGs and a Marantz PMD661 from uni and cycled to the Siemens plant in Lincoln. I watched a thrilling health and safety video, was given a pair of steel toe-capped brogues(!), a set of ear protectors and a tour of the plant. It’s huge. Once we were in the testing room, I was shown which of bits of the engine did what and what kind of sound levels I should expect – around 180dB. I attenuated everything as much as I could and tested the mics. I started recording and they fired the machine up, with my ear defenders on all I could do was watch the meters and cross my fingers. Everything looked fine and then the engine wound down, it had failed to switch to its next phase. Great, I thought, more sounds for me. The engine was re-booted and this time it ramped up into its operational phase. It was LOUD. The red clip lights were flashing like mad but there was nothing I could do, the engine would stay in this phase for the rest of the day.
Luckily, there is no obvious clipping in the recordings and, in any case, I’ll probably mangle the sounds into the track. Will they fit the music? God knows, but it was great fun sourcing the sounds and working without clicking a mouse for a couple of hours. Feel free to grab the recording from Soundcloud. Thanks to Mel Fidlin for making this happen.