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Sony PCM-D1 Survives Hyena Bite

Jim Kinsey

Jim Kinsey, co-owner of Shoshone Wilderness Productions in Hamilton, Mo., took a Sony PCM-D1 digital field recorder on a 21-day African safari. The game plan was to capture high-quality animal sound effects along with footage he was shooting for a stock library.

One evening Kinsey left the unit in an enclosed leopard blind his team had built to surreptitiously film the animals. When he returned the next morning, the PCM-D1 was gone. At first, he thought that poachers had stolen the unit, but the ground around the blind was peppered with distinctive hyena tracks. After careful search of the area, they found the unit.

“It was covered with mud, and the furry windscreen had been chewed up and spat out,” Kinsey reports. “But the stainless steel roll bar protected the twin electret condenser mics. There were two serious canine bite dents on the front, the glass covering the VU meters was scratched, but not broken, and the rear battery compartment lid was cracked. Considering the fact that hyenas have the strongest bone crushing jaws in the jungle, the PCM-D1 came through remarkably unscathed.”

The value of the rugged titanium case was driven home when Kinsey secured a spare battery pack in the unit with black electrical tape and powered it up. “It worked flawlessly throughout the two-week shoot,” he says. “We captured elephant trumpets, leopard roars, monkey cries and wild bird calls. The sound quality is impeccable. I purchased the unit because of its reputation for extremely high-quality audio, and because I’m generally working in rugged wilderness locations. I need a lightweight handheld recorder that will hold up under severe conditions. The titanium body is clearly worth the investment. With 96kHz/24-bit noise-free recording, a 4 GB internal Flash memory and built-in X-Y configured mics, I’ve been able to capture extraordinary stereo sound in some seriously extreme locations. It’s like taking a full-blown recording studio along in your knapsack.”

Kinsey is also a partner in He has shot for National Geographic’s Ultimate Explorer, Women Smoke Jumpers and many outdoor video productions, including the 2007 Silver Telly Award-winning The Nolser Story for the Nolser Bullet Company.

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