Recording Great Sound In Helicopters

In my experience there are three good ways of achieving great sound in helicopters. If you’ve yet to have the experience, they’re really noisy!


Method #1 – Plugging directly into the communications system via a headset jack. Simple right…. Yes if you have an aviations jack adapter in your kit. They’re fat little buggers and these days Trew Audio, for example, sells an adapter cable that you might just want to pick up when you have an extra $90 laying around! Like we all have that! BTW, of course there is a difference between civilians and military so most likely you’ll still have the wrong one! ;-)

Here’s a note that will apply to both Method #1 and Method #2.

The pilots tend to have their vox system set fairly high so it doesn’t activate on softer sounds but the result tends to be that the front end of words get clipped especially on the ride alongs that aren’t used to projecting into a headset worn mic. So ask the pilot to dial the vox down a bit for better response time and smoother sentences.

Method #2 – So you don’t have that handy aviations adapter but you still want that vox sound, grab an unused headset and place a lav inside an earpiece and carefully tape the ear cups together for isolation. This also works if someone needs to wear the headset by adding a bit of cotton cloth in the cup with the lav for isolation. I’ve done this with pilots flying the A6 Intruder with stunning results!

Method #3 (my favorite) – Most of the time I don’t want that voxy headset sound so I carefully run a lav down the mic arm of the headset. Blending the wire in with the arm and place the lav inside the foam windscreen. Giving you fantastic sound with nice helicopter ambiance to round out the overall sound picture.


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"Being a great mixer is knowing what sounds good and what doesn't as it applies to the situation you find yourself in..." - Thom Shafer