Recording rain is incredibly simple. However, the quality of your recording will depend greatly on the quality of your recording device. I recorded a short rainstorm at my house with my phone and my outdoor recording device and put the results in this article. I’ll show you exactly what I devices I used and you can listen to their respective recordings below.
With the right recording device you only need to find a dry spot and point the microphone(s) at the sound of the rain!
Basic Requirements for Recording Rain
The most basic requirement to record rain is a handheld recording device. Although I suppose you could use a normal corded microphone through an open window. So let me rephrase.
The most basic requirement to record rain is a recording device that can reach the outdoors in some way.
That’s really all you need.
In order to use or edit that recording in any meaningful way you’ll likely also need a computer and a way to connect your recording device to your computer.
My Two Recordings
We got some rain at my home last night, so I decided to record it with my two handheld recording devices:
- My phone (Galaxy s6 Edge Plus)
- A Tascam DR-05X
My recordings didn’t require any special setup or techniques, I literally just pointed the microphone out towards the storm and got some audio footage. Let’s see how it turned out.
First attempt: my phone (Galaxy s6 Edge Plus)
I like to try and record everything with my phone because it’s a piece of equipment that most people have, and sometimes it ends up working as well (or better) than any of my other recording devices.
For example, when I tried recording my heartbeat, my phone was the only recording device to actually succeed.
So when I heard the rain starting I just walked out my front door and stood on my front porch underneath the overhang (so I wasn’t getting rained on and neither was my phone).
I opened up the recording app I use, which is an Android app called “Voice Recorder,” I pointed my phone’s microphone out toward the rain and started recording.
Here’s what I got:
Not too shabby, but you can hear a decent amount of static in addition to the sound of the storm. While you can faintly hear the thunder in the background, the static from the phone’s recording is making the finer details of the storm’s sound difficult to make out.
I can’t speak for any other phone’s on the market, but the final result from my Galaxy s6 was good, but not quite what I had hoped for.
It definitely works as white noise and should suffice for some relaxing background sounds, but it just doesn’t completely capture the feeling of standing in the rain.
Second attempt: the Tascam DR-05X
I got this recording device as a gift several months ago. I had been wanting to integrate natural and outdoor sounds into my music recording, but I didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on expensive gear. I picked the Tascam DR-05X out simply because it is built to record outdoors, it’s very reasonably priced and it had great reviews.
After getting a recording from my phone I ran back to get the Tascam and decided to try recording from two different spots.
The first half of my recording is from sticking the recorder out my back door. I stood inside and pointed the device out the opened door. There are a lot of trees in my back yard and I wanted to see if I could hear a difference with the front yard, which has very few trees. The second half of the recording is from the same location as the phone recording, under the overhang on my front porch.
Here is what I got:
Yes that is the same rainstorm from the previous recording, and yes you can hear my daughter and wife in the first half of the recording (I actually liked the talking in the background, so didn’t bother recording a second time).
There is quite a difference in quality here from the phone recording.
There is practically no unwanted static and you can hear every aspect of the storm clearly. You can obviously hear the rise and fall of the rain as it get more/less intense or as the wind picks up. You can hear the distinctly different sound of water drops hitting my front porch as the drip off the house. And you can hear the distant rumble of the thunder.
I feel quite pleased with the final result here. I wouldn’t mind putting a clip of the rain with my daughter’s repeated “It’s wet out here!” at the beginning of a recorded song.
A Few More Quick Thoughts on the Tascam
The Tascam DR-05X does some things very well, and it does other things poorly. It’s made to capture all the sound in a given environment, so it’s great for recording things like natural/outdoor sounds and live music performances. It also does well with recording conversations.
But it doesn’t do a good job recording isolated sound. If you want to record single instruments, vocals, or try to isolate a particular sound out of a noisy environment, the DR-05X is not the right tool for the job.
If you’re thinking about buying one just think about the types of things you’ll use it for. My top two uses are for recording natural and outdoor noises like wind, rain, traffic, etc. and for recording live musical performances. It can be a great way to relive a concert or a great way to record your own group to get feedback on how you sound.
Recording the rain is actually quite simple as long as you have the right tools. You need a recording device that can reach outdoors and a dry spot to record. In many cases your phone will be enough to record outdoor sounds, but in my case the quality of the phone recording was subpar.
If you want a higher quality recording, you’ll likely have to buy a recording device intended for outdoor use. I used my Tascam DR-05X, which is very affordable, and had great results recording a thunderstorm outside my house.