Audio - Recording indoor ceiling fan

I’m trying to audio record an accurate audio of an indoor ceiling fan.

I tried with my little digital voice recorder but it captured nothing.

Do I need to rent a parabolic microphone?

Or some other special mic?

If so, what kind of cost range should I expect?

Thanks so much!

Get one for free, see … , (my favorite).

Hey Trebor,

I’m trying to record my fan for diagnosis. A repair guy wants to know exactly how it sounds so I need to record my fan as it makes it’s noises.

But, thanks for sharing that site of fan noises I could sue for films, etc.

Love that!


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I tried with my little digital voice recorder but it captured nothing.

What do you mean, “nothing”? I assume the noise is just not that loud? Did you try the Amplify effect in Audacity?

If you can hear it, you should be able to record it. But… Your ears & brain are able to “locate” the “live” sound coming from one direction while ignoring background noises from other directions. When it’s recorded and played-back through one or two speakers, the signal-to-noise ratio can seem worse and it’s harder to isolate the sound you want to hear over the background noise. (You’ve probably noticed that if you’ve done any audio/video recording with a video camera or smart phone… The background noise always seems when playback the recording, and you may have not even noticed it while you were recording.)

Do I need to rent a parabolic microphone?

No… That won’t be much different from getting the microphone close to the fan while recording.

If it’s low-frequency noise, you need a woofer/subwoofer/earphones capable of reproducing bass. It should be in the recording but you won’t hear bass frequencies on laptop speakers, or a small speaker that might be built-into your digital recorder.

A parabolic won’t help.

What you need, is a mic that records very low. Not many of those around.

The closest I come is a Behringer ECM8000 measurement mic. But even that drops off below 60 Hz.

And then the preamp that follows shouldn’t have a high pass filter, like most have.

It’s not a simple job. Most movie sound guys might fake this sound, in stead of wasting hours trying to get a good recording.

You’ll have to move around a lot, to find the sweet spot, when recording this kind of noise.

Hi cyrano,

You’re spot on.

The fan’s whirring sound is too low for a dvr to pick up even holding the dvr 6 inches below the fan with no background or any other noise around.

I’m guessing here that a Zoom recorder won’t help much either?

I asked a guy who used to record audio for radio shows and he said he’d have to fake stuff sometimes.

I have some problem with the fan.

It works fine on low but on medium and high it sounds like it’s going to spin off the ceiling.

The guy’s who’s trying to help me troubleshoot asked for an audio recording but it seems that’s not going to be feasible without hiring a studio sound guy to capture the sound.

No one within 75 + miles of me fixes ceiling fans. They just dispose of them like far too much of everything these days.


There are contact-microphones which are, (clue in the title), in-contact with the object making the sound.
e.g …

If your voice-recorder is very small & light, you may be able to tape/tack it to a non-rotating part of the fan.
The vibrations will then be transmitted through the case of the recording device, (in-contact with the fan), to the microphone inside.

The deep sound on the recording should be visible on the spectrogram, but will only be reproducible on devices capable of bass, (so probably not audible on laptop speakers).