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Beverly Goes Wild with Sennheiser

Field recordist uses drop rigs to capture soundscapes, spot effects and surround ambiences for sound design.

Thomas Rex Beverly
Thomas Rex Beverly

Philadelphia, PA (June 15, 2020)—In the midst of a challenging global pandemic, field recordist Thomas Rex Beverly, whose sound libraries have been used extensively in the world of film and television, ventured out to Washington state’s Eastern Cascades for three weeks armed with his Sennheiser microphone array.

During the trip, Beverly utilized his Sennheiser mic array in a variety of drop rigs to capture an extensive body of soundscapes, including avalanches, whispering ponderosa pines, canopy winds from the Cascade mountain range and many other audio sensory experiences. “The Sennheiser mics were recommended by a lot of field recordists, since they have a reputation of doing really well in high humidity and extreme temperature environments,” Beverly states. “When I have to leave a mic out in the woods for two weeks, it’s really important for me to have microphones that have the ability to handle temperature fluctuations and high humidity.”

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All his live monitoring in the field has been on Sennheiser HD 280 PRO headphones. “I have a few pairs of these, and they are great because they have quite a bit of natural isolation and they are super durable. Plus they just sound great.”

Beverly’s current set-up is a double mid-side configuration consisting of two Sennheiser MKH 8040s and an MKH 30, running into a Sound Devices MixPre-3 II or MixPre 6. “My rig has developed over the years,” he continues. “I started with a mid-side rig with an MKH 50 and MKH 30. Then I got two MKH 8040s and I started recording in surround using the double mid-side configuration because I love the flexibility. I can record spot effects for sound design or surround ambiences all in one blimp. In general, I am always trying to record more sounds with one set of mics, versus bringing all kinds of mics and recording different perspectives.”

In some cases, he is able to capture detailed recordings by leaving “drop rigs” in the woods, because it is often not safe to remain in a single place for too long or because the daylight hours can be short. “Ideally, I love to sit and listen – but in some locations, a grizzly could sneak up on you and that could be dangerous. It just depends on the terrain and the environment.”

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