Ned Soseman /
02.14.2013
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Sound Devices handles dB and heat extremes
The portable audio gear holds up under the harsh rigors of field production.

Specializing in providing professional audio content for film, television, commercials and video games, Watson Wu Studios in Boca Grande, FL, has come to rely heavily on Sound Devices portable mixers, recorders and interface gear for field recording, voice-over and music recording session projects.

Composer/sound designer/field recordist Watson Wu has worked on several projects that use Sound Devices gear. Most recently, his company completed a project for Korean video game Metro Conflict by Red Duck, which is slated to be released next year. Sound Devices 788T, 552, 442, 744T and MixPre-D were all used on location in order to capture several firearms recordings.

Watson Wu Studios also recently completed work on the AAA video game "Assassin's Creed 3," where Wu was contracted to find, arrange and record the sounds of full-scale cannons being deployed. With an abundance of microphones placed strategically around the cannons and in the background, Wu and his team captured more than 24 channels of audio using various Sound Devices 744T and 722 recorders, 302 mixers and a 702 recorder.

Several years ago, Wu had the opportunity to listen to various unedited firearms recordings from colleagues who used Sound Devices recorders. He was extremely impressed with how the microphone brands sounded so different from each other. Before that, most guns sounded like popcorn, and this was true from one brand of microphone to the next. Wu’s experiences and observations in the field prompted him to rent, and then eventually buy, his first Sound Devices field recorder, the 702. He now uses several Sound Devices products regularly, including the 442 mixers, the USBPre 2 audio interface and the 788T-SSD recorder.

During the production for Dodge’s Guts, Glory, Ram TV commercials, Wu relied on his Sound Devices 442 mixer to maintain control of beefy truck sounds. Wu has also worked on projects for the NBA, NHL and Lexus, where he composed and recorded music using various microphones connected to the Sound Devices USBPre 2 audio interface.

During a few projects, Wu worked particularly long days at outdoor sessions, where the temperature rapidly rose by 30 degrees. At the peak of a super hot day, the non-Sound Devices brands started to fail. They either stopped responding or required constant adjustment of the recording gains. During all of this, the Sound Devices gear we had just kept going without any problems.

For current undisclosed projects, Wu is using his Sound Devices 442 mixers, along with a 552 production mixer, to go in front of his 778T-SSD recorder, as well as a 702 recorder. This set-up is being used to record full automatic weapons and exotic vehicles.

Wu incorporates Sound Devices gear into his portable set-up for vehicle engine recordings by rigging DPA, Rode and other lavalier mics inside the engine compartment. He then routes the mic cables to 442 mixers and sometimes a rented 552 production mixer. In addition, he also places various Sennheiser, Rode and Shure dynamic mics onto the body of the vehicle to capture exhaust sounds. The Sound Devices mixers’ incredibly fast responding limiters allow the recorders to capture these controlled extreme sounds. For external pass-by shots, Wu either uses Sennheiser MKH-418s or Neumann RSM-191s stereo shotgun mics connected to a Sound Devices 702 recorder.



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