Sound Devices Explores Cave of Crystals

Sound recordist Charles "Chick" Davey turned to Sound Devices' 744T digital audio recorder and 442 field mixer when faced with recording audio in Mexico's Cave of Crystals.
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Naica, Mexico (July 12, 2012)—Sound recordist Charles "Chick" Davey turned to Sound Devices' 744T digital audio recorder and 442 field mixer when faced with recording audio in Mexico's Cave of Crystals.

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Located in the mining town of Naica in the middle of Northern Mexico's Chihuahuan Desert, the Cave of Crystals is situated deep underground and features one of the harshest environments on earth. Connected to the Naica Mine, which is nearly 1,000 feet below the surface, the Cave of Crystals' main chamber contains giant selenite/gypsum crystals-some of the largest natural crystals ever found.

Davey and his Sound Devices gear descended into the heart of the mine, where furnace-like heat and searing humidity can kill a person in minutes. "The main challenge faced during this shoot was moisture and heat," says Davey, who was recording a feature story for the Nine Network Australia news program, 60 Minutes.

"With stifling, 100-percent humidity and temperatures hovering around 118 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius), this meant the Sound Devices gear was basically covered in beads of moisture within minutes of entering the cave. In no time, the gear became hot to the touch, and I was worried it would not operate properly. However, my experience with Sound Devices gear and its reputation put my concerns at ease and it once again performed admirably under these extreme conditions."

Another challenge Davey faced was navigating the jagged cave floor. "Just moving around in general was quite difficult, as the ground was very uneven, and time was always a factor while inside the cave because we could only enter for short periods at a time," adds Davey. "Temperatures were hot and the humidity was ridiculous, but the Sound Devices gear never gave up. The 744T and 442 faced up to the environment without any real dramas. There were no break downs and the audio was never compromised."

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