Knowsley, UK (August 5, 2020)—Henrik Oppermann, creative director at immersive content specialist Sonosphere, has been building up the company’s immersive sound library by collecting everyday nature sounds in his native Hessen, Germany, using his new 3-D microphone rig.
“Being in lockdown in the countryside offered me a great opportunity to start capturing natural sounds and extremely fragile soundscapes,” he says. “The rig I’m using is very low noise, which works perfectly for capturing detailed ambiences; something like a forest in the early morning or at night oozes with a multitude of sounds.”
Oppermann’s rig consists of four Sennheiser MKH 800 Twin studio condenser microphones connected to a Sound Devices 888 portable mixer-recorder. Windshields, another important element of the rig, are Baby Ball Gag Windshield by Rycote.
“This type of set up works incredibly well for recording delicate ambiences without introducing any additional noise disruptions,” Oppermann explains. “I call it the quietest rig on Earth.”
The microphone arrangement is loosely based on the ESMA (Equal Segment Microphone Array) technique developed by Hyunkook Lee. This, together with the Sennheiser’s AMBEO cube, a larger set-up consisting of nine MKH 800 microphones, were the inspiration behind Oppermann’s rig.
“The externalization effect and depth when you render to binaural or multi-channel speaker systems is just beautiful and has a particularly wide soundstage. The detail you can capture is stunning and that’s what is so special about this rig — the purity of the sound is unprecedented,” says Oppermann.
This unusual microphone set up comes with a higher price tag than a standard rig, but the quality of recordings speaks for itself, according to Oppermann. “It took me a while to realize what you can do with it and how to post-produce immersive recordings. You need quite a bit of knowledge about 3-D sound in general and how it functions. But once you have done your post work, what comes out the other end is awe inspiring.”
Oppermann offers a final word of advice on how to capture nature’s wondrous sounds and translate them into real-life immersive listening experiences. “Do as much research as possible and try to get your hands on an Ambisonic microphone, or any kind of microphone rig that you can build yourself. It’s always a good idea to experiment as much as possible with different recording techniques so you are fully immersed in this world and are familiar with spatial sound. The rest will follow.”
Sonosphere • www.sonosphere.co.uk