Asbjoern Andersen

Want to know what goes into making sound effects libraries? Go on Alaskan recording adventures with acclaimed field recordist Thomas Rex Beverly below:
Written by Thomas Rex Beverly
Please share:

I was lucky to have the opportunity to visit Alaska in June 2019. I have been inspired to travel to Alaska ever since reading One Man’s Wilderness by Richard Proenneke and The Place Where You Go to Listen by John Luther Adams. The endless light of the arctic summer is a magical place for field recording.

My Adventure Getting to Alaska

  1. One commercial flight from Philadelphia to Anchorage
  2. One bush plane flight to Lake Clark National Park
  3. One 5 mile boat ride across Lake Clark
  4. 120 miles hiking in search of recording locations

I needed to arrive in Anchorage, AK by 7:00am to catch my bush plane flight to Lake Clark National Park, so I planned my trip starting with the end in mind. I live in Philadelphia, PA so my adventure began with a 6 hour flight to Seattle, WA. I left Philly in the afternoon, spent the evening in the Seattle airport, and then caught a 1:00am flight to Anchorage, AK. Lake Clark National Park is 200 miles from any road and only accessible by bush plane. I had dreams of becoming a pilot as a kid, so I couldn’t have been more excited when I walked out of the hanger and saw the tiny four-person bush plane. The pilot cheerfully called out, “Hop in!” and I proceeded to climb in on the passenger side right next to the pilot! Our safety briefing consisted of “put your seatbelt on” and the implied understanding that if we have a crash landing, we will probably all die very quickly so there was no need to worry. Ha! After our almost nonexistent safety brief, we quickly taxied out onto the runway and took off. I was ready for my first bush plane flight!

Bush Plane Flight Path

We flew from Anchorage through a mountain pass in the Alaska Range towards the southwest. As the mountains towered above and around us, I gazed with wonder at the mountain valleys filled by massive sheets of moving ice. We were flying so close to the glaciers, I felt like I could almost reach out and touch them!

While the glaciers were very impressive to my untrained eyes, the pilot informed me that, unfortunately, many of the glaciers have shrunk dramatically during his career as a pilot. That said, I’m very thankful for the chance to have seen the glaciers before they disappear even more.

After an hour and a half, our plane touched down on a dirt runway in Lake Clark National Park.  Even though I was 24 hours into my journey at that point, I had a lot of adrenaline from the flight and was ready for the final leg of the trip: a 5 mile boat ride. Lake Clark is about 40 miles long and 5 miles wide. From the middle of the lake, I was surrounded by breathtaking mountains on all sides.

Part of what drew me to Lake Clark National Park was that it has very little infrastructure compared to national parks across the continental United States. Needless to say, I was thrilled to be off the grid for 14 whole days of recording adventures!

This trip culminated in 6 sound libraries:

  1. Alaska: Curious Bears
  2. Alaska: Rain
  3. Alaska: Wind
  4. Alaska: Quiet Nature
  5. Alaska: Active Nature
  6. Alaska: Lake Waves

Location Scouting and Gear Setup:

Whenever possible, I prefer to scout locations before recording. This ensures I have a chance to deeply listen to a place without the distraction of my recording gear. Therefore, after I had set up my recording equipment each day, I hiked 5-10 miles each afternoon in search of new locations.

When recording in a dense forest, it is not always intuitive which areas sound the best, so a lot of experimentation is needed. For example, if I find a location that has potential, I start by making short, loud yells to create echoes. I then listen to how the sound naturally moves through the terrain. My goal is to find resonant spaces.  

When I find a lovely spot. I sit and listen. I enjoy the space. I meditate.

Before leaving, I mark the location with a GPS waypoint on my Garmin inReach mini and then continue exploring. This way, I know exactly where to return the next day with my microphones.

When I return with my microphones, I will listen to the direction the echoes travel. For instance,  if I hear that my echoes resonate and clearly move to the southwest, I’ll orient my mics towards the southwest in order to capture the best acoustic perspective of the space.

Alaska: Curious Bears

During my Alaskan adventure, I typically left my Cinela blimp unattended in Lake Clark National Park for 12-18 hours a day over the course of my 14 day trip. On one of my hikes, I discovered a well-defined game trail and decided to place my microphones near it with the hopes of capturing sounds of passing wildlife.

When I returned several hours later to check on my equipment, I discovered my microphone blimp and tripod on the ground. Upon closer inspection, I noticed the grass was trampled all around the microphones. When I checked the recording, I was thrilled to find that a curious bear had seriously investigated my microphone blimp for 20 minutes before accidentally tipping over the tripod, scaring itself, and running off. Luckily, I got great recordings and my microphones and recorder were not damaged! There was definitely some bear slobber on the blimp though!

Alaska: Rain

Download the quad demo here

How to Record Rain:

  • Use microphones known to perform well in high humidity. I use Sennheiser microphones. View my full gear list – here.
  • Use cables made with Neutrik X-HD Series waterproof connectors. This keeps water from getting into your cable connection points.
  • Use a dry bag for your recorder. I like the Sea to Summit 65L bags because they have a wide mouth and can easily fit a recording bag through the opening.
  • Put your dry bag at least 25 feet away and cover it with local foliage. Otherwise you’ll just record the sound of rain hitting a dry bag.
  • Use a Cinela Pianissimo Double Mid/Side blimp with a Kelly Rain Cover.
  • Coat the inner cover of the Cinela Pianissimo with NixWax as Cinela directs on their website. This is a water repellant molecule that is also acoustically transparent. The water repellant causes the water to bead up and roll off while also letting the air through. Read more about how NixWax works – here.
  • The honeycomb of the Kelly Rain cover disperses drops as they hit the blimp which minimizes thumps. However, don’t use the Kelly Rain cover in areas with lots of insects because they tend to get stuck in the honeycomb, buzz for hours, and ruin recordings. The honeycomb cover also doubles as excellent protection for the blimp if a bear/moose/elk decides to chew on it.
  • Find a section of forest with low and dense deciduous leaves. These leaves catch the rain so drips don’t thump on the blimp. Occasional thumps during heavy rain are okay because they are easy to edit out in post.
  • Waterproofing a microphone blimp is totally game changing. I can now leave my rig out in the elements for 24 hours without fear of rain. Waterproof blimps and 32-bit float recorders have opened up a whole new world of recording for me  and I couldn’t be more excited.
  • Build a platform of local foliage to cover the blimp for extra protection. George Vlad has an excellent video on how to build a natural rain canopy – here.
  • I learned many of these rain recording techniques from George Vlad, so make sure you check out his work at Mindful Audio.

Alaska: Wind

Lake Clark is a massive 40 mile glacial lake with a major Alaska Range mountain pass at the north end of the lake. As a result of the area’s geography, wind whips down from the mountain pass and sails across the lake unimpeded. When I arrived in late May at Lake Clark National Park, the spring leaves were budding and so the boreal forest had a lovely, fresh pop of green. When the winds gusted over the lake and reached the boreal forest made up of cottonwood, birch, and spruce, the foliage came alive.

While I was in Lake Clark National Park, a strong storm came through with winds powerful enough to make 6-foot lake waves. This made for ideal wind recording conditions! It can be tricky to capture the sound of spring foliage without birdsongs, so the secret is to record during the day when there are extremely heavy winds. When winds are strong enough, birds tend to stop singing. Under these conditions, you can record daytime winds, even during springtime! Otherwise, you have to record wind at night while the majority of the wildlife sleeps or wait until winter for ideal wind recording conditions.

Download the quad demo here

My favorite recording of the Alaska: Wind library was from a mixed grove of cottonwoods and spruce. The short spruce needles mix with the deciduous leaves of the cottonwoods to create a rich, full-spectrum wind complete with the eerie squeaks and creaks of the forest. I also loved mixing the sound of distant lake waves with canopy wind. When you retreat about a mile from the lakeshore, the lake waves blend beautifully with the sound of the canopy foliage. I loved finding the perfect balance between the  lush canopy and a touch of distant water roaring from the waves. This balance gives the wind recordings a beautiful sense of power.

Alaska: Lake Waves

Since Lake Clark is massive, water conditions can vary from glassy to lapping to white-capped swells and sometimes these conditions can occur all on the same day! The size of the lake mixed with the rocky beach made for excellent recording conditions because mid-sized waves could form and crash without the roaring bass of an ocean beach.

If you ever want to record waves, I recommend you purchase knee or chest waders. Waders  are invaluable, especially when the water temperature is just above freezing. Thanks to the waders I was wearing, I was able to stand in the water among the rocks and capture lovely swishes and gurgles as the waves broke against the shoreline.

My favorite sound from my Alaska: Lake Waves library are the waves crackling like carbonated water! The “crackling” waves is an extremely soft sound created by a gentle wave breaking among small pebbles. I was able to capture this lovely sound by holding my DPA 4060s a few inches above the water as the wave broke.

Alaska: Quiet & Active Nature

These libraries feature the best quiet and active nature moments from over 200 hours of recording in the Alaskan wilderness. For these libraries, I focused on two ecosystems: lakeshore and boreal forest. 

The first half of my trip focused on the marshland around beaver ponds and Lake Clark’s shore. These recordings are full of resonant shorebirds, soothing water in the distance, and a lone moose tromping through the water right in front of my microphones!

I spent the  second half of my trip in the boreal forest. I left my rig out recording continuously with the help of my waterproof Cinela Pianissimo blimp and I used an Anker USB-C battery to power my Sound Devices MixPre-6. It can run 3 channels recording at 192kHz/24-bit for about 16 hours. I typically left  my mics in the woods from about 5:00pm until 11:00am the next day so that I could record long uninterrupted soundscapes. The next morning, I would hike out, change SD cards, switch the batteries, and move my microphones to a new recording location. Then, I would use the afternoon to scout new locations. As a result, I was able to record about 18 hours per day for 14 days. My microphones survived curious Grizzly Bear sniffs, moose licks, blustery winds, and several rainstorms!

Growing up in the American Southwest, I’ve grown accustomed to snakes, ticks, scorpions, and poisonous ivy. One of my favorite things about Alaska is the lack of dangerous creatures and plants! Of course, bears, moose and other large wildlife, can pose a dangerous threat, but I felt incredibly free bushwhacking without constantly watching for things that sting or bite. It is one of the best feelings in the world to wander freely through the boreal forest of Alaska.

Download the quad demo here

Download the quad demo here

Favorite Sounds of the Trip:

Owls are the cellos of the forest and I love catching more than one species in a recording. Hear Boreal Owls, Northern Saw-whet Owls, and Wilson’s Snipe singing their nighttime lullabies with an eerie counterpoint of voices.

Video Thumbnail

One bonus of leaving your rig out for drop and record sessions is that birds do incredibly close fly-bys!

Video Thumbnail

The Swainson’s Thrush has an incredibly rich song with a lovely rising melody. I was lucky to catch some incredibly close branch top dancing!

Video Thumbnail

There is nothing quite like the stately sound of a woodpecker knocking. They are the marimbas of the orchestral forest and I love when they come near my mics.

Video Thumbnail

Favorite Wildlife Moment:

One day while recording, I spent 30 minutes watching a Bald Eagle in a tree near the edge of Lake Clark. Patiently hoping he would make some sounds. Instead, he majestically took flight and began skimming the glassy water. He was so low to the water’s surface, the feathery tips of his giant wings skimmed the water!

He must have seen a fish because suddenly, he pulled up and prepared to dive. As he dove for his dinner, another eagle swooped in and attacked him mid-flight. Suddenly, the eagle fell out of the sky and wiped out into the ice cold lake. He was about half a mile out in the lake, flailing around. He tried multiple times to take off from the water, but was too waterlogged and heavy.

These birds are not evolved for water takeoffs and I was growing increasingly worried he was going to drown. Luckily, it turns out that Bald Eagles can swim! He started to sweep his massive wings back in forth in long breast strokes. He slowly started making progress toward the shore and although I was hopeful he might make it to the shore, he had a long way to go and the freezing water was obviously taking its toll. As he gradually slowed his pace I grew increasingly worried that he would not make it.

I ran down the shore to get a closer look and was thrilled to see him crawl onto the beach! He climbed out and shook out his soaked feathers. He looked exhausted, but happy to be alive.

Then, all of a sudden, he looked down at his talon…and he still had the salmon! He proceeded to feast on the fish and had an impromptu picnic on the beach. After warming up in the sun, he then flew off about 30 minutes later. It was such an amazing wildlife moment and I’ll remember it forever.

The trip flew by and although I was sad when the time came to leave, I knew this wouldn’t be my last time in Alaska. I’m captivated by the arctic, so stay tuned to hear about many more arctic recording adventures in the next few years. As always, thanks so much for listening.

If you want to learn more about this enchanting part of the world, I’d recommend these books:

  1. One Man’s Wilderness by Richard Proenneke
  2. The Place Where You Go to Listen by John Luther Adams
  3. The Farthest Place by John Luther Adams
  4. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Please share this:


A Sound Effect gives you easy access to an absolutely huge sound effects catalog from a myriad of independent sound creators, all covered by one license agreement - a few highlights:
  • Destruction & Impact Cinematic Metal Play Track 200-5096 sounds included From: $109 From: $10

    Get ready to pound the theatres with this edgy, hard hitting collection of brazen SFX. Let your audience know you mean business with the enormous sound to back it up.



    96 %
  • Weather Rain Designer Play Track 396 sounds included, 182 mins total $49.99 $39.99

    RAIN DESIGNER is all about (you guessed it) rain. It’s a library like no other and here’s why:
    RD allows you to design high quality, dynamic rain sfx/ambiences that won’t end up sounding like a wall of noise.
    It gives you full control over the sound – control wetness, drippiness, background noisiness, proximity, surfaces and more.
    It’s perfect for adding more detail, sense of proximity to close up or ground level shots, enhancing rain field recordings, design complex rain soundscapes, implementing dynamic rain in FMOD/WWISE and more.

    Collection consists of three main categories:

    CONSTRUCTION-KIT 96/24 (104 SFX)
    Heart of the library. 104 high quality sound beds to design and tailor rain sounds that you need for your project
    Construction Kit consists of:
    14 carefully extracted from real world recordings rain backgrounds and noises
    4 synthesized white-noisy sweeps and beds
    86 surfaces: rain drops on metal, plastic, water, iron plates, skylight windows, glass, between glass panels, fabrics, tarps,
    muffled drops, drizzle drops, fine drops, water movements and more.

    DESIGNED LOOPS 96/24 (24 SFX)
    24 high quality, seamlessly looping, designed ambiences perfect for quick spotting.

    268 high quality source files recorded with DPA4060 and MKH8040.
    Single drips, multiple drips, water trickles and more.

    96-192KHZ 24BIT version (396 SFX/7.09 GB)
    44.1KHZ 16BIT version for Unreal Engine (396 SFX/2.07 GB)
    RECORDED WITH: Sound Devices MixPre 6 + Sennheiser MKH8060 + ATE208 + DPA4060, PCM D100
    EDITED AND MASTERED WITH: RX, Pro Tools, Brufri, DMGAudio, Sound Particles

    20 %
    Add to cart
  • Big Monster Voices Pack

    107 sound effects divided in:
    – Performing attacks (different intensities)
    – Receiving attack sounds
    – Deaths
    – Growls
    – Shouts
    – Eating
    – Breathing
    – Footsteps
    – Grunts
    – Screams

    More about the pack:

    Can be complemented with:

    Orc Voice Pack

    Goblin Voice Pack

    – Recorded by professional voice actors
    – Intuitive file naming
    – A version of each sound with echo is also provided (if you are going to use your own echo in-game, don’t choose this one)
    – All you’ll ever need regarding monster vocal sounds


    All files are in:

    WAV – Stereo  44.1 Khz, 16bit
    OGG – Stereo  44.1 Khz, 16bit

    [Use them again & again]

    Use the sound effects over and over, in any of your projects or productions, forever without any additional fees or royalties. Use the SFX in your game, in your trailer, in a Kickstarter campaign, wherever you need to, as much as you want to.



    – Jorge Guillén (
    – Audio Alchemist


    [Professional audio services]

    For custom music, sound design, sound engineering or any other game audio services, please send a mail to:



      aggressive, angry, mad, monster, attack sounds, deaths, growls, dragon shouts, eating, breathings, footsteps, grunts, screams, shouts, sound effects, sound pack, sounds, game sound, rpg sounds, monster sfx, monster sounds, monster sound effect, monster voice, voice pack, animal, beast, breath, demon, dragon, fantasy, flying, growl, growling, roar, roars, scary, scream, shout

    Add to cart
Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
  • Bundle LT Everything Bundle 2020 Play Track 5647+ sounds included, 1800+ mins total $700 $315

    Get Lukas Tvrdon’s entire catalog in one bundle, INCLUDING ALL FUTURE RELEASES until the end of 2020!

    That means the product price will grow as new releases are added, while existing bundle owners can download the new releases at no extra cost. The basic price includes 10% discount, plus an additional active product discount.

    High quality equipment used – Sanken Co100k, Sennheiser MKH30, DPA 4007, DPA 4060, 4062, Shertler DynUni, Aquarian H2a, Ambient SoundFish MKI ASF1, Rode Soundfield NTSF1, Sony PCMD100, Telinga Dish, Sound Devices Pre6, Zoom F8, and more

    High-quality sounds, ultrasonics-grade (some), 96 or 192khz.

    All-around realistic and designed SFX and ambiences: underwater, science fiction, monsters, mechanical and gears, and much more!

    Libraries included in the bundle:

    SPACE DIVERS | 367 files / 1000+ individual sounds | 8.56 GB
    6 MONSTERS | 142 files | 73 MB
    BEASTIE GIRLS 192 | 989 files | 783 MB
    DIVE DEEP 2 | 53 files | 3.48 GB
    ANGRY DOOR 192 | 645 files / 1400+ individ. sounds | 6.29 GB
    WOODEN GEAR 192 | 215 files | 24 GB
    DISTANT BLAST | 81 files | 259 MB
    ALIEN JUNGLE | 138 files | 5.07GB
    DIVE DEEP | 57 files | 6.14 GB
    MONSTER SOURCE 192 | 310 files | 407 MB
    DESIGN SOURCE 192 | 683 files / 1000+ individ. sounds | 9.3 GB
    CITY DISTANT | 14 files | 9.14 GB
    THE HORRID | 22 files | 2.41 GB
    BMX TRICK 192 | 71 files / 150+ individual sounds | 1.06 GB
    ISRAEL LIFE | 29 files | 4.55 GB
    OLD TOWN VR | 32 files | 6.2 GB
    BOAT RIDE | 94 files / 100+ individual sounds | 7.34 GB

    55 %
    Ends 1594591199
  • Human Battle Crowds Play Track 158 - 291 / 527 - 776 sounds included From: $49.99 From: $34.99

    Coll Anderson ‘s famed Battle Crowd library is the world’s largest collection of battle crowd sound effects, covering huge crowds as they’re deep in battle, celebrating, screaming, yelling, protesting, begging, crying and much more, as well as crowd movement sounds, marching and more. If you’re looking for the ultimate collection of large battle crowd sounds, this is it!

    30 %
    Ends 1594936799
  • Destruction & Impact Cinematic Metal Play Track 200-5096 sounds included From: $109 From: $10

    Get ready to pound the theatres with this edgy, hard hitting collection of brazen SFX. Let your audience know you mean business with the enormous sound to back it up.



    96 %
  • Environments Mekong Delta Play Track 75 sounds included, 158 mins total $60 $36

    The rich and colourful sounds of the Mekong delta: this collection features a wide range of old diesel boat engines, gentle row boats along quintessential narrow waterways and a varied selection of local ambience, from quiet rural villages to the hustle and bustle of towns and live animal markets.

    The majority of boats were recorded directly on board and up close from various points along the riverside, with a selection of perspectives. There are also over 10 isolated sounds – engines, waves/ wash, cock crows and dogs – with alternate versions at 192kHz for further manipulation. Full metadata is included (Soundminer), with keywords and detailed markers embedded to quickly locate specific sounds/ regions.

    40 %
    Ends 1596146400
  • Environments Geothermal Iceland Play Track 110 sounds included, 60 mins total $35 $29

    A sound library powered by Earth’s molten interior

    This library contains boiling mud pits, blasting steam vents, a geothermal power station and delicate trickles of running water all recorded from multiple perspectives. The library was edited down to be compact with the game audio designer in mind. The recordings were captured with Sennheiser MKH8040s and a MKH8060 so both stereo ORTF and a more direct mono image are available.

    17 %
    Ends 1594591199
The A Sound Effect newsletter gets you a wealth of exclusive stories and insights
+ free sounds with every issue:
Subscribe here for free SFX with every issue

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.