An old metal screw is buried in the ground. Asbjoern Andersen


Happy 2019! Let's kick off the new year with these words of wisdom from legendary sound designer Randy Thom, reflecting on the sound tools we use - and how things change over time, as we sharpen our skills. This post originally appeared on his blog and has been republished here with his kind permission.
Written by Randy Thom
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In the early years of work we are obsessed, so obsessed with tools that they become the focus of our attention. The desire to acquire the best tools, to master them and use them drives us forward. So much so that we over use them. We over process sounds in order to make them “ours.” We pan too many sounds, use too much artificial reverb, remove so much of the noise that we take the life out of what isn’t noise.

It’s interesting, I think, that twenty or thirty years into our careers our obsession with tools has usually waned, especially those of us lucky enough to have become somewhat successful. We use fewer tools. We spend much less time thinking about them. No doubt part of the reason is that we eventually have assistants who can do our tool obsessing for us. But I think that’s a minor reason.

Maybe even more important, we get better at hearing the sounds coming from behind us. I’m not talking about the surrounds. I mean our clients, our collaborators.

The major reason is that our ears have learned to serve us better. Instead of being intent on controlling everything with our gadgets we get better at knowing what needs and doesn’t need to be manipulated. Maybe even more important, we get better at hearing the sounds coming from behind us. I’m not talking about the surrounds. I mean our clients, our collaborators. We hear more clearly what they say, and sense better what they don’t say but nevertheless feel, and want.

The ear is a tool worthy of obsession at every point in our careers.

 

A big thanks to Randy Thom for letting us share this insightful post from his blog here on A Sound Effect!

 

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    Lethal Blow is a collection of high quality fight sound effect. It features 925 sound effects; 600 source recording and 325 designed sound effects. It comes loaded with all sorts of sounds – from simple punches to multi-layerd crunchy blows and and meaty hits.
    All source sounds ware recorded with top tier microphones; Sennheiser MKH8040 and MKH8060 at 192kHz/24Bit with a Sound Devices recorder.

    Collection consists of two main categories:

    DESIGNED 96/24 (325 SFX)

    Bone Breaks – Crunchy breaks, snaps and tears.
    Grabs, throws and blacks.
    Bright Punches – Punches with meaty bottom and pronounces “beef slap” transients.
    Crunch Punches – Punches layered with bone breaks and cracks .
    Dark punches – Punches with more of a deep, organic, thump-y sound.
    Rips and tears – Fatality-like, gory tears.
    Simple Punches – Organic sounding, deep punches that consist of only few layers (compared to other punches).
    Punches “Xtra” – Punches without Arm movement/scuffle/whoosh – just a hit that you can layer with your own woos/scuffle
    Skull crashes – Gory, slimy skull crashes and splits
    Swooshes, whooshes snd scuffles.

    SOURCE CONSTRUCTION-KIT 192/24 (600 SFX)

    Scuffles, arm movements and whooshes – Cotton, denim and nylon.
    Snaps – Leak snaps
    Flesh drops – Dropped oranges
    Cotton transients – Cotton hoodie hit with a soft drum mallet
    Real chest punches – Closed fist
    Meaty punches – Beefy, organic punches (punching beef steaks).
    Lettuce punches and smacks – Deep, wet lettuce punches plus exaggerated transient sounds.
    Real chest smacks – Open fist
    Meat movement – gory, slimy, beef movements.
    Meat Slaps – Beef steaks dropped on a tile floor with pronounced transients
    Small crack – cracking eggshells
    Bell pepper rips – Tearing, ripping apart Bell peppers for crunchy snaps and cracks
    Whooshes and swooshes – Airy whooshes
    Fabric Movement – random, cotton cloth whooshes and multiple swishes.

    325 designed sound effects will get you started right away and save a lot of time when cutting fight scenes.
    600 high quality source recordings will allow you to design all kinds of punches, bone brakes and gore sound effects from scratch, exactly to your taste.

    All sound effects are highly tweakable. You can fine-tune them to your liking; pitch them up/down to remove/add weight whilst retaining details and clarity.

    Download includes:
    96-192KHZ 24BIT version (925 SFX/562MB)
    44.1KHZ 16BIT version for Unreal Engine (925 SFX/264MB)
    192KHZ 24BIT BONUS source recordings (58 SFX/30MB)
    RECORDED WITH: Sound Devices MixPre 6 + Sennheiser MKH8040 + Sennheiser MKH8060
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