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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THE WORLD’S EASIEST WAY TO GET INDEPENDENT SOUND EFFECTS:
 
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:
 
 
  • British Stately Home is a collaboration between two award-winning sound designers, Stefan Henrix (Chernobyl, Batman Begins) and Steve Fanagan (Room, Frank). It is a collection of 256 files recorded at 24bit/96kHz, totalling 18.6GB. The recordings are a mixture of mono, stereo, LCR and 5.0 files. In some cases there are multiple perspectives on the same recording (close, mid and wide). There are also Impulse Responses from several of the building's more characterfully reverberant rooms, which have been recorded from different perspectives and edited for use with Altiverb.

    Sounds for this library were recorded over two days in a beautifully maintained rural British Stately Home; a late-18th-century neo-classical mansion. We set out to record any and all aspects of the building and its surroundings. The collection includes doors, windows, fireplaces, clocks, drips, keys and various unusual, period specific props we came across.

    The interior of the building was one of the quietest places either of us have ever recorded and the Roomtones we've captured here are some of the most still and neutral recordings we've both made.

    All of the sounds are authentic and the spaces we recorded in are reverberant, have their own ambience, and have coloured each of the recordings with the natural acoustic of this magnificent building.

    We often set-up with multiple mics to capture different perspectives of the same recordings and these will hopefully offer the user interesting options as they work with these sounds.

    At times we have left our own movements at the beginning and end of recordings, as they captured something of the building's unique acoustic and have proven useful to both of us in our own film work with this library. This is a diverse and versatile library and the recordings take well to pitch and time shifting, and to other plugin manipulation.

    Equipment Used: Sanken CMS-7S, DPA4060, Sennheiser MKH60, Rode NT4, Sound Devices 702T, Sound Devices USB Pre-2, Roland R26

    Add to cart
  • Ice Frozen Play Track 809 sounds included $45 $23

    Frozen is a collection of ice impacts, scrapes, debris, slides and more taken during a miserably cold winter in the arctic tundra of Massachusetts. These recordings were meticulously recorded, edited, named, renamed, edited again, re recorded, then re-renamed (you get the point) to give you the best quality ice library you can get.

    The library roughly is broken into two sections, raw and processed. Raw is designed for sound designers to go wild with: stretch, distort, compress, and more to your hearts content. The processed section is for designers and content creators on the go. If you’re on a tight deadline, pulling some sounds that are already going to get you close to where you need to be is imperative. These processed versions play very nicely even when not designing ice.

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    Add to cart
  • Inspired by app market hits like Clash of Clans and Candy Crush, we present to you Mobile Game – a truly fun and genuinely gameplay inspired sound effects library. Filled with a thorough selection of popular game ready audio assets, Mobile Game gives you sounds that you can quickly implement inside any game to give it a familiar “hit app” game feel.

    • Includes 578 files
    • All files in .Wav 96k 24bit
    • Plus game ready mp3 files
    • Inspired by today’s best App Games
    • Includes Soundminer metadata
    • 891.9 MB of samples

    Mobile Game features sounds such as:

    Bubbles • Building • Coins • Crafting • Mechanisms and Contraptions • Musical Stabs • Objective Completes • Pick Ups • Potions • Tonal Designed Organic fx • UI/Menu • Upgrades

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Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
 
  • Environments Sci-fi World Swarm Play Track 141 sounds included, 120 mins total $39 $34

    The latest installment in the Epic Stock Media Sci-fi World Sound Effects Series has landed on planet earth. Sci-fi World – Swarm presents a meticulously designed ambience loop library inspired by an insect-like alien race and their quest for dominance in the galaxy. Sci-fi World – Swarm is a collection of over 2 hours of interior and exterior sci-fi background loops.

    With a selection of 141 designed sci-fi loops, you’ll be able to create new worlds effortlessly. Dramatic room tones, custom sci-fi interior and exterior scenes, ambient sounds like; alien cave, energy lab, transport hangar, termite mounds, and Queen’s chambers are all ready to mix, match, stack and layer for the perfect vibe in your production.

    Loops are approximately one minute in length and the ambience loop files include one or two minimal or alt mix versions. Also, sounds are pre-mixed and mastered to high volume so you can mix your tracks for optimal immersion and sonic dynamics without losing fidelity.

    Product details:

    • Sci-fi Ambience Loop Library
    • Includes a variety of locations, tones, and ambiences
    • 24 ambiences loops like alien cave, energy lab, hangar, sub bay & more
    • 49 minimal versions or alt mixes of full loops
    • 68 loop-able layer loops like Queens Chamber, Termite Mounds, Insect Engines & more!
    • All royalty free SFX

    Of course, it’s ready to use in any multi-media production. All of the recordings are royalty-free and RTU-OTB. Need more ambience loops? Be sure to check out Swarm sister sound libraries – Sci-fi World Colony and Sci-fi World Guardians Ambience Loop Libraries.

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  • Environments Sci-fi World Guardians Play Track 141 sounds included, 120 mins total $39 $34

    Sci-fi World Guardian is a library geared towards multiplayer games, space, dystopias, utopias, fantasy, magical places, serene game moments, RPG, MMO, and sci-fi games all alike and showcases sounds like automated shipyard, electron flow, data mining, engines, mothership hums, conversions, moons of Venus, deserted area, bioengineering lab, desolate space, holy house, a variety of pulses, tech-based loops, winds, & more.

    Each loop is game ready, seamlessly loopable and around 1 minute in length. Each main ambience includes 1-2 alt mix versions + you get a variety of layers to accent your scene and games ambience. Having both full ambiences, alt mixes and layers allows you to truly orchestrate your game’s background sound how you want it. If the full loop has too much going on, then try using the minimal version without the sound you don’t like or by stacking a layer loop to boost the dynamic of the atmosphere.

    Product Details

    • Sci-fi Ambience Loop Library
    • Save time, energy and get quality game audio assets!
    • Includes a variety of locations, tones, and ambiences
    • 25 ambiences loops like an alien cave, energy lab, hangar, sub bay & more
    • 50 minimal versions or alt mixes of full loops
    • 66 loop-able layer loops like Queens Chamber, Termite Mounds, Insect Engines & more!
    • All royalty free
    • RTU-OTB (ready to use out of the box)

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  • AUDIO LAYERING WIZARD


    SoundWeaver helps you design new sounds from existing audio material in less time.

    CREATE MORESKIP THE BUSYWORK

    USE CASES

    • Produce more assets and increase productivity on tight schedules
    • Set up your sound design session with ready-to-use sound combinations
    • Generate variations with ease instead of manually tweaking everything
    • Find new combinations, discover and create new flavors and variety within your library

    WHAT DOES SOUNDWEAVER DO?

    • SoundWeaver automates and randomizes certain parts of your sound design workflow.
    • SoundWeaver searches your sound library with the help of keywords or folder paths and picks matching sounds for your project.
    • Sounds are automatically sorted, grouped, layered, aligned and split into regions (if files contain multiple variations).
    • Now you can pitch, offset, gain, shuffle and randomize individual sounds, groups or the whole project. The possibilities are endless.
    • Take snapshots of your favorite combinations and settings. Create as many variants as you like and return to them later in the process.
    • Drag’n’drop the project into your DAW for further editing or export the final mix.
    • SoundWeaver can generate countless variations from your project during export via pitch, offset and take randomization.


    HOW SOUNDWEAVER HELPS YOUR WORKFLOW

    MORE VARIETY ON TIGHT SCHEDULES
    We all know the situation: A client has asked for 100 new sound assets, 10 variations each, delivered as soon as possible.
    Creating variations in particular requires a lot of meticulous pitching, shifting and switching out elements within your original design.
    With just a few commands, SoundWeaver will automate all of those time-consuming steps for you and generate as many suggestions as you like – so all that’s left for you to do is have a quick listen and keep the ones you like best.
    Focus on your creative process while SoundWeaver takes care of the rest.

    INSPIRATION THROUGH NEW COMBINATIONS
    Speaking of creative process: Once your library has grown beyond a certain point, there is only so much experimenting you can do manually. SoundWeaver’s powerful Randomize feature often generates combinations we’d never think of trying in the first place.
    This opens up a world of new possibilities and is a great way of starting a project.
    Already have an idea? Tell SoundWeaver to build on it and create different flavors.
    Starting empty-handed? Let SoundWeaver set up your session by putting all layers in place.
    Done, but missing that special something? Try out more unlikely sounds with just a few clicks.


    SOUNDWEAVER At A Glance

    KEY FEATURES

    • SoundWeaver automatically picks, slices, aligns and layers sounds
    • Search by keywords, folders or drag’n’drop
    • Pitch, offset, gain, shuffle and switch out individual sounds, groups or the whole project
    • Each of the previous parameters can be randomized.
    • Export: Drag’n’drop the project into your DAW
    • Export as: Individual layers, groups or mixdown
    • Export features: Generate variations using pitch, offset or random takes
    • Take snapshots and return to your favorite combinations, parameter settings and sounds at will

    TECH SPECS

    Format: Standalone Application for Windows & Mac
    Required Hard Disk Space: 30 MB
    Manual: PDF
    License Agreement: PDF
    Available As: Download

    REQUIREMENTS

    SOFTWARE
    SoundWeaver is a standalone application and works without any host audio software.

    SYSTEM
    Windows 7 (64-bit), 8 GB Ram, Intel® Core i5
    Mac OS X 10.9, 8 GB Ram, Intel® Core i5

    ILOK
    SoundWeaver requires a free iLok account

    Available licensing options:
    Machine License activation and USB Dongle (iLok 2 or higher)

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  • City Life Buenos Aires Ambiences Play Track 71 sounds included, 200 mins total $39.99

    Buenos Aires Ambiences features 71 beautifully and professionally recorded ambient sounds of downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina, with their rich and unique Spanish dialect, a variety of perspectives, locations, and times of day, everything is categorized with metadata input via Basehead Ultra, and mastered in Protools HD.  We originally recorded over 80gb of data which translated to 42 hours and meticulously cut it down to 6.5gb/3 hours and 20 min of the best and most useful ambiences.

    Included is: City airs, botanical gardens, parks, markets, cemetery, city plazas and squares, nature reserve, busy and quiet streets, traffic, crowds, early morning bird chorus, evening airs, construction, airport, department stores, cafes, restaurants, library, church and cathedral, train station, public transit, museum, roomtones, rain.  And a variety of each, with different perspectives and amounts of walla and voices.

    Thank you and we hope you enjoy our recordings

    Buenos Aires Ambiences includes 3 hours of beautiful ambiences of downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a massive variety of locations and times of day, this album will not dissapoint!

  • The Siemens Valero is a high-speed train that is an engineering marvel and a staple of modern high-grade national and transcontinental rail transport, with various versions zipping across the UK, the EU, Russia, and the far reaches of Asia including China. This is a train capable of 290 kilometres per hour (180 mph), it is the high-speed joiner of distant cities such as Moscow and Saint Petersburg. For our recording project, we captured it across a comprehensive range of its speeds. Sennheiser Ambeo microphones were used throughout.

    Recordings were made inside carriages, inside a compartment, down gangways, across the ever-dramatic space connecting railcar vestibules, and also less glorified but vital locations, e.g., the loo. All relevant background sounds are there, including door movements, passenger chatter, objects in motion, and the sounds of the restaurant car. For the characteristic sounds of a great ‘iron horse’, inside and out, this is it. Flysound… Putting the ‘track’ into soundtrack!

 
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