Asbjoern Andersen


The independent sound effect community is chuck-full of talented and friendly people – and one of them is sound recordist and fellow Dane, Mikkel Nielsen. He collaborates with sound designers across the globe, and also releases his own range of sound libraries on his Sonic Salute site.

Read on for my interview with him on his approach to library creation, recording – and the making of an earth-shattering sfx library.

– Asbjoern

 

Hi Mikkel, please introduce yourself and Sonic Salute

Hi all. Mikkel Nielsen, sound effect recordist here. I’m the owner of the Sonicsalute.com site, where I’m distributing sound effects of all sorts. They range from studio recordings to real-life noisy environments, like junkyards, shipyards, pig farms, and so on.

A big part of my working life is spent on recording and editing sound effects and atmospheres for features, docs, and TV series. Mostly Danish productions, but a few foreign ones also come by now and then.
 

What sound projects are you working on at the moment?

Well, things are incredibly busy. I’ve just delivered sounds to Rob Nokes and Sounddogs. I’m also layering tracks and editing the ambience track for a US indie movie. At the same time, I’m working on documentaries and three different Danish features, which Peter Albrechtsen is sound designing.

Finally I’ve planned some large recording sessions with muskets and cannons for Nino Jacobsen, to be used in director Ole Bornedal’s war drama ‘1864’.

When my ears are not stuck between a pair of headphones, and when I’m not editing audio material (which by the way, always seems to pile up faster than I can follow), I’m the father of two fantastic boys aging from 4-8. So I got my hands full!
 

How do you come up with ideas for new sound effect libraries? What inspires you?

Most of the time the ideas for new libraries come from the fact that I need certain sounds myself to fill in on a scene – or when I’m approached by editors and designers needing particular sounds. From there I lay down a plan, and start to contact places etc., asking for permission to record the place, machine, animals and so on.

A relaxing day at the office

A relaxing day at the office

Recording one place might evolve into the idea of recording something similar in another place, or recording more of the same type of sounds. This process inspires me a lot.
And sometimes I go with it and create a whole SFX library around that one idea. The latest Car Doors Open/Close library is quite a good example of this.

I would sure like to have the ideas just pop up in my mind every morning I wake up, but unfortunately my head doesn’t always work that way.

The small amount of “hey, I got a brilliant idea for a new SFX library” stuff happens when I do a lot of listening to things. When I grab a toy or similar, I always stick it close to my ear and listen to the sound of it. It’s sort of like a curse. Ask my family about it. It drives them mad when going to museums etc.

 

What’s your recording setup?

I’m using the Sound Devices 7 series recorders. They are built like tanks and just don’t care what you throw at them.

For mics I use a set of Sennheiser Mkh 8020, a Sennheiser 416 with an Ambient Emesser on top, and two sets of DPA 4060 and 4061. The DPA lavs I use for easy mounting interior or exterior on cars, and for stealth recordings. Everything tugged into Rycotes.

I also have a set of JrF contact mics and a hydrophone, which I have a lot of fun with.

 

Some of your sound libraries are very unique – like the Shake, Rattle and Rumble library. What’s the story behind that one?

shake rattle and rumble sfxThis was one of those libraries which started out with the need for a specific sound for sound designer Peter Albrechtsen.

Peter needed the sound of a whole house shaking. He talked about what it would feel like (and sound like) if the walls were shaking, the floors were moving, and you were standing in the middle of it.

This one would prove to be a bit more difficult to record live rather than creating or designing it. At least, that’s what I thought for a while.

So I struggled a lot with coming up with an idea on how and where to record this. I called demolition teams and whatnot, but didn’t come up with a solution that would work.

One weekend, I was visiting Sweden by ferry, and as the ferry was docking, the big engine was put in reverse. This made the entire structure shake and bend. It sounded terrible.
Wine bottles and candy were thrown off the shelves, and metal plates in the ceiling were rattling like crazy. It only lasted for a short while and then stopped.

I immediately knew that this was the sound I needed. Next problem was to make the chaotic sound last for several minutes, as I wanted to record as many different spots on the ferry as possible.

I contacted the company sailing the route, and they invited me on board a day of my choosing. I took a late departure in January where there were a minimum of passengers. To my luck it was pretty windy that night.

As soon as the ferry left the harbor, the crazy sounds began

 
The ferry started sailing, and as soon as it had left the harbor, the crazy sounds began.
I got my several minutes, and even got a great big bump from the ferry coming into the harbor a bit too hard, hitting the dock. It was great!

From there on, I thought it would be nice to have a complete library of sounds like this, big and small, and lots of them too.

I approached the process by recording more ferry rumble type sounds, like a van on a bumpy road (there goes the suspension), and me physically shaking stuff like cupboards, boxes, beds etc. That, by the way, is a great deal harder to do than one should think.

I also put metal trays, porcelain, cutlery, etc. on a subwoofer and sent a controlled deep tone through the speaker. I got this great idea from Jean-Edourd Miclot, who helped me set up a prototype in Kyma where I would control the tone with a Wacom pen. I had so much fun!

The hardest part of this library was the sounds recorded with my hands and legs doing the shaking. Moving a big, old and heavy cupboard back and forth for a few minutes was extremely tiring. I found myself having completely dead arms really fast, and actually thought it would never work this way.

 

Popular on A Sound Effect right now - article continues below:

 

Latest releases:  
  • Environments Windy Hill Play Track 8 sounds included, 24 mins total $14.99 $10.99

    WINDY HILL is a collection of high quality exterior wind ambiences.
    The library consists of wind gusts through branches, shrub, dry grass, coniferous trees and more.


    Recorded at superb 192 kHz/24 Bit

    2 Super wide AB recordings with a pair of spaced out DPA4060’s

    3 M/S (decoded) with Sennheiser MKH8060 combo + Ambient ATE208

    3 Sony PCM D100 recording

    All SFX have baked-in Soundminer’s meta data.

    RECORDED WITH: Sound Devices MixPre 6 + Sennheiser MKH 8060, ATE208, 2x DPA4060, SONY PCM D100
    EDITED AND MASTERED WITH: RX, Pro Tools, Equality.

    27 %
    OFF
    Ends 1574549999
    Add to cart
  • Environments Transportation – Ambiance Play Track 68 sounds included, 157 mins total $68 $54

    Transportation – Ambiance is a great collection of ambience recordings performed at various transportation scenarios.
    You will find recordings such as a Train car interior, Jumbo jet interior, multiple cars interior under different driving conditions,
    Bus interior, public transportation stations and much more.

    This package includes 68 Samples.
    A total 2h 37m of content.
    Stereo files sampled @ 96Khz / 24bit.

     

    21 %
    OFF
    Ends 1574549999
    Add to cart
  • Destruction & Impact Warehouse Kicks Play Track 50 sounds included $13

    50 powerful industrial kicks tell a story about the role of a man among machines and unprecedented heavy mechanisms. The right kick is 50% success for a track in the true techno style and other experimental sounds. The pack includes oneshots of varying sizes and sonics, with booming subs, persistent tones and reflections. Inspired by illegal raves, parties at abandoned factories and dark basements.

    This compilation is not designed for Deep House, Minimal and EDM regular artists.

    This impacts library can be used as sfx’es for movie, trailers and commercial.

    Add to cart
  • Ambisonics Ambisonic – Transportation Play Track 68 sounds included, 314 mins total $136 $99

    Ambisonic – Transportation is a great collection of ambisonic ambiences recordings performed at various transportation scenarios.
    It is aimed to provide you with great spherical content to wrap your dialogue or main focus content, allowing you to create a conniving and immersing soundtrack.
    You will find recordings such as a Train car interior, Jumbo jet interior, multiple cars interior under different driving conditions,
    Bus interior, public transportation stations and much more.

    This collection is great for post-production, VR/AR interactive sound-design, game developers and any real-time 3D audio engine.
    All files are tagged and categorized for your convenience – supporting multiple tag filtering browsing applications.

    A Sennheiser Ambeo microphone paired with Zoom H8 was used to create this product.

    This package includes 68 Samples – 136 Files.
    A total 2h 37m of content.
    First Order AmbiX B-Format and Stereo @ 96Khz / 24bit.

    Download a Demo here:
    Want to hear an example of the included recordings? Download the B-format Demo Here

    27 %
    OFF
    Ends 1574204399
    Add to cart
  • Foley Footstep Loops II Play Track 663 sounds included $75 $49

    Editing footsteps in audio post-production can be time-consuming. Footstep Loops II is a sound library that delivers a comprehensive kit of footstep sound effects made to ease your daily work.

    The collection contains footstep sounds of various shoes and surfaces, recorded in different paces and edited to continuous but lively 30-second sound loops.

    VARIETY

    The Footstep Loops II Sound Library covers a wide range of different footsteps:

    Barefoot, Socks, Slippers, Flip-Flops, Sneakers on Wood, Sneakers on Concrete, Boots on Wood, Boots on Concrete, Heels on Wood, Heels on Stone;
    Grass, Gravel, Forest, Foliage, Dry Foliage, Stones, Puddle, Mud, Snow;
    Stairs up + down: Wooden Stairs, Metal Stairs, Stone Stairs



    PACE

    Each type of footsteps is available as a set of 13 sound files that represent a range from walking very slowly up to very speedy. Paces are sorted by Footsteps per Minute (FPM):

    Ground Footsteps: from 40 FPM to 160 FPM
    Stairs Footsteps: from 60 FPM to 180 FPM (up) / from 80 FPM to 200 FPM (down)



    LAYERS

    Since all (ground) footstep loops have the same FPM paces, they can be layered easily. E.g. you can add a puddle sound element to sneakers walking on concrete etc.



    CLOTHING

    You can add clothing as a layer to make the movements sound more natural. The sounds of jeans & jacket fit to all ground footsteps. Furthermore, versions with well-balanced clothing sounds of all main footstep loops are already included as ready-to-use files!



    ADDITIONAL ELEMENTS

    Some experimental elements are also included in the library:
    2 layers of floor creaks and one layer that adds the sound of keys in the pocket while walking.



    TIME-COMPRESS

    Paces of the sound loops included in the Footstep Loops II sound library increase in steps of 10 FPM each. If you need a value in between, time-compress the file just a tiny bit – the quality loss is almost inaudible in modern digital audio workstations.



    ONLINE FOOTSTEPS GENERATOR

    To get an impression of what you get with the Footstep Loops II sound library, go HERE and play around with footsteps online.


    • 663 audio files
    • 331 minutes total runtime
    • all files contain meta-data / keywords for easy search
    Video Thumbnail



    All sounds from this library are included in:
    Diversity

    35 %
    OFF
    Ends 1574204399
    Add to cart

Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:
 

My only way around it was to pause, sit down for a while, and start over again. Keep in mind that I had to keep a natural rhythm, like a real earthquake was happening, and furthermore not do the exact same rhythm for all the tracks. I wanted to keep things varied and exciting.

So overall, this one was both challenging and a lot of fun to do – and I think I managed to capture some pretty unique sounds in the process. You can get the final result here.

What are your three most essential tools when it comes to sound design work?

First tools must be my recorder and mics. Having good/clean/rich source material makes the designing process a lot easier.

Second one is my Protools rig. It’s the only DAW I have ever used. I love the stability, especially from Protools 10 and on. I find the sound and session workflow to be great.

Last tool: To dare, and to have the imagination to use any particular sound for anything really.
 

What excites you about recording?

The recording process: Listening to the surroundings, deciding on the mic placements, pressing REC and shutting up – that’s actually what I love most about my work. It’s like yoga for my mind.
 

Any tips for the readers on how to make the most of your sound libraries?

Pitch them, stretch them, reverse them, and layer them!
 

And finally: When are we going to see a new Sonic Salute SFX library?

I just started the first recordings for a new one this summer. This will, sound-wise, build a bridge with one of my other libraries. It’s still in the beginning of the recording sessions phase, and will take some time to finish – but it will be well worth it though, I’m quite sure!

Thanks a lot to Mikkel Nielsen for taking the time for this interview.

 

Please share this:


 

Check out the full catalog of Sonic Salute libraries here, and hear a selection of them below:
 

  • Environments Water Movements Play Track 96 sounds included $25

    Recorded by a quiet Swedish lake in late summer of 2014, the Water Movements sfx library is filled with splashes, drips, walking/running, moving, small water creature simulations, and much more.

    Add to cart
  • Cars Car Doors Play Track 78 sounds included $15

    I have been spending days at the local auto salvage yard, which is where our 4-wheeled friends end their days – and here's the result:

    The Car Doors library gets you 78 mono door open/close sounds from 30 cars, and 6 car trunks, with multiple passes on each for soft and hard closes – all metadata tagged and ready to go!

    Before the poor things were being torn apart for spares and placed on top of each other, I had the pleasure of recording a lot of their doors, opening and closing. As they were rubbish anyway, I could really put all my weight into the closing, and not being scared of the consequences. The sounds are from everyday cars, and some had a bit of rattle and rust, or cheap and thin kind of sound to them, others had some nice, heavy, and convincing thump, to them when they closed.

    Add to cart
  • Animals & Creatures Tasmanian Devils Play Track 50+ sounds included $10

    Meet the Tasmanian devil! Recorded in the Copenhagen Zoo, this library features huffs, sniffs, growls, barks, bite and chewing – and those eerie and weird critter screams.

    If you need strange animal or monster sounds, do check out this library:

    Add to cart
  • Environments The Drip Play Track 57+ sounds included $45

    The Drip delivers a comprehensive set of dripping sound effects that could be used in movies, video games etc. with both ambience sounds for backgrounds, and single sounds for spotting individual drops on various surfaces.

    A variety of microphones were used to capture the different sounds in this collection: Telinga Microphones for a real zoom perspective, Mkh8040+30 for ambiences, a Mkh416 & Emesser mic for certain sfx sounds, and a set of Mkh 8020 for the real quiet sound effects sources.

    The Drip features:

    • Rapid and slow, loud and quiet water dripping sounds, easily loopable
    • Water dripping sounds, from wet clothes and faucet, onto different materials (porcelain, plastic, metal, wood, paper, cups, bottles, bowls, stone)
    • Rain on roofs, tents, porches, grass, car windshields and car roof (interior and exterior perspective)
    • Exterior water/mud dripping sounds recorded with a Telinga Parabolic mic
    • Interior big hall water dripping sounds recorded with a Telinga Parabolic mic
    • Sewer water dripping sounds
    • Radiator water dripping sounds
    • House drain water dripping sounds
    Add to cart
 
 
 
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:
 
Explore the full, unique collection here
 
 
FOLLOW OR SUBSCRIBE FOR THE LATEST IN FANTASTIC SOUND:
 
                              
 
GET THE MUCH-LOVED A SOUND EFFECT NEWSLETTER:
 
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