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:  
  • We have created a small library to help with the ongoing need for safety videos during this strange time in our lives. From hand sanitizer’s to spray bottles, we have compiled a library to cover all forms of day to day sanitizing.

    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1591394399
    Add to cart
  • Jump in a hot-off-the-assembly-line 2020 Porsche 911 “992” Carrera S from the comfort of your home or studio chair. This library won’t lose a cent of value when you drive it off the lot!

    Great for linear work or games – especially since it includes an easy-to-use Interior vs. Exterior mockup folded down to 2-channel files (ISO’s also included separately).

    This is our premiere foray into sound libraries here at Steamboat Sound, and we worked real hard to make it equally high-quality and easy-to-use – we hope you enjoy!

    Recordings include:

    Mockup channel order (panned, for easy editing in NLE):
    Channel 1 (left) – Exterior
    Channel 2 (right) – Interior

    Isolated tracks of all Exterior and Interior perspectives on idles, revs, engine starts & stops, various speeds, and more!

    Interior knobs, buttons, dials, seatbelts, sunroof, turn signals, buttons, windshield wipers, door open/close.

    Recorded with industry-standard equipment used on theatrical films and name-brand commercials, for your listening pleasure.

    40 %
    OFF
    Ends 1591307999
    Add to cart
  • MAGIC SOUND EFFECTS REDEFINED
     
    Enter the world of MAGIC – ARCANE FORCES, where supernatural entities can be heard raging with ultimate power and fury. The distinctly forceful and kinetic character of this comprehensive sound effects library and its designs is supported by countless pristine source recordings of the elements being pushed to their limits. Whether in post production or sound design for games, MAGIC – ARCANE FORCES gives you the edge on the other side.

    WHAT’S INSIDE:
    INCLUDED SOUNDS – KEYWORDS
    ACID, ARCANE, BARRIER, BREATH, BUFF, CURSED, DEBUFF, DIVINE, ELECTRIC, ENERGY, FIRE, GLASS, ICE, IMPACT, LIGHT, LIQUID, METAL, PROCESSED, PROJECTILE, RUMBLE, SEQUENCE, SUMMON, SWEETENER, SWISH, TELEPORT, TEXTURE, VOICE, WATER, WHOOSH, WIND
    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1591999199
  • “The Shoe Collection: Soft Hardwood – Woman’s Knee-High Boot“ by Periscope Post & Audio, provides 22 high quality footsteps on soft hardwood floors with the knee-high boot.  The audio files are recorded at 24bit, 192k with mono and stereo recordings.  The Sennheiser MKH-60 was used for the mono files with a slightly more distant mic placement than the stereo files, which were recorded with the Sennheiser MKH8050 and the Sennheiser MKH-30 near the shoe.  From different walking speeds, to jogging, sprinting, jumping, hard stops, scuffs, and more!  There are several performances with each file to fit the right action you need.  That’s a whopping 620 footsteps between the mono and stereo files!

    17 %
    OFF
    Ends 1591135199
    Add to cart
  • Recording of the Pulse Jet Snowmobile. Powered by a 50 Hz Pulse ethanol/water jet engine the same used by a WW2 V-2 rocket.


    The Pulse Jet Snowmobile sound collection shares 28 clips of field recordings in 1.42 gigabytes of audio. Powered by a 50 Hz Pulse ethanol/water jet engine the same used by a WW2 V-2 rocket, this bundle presents the snowmobile racing at extreme speeds for a mix of perspectives.

    Both onboard and exterior perspectives are shared in two takes. The exterior perspectives arrange microphones at a mix of distances at the beginning, end, and middle of the racing strip. The onboard microphones were positioned onboard the body and at the jet engine to portray steady fast driving, with bonus custom mixes of the onboard and exhaust tracks.

    The sound library includes iXML, Soundminer, BWAV, and MacOS Finder embedded metadata, metadata keyword import files for 7 languages, and Pro Tools and Reaper mixing sessions.

    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:
 

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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