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 Command Center I Play Track 28 sounds included, 28 mins total $24.95

    Orbital Emitter is proud to present Command Center I – a comprehensive sci-fi sound-set providing a rich arsenal of futuristic sounds for you to quickly build believable sci-fi atmospheres for all of your sci-fi projects! Inside you will find nuanced environments, futuristic instrument displays, multiple alerts and imaginative lo-fi system sounds. And like the rest of our growing library, this environment sound-set can be customized to your liking allowing multiple possibilities -all from this one sound-set!

    Our sound-sets are made up of two main folders labeled as Audio-Scenes and Audio-Stems. The Command Center I Audio-Scenes consist of five long playing scenes representing this star-cruiser command center in various modes of operation; -From busy to calm to high alert and more. Think of these audio-scenes like we dropped microphones into a futuristic space cruiser command center and have captured all of its sounds in real-time!

    Our Audio-Stems folder contains the curated sound elements used in creating the audio-scenes. This is where you will find isolated sound elements like tactical scans, lost communications, sweeping sensors, enemy alerts, interface sounds, probe telemetries, stellar mapping, systems under incredible stress and interface sounds and much much more!

    Also included with our audio-stems are less glamorous necessities like room tones and back-wall system sounds to give your futuristic environments the nuance they deserve. This sound-set is delivered industry ready at 24 bit/48kHz WAV and each sound file contains simple meta-data to make our sound files easy to organize & find. All of our sounds are 100% original, created in our sound-labs and designed to boldly explore the universe of sci-fi sound!

    Thank you for reading! Watch for more from Orbital Emitter coming soon!

    20 %
    OFF
    Starts 1579820400
    Add to cart
  • Say Hello to Particles the new sonic weapon for creative sound designers, video makers, filmmakers and motion designers.

    A must-have sound effect library to give a sense of organic and hyper-realistic to your projects in a fast and creative way.

    • 287 high quality pristine sound effects with an organic and granular taste divided into 6 categories.
    • Stereo 24bit and 96khz for extreme pitch shifting and sound manipulation.
    • BaseHead embedded metadata

    CATEGORIES:

    Hyper- Realistic Textures (104 sounds)

    These are hyper close-up recordings of various kinds of props (food, fabrics, materials).

    Since they are really rough, they’ll inspire you to create something cool using them as sound sources.

    Their proximity allows you to use them for macro-shots, CGI and motion pieces, hyper-detailed images.


    Granular Whooshes (76 sounds)

    From sci-fi granular to totally organic, a large number of whooshes, passbys, dopplers to give a natural sense of motion to your project.


    Minimal One Shots (62 sounds)

    This is the category of short and tiny sounds: small collapsing, fractures, all with a premium high-end sonic detail.

    You can make your organic foley drumkit using them as a sample into your electronic music project.


    Organic Impacts (17 sounds)

    Powerful, organic, natural-sounding with a big low end, these impacts are ready for your earth’s destruction shots.


    Granular Atmospheres (16 sounds)

    Abstract but generated from organic recordings, these atmospheres will help you to get the right “other world” dimension to your project


    Low End Rumbles (12 sounds)

    Last but not least, do you need more power in the low end? You can layer these sounds to enforce subsonic frequencies giving a new taste to other existing sounds.

    29 %
    OFF
    Ends 1580252399
    Add to cart
  • Obscure cinematic ping elements perfect to add as top layers while crafting memorable hit sounds and hybrid trailer impacts with mystical undertones and terrifying stingers.

    This file is from the personal library of trailer music composer Federico Soler Fernandez (“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” – “The Food That Built America (History Channel)” – “Middle Earth: Shadow of War” – “Halloween 2018” – “The Predator 2018”)

    Add to cart
  • The Creepy Contrabass SFXs Instrument: A Big collection of Creepy SFXs live Contrabass, recorded from 3 mic positions with a Neumann U87. This is the best Contrabass collection for your horror trailer tracks, recorded by Vesislava Todorova.

    Features 427MB uncompressed content, 180 sounds in 24 bit / 96 kHz. Includes 2 instruments for the FULL Kontakt version 5.8.1 and the AIFF Version.

    Vesislava Todorova is a performing and recording artist from Bulgaria, with more than 10 Years of experience playing cello for various projects such as movies, video games, commercials and now the brand new Creepy Contrabass SFX Library from TH Studio Production.

    Along with her live performances, she also has a strong online presence with over 7 million views her covers and original music.

    CREEPY CONTRABASS

    2 Instruments for FULL KONTAKT 5.8.1

    AIFF Version

    Add to cart
  • The Creepy Violin SFXs Instrument: A Big collection of Creepy SFXs live Violin, recorded from 3 mic positions with a Neumann U87. This is the best Violin collection for your horror trailer tracks, recorded by Vesislava Todorova.

    Features 681 MB uncompressed content, 306 sounds in 24 bit / 96 Khz. Includes 3 instruments for the FULL Kontakt version 5.8.1 and the AIFF Version.

    Vesislava Todorova is a performing and recording artist from Bulgaria, with more than 10 Years of experience playing cello for various projects such as movies, video games, commercials and now the brand new Creepy Violin SFX Library from TH Studio Production.

    CREEPY VIOLIN

    • 3 Instrument for FULL Kontakt 5.8.1
    • 681 MB uncompressed
    • 24 Bit / 96 kHz

    Add to cart


Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:
 
Want more stories like this? Follow A Sound Effect:
 
                              

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
  • A collection of 206 ice tension, creaking, and breaking sounds, recorded in a dense pine tree forest in Sweden.

    Ice Tension includes:

    • Very long tension creaking sounds
    • Multiple breaking sounds
    • Ice impacts on ice
    • Ice impacts into ice water

    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