Asbjoern Andersen


Few people on this planet have more experience with weapon sound effects recording than Watson Wu, so it’s fantastic to be able to share his exclusive guide on how to do it right. Covering everything from gear, weapons, locations – to the recording sessions themselves – Wu shares a wealth of experience here:
 
People in general ask why I often do field recordings of firearms. Here are my responses. When you watch movies or play video games with guns being discharged, someone had to have recorded and edited those sounds. There are no accurate ways to replicate the multiple frequencies of such powerful sounds with synthesizers and/or audio software. Well, maybe not today.

To capture great sounds of weapons, you’ll need to use tons of high quality gear. There are several different methods but I have divided my own key points into five separate sections.
 

1: Microphones

I own many microphones of all types. Why do I own so many? Because I’m a Microphone Junkie! Microphones are like ice cream flavors; the more different ones you use, the greater chances you’ll have in capturing great sounds. Charles likes chocolate while Watson loves vanilla. Just like art, particular sounds from particular microphones come down to one’s personal preference. Having more recording channels from different sounding microphones will also give me more options for editing and mixing.

Typically I record 12 or more channels for medium to large size budget jobs. The most often used microphones are Røde, Sennheiser, Neumann, Shure, and other similar high quality brands. I find it necessary to have dynamics and condensers such as handheld vocal mics, pencil mics, shotgun mics, XY and MS stereo mics all thrown into the session.
 

2: Field Mixers & Field Recorders

The right Sound Devices field mixers and field recorders are actually the key to successful recordings of weapons. A long time ago when I tried other brands, all of the channels sounded about the same. In fact, they all sounded like popcorn. This is true even when comparing a cheap $100 handheld vocal dynamic mic to a $2,000 super shotgun condenser mic. The fast responding analog limiters from Sound Devices is what makes each of the mics sound different from one to the other. My favorite field mixers are the 442, MixPre-D, and the USBPre2. The 702, 722, and 744 are the best stand-alone field recorders.

I often find myself pushing the gain beyond clipping to achieve great aggressive sounds. It isn’t about what the wave file looks like during editing, but rather, it’s about how it sounds. The Sound Devices analog limiters will often times produce great sounds despite the awkward looking wave files.
 

3: Running Long Cables

To attach many XLR cables from the array of mics to my mixers and recorders, I use InstaSnake boxes. ETSLan.com makes these fantastic boxes that utilize CAT5e data cable to send long runs of audio signals. For the Ghost in The Shell online game, we had to do over 600 feet of cabling to capture the sounds of super long distance gunshots. InstaSnake boxes are rated to send up to 1,900 feet even with Phantom power turned on.
 

4: Monitoring

During a gun recording session, there are two ways to monitor gunshots. If you use regular studio headphones, you’ll need to be far enough (60 feet or more) so that the loud gunshots won’t hurt nor impair your ears. This method unfortunately will make communication difficult between the recordist and the armorer.

Precious amounts of ammunitions will be wasted when the armorer can’t hear you telling him to stop shooting

The workflow will slow down when you have to yell at each other and/or rely on walkie talkies. The amorer must also wear electronic earmuffs that will allow him to hear normal speech and still protect his ears from loud gunshots.
Precious amounts of ammunitions will be wasted when the armorer can’t hear you telling him to stop shooting. I always use my Remote Audio headphones to record loud sounds. They are made for helicopters, racecars, and gunshots. Most of the time I can be 25 feet or closer to the shooter and still be able to monitor the recordings. Isolated playback with these headphones is also great even during moments when loud planes fly by.
 

5: Location

Location, Location, Location! Depending on the client’s needs, there are a few shooting ranges and private properties I can choose to rent. One place here in Florida will allow machine gun firing but won’t allow for explosions. This particular quiet range has areas where I get minimum amounts of echo, which is great for CQB (Close Quarter Battle) types of sounds.

At this prime location we’ve shot off tons of handguns, high power rifles, machine guns like the Mini-Gun to Explosions that send off Giant mushroom clouds of debris

If I need to do everything including explosions, I will use a huge private property in the desert just outside Las Vegas. At this prime location we’ve shot off tons of handguns, high power rifles, machine guns like the Mini-Gun to Explosions that send off Giant mushroom clouds of debris.
 

Calibers

There are clients who know what they want, and then there are clients who have little or no clue. When I worked on my first few projects that involved weapons, I was given room to choose what I wanted to record. Based on the agreed upon budget, I decided to choose weapons of different caliber ranging from 9mm, .40S&W, .45ACP, .357 Magnum handgun rounds to .22LR (Long Rifle), .223, .270, and .308 rifle rounds. I have convinced clients who have limited budget to change weapon selections when there are two or more handguns that shoot the same caliber.

When I have to record various 9mm handguns, I will acquire handguns that are all metal made material (like a Sig P226) as well as polymer types (like a Glock 17). Different types of body material, barrel lengths, as well as different brands of ammunition will produce different types of sounds. Once I was recording some hunting rifles, the owner had with him a small thumb size revolver that shot the same caliber as his rifle. However, the tiny handgun actually produced a better and more interesting sound. It was comical! For best results, most of the time, I strive to record large caliber rifles and as well as full automatic machineguns. The loud, powerful transients they produce are very exciting!

When dealing with a mid or large size project, I sometimes will buy various loads and brands of ammunitions for the possibility of capturing a variety of sounds. For example, an inexpensive non-major brand of the .45ACP caliber ammo won’t sound as beefy as the more expensive Winchester brand.

For best results, most of the time, I strive to record large caliber rifles and as well as full automatic machineguns

If I sat within 25 feet or closer to the shooter, the explosive sound from the Winchester PDX1 round will bleed into my Remote Audio NH7506 super headphones.

Not only is it good to record acceptable gunshot sounds, but my role is to also capture as much variety as possible.

When possible I will try to budget in a backup day in case we run into bad weather. I like to record in the desert away from chatty Florida birds and insects during the hot seasons. An exception was made when I gained access to shoot over a lake at a private orange groves property. This was for my “Rifles & Pistols of The World Wars” sound effects library. Shots from the rifles produced unusual gun tails that sounded fantastic over water! Moreover, whenever the wind blew, each of the tails sounded different from each other, which is great for video games. Video games are non-linear so more variation sounds are often needed.
 

 

Preparations

To prepare the needed gear for a medium or large size gun session, it may take an entire day or more to gather everything. Everything means mic stands, folding tables, chairs, cooler to store food/drinks, audio cables, long CAT5e data cables, batteries, custom batteries, bullhorn, walkie-talkies, tools, mixers, recorders, plastic bins, laptops, sun block, weapons, ammunitions, tools, etc. Sometimes I have to rent a large SUV like a Chevy Suburban or a 15-passenger work van to haul the equipment plus personnel.

Most of I do is “Work for Hire”, meaning a company will pay me to field record sound effects then send the files to them. They would own the copyrights to those files. Typically these companies will supply me with a specific list of the actual weapons.
Once the shot list has been acquired, I would call my multiple gun owner associates and offer to pay them for their services. If they don’t have what I need, they too know other gun owners who may be able to provide the same service. Once a day rate has been negotiated, I would pay for the ammunitions in advance. I tend to over budget ammunition in case something interrupts the recording session. Also, here in America, purchased ammunitions cannot be returned.
 


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

 

Latest releases:  
  • Game Audio Packs & Bundles Dirt & Asphalt Series: Motorbikes Bundle Play Track 365 sounds included, 305 mins total $116.66 $99.17

    Dirt & Asphalt Volume 1 is the first addition of vehicle and transportation recordings from Output Audio. This library contains a selection of recordings from 3 road bikes, with additional bonus content from other road motorbikes. The library also contains acceleration ramps for use in granular playback engines.

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  • Cars Hyundai Kona Electric Car Play Track 428 sounds included, 98 mins total $100

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    Multiple FX on each track – recorded in Sydney, Australia

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    car interiors library is a great supplement for all the car engine sounds that you already own. That way the action on the inside of the car is not stale at all. Dashboard buttons, seatbelts, automatic windows, switches, switching gears, brake, clutch and gas pedals, vents, turning signals. They’re all here!

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  • Destruction & Impact Cinematic Strikes Play Track Up to 4140 sounds included From: $119 From: $95.20

    ENORMOUS SOUNDING PERCUSSIVE HITS

    CINEMATIC STRIKES joins the BOOM Library Cinematic Series – and it focuses on big sounding drums. A whole world of cinematic percussive sound design lies a few clicks away: From devastating cracks and stomps over crisp swells and rolls to epic ensemble hits – you will be sure to find and build just what you are looking for.

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    Not only are you able to produce impressive sounding hits, but also transition into, out of and between peaks. Control the attack and release of each sound, using rolls, flams, double hits and other meticulously performed techniques. Three coherent microphone positions make spatial adjustments a breeze.


    Files: 618 • Sounds: 3708 • Size: 13 GB


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    Files: 108 • Sounds: 432 • Size: 1.4 GB

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  • Aircraft - Jet/Propeller Planes B-25 Mitchell Play Track 115 sounds included, 71 mins total $199 $99.50

    A large collection of authentic B-25 flybys, takeoffs, landings, taxis, startups, and shutdowns with both internal and external perspectives – for a total of 71 minutes of recordings.

    This library was over 8 years in the making, and is the refined result of more than 30 field recording expeditions, including one recorded aboard a B-25 during flight. All sounds have been extensively quantified with metadata (action, event length, relative speed, perspective, microphone pattern, and much more) which will make it an ideal resource for those working in audio post production.

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  • Cars Cars In Motion Play Track 561+ sounds included, 340 mins total $150 $75

    The Cars In Motion sound library gets you exterior sounds of cars driving at different speeds, slow/medium/fast/very fast pass-bys, reverse sounds, accelerations, braking sounds and a lot of additional files. You’ll find different engines, and cars with different character.

    From a small BMW 114i through to a powerful Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.7 V8 with Magna Flow exhaust, up to a fast twin turbo BMW 640D F12. In addition to cars there are also files covering big machines like tractors and excavator.

    The library features 561 WAV files with total length of 340 minutes, recorded in 96kHz and 24 bits with a Sound Devices 702, two Sennheisers MKH 8040, Rode NTG3 and Sony PCM-M10.

    Here are the cars included in this library:

    • Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI – 73 files – 73 minutes
    • Audi A4 B8 2.0 TDI Avant – 11 files – 10 minutes
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    • BMW 530D E60 – 55 files – 21 minutes
    • BMW F12 640D Gran Coupe – 87 files – 49 minutes
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    • Volkswagen Golf II – 26 files – 13 minutes
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  • City Life Nature Ambients Bundle Play Track 263+ sounds included, 683 mins total $160 $80

    This bundle includes 4 different libraries.

    The Baltic Sea sound library is compilation of 56 WAV files recorded with Sound Devices 702, Rode NTG3, Sony PCM-M10, two Oktavas MK012 set in MS, XY and ORTF setup. All the sounds were recorded far away from the cities and roads. Since most of the sounds were recorded in late winter, there are no insects or birds in background. There are few files that includes the sound of birds, but I left them on purpose, because of the overall feel of the files. In this library you will find beautiful sound of waves crushing on the rocks and shore, recorded from different perspectives in different stereo configurations, during calm and windy days. In addition to those sounds, there’s foley like walking, running and swimming in the water.

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    The Summer Ambients sound library contains 33 beautiful WAV files recorded with Sound Devices 702, Rode NTG3, two Oktavas MK012 in MS and stereo XY pattern. All sounds were gathered in different and beautiful places like forests, lakes, meadows or swamps. You can expect amazing ambients, textures, different birds, insects, forest during rain, calm and windy days. It’s a perfect library for designing background sounds. Everything was recorded in amazing Masuria in Poland.

    Summer ambients Update – library got 2x bigger and heavier than the original library. 59 additional files, 123 minutes of high quality audio recorded with Sennheiser MKH 8040 ORTF setup, Rode NTG3, Oktava MK012 XY setup plugged into SD702 and Sony PCM-10. It features ambients from the forests, ponds, swamps, meadows, lakes and suburbs recorded is very quiet locations, mostly just before the sunrise, during the day and before sunset far away from the cities.

    Water Flow sound library took me about six months to record, consumed about 15 thermoses of tea and 42 litres of gasoline to get to all locations. It offers 90 BWAV files recorded in different locations. Huge part of this library is based on the recording sessions on the rivers. Two completely different locations, recorded regularly for the last 5 months allowed me to create this unique sound library. Most of the recording sessions took place during winter just before the sun was rising to reduce the amount of unwanted sounds. Almost all recordings are completely clear and only few have birds in background, since it was my intention to record some location ambients with natural backgrounds.

    You can see the metadata and sound list below.

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  • Environments Rare Winds Play Track 102 sounds included, 233 mins total $149 $74.50

    From all 4 earth’s corners, air streamlines the environment and shapes our stories. Discover the cinematic world of rare winds!


    This sound library is the ultimate achievement of a really ambitious project of recording winds from very remote places across the world.

    Included are authentic recordings from the Boreal region (North hemisphere: in Canada and Iceland), from the Austral region (South hemisphere: Tierra del Fuego in Argentina and the Last Hope province in Chile), on Islands in Mediterranean region (Thira in Greece), in the Sahara desert (Marocco), Isle-aux-Grues (Canadian winter), and more (see file list for more details)


    These were recorded either in urban settings, countryside, or complete wilderness.

    Included is a set of useful synthesized, tonal, and designed winds.

    The sounds are categorized into 3 folders: Designed, Indoor & Outdoor.

    WHAT’S INSIDE:

    • 102 stereo files
    • Highly focused and meticulously edited sounds
    • Ready to use Loop
    • Urban area and Wild area
    • Useful Designed & Synthesized Wind Sounds
    • Recordings from the Boreal region (North) in Iceland & Canada
    • Recordings from the Austral region (South) in Argentina & Chile
    • Recordings from Islands in Greece & Canada
    • Recordings from the desert in Marocco
    • Abandonned houses and shelters
    • Marina, lake, forest, car, flags, arctic, metal pole, prairie, street, mountain, grass, …
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Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:
 

To keep the cost down for a lower budget project, the weather will have to be perfect and without much interruption from traffic, critters, and noisy people. Having the right assistants who know when not to speak nor make noises also helps.
Microphone placements depend on the project. I often compare two films: Heat and The Matrix. Heat has lots of explosion-based sounds whereas The Matrix has more mechanical types of sounds – and as a fan, I always try to capture both. To record mechanical sounds, I typically will place mics very close to the ejection ports (where empty shell casings eject out) of Semi-Auto and Full Auto weapons like the M4 as well as the AK47.

I often compare two films: Heat and The Matrix. Heat has lots of explosion-based sounds whereas The Matrix has more mechanical types of sounds – and as a fan, I always try to capture both.

High power sniper rifles such as the Remington 700 and the Barrett 50 cal usually produce more explosion-like sounds. It’s through the many experiments of shooting and recording I conduct to figure out what is useful.

During the production of the British film ’71, video clips containing gun battles were shared with me. Based on that I was able to determine the needed angles and distances. On the other hand, for video games, I typically need to record multiple perspectives such as close, medium, far, and incoming. During the planning of Ghost In The Shell online game, the audio director wanted all different perspectives including mics being as far as over 600 feet away from the shooter’s perspective. Needless to say, the InstaSnakes really came in handy!
 

Safety Rules

When field recording sounds of live firing, safety is Always number one. Here in America, we use the terms “Hot” and “Cold”. The term Hot means that firing is going on, meaning you don’t step beyond the safety line. Cold means that there are no ammunitions inside the weapons, meaning it is safe to check your targets etc. Whenever I bring along assistants with little or no experiences in firearms, we brief them extensively on gun safety. If during a moment where someone had to go and adjust a microphone problem like a rattling cable or a fallen mic stand, that person is suppose to ask if we are Cold or can we go “Cold” so that accidental firing may never occur. I cannot stress enough at how important it is to listen to armorers and/or safety officers. Just like driving on the road, accidents can be avoided if you watch, listen, and follow the rules.

I have hired professionals to shoot for me because I’ve seen how safe and serious they are when operating firearms. They will also need to be able to follow my directions such as when and where to fire. The finger is never near the trigger until the gun is leveled and pointed at a specific target.

When the range is Hot, attendees should always wear are anti-fog safety glasses (or large sunglasses) and proper ear protection such as electronic earmuffs (or ear plugs).
 

File Names

Naming files can be a little tricky. Let’s say a company hired me to record two specific firearms that shoot the same 9mm round. The following two types of firearms are good examples to show.

The Glock 17 is a semi-auto handgun. Semi-Auto means that each time you squeeze the trigger, a round fires off. When you squeeze and hold back the trigger, again only one round fires off. The Glock 17 model is a 17 round pistol. To shoot off all 17 rounds, you’ll need to squeeze the trigger 17 times.

Handgun_Glock17_9mm_Close_01.wav
Handgun_Glock17_9mm_Far_02.wav
Type of gun _ Name of gun _ Caliber _ Perspective _ Version number

 

The MP5 submachine gun can shoot in various modes. The selector switch can be set to semi-auto single shots (like the Glock 17) or to full automatic. Full Automatic means when you hold back the trigger, many rounds will shoot out from the gun until the finger release. A short burst of shots can quickly fire out three to five or more rounds. The term MagDump means Dumping out all of the rounds from the MP5 magazine (holding back the trigger until all of the rounds have been dumped out).

Submachinegun_MP5_9mm_Single_Close_03.wav
Submachinegun_MP5_9mm_Bursts_Medium_07.wav
Submachinegun_MP5_9mm_MagDump_Incoming_10.wav
Type of gun _ Name of gun _ Caliber _ Type of shooting _ Perspective _ Version number

Foley file names can be like these:

Handgun_Glock17_9mm_Foley_SlideAction_01.wav
Handgun_Glock17_9mm_Foley_SlideLock_02.wav
Handgun_Glock17_9mm_Foley_SlideRelease_03.wav
Submachinegun_MP5_9mm_Foley_MagazineInsert_01.wav
Submachinegun_MP5_9mm_Foley_MagazineRemoval_02.wav
Submachinegun_MP5_9mm_Foley_SafetyOff_03.wav
Submachinegun_MP5_9mm_Foley_SafetyOn_04.wav
Submachinegun_MP5_9mm_Foley_DryFire_02.wav

These are some of the technical terms I’ve taught to many of my clients. The South Koreans that attended their paid session were quite fascinated and franticly wrote down new terms such as Bursts and MagDump.

Watson Wu and independent sound effects:

In addition to his custom projects, Watson Wu has also been releasing several independent SFX libraries with both weapon and SFX recordings – here’s an overview:

  • Military Armored Military Humvee Play Track 74+ sounds included, 26 mins total $79

    Get the sounds of an Armored Military Humvee. Metadata is included with over 26 minutes of combined recording time split into 74 ready to use wave files. There are onboard, external, and foley sounds, all in high quality 24 bit resolution, 96khz sample rate. This is the right library when you need modern military humvee sounds for your film, TV, or game projects. Note that are no Ramp recordings in this package.

    Onboard multi-track recordings are in 4 separate mono wave files. Drag & drop or import each of the files into your audio editing software, then align them for creative mixing. There are also stereo mix versions of the OnBoard recordings. The External recordings are in stereo wave files. The download is a 1.5gb compressed .rar file (2.25gb Uncompressed).


    Onboard Settings:
    Channel 1 = Engine, Channel 2 = Cab, Channel 3 = Exhaust 1, Channel 4 = Exhaust 2

    External Settings:
    Stereo in Left and Right Channels

    Add to cart
  • Weapons Battle Rifles and Pistols Play Track 133 sounds included, 80 mins total $80

    Battle Rifles and Pistols is an extensive library collection of modern firearms, recorded and designed by Watson Wu (Assassin’s Creed, Breach & Clear, Operation Flashpoint) and Nick Dixon (Call Of Duty, Homefront: The Revolution, Need for Speed).

    The collection has been mixed and designed from 10, 12 and 16 channel recording sessions. Each weapon features a full suite of ballistics, foley, casings on four surfaces and multiple firing modes where appropriate. The library includes close and distant range ballistics alongside a small selection of impulse responses for acoustic processing.

    Battle Rifles and Pistols includes:

    Firearms included:
    • AK47
    • FN SCAR
    • SKS
    • XM8
    • Micro Uzi
    • MP7A1
    • 44 Magnum
    • Baretta M9
    • Desert Eagle
    • Glock 18
    • TT-33
    • Benelli Supernova
    Casings Included:
    • 9mm
    • 45 ACP
    • 50 BMG
    • 223
    • 303

    Impulse Responses Included:
    • 5 Floor Apartment Stairwell
    • Underground Car Park


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  • Environments Dark Woods Play Track 68+ sounds included, 288 mins total $49

    The Dark Woods Ambience sound effects library contains sounds of natural night ambiences, all recorded in the woods in Southwest Florida, USA (under trees, woods, etc). All 68 ready to use and loop-able stereo wave files were captured in 24 Bit, 96 kHz stereo (each in 3 or 5 minutes long). There are sounds of birds, a Coyote, frogs, insects, wild pigs, waves/water splashes from fish/wind, thunders, etc (check out the file names). See if you can identify what the two creatures are that approached my microphone. One of the creatures dragged the microphone fur a few feet away!

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  • Cars Ferrari Dino Play Track 53 sounds included, 28 mins total $199

    Get the roaring sounds of a 1974 Ferrari Dino. This Daytona 246 GT edition Italian made exotic car is a 5 speed manual mid-engine v6, and it's known to be The Ferrari without an exterior Ferrari badge.

    53 wave files were captured in 24 Bit, 96 kHz – and the combined recorded driving time is more than 28 minutes.

    Recordings included:

    Onboard Settings:
    Channel 1 = Exhaust 1, Channel 2 = Exhaust 2, Channel 3 = Engine 1,
    Channel 4 = Engine 2

    External Passby Settings:
    Stereo in Left and Right Channels

    Add to cart
  • Trucks, Buses & Vans Ford F-150 Truck Play Track 85+ sounds included, 52 mins total $79

    Get the sounds of a Ford F-150 2013 truck, captured by Watson Wu. Metadata is included with over 52 minutes of combined recording time split into 85 ready to use wave files. There are onboard, external, and foley sounds, all in high quality 24 bit resolution, 96khz sample rate. This is the right library when you need truck sounds for your film, TV, or game projects. Note that are no interior cab recordings in this package.

    Onboard multi-track recordings are in 4 separate mono wave files. Drag & drop or import each of the files into your audio editing software, then align them for creative mixing. There are also stereo mix versions of the OnBoard recordings. The External recordings are in stereo wave files. The download is a 1.5gb compressed .rar file (3.45gb Uncompressed).

    Text here:

    Onboard Settings:
    Channel 1 = Engine, Channel 2 = Near Air Intake, Channel 3 = Exhaust 1, Channel 4 = Exhaust 2

    External Settings:
    Stereo in Left and Right Channels

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  • Motorcycles Harley Davidson Fat Boy motorcycle, 1999 Play Track 131+ sounds included, 42 mins total $79

    Get the sounds of a 1999 Harley Davidson Fat Boy motorcycle sound effects library (with Metadata).

    All 131 ready to use wave files were captured in 24 Bit, 96 kHz. Files are divided into External static sounds, External following sounds, Foley sounds, and Onboard sounds. The combined recorded driving time is more than 42 minutes long.

    The Onboard recordings are in 2 separate mono wave files, channel one for engine and channel two for exhausts. drag & drop or import each of the files into your audio editing software, then align them for creative mixing. There are also stereo mix versions of the OnBoard recordings.

    The External recordings are in stereo, one MS (Mid-Side) for following (tracking) and the other MS at a fixed (static) position.

    Vehicle specs:

    Vehicle Type: Motorcycle
    Brand: Harley Davidson
    Model: Fat Boy
    Year: 1999
    Country origin: USA
    Specification: modified with straight pipes (without mufflers), 1450cc, 2 cylinder, 4 stroke, V-Twin, air cooled, manual 5 speed, carburetor fuel system (modified with larger jets), 63 horse power.

    Recording details:

    Onboard Settings:
    Channel 1 = Engine, Channel 2 = Exhaust

    External Settings:
    Following (MS Stereo in Left & Right Channels tracking the moving vehicle)Static (MS Stereo in Left & Right Channels from a fixed position)

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  • Motorcycles Honda CBR Super Blackbird 1100cc motorycle Play Track 103 sounds included $79

    This library delivers the sounds of a 1999 Honda CBR Super Blackbird motorcycle(with Metadata).

    All 103 ready-to-use wave files were captured in 24 Bit, 96 kHz. Files are divided into External static sounds, External following sounds, Foley sounds, and Onboard sounds. The combined recorded driving time is more than 62 minutes long. The Onboard recordings are in 2 separate mono wave files, channel one for engine and channel two for exhausts. Drag & drop or import each of the files into your audio editing software, then align them for creative mixing. There are also stereo mix versions of the OnBoard recordings. The External recordings are in stereo, one MS (Mid-Side) for following (tracking) and the other MS at a fixed (static) position.

    Onboard Settings:
    Channel 1 = Engine, Channel 2 = Exhaust

    External Settings:
    Following (MS Stereo in Left & Right Channels tracking the moving vehicle)Static (MS Stereo in Left & Right Channels from a fixed position)

    Definitions:
    Onboard: Sounds heard from driver and passenger perspectives (in or on the vehicle)
    External: Sounds heard from bystander’s point of view.

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  • Cars Honda Civic EX 2005 Play Track 65+ sounds included, 40 / 197 mins total $69

    This library delivers recordings of the 2005 Honda Civic EX, a 127hp, 1.7 liter, inline 4 cylinder, 4 speed automatic transmission Japanese car.

    Included are ready-to-use foley recordings, external passbys, and 4 channels of onboard wave files. All 65 wave files are at 24 bit / 96khz khz and the library features more than 40 minutes of combined driving time (total duration: 197 minutes).

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  • City Life Hong Kong Ambiences Play Track 18+ sounds included, 75 mins total $49

    Welcome to the Hong Kong Ambience sound effects library (1 hour and 15 minutes long, 1.6gb compressed .rar file, 2.4gb Uncompressed). This package contains sounds of what the Cantonese people hear during their daily commutes and can be used for common Asian scenes, China Town scenes, etc. All 18 ready to use and loop-able stereo wave files were captured in 24 Bit, 96 kHz (each in 3, 4, or 5 minutes long), and include metadata.

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  • Cars Mustang Dragster Cars Play Track 25 sounds included $49

    Get the powerful sounds of Mustang Dragster Cars in this sound effect library by Watson Wu. It gets you 25 recordings of both classic and modern Ford Mustang passbys at a 1/4 mile race track.Update: Now includes metadata

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  • Cars Porsche Carrera Play Track 107+ sounds included, 45+ mins total $139

    Get the sounds of a 1999 Porsche Carrera, captured by recording specialist Watson Wu. The German-made Porsche Carrera is a 6 speed manual, 3.4 liter, Flat 6, weighing in at only 2,900 pounds. The combined recorded driving time is more than 45 minutes long.

    Recordings included:

    Onboard Settings:
    Channel 1 = Exhaust 1, Channel 2 = Exhaust 2, Channel 3 = Engine, Channel 4 = Cab

    External Settings:
    Stereo in Left and Right Channels

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  • Weapons Rifles & Pistols of The World Wars Play Track 587+ sounds included $159

    Get the sounds of 12 authentic weapons from both World War 1 and World War 2, captured by recording specialist Watson Wu. A total of 587 files are included – 107 foley sounds and 480 firing sounds.
     

    Weapons included:
     
    Rifles:

    Enfield • M1 Carbine • M1 Garand • Mauser • Mosin Nagant – long • Mosin Nagant – short

    Pistols & revolvers:

    British Webley Revolver • Colt 1911 Pistol • German Luger Pistol • Smith & Wesson 1915 Revolver • Smith & Wesson 1917 Revolver • Walther PKK Pistol


     
    Each complete weapon set includes close, medium, far and incoming stereo perspectives.

    All the weapons are authentic, the gunpowder is real and 100s of rounds were sent downrange to get you these powerful weapon sounds from the World Wars.

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  • Weapons Shotgun: AA12 FullAuto Play Track 70+ sounds included $149

    Get rare weapon recordings off the AA12 Full Automatic Shotgun (12 gauge). It gets you 14 foley sounds in mono and 56 firing sounds in stereo, captured in 24 bit resolution and 96 kHz sample rate.

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  • Cars Subaru Crosstrek SUV Play Track 90+ sounds included, 35 mins total $69

    This sound effects library delivers the sounds of a 2017 Subaru Crosstrek SUV. Metadata is included, with over 35 minutes of recording time split into 90 ready to use wave files. There are onboard, external, and foley sounds, all in high quality 24 bit resolution, 96khz sample rate. This is the right library when you need stock sounds of a common Subaru vehicle.

    Onboard multi-track recordings are in 4 separate mono wave files. Drag & drop or import each of the files into your audio editing software, then align them for creative mixing. There are also stereo mix versions of the OnBoard recordings. The External recordings are in stereo wave files. The combined recorded driving time is more than 35 minutes long.

    Onboard Settings:
    Channel 1 = Engine, Channel 2 = Airintake, Channel 3 = Cab, Channel 4 = Exhaust

    External Settings:
    Stereo in Left and Right Channels

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  • Motorcycles Suzuki GSXR 750 Motorcycle Play Track 105+ sounds included $79

    Get the sounds of a 2003 Suzuki GSXR 750 sports motorcycle. The 105 files included are divided into External static sounds, External following sounds, Foley sounds, and Onboard sounds.

    The combined recorded driving time is more than 40 minutes long.

    The Onboard recordings are in 2 separate mono wave files, channel one for engine and channel two for exhaust. Drag & drop or import each of the files into your audio editing software, then align them for creative mixing. There are also stereo mix versions of the OnBoard recordings. The External recordings are in stereo, one MS (Mid-Side) for following (tracking) and the other MS at a fixed (static) position.

    Specs and settings

    Vehicle Type: Motorcycle
    Brand: Suzuki
    Model: GSXR 750
    Year: 2003

    Specification: modified with Level One Racing aftermarket exhaust, 750cc, in-line 4 cylinder 4
    stroke, liquid cooled, manual 6 speed, fuel injection double over cam/twin cam.


    Onboard Settings:
    Channel 1 = Engine, Channel 2 = Exhaust

    External Settings:
    Following (MS Stereo in Left & Right Channels tracking the moving vehicle)Static (MS Stereo in Left & Right Channels from a fixed position)

    Definitions & FAQs:
    Onboard: Sounds heard from driver and passenger perspectives (in or on the vehicle)
    External: Sounds heard from bystander’s point of view.

    This Suzuki motorcycle was modified with a Level One Racing aftermarket exhaust.

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  • Motorcycles Yamaha YZ250 Dirt Bike Play Track 50 sounds included, 35 mins total $69

    The Yamaha YZ250 Dirt Bike SFX library from Watson Wu delivers the sounds of this 2004 motorcycle with a 250cc 2 stroke engine. Files are divided into external static sounds, external following sounds, foley sounds, and onboard sounds. Captured Onboard – from the driver's point of view. External recordings: External Static is from a fixed stereo microphone. External Following is from an MS Stereo Shotgun mic following the traveling dirt bike.

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Foley Sounds

The first things I record are usually the foley sounds. We do this because fired weapons tend to get too hot to hold. You can literally crack open an egg and let it cook on a full automatic AK-47 that has fired several rounds! The typical foley sounds I record are magazine inserts, magazine removals, charging the bolt, safety on, safety off, and dry fire.
 

Types of Firing

When recording a full automatic weapon like an MP5, there is a selector switch that will allow single shots as well as full automatic shots. I will typically instruct the armorer to first perform single shots follow by short burst shots, then at least 4 to 5 MagDump shots.
 

Recording Format

My preferred method of recording is the poly wave file format in 24bit resolution, 96 or higher kHz sample rate. When I use my Sound Devices 788T-SSD 8-track recorder, each wave file contains 8 channels. This makes it easier for me to stay organized especially when there are numerous guns to record and manage.
 

Software

Prior to editing, I would use Wave Agent from Sound Devices to export the poly wave files into single mono files. Sometimes I need to remove unwanted birds, insects, drops of empty bullet casings, and wind noise using RX4 Advanced. Afterwards, the single mono files are then dragged and dropped into the DAW. While I do use ProTools and Sony Vegas, Reaper has been a joy to work with. I would compare it to Google Chrome. It’s light, fast, and easy to use! Moreover, it works with both Mac and Windows.

To beef up gun sounds, I often do layering and the usage of various plug-ins. I find Waves plug-ins to be extremely helpful. Sound Forge is a great software to finalize files. The Batch Processing tool is like Gold!
 

Gun Sounds for Games

When I work on games, it’s typical that I’m tasked to create variations for each of the shots. If the weapon again is an MP5 submachine gun, this means that there might be as many as 10 variations for close Single shots, 10 variations for close Burst shots, 10 variations for close MagDump shots, etc. The variations can be subtle from one file to the other such slight EQ/Pitch changes to vast Soft/Hard Compressions, more layering, delays, echo lengths, etc. You can see how many files there might be for implementation when all of the editing completes. The number of files can be doubled if you have to do both indoor and outdoor types of sounds.

With the modern games we have today, shots are randomized to entertain your ears. After all, field recordists and sound designers work in the entertainment industry.
Remember, safety is Always Number One! Hire professional armorers to do the shooting and handling for you.

 

Please share this:


 

A big thanks to Watson Wu for his insights on weapon sound effects recording!
 


 
 
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:
  • Environments Rare Winds Play Track 102 sounds included, 233 mins total $149 $74.50

    From all 4 earth’s corners, air streamlines the environment and shapes our stories. Discover the cinematic world of rare winds!


    This sound library is the ultimate achievement of a really ambitious project of recording winds from very remote places across the world.

    Included are authentic recordings from the Boreal region (North hemisphere: in Canada and Iceland), from the Austral region (South hemisphere: Tierra del Fuego in Argentina and the Last Hope province in Chile), on Islands in Mediterranean region (Thira in Greece), in the Sahara desert (Marocco), Isle-aux-Grues (Canadian winter), and more (see file list for more details)


    These were recorded either in urban settings, countryside, or complete wilderness.

    Included is a set of useful synthesized, tonal, and designed winds.

    The sounds are categorized into 3 folders: Designed, Indoor & Outdoor.

    WHAT’S INSIDE:

    • 102 stereo files
    • Highly focused and meticulously edited sounds
    • Ready to use Loop
    • Urban area and Wild area
    • Useful Designed & Synthesized Wind Sounds
    • Recordings from the Boreal region (North) in Iceland & Canada
    • Recordings from the Austral region (South) in Argentina & Chile
    • Recordings from Islands in Greece & Canada
    • Recordings from the desert in Marocco
    • Abandonned houses and shelters
    • Marina, lake, forest, car, flags, arctic, metal pole, prairie, street, mountain, grass, …
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  • City Life Nature Ambients Bundle Play Track 263+ sounds included, 683 mins total $160 $80

    This bundle includes 4 different libraries.

    The Baltic Sea sound library is compilation of 56 WAV files recorded with Sound Devices 702, Rode NTG3, Sony PCM-M10, two Oktavas MK012 set in MS, XY and ORTF setup. All the sounds were recorded far away from the cities and roads. Since most of the sounds were recorded in late winter, there are no insects or birds in background. There are few files that includes the sound of birds, but I left them on purpose, because of the overall feel of the files. In this library you will find beautiful sound of waves crushing on the rocks and shore, recorded from different perspectives in different stereo configurations, during calm and windy days. In addition to those sounds, there’s foley like walking, running and swimming in the water.

    The Harbours Of Norway sound library features 25 files with ambients recorded in Myre, Sto and Nyksund, very small towns with direct access to the sea. Most of the sound effects were recorded at night, but since it’s a polar day time of the year, it was very pleasurable to walk and look for convenient places to set up my gear. Everything was recoded with ORTF setup built from two Sennheisers MKH 8040. Inside this library, you’ll find a lot of seagulls, waves crushing on the rocks and plants, windy ambients from the cliff, industrial sound from port in Myre with ship unloading the cargo, walla with steam engine boat and additional sounds from boat engine market and air cooling aggregates from food containers. Every file was recorded in 96kHz, edited (i removed any unintentional bumps, pops and unwanted sounds). I limited EQing to removing harsh frequencies, or enhancing a little bit the good sounding ones. At the end of the chain there is a small compression, for louder sounds.

    The Summer Ambients sound library contains 33 beautiful WAV files recorded with Sound Devices 702, Rode NTG3, two Oktavas MK012 in MS and stereo XY pattern. All sounds were gathered in different and beautiful places like forests, lakes, meadows or swamps. You can expect amazing ambients, textures, different birds, insects, forest during rain, calm and windy days. It’s a perfect library for designing background sounds. Everything was recorded in amazing Masuria in Poland.

    Summer ambients Update – library got 2x bigger and heavier than the original library. 59 additional files, 123 minutes of high quality audio recorded with Sennheiser MKH 8040 ORTF setup, Rode NTG3, Oktava MK012 XY setup plugged into SD702 and Sony PCM-10. It features ambients from the forests, ponds, swamps, meadows, lakes and suburbs recorded is very quiet locations, mostly just before the sunrise, during the day and before sunset far away from the cities.

    Water Flow sound library took me about six months to record, consumed about 15 thermoses of tea and 42 litres of gasoline to get to all locations. It offers 90 BWAV files recorded in different locations. Huge part of this library is based on the recording sessions on the rivers. Two completely different locations, recorded regularly for the last 5 months allowed me to create this unique sound library. Most of the recording sessions took place during winter just before the sun was rising to reduce the amount of unwanted sounds. Almost all recordings are completely clear and only few have birds in background, since it was my intention to record some location ambients with natural backgrounds.

    You can see the metadata and sound list below.

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  • Cars Cars In Motion Play Track 561+ sounds included, 340 mins total $150 $75

    The Cars In Motion sound library gets you exterior sounds of cars driving at different speeds, slow/medium/fast/very fast pass-bys, reverse sounds, accelerations, braking sounds and a lot of additional files. You’ll find different engines, and cars with different character.

    From a small BMW 114i through to a powerful Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.7 V8 with Magna Flow exhaust, up to a fast twin turbo BMW 640D F12. In addition to cars there are also files covering big machines like tractors and excavator.

    The library features 561 WAV files with total length of 340 minutes, recorded in 96kHz and 24 bits with a Sound Devices 702, two Sennheisers MKH 8040, Rode NTG3 and Sony PCM-M10.

    Here are the cars included in this library:

    • Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI – 73 files – 73 minutes
    • Audi A4 B8 2.0 TDI Avant – 11 files – 10 minutes
    • BMW 114i E87 – 20 files – 10 minutes
    • BMW 530D E60 – 55 files – 21 minutes
    • BMW F12 640D Gran Coupe – 87 files – 49 minutes
    • Excavator MF 860 – 30 files – 20 minutes
    • Jeep Grand Cherokee 4.7 V8 – 62 files – 51 minutes
    • Renault Kangoo 1.6 16V – 71 files – 32 minutes
    • Renault Master II 2.8 dTi – 21 files – 13 minutes
    • Renault Master F3500 dCi135 – 30 files – 12 minutes
    • Tractor Case II CX90 – 15 files – 10 minutes
    • Volkswagen Golf II – 26 files – 13 minutes
    • Other Cars – 60 files – 23 minutes

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