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News: The History of Animation Sound

Posted by on Nov 17, 2015 | 1 comment

Jimmy MacDonald holding the roll of bamboo that  was used to create one of the sound layers for the devastating forest fire in Bambi.

Jimmy MacDonald holding the roll of bamboo that was used to create one of the sound layers for the devastating forest fire in Bambi.

It has been said that during times of national economic hardship, people look to entertainment for relief. Taking that with a grain of salt, Walt Disney couldn’t have revealed Mickey Mouse at a better time. Though on the verge of the Great Depression, and with the film industry making its swift yet awkward transition into synchronized sound, Walt Disney Studios released Steamboat Willie in 1928, securing animation on the cutting edge as a medium capable of expressive sound effects and coinciding scores.

In her blog post, Kate Finan of Boom Box Post, explains how the Big Three – Walt Disney, Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. – developed their signature sounds for a form of entertainment as undeveloped as its film stock. Through compatible relationships and mentorship, these legendary sound teams were able to transform the initial utterances of animation sound into a dialect where KOs naturally produce a flock of warblers and pointy objects always make a nice sharp “poing!”


News: Pro Sound Effects Announces Free Enrollment into Freelancer Program

Posted by on Nov 9, 2015 | 0 comments

Pro Sound Effects Freelancer Program - Enroll before 31 December and save up to 60% on libraries and software.

Pro Sound Effects Freelancer Program

An extra hour of sleep isn’t the only good thing to happen in November (for those of us who live where Daylight Savings still exists and don’t mind driving home in darkness).

On 5 November, Pro Sound Effects announced their Freelancer Program. If you are an independent sound designer, video editor, or game developer in need of professional audio, Pro Sound Effects is allowing free open enrollment into the program until 31 December 2015. Along with being able to save $2,000 off their flagship Hybrid Library, members can receive a 60% discount on NYC Ambisonics and deals on PSE’s monthly download plans and the Hybrid Library Expansions. Members also receive various discounts on software such as Izotope’s Iris 2, RX5, RX5 Advanced and Post Production Suite, Soundminer HD, HD Plus and Pro, and SoundMorph’s Wave Warper. No purchase will ever be necessary for those who enroll by 31 December, even after the free enrollment period has ended.

You can apply here, which requires you to tell PSE a little about yourself and your interest in the program. You can also learn more about the program and its libraries and software here.

Pro Sound Effects® curates and delivers the Next Level sound effects library for media producers worldwide. The Pro Sound Effects Library is 175,000+ royalty-free sounds effects available both online and on hard drive. The Library spans the entire sonic spectrum and is continually updated. Founded in 2004, Pro Sound Effects is relied upon by top freelancers and big media production companies around the globe.

New SFX Libraries October Recap

Posted by on Nov 6, 2015 | 0 comments

Scattered pumpkins lay in a misty field, eerily highlighted by the dark blue sky, as distant trees sit silhouetted by final rays of dusk.

Photo credits:
“Sunset in the Pumpkin Patch” by David Grimes –

If you have a release coming up and you would like it to be included in our recap, send us the details through our SFX Independence Submission form at


I know what you’re thinking. SFX libraries released in October will contain a lot of howls, screams, muahahahaaas… you know, that old chestnut. While these sounds have their place, October brought us a diverse palette of sound effects, ranging from falling rocks and debris to quiet Athenian and Parisian corners to the roaring engines of tanks and classic cars – one of which will assure you that where you’re going, you won’t need roads. Of course, if you are looking to horrify, a positively gut-wrenching library that was recently released should satisfy your sadistic needs.

To learn about the new audible candy that is available for your projects, read on…

Rocks Momentum by Mattia Cellotto
You’re hiking in your favorite alps and oh crap! the ground beneath you gives away. Besides the piercing screams, what does that experience sound like? Rocks Momentum can help you out with a multitude of stones, rocks and bricks that use gravity at its finest to crush whatever’s below. This library contains the satisfying crunches and crashes of rocks, tile, cement and bushes as they meet their demise and the rumble of landslides that nearly take you along as they splash into the glacial lake below.
(1100 assets, 1.8 GB, 24bit/96kHz) (more…)

Monthly Theme: “Pure” Sound Design

Posted by on Nov 4, 2015 | 2 comments

Cover image by Mirko Tobias Schaefer ( Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

What is the essence of sound design?

It is widely accepted that individuals who are visually impaired develop the ability to hear heightened detail and extract deeper levels of information through their other senses, in which hearing/sound is a large part.

For many of us, the sounds we regularly design are for the distinct purpose of supporting, and enhancing the context of (often moving) images within a larger media project such as a film, or a video game.

This month, Designing Sound would like to take away any potential (visual or otherwise) “crutches” that we lean on when designing sounds and consider what sound design is at its core, in its purest form, and without any visual aids to help (or distract) us. This a month to reflect on, and explore the depth, and meaning, of “pure” sound design.

As always, we here at Designing Sound encourage our community (and yes, that means you) to contribute an article for this month’s theme, or any sound design related topic that may be on your mind. Your contributions, and added perspectives are a large part of what keeps this site vibrant and fresh. So please, keep reading, thinking, and writing about sound design, and anytime you would like to contribute, just contact doron [@] this websiteThank you for being a part of our community. 

Adventures in SFX – Creating Port of Call

Posted by on Nov 3, 2015 | 0 comments

Michael Raphael has been recording and releasing high res sound effect collections for sound designers and editors since 2010. His site Rabbit Ears Audio covers such diverse sonic ground as Hind Helicopters, train whistles, and typewriters. In a recent collaboration with Audio Director Rob Bridgett he has released a new library called Port of Call and they’ve kindly offered to give us some insight into its creation. Many thanks to Michael and Rob for this contribution. (more…)

Spectral Analysis: Interview with Gordon Durity

Posted by on Oct 28, 2015 | 1 comment

Many thanks to Brad Dyck for contributing this interview. You can follow Brad on Twitter @Brad_Dyck

Gordon Durity is the Executive Audio Director of the EA Audioworks team, which supports the audio development of the upcoming Need for Speed release available on November 3rd, 2015 for PS4 and Xbox One (PC due in the spring of 2016). I’d like to extend my thanks to Gordon for sitting down to chat with me.

Brad Dyck: Could you describe some of the responsibilities you deal with day to day?

Gordon Durity: I look at all the titles that I’m in charge of – all of the sports games, Need for Speed, Plants vs Zombies and mobile products just to keep track of where everything’s going as far as audio content and quality. I do R&D as well, looking at where our technology is headed, what’s out there competitively, what we’re building in-house, what we need to build for emerging platforms, and what we need to re-factor to make things work better. Because we’re a central team, I spend time with the senior leaders of the titles we service whether it’s FIFA, Madden or Need for Speed, just to make sure that we’re completely aligned with our dev partners. (more…)

News: How to Create Horror Sound Effects

Posted by on Oct 26, 2015 | 0 comments

In an appropriately seasonal blog post over at A Sound Effect, Asbjoern speaks to Saro Sahihi of SoundBits, a boutique SFX library and sound design company. Saro, who has released some excellent gore SFX libraries, goes in-depth on how to achieve some truly squishy, wrenching, and disgusting gore sounds for all your horror needs. He even touches on some other horror mainstays, like how to achieve a good jump-scare sound, or crafting dark ambiences.

Head over to A Sound Effect to check out the whole article!

Sound Decision: Inside the world of audio branding

Posted by on Oct 23, 2015 | 0 comments

A cursor hovers over the time on a Windows 95 screen, displaying the date as October 23, 1995. An exclamation pops up to say, "You keep checking the date. You must be confused. It's 1995. That feeling that you installed Windows 95 a long time ago is just confusion. Windows 95 will now run Solitaire to calm you."

Did 20 years go by that quickly?
Image retrieved from the Windows 95 Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks Tumblr (parody site):

User Interface sounds are a breed of their own. Some clearly represent their actions, such as the epochal ‘door opening’ to indicate a contact has logged on or the equally attention-grabbing announcement that “you’ve got mail,” which rationalized why you had to tie up the phone line another five minutes. Other sounds attempt to bind emotions to their actions; the wistful start up themes for Windows 95 and Mac OS assured you this is the future in their grounded, yet contemplative, chords. Whether literal or metaphorical, UI sounds are calls-to-action, sometimes to a Pavlovian degree, where this causes you to glance at your charging cable and this makes you think you’ve bumped your thumb drive. But when it comes to professional audio branding, how are these concepts used to evoke ideas such as ‘clean’ and ‘trustworthy’? (more…)

News: Designing Sound Meetup at the 139th AES Convention

Posted by on Oct 22, 2015 | 0 comments

A crowd of people enter the exhibit show floor of the 135th AES Convention in New York City

Opening Day of the 135th AES Convention in NYC.
Photo retrieved from

It’s that time of year again! If you’re attending the 139th AES Convention next week in New York City, come join us at 8:00 pm on Thursday, 29 October at Alfie’s Bar and Kitchen, located at 800 Ninth Ave on the corner of Ninth Ave and W 53rd St. If you plan on stopping by, please RSVP using the form at the end of this article. If you are not attending the AES Convention, but you live in the NYC area, stop by anyway! (And please RSVP.)

For those unfamiliar with the AES Convention, the event runs from Thursday, 29 October to Sunday, 1 November at the Javits Center at 655 W 34th St. The Free Exhibits-Plus badge gives you access to the show floor along with Special Events, Project Studio Expos and Live Sound Expos. The All Access badge allows you to experience everything the show has to offer except tech tours. Remember, if you reserve your All Access badge before 26 October, the pass will be $25-$100 less than purchasing one on-site.

And if you haven’t yet planned which panels and events you’d like to attend, the AES schedule can be found here.

See you all soon!

News: Behind the Scenes with Plants vs. Zombies 2 Neon Mixtape Tour

Posted by on Oct 21, 2015 | 0 comments

Considering the newest Plants vs. Zombies 2 release has the word “mixtape” in the name, there was never any doubt that music would play a big role in the game’s experience. And as anyone who closely follows PopCap Games and their audio obsession, they’re not a company that does something halfway when it comes to sound or music. That’s why its a real treat that PvZ2 Neon Mixtape Tour audio lead Damian Kastbauer sat down with EA to discuss in depth how the team approached the variety of musical styles that appear in the new release. As always, the PopCap audio team has gone to great lengths to make a fun and immersive audio experience within the game, so be sure not to miss how they did it!

In addition, Damian has included some examples on his Vine page of some of the beat-syncing in action, both sounds-to-beat sync and animations on-the-beat.