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Posted by on Jan 17, 2011 | 2 comments

“Metal Impacts”, New SFX Library of Chuck Russom FX, Q&A Included

Chuck Russom has announced the release of Metal Impacts, a new SFX library loaded with more than 900 sounds.

Metal Impacts could be called a sword library, but no actual swords were used to create it. My goal was to put together a set of sounds that could be used to design swords and other metal weapons. With a creative imagination, you’ll find many other uses for these sounds. I sought out pieces of metal that I felt had great sonic quality when they were struck together.

12 different metal props were used in a variety of ways. There are solid hits with nice metal ring outs, fast muted hits, and some really great metal scrapes. There is also an insane amount of takes and variety in this library. My arms and ears cringe just thinking about the work that went into creating this one!

All sounds were recorded and mastered at 24bit 192K using high resolution Sennheiser Microphones. So they are ready for extreme pitch shifting and processing. Also included are 24bit 96K versions. Metal Impacts is a downloadable collection of wav files embedded with metadata readable by all of the popular sound library apps.

Metal Impacts HD PRO – $39 | 192/96kHz 24-Bit | 974 sounds | 1.4GB | Soundminer and Pro Tools metadata ready.

Below is a little interview I had with Chuck, discussing several things about the library.

Designing Sound: Why did you decide to do this library?

Chuck Russom: I always need metal sounds on the projects I work on. When I started creating libraries, I had planned to do multiple metal libraries. My first library was Metal FX, which contains what I’d call “non-standard” or “odd” metal sounds.  With Metal Impacts, my goal was to build a set of sounds that I could use for swords, axes, and other metal weapons. I am in constant need of great metal weapons sounds.

DS: What kind of props did you use? How did you use them?

CR: I went shopping at Home Depot and went through the place, picking up various pieces of metal, banging them together, and listening to the sounds that each piece would make. It’s amazing I wasn’t thrown out of the place! I’ve recorded sounds like these before, so I had a pretty good idea of the type of metal props that would work for the sounds I was looking to record. For the most part, I used various pieces of steel; flat bar, round bar, and angle bar. I used various thicknesses of each. There were a couple other things that I found in the store that I thought sounded pretty cool such as some steel anchor bolts and some 18 inch flat iron stakes (which were pretty heavy, given their size).

DS: What gear did you use on those sessions? How was the recording process?

CR: This was pretty simple to record actually. Years ago, I did a similar recording session, so I knew what to expect.  I had an idea of what to do and what not to do. I knew how I wanted to perform with each prop. I recorded at 24 bit 192K to my Sound Devices 744. I used my Sennheiser MKH800 mics, which have an extended frequency response to 50 khz, which is really great on stuff like metal.  I also used those mics on my Metal FX library.

The hardest part about the whole process is how physically demanding it is to record and edit this type of material. The recording process is basically holding one 3 foot long piece of steel in each hand and banging them together as hard as I can for as many takes as I can.  Sometimes up to 100 takes. To make it even more difficult, one piece needs to be held loosely (sometimes with just my fingers) so that it will vibrate and ring out.

These pieces of steel get very heavy after a while and I would get very tired. My hands would also hurt from the shock of the impacts. I tried wearing gloves to absorb some of the impact, but the gloves ended up being noisy. I’d have to take constant breaks while recording, if I pushed myself I could get through 2-3 props a day before I was just physically done recording. The editing was just as painful. Ringing metal sounds penetrate deep into your ears and just kill you to listen to for any length of time. On top of that, I’d play the material back at loud volumes, so that I could be sure that I was hearing all the unwanted noises, such as my body movements, stomach growls, breathes, etc. I limited myself to editing 1-2 props a day, with constant breaks throughout the day. The editing process took a very long time.

DS: How do you typically use these metallic sources on your sound design job?

CR: As I mentioned earlier, my primary use for sounds like these are swords and metal weapons. But, I’m sure with some time to play, I can find all sorts of new ways to use this stuff.  Especially once I get into pitching and processing the 192K source.

DS: What’s coming in 2011? Any hint on next releases?

CR: 2011 is going to be a very busy year. I’m hoping to get at least 12 libraries out this year, hopefully more. Right now, I’m in “recording mode”. I start recording for two new libraries this week; a new gun foley library and Metal Impacts 2. The second metal impact library will be totally different from the first. Mostly larger metal sounds. As I was working on this library, I kept getting more and more ideas for Metal Impacts. I quickly realized that I have enough ideas to cover multiple libraries. So, I start Metal Impacts 2 this week, and plan to release it in the Spring.

I’m planning some ambience libraries this year. My December Rain library has been very popular, so I’d like to complement it with other cool ambience/background libraries. I also want to expand my HD FX Series which is my lower cost line that starts at $19. The great thing about doing the lower cost libraries, is it gives me the opportunity to release smaller collections of sounds that are often difficult to scale up to the lager sized libraries. Sometimes I have ideas for something, but can’t figure out how to make it work at a $49 price, maybe I just can’t find enough material, or whatever reason. By focusing some libraries at the lower price point, I can continue to release high-quality sounds, but not have to stress so much about delivering a high quantity of sounds.  I’ve got a lot of ideas and have pretty solid plans for the next 6 months. I’m already starting to plan out the second half of the year  As I said, 2011 is going to be very busy.

2 Comments

  1. Nice perspective on the rigors that go into recording material like this. The recordings sound great, I love the variety.

    Just starting into recording/sound design myself, and so while a library like this is tempting, I’d rather spend some time getting my own recording/editing chops up before I start letting libraries like these do a lot of the work for me. But it’s been bookmarked, and I’ll be back..

  2. Chuck, you may want to look into getting some mechanic’s gloves at your local auto store. Mine are dead quiet, have a little grip on the inside and have knuckle protection on the outside, while still allowing me to have some dexterity.

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