Servo, New SFX Library of Chuck Russom FX (Q&A Included)
Chuck Russom FX has released Servo, a new library loaded with more than 600 small machine/motor sounds recorded from 20 different sources.
A collection of small machine/motor sounds, the Servo Sound Library features sounds from a variety of sources. Motors from powered car seats, power tools, kitchen appliances, cameras, and many more props were recorded, often in multiple ways, to produce this diverse collection of sounds. The result is a library full of sounds ready to be used for robots, sci fi devices, industrial machines, and anything else your imagination can come up with.
Below you can find more information, obtained in a Q&A with Chuck, who talked about several things, including this new release, the anniversary of the company and future plans.
DS: What inspired you to do this library?
CR: I had planned to do a servo library a year ago, when I started releasing libraries. I even had it all recorded, it just needed to be edited and prepped for release, but it just sat on my drive. Over the course of the year, I kept putting it off while other opportunities popped up. I think I was planning that I was going to release a metal library, then rocks, then servos.
Probably the biggest reason it kept getting delayed, is that my first metal library (Metal FX) turned out to be just one part of a larger collection of metal that I had planned, so after every library I released, I’d go back to recording more metal. So far, I’ve released 2 parts and am working on my 3rd metal library now.
Last month I was visiting Skywalker Sound and I got to hear some C3P0 movement sounds. Just the raw SFX tracks, outside of a mix. They were simple sounds (I think I remember reading that Ben Burtt originally created these with an electric car window or something), but in context they work really well. It inspired me to get back an finish this servo library. So I went back to those recordings that I did a year ago, figuring that all I needed was some editing and I was done, but I wasn’t that thrilled with them anymore. They were ok, probably fine to release, but I felt I could do better. So I recorded everything for this release fresh.
DS: How was the recording process and what gear did you use on the sessions?
CR: I recorded to 3 channels on my Sound Devices 744, using my Neumann RSM191 stereo and a mono contact mic channel, so all the sounds in the library are mixed from those two mics. I think on a few of the props, the contact mic didn’t work well, so I just dropped that track. On all of the recordings I did in the studio, I used my Great River MP-500NV mic premaps on the RSM191, I love those preamps, they are so phat and big sounding. In the car, I didn’t want to have to worry about powering the mic preamps, so I used my Sound Devices MP2 preamp, which is also good, for the RSM191.
DS: What kind of uses you find to this sounds apart of robotic/mechanical context?
CR: Well, there are the obvious Sci Fi, Hi Tech, and industrial uses. If you get creative, you really can find endless uses for any type of sound, I recorded all of the sounds at 24bit 192K and that really helps when it comes to processing. And I think that processing is what will open up a lot of uses for this library. Something that I’ve used servo stuff in the past on is interface sounds; including sniper scope zooms and computer text/graphics.
DS: Are there some favorite recordings or cool things you found in the process?
CR: As I mentioned, I had recorded most of this stuff before, and there were a few devices that really stuck out from those sessions that I made a point to really focus on this time. I really loved the immersion blender when I recorded it previously, it’s just such a cool sound. Also, you can get a wealth of sounds from modern cars (electric seats, mirrors, windows, etc) so I spent a lot of time in the car, recording anything that had a motor.
I also tried to focus on performing the props as much as I could. So, instead of just recording a drill motor running, I would try different ways to manipulate a drill motor. If you hold the trigger just a little bit, the motor moves really slow and gives you a totally different sound. If you hold the drill chuck tight with a towel, you get some great sounds as the motor is stressed. But, you also have to be careful as you can burn through the towel and probably destroy the drill motor eventually. The hammer drill was pretty hard to stress, that thing is powerful.
My absolute favorite recordings from this set came from a 10 year old digital camera that I didn’t even remember that I had. I luckily found it in a drawer just before I finished all of the recording. The motors from the electric car seat are also some of my favorites.
DS: So it’s been a year now since you started with CRFX. How has been the process and evolution of the company?
CR: A year ago, I decided that I was going to start offering some of my sounds as small downloadable sound libraries. At the time, I figured that I’d release a library or two, no one would really care, and that would be the end of it. The exact opposite happened. Since the day I launched, I’ve received constant feedback telling me that what I’m doing is exactly what people have been looking for.
While the initial idea was that my libraries would consist of sounds that I’ve recorded over the years, I quickly shifted my focus and started to record new content specifically intended for a library release. A few of my releases are pulled from sounds I recorded over the years, but I’ve found that it is just easier to start from scratch and record with the mindset that this material will be used for a sound library.
The main rule I’ve always had for myself is that I will only release libraries that I would find useful as a sound designer. I’ve said many times that the intended audience for my libraries is me. When I create a product that I know I can use in my everyday work as a sound designer, then no matter how well it is received by others, I know that the time, effort, and cost of producing the library will be worth it. I think that is why my products have been so well received. I’m making libraries that I, as a sound designer, need. And I’ve found out that there are a lot of other people out there who have similar needs.
DS: Any changes in the future? Hints for new releases perhaps?
CR: My biggest goal right now is to continue producing new content on a regular basis. Chuck Russom FX finished it’s first year with 9 products. That’s not bad for the first year. By the second anniversary I am planning to have at least 20 products available.
As for future releases, I think it is well known that I am working on Metal Impacts 2, which will probably release sometime in the next 6 weeks. There is also a library that I started with a good friend of mine over 6 years ago! We recorded all of the content and a large amount of it has even been edited. I’m working now to figure out how to finish it up and see where it fits in my product lineup. I’m not giving details about it yet, but if I can pull it all together, it should be one of my next releases. Beyond those libraries, I have quite a few more that are already in production.
I’ll probably get in trouble for mentioning this, but it’s something that I’m really excited about and I have to let it slip. I’ve teamed up with Michael Raphael of Rabbit Ears Audio and we are collaborating on a new library. We’re both handling different aspects of the recording process and it will be a joint release.. I can’t give details yet, he’ll probably kill me for even mentioning it :) All I can say is that NO ONE has EVER done a library like this. We’ll be releasing details at some point in the near future and expect to release this summer.