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Posted by on Apr 30, 2012 | 3 comments

Hart FX Releases New Alligator Library

Hart FX has released Hart a Gator, a new library of alligator sound effects, cut from 10 hours of material recorded at 192kHz.

Alligators are quiet, stealthy creatures that roam the swamps and marshes of Florida like big, scaly, green ninjas. You see one silently skimming along, then all of a sudden it disappears! They hardly make any sound either – except for this one time of year… mating season.

During mating season, gators all of a sudden decide to emerge from their quiet ninja state and let the world know how much of a sexy beast they are – or at least they try to let the female gators know about it.

A gator bellow is when a gator fills it’s lungs with air, then lifts it’s tail and head up into the air, and then forces the air out in a way that causes the entire gator to vibrate violently. This creates this really awesome little dancing of water off the gator’s back, and creates a crazy growl that can be quite frightening. It definitely gave me a new respect for these oversized lizards…

This was not an easy library to record! The gator bellowing is infrequent, and it is often difficult to get close enough to get a clean recording. To add to that – if you approach too quickly and startle the gator, he will stop bellowing.

Hart a Gator is available for download at $95. More info: HartFX

Below is a q&a with Colin Hart, who shares some details about the process behind the library.

Can you tell us about the process of conceiving and planning this library?

I don’t really remember how the original idea came up (it was over a year ago…) but somehow we got the idea that it would be awesome to go out and record gator sounds. There is a gator “park” nearby where I live called “Gatorland”. They have upwards of 2000 gators and crocs there – I figured it would be a good place to start. So I called them up and got in touch with a guy that ended up touring us around to get gator sounds. The first time we went was in June – we were able to get some cool hisses and jaw snaps, which are territorial and warning sounds. Our contact told us that if we wanted some great sounds, it would be best to come back during mating season, when the gators bellow (as a mating call).

So come this year, around March, I called up Gatorland again and asked to come back in for a day of recording. I had no idea what to expect, so I just brought a bunch of gear and planned to stay a few hours. What I was able to get that day absolutely amazed me – these sounds were incredible! I had to get more. I was at the park for about 3 or 4 hours that day and only ended up with about 5 or 6 usable sounds, so I scheduled time to come back. I ended up going down there about 7 or 8 times total to get the sounds that I needed to build this library.

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Posted by on Apr 29, 2012 | 0 comments

Game Audio Podcast #17 – Post GDC Wrap Up 2012

The latest edition of the Game Audio Podcast is out, wrapping up a variety of subjects from GDC 2012 with special guest, Michael Raphael of boutique,royalty-free sound library provider Rabbit Ears Audio. Our  hosts also discuss the GANG awards, FMOD Studio, and newly emerging procedural plug-in formats for audio middleware, such as AudioGaming‘s AudioWeather.

You can check out some of the GDC talks mentioned, plus a wide variety of other GDC audio track content here

Listen to the Game Audio Podcast

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Posted by on Apr 24, 2012 | 0 comments

Hind Helicopter, New Library by Rabbit Ears Audio

Rabbit Ears Audio has released Hind Helicopter, a library of 77 files recorded at 24-Bit/96kHz.

One Soviet-era helicopter, four recordists, and plenty of fuel brings you REA_010 Hind. The Mi-24 Hind is a Soviet gunship that was introduced in 1969 and saw action in Afghanistan and throughout the Cold War. A few month back, I had the opportunity to record the Hind and assembled a team of of recordists to get ‘er done.

Sometimes when an opportunity presents itself, you just have to jump at it. This an animal of a helicopter that requires 26,000 lbs of thrust to get off the ground and pushes a ton of air. The helicopter’s large size and five blades give it a unique sound that is a combination of a “chirpy” whine and extreme low end.

Hind Helicopter is available at $129. More info: REA.

Below is a quick Q&A I had with Michael talking about this new release.

– What led you to create this library?

I was working at another gig and a friend of mine mentioned that he knew the owner of this particular helicopter and asked if I wanted to record it. At that point I didn’t know much about the Mi-24 and I started to do some research. Once I discovered how few of them were in the US and how little coverage there was, I jumped at the opportunity.

– What were the most interesting things of this helicopter regarding sound?

I can’t say that anything was boring. We learned very early on how powerful this machine was. It put out a tremendous amount of SPL and air-pressure. At various points throughout the shoot, each of the recordists were knocked down at least once from all the air that was being pushed. The blades are huge and the Hind has five of them, so it is truly a beast of a machine. I watched one recordist, Rob Byers, get flipped over twice during a take-off sequence because the Hind  passed a little too closely in his direction. We lost some good takes when we got a little too macho. During all of the pass-bys, I often found it hard to breathe from the amount of pressure hitting my body. Boy, was that fun!

We also spent half a day recording all of the doors, switches and electrical systems.  I really fell in love with that material during the editing process. Even the smallest switches have real weight to them.

– Could you tell us about the setup used and methods used for capturing those sounds?

For all of the pass-bys we wanted to capture a variety of perspectives and tonal elements so we went went out with a diverse collection of microphones. For all of the exteriors, we recorded with the following gear:

Exterior: Schoeps MK4, Sennheiser MKH 40, MKH 60, Sennheiser 8020, 8040, and 8050. Onboard: MKH 30/40. Interior Switches and Exterior Electrical Systems were recorded with a Schoeps MK4 + MK8 and a Sennheiser 8060. All tracked to Sound Devices 7-Series recorders.

The Schoeps really brought out the chirp of the helicopter where the Sennheiser 8000 series helped bring out the shear size and low end of the helicopter. Ultimately, the most important task at hand was recording as much coverage as we could with the fuel load we had. As you can imagine,  it is expensive to put the aircraft up, so you really have to maximize the potential for interesting recordings.

– How was the collaboration between the team of recordists?

I was happy to bring a crew of recordists that I knew very well and had worked with previously. All of the guys (Rob Byers, John Loranger, and Kelly Pieklo) have plenty of field experience.  Since I knew them well, spending a few days together was not going to be issue. We truly had a blast!  If one is going to do any sort of vehicle recording, having a group of recordists will help get the job done way more efficiently. We were able to spread ourselves across the airfield and cover the aircraft thoroughly.

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Posted by on Apr 19, 2012 | 1 comment

U.S.O Project on Sound Exploration, Unseen Noises Library

U.S.O (Unidentified Sound Object) Project is defined as a continuing evolving organism of sound. Created by Matteo Milani and Federico Placidi, two sound artists working on several fields and exploring sound in many inspiring ways. Perhaps you already know about their fantastic blog, where they share lots of great things, making the site a must for anyone interested on sound experimentation, film sound design, electronic music, sound synthesis, signal processing, etc.

In the last year, Unidentified Sound Object started a new series of libraries aimed to sound designers and composers, starting with Hologram Room, a package of a wide variety of sources suitable for all kind of contexts and designed meticulously by the two sound sculptors. Today they’ve released their second package, which includes a fantastic collection of sounds created from electro-magnetic field captures.

Electromagnetic informations are invisible and omnipresent. In every city, especially the big ones, an infinite number of electromagnetic waves is hidden: we can’t hear them, but they’re everywhere! We explored this invisible noise pollution transducing electromagnetic fields into audio signals with a telephone pickup: it acts like a radio antenna for hum and weird electromagnetic noises.

We plugged it into a SONOSAX SX-R4 recorder, moving it close to electrical devices – like a stethoscope – to locate interesting and curious sounds, just like LCD television, internet antennas, lighting systems, transformers, game consoles, tablet, electronic security systems, scanners, computer monitors and hard-drives, printers, navigation systems, fax machines…

Available at U.S.O. $30, 40 files, 48kHz/24-Bit.

Below is an interview I did with Matteo and Federico, talking a bit about this new library and the ideas behind their project.

DS: Why you became interested on releasing a sound library about electro-magnetic sources?

M&F: For this Unseen Noises (USO002) we used telephone tap coils that receive electromagnetic signals around us and convert them into audible information to discover invisible and surprising aspects of the environment in which we live in. To widen our sound palette, we explored cell phones, tablets, light systems, automated teller machines, wireless communication systems, anti-theft security devices, surveillance cameras, computers, navigation systems, wireless Internet routers, neon advertisings, public transportation networks. We just used the system of electromagnetic induction as way of amplifying musical sounds. Our efforts were focused on finding “articulated” behaviours and other musical qualities in them. Note that the files contained in “Unseen Noises” are real performances executed on different devices without editing. What you hear is a selection of several hours of recording: you’ll find those sounds in our musical productions such as InharmoniCity or installations like Empty Rooms.

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Posted by on Apr 18, 2012 | 2 comments

The Making Of Ultimate Destruction HD Sound Effects Library

[Article written by Frank Bry about his new library Ultimate Destruction, a collection of+600 destruction sounds recorded over a five year period at 24-Bit 96kHz in a multitude of dirty, dusty, smelly, noisy, dangerous and physically grueling locations. Available at The Recordist]

The Idea

Where do I begin? This sound effects library has been in the making for over five years so I need to access my memory banks and see if I can remember some of the crazy sessions I did. But first, I want to share some of my thoughts on why I made this collection and the theory behind the madness.

Ever since I started in sound design I’ve always needed all kinds of crashes and general destruction source material. This kind of material is not easy to find and sometimes recording your own can be a challenge. There are some great CD library collections of destruction sounds but most of it is designed. While these work great for a simple “drop and play” audio situation when your in a time crunch and they sound wonderful when played by themselves, they often leave you to a situation that is just not quite right. What if you have a complex destruction scene in a film or need to create that incredible crash sequence in a video game? You need clean, high quality sound elements separated out that you can manipulate and process so it sounds like something you created, your signature sound. That is the idea behind Ultimate Destruction.

From My Mind To The Microphone

Some of the sessions for this collection were planned multi-microphone fiascos and others were just from being observant or being in the right place at the right time. When I was recording the crashes and other crazy stuff on my ranch I ran images and sequences through my mind of my favorite crash scenes from my favorite movies. I tried to remember what certain scenes sounded like and how the arrived at the final audio destination. One of the things I noticed in theses scenes is there are a lot of elements used to create them. How can I mentally break them down to the individual parts was my obsession during the recording process.

My goal was to record them as big as I could and as long as I could and this presented many challenges. The first was having the various objects needed to make the vibrations and second, the tools need to make the action happen. I’m always on the look out for stuff to smash. My garage is full of things like old TV monitors, computers, boxes of bricks, metal objects and other stupid stuff any sane person would dispose of. When I purchased my ranch it had a lot of junk laying around and I have kept it all and even found some things I never knew were there until recently. I have my tractor, long chains and cables and many farming tools to hit stuff with. OK, a good start. Time to begin recording.

Got Concrete?

After recording Ultimate Concrete SFX I had tons of cement block and sidewalk debris left over. I wanted to record long dumps and pours with the tractor but the loader bucket always made a multi-pitched metal tome when things fall out. I needed to solve this problem as the concrete dumps sounded like they were coming out of a metal container. I experimented with many types of padding inside the bucket and finally found the right combination of a couple of old rugs clamped and taped inside the bucket. This was no easy task since the weight of the concrete would sometimes pull the rugs off and they would fall to the ground with the debris. This did not effect the sound that much but is was a pain in my backside to put the whole dampening system back in place after each dump. It was enough I had to hand load the bucket each time so this was an extra step I wanted to do without.

The concrete still made some noise as it was falling out of the bucket so I carefully positioned the microphones so that sound was off axis and I tried to dump from as high a location as possible. I have a dirt ramp I built to drive the tractor up on and was able to dump the debris onto a concrete floor I found buried in a hillside that was from an old barn the burned down many years ago.

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