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Posted by on Feb 7, 2016 | 1 comment

Sunday Sound Thought 6 – Feeling Sound

As the year continues, many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…

Picking up an element from last week’s thought… “sound is the result of a physical event.”

It’s the vibration of physical objects in response to a state change in other physical objects. It can’t move through the environment without those carrier objects…such as air (yes, I’m considering gas a physical object here). It exerts force on those objects, which can then exert force on other objects. It’s how we hear. Pressure waves in the air around us exert force on and displace our ear drums. Our brain converts the resulting signals to sound.

Maybe hearing is not it’s own separate and distinct sense, but instead a kind of specialized function of the sense of touch.  The sound in our environment “touches” us, our brain just interprets it differently than a hand on your arm.

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Posted by on Feb 2, 2016 | 0 comments

Quick Tip: Using Templates in Wwise

WwiseTemplates_03WwiseTemplates_01

Guest post by Bradley Meyer

Like any tool in a game developers toolbox, Wwise is a deep, complex program with an owners manual longer than most novels. Who has time to read through an entire manual these days? I wanted to show off a simple, often overlooked feature in Wwise, which may not be readily apparent to someone who hasn’t read the manual. The ability to import a folder structure and apply a Wwise structure as a template to it can save a ridiculous amount of time when setting up structures in your project which may have a similar layout to other ones already in your project. With a little forethought and a few mouse clicks, the process of setting up complex structures in Wwise becomes an automated dream.

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Posted by on Jan 31, 2016 | 0 comments

Sunday Sound Thought 5 – Unexpected Language

As the year continues, many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…

All sound communicates.

Sound is the result of a physical event. Whether it be the wind blowing through the trees, air passing over your vocal chords, or electrons traveling through a piece of metal to/from a transducer, there’s a physical event happening. Sound helps us register and comprehend that event. It doesn’t really matter if that event has any immediate meaning to us, sound is there for us to use. Our environment is always speaking to us.

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Posted by on Jan 31, 2016 | 1 comment

Macros for Audio Production – Automating Your Workflow

This article was born out of an idea for a GDC audio talk proposal. Another one of my proposals was selected so I thought I’d turn the core idea of this one into a DS post in case it’s of use to the community.

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used under creative commons, click for source

Do you use macros in your music/sound production? If the answer is yes, then this article isn’t for you. Given January’s theme is all about time management, I feel duty-bound to say you should make better use of your time and read one of the many other fantastic articles here on this site. If however, any of the following apply, read on!

  • “I don’t know what a macro is”
  • “Macros are just shortcuts right, like CMD C to copy?”
  • “Macros are only used by programmers.”
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Posted by on Jan 28, 2016 | 0 comments

Walter Murch and Trains: A Sound Exploration

An S-Bahn Class 480 train coming to a stop.

An S-Bahn Class 480 train coming to a stop. Photo Credits: http://hampage.hu/

Guest Post by Beau Anthony Jimenez

Introduction

In the film and sound world, Walter Murch is a man that needs no introduction.

But for the few who need a brief idea of this Renaissance man: Walter Murch is a pioneer of the film-sound world. His way of thinking about sound for film has been revered for decades. His body of work is legendary, both as a sound editor and picture editor.

As one studies his work, you may find that Murch utilizes the sound of trains in moments where he wants the audience to reside in the character’s perspective. These moments are essentially a sound designer’s playground, capable of delving into non-diegetic sound design and an abstract mix.

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Posted by on Jan 24, 2016 | 5 comments

Sunday Sound Thought 4 – ???

As the year continues, many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…

This week’s post is a short rhetorical question, and I’m piggy-backing off of last week’s connection between time and sound.

I wish I could remember where, but I once read that there is no experiment science can conduct that would prove/disprove the existence of time. Let’s presume for the moment that this is correct…

If we cannot prove the existence of time, and we need time to perceive sound, then how can we prove the existence of sound?

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Posted by on Jan 17, 2016 | 1 comment

Sunday Sound Thought 3 – Time

As the year continues, many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…

Sound is a representation of time.

Actually, that doesn’t sit right. Sound IS time.

If you think about the differences between a picture and a sound captured over an infinitely short span of time, you’ll understand what I mean. A picture is a representation of space. Something captured in a true instant generates a visual field which can be looked at, studied…understood. Time may be required to do all of those things, but the image exists.

The same is not true for sound. A sound captured in the same way is nothing. Attempting to continuously play back that representation for study would be like running a DC signal into a speaker. It would instantly deflect to a given position, and remain there as long the current continues. You would hear nothing.

Without time, sound does not exist.

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Posted by on Jan 10, 2016 | 2 comments

Sunday Sound Thought 2 – The Best Ideas

This is probably evident to a lot of people, but your boss has a huge impact on how good your project sounds. I’m talking about the director, or the game designer. If you want to get any of your ideas into the project, you have to get them to buy off on it. This is probably an obvious statement, but how often do we remind ourselves of it? MPSE does an awesome job of honoring those directors who appreciate what good sound brings to their films. Kudos to them! Without the support of the boss, even the most skilled sound professionals will have a hard time contributing their best work. It goes deeper than that though.

I can clearly remember the first time I realized how important that top level boss is to making an awesome sounding design or mix. I remember hating that specific idea my boss wanted me to do…not try, do! It was an order. I remember the first time I realized that the problem wasn’t the request, but my approach to that request. That moment changed the way I did everything ever since. If we want our ideas entertained, we need to entertain the ideas of others.

Of course, that’s not to say that every idea that comes down (or goes up, mind you) is a good one, but there at least might be the kernel of a good one buried somewhere underneath.

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Posted by on Jan 4, 2016 | 1 comment

Our Favorite Sounds of 2015

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The year 2015 has been one of many great articles, interviews, and discussions here at Designing Sound and we want to thank all of our readers for their attention, suggestions, contributions, and overwhelming support. There have been so many great films, shows, games, and events this year that we thought we would share some of our favorites for you to go back and check out in case you missed them!

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Posted by on Jan 3, 2016 | 0 comments

Sunday Sound Thought 1 – Hearing Changes

Happy New Year! You may have noticed that I’ve been far less active on the site lately […or maybe you haven’t and I’m just a narcissist]. I’ve taken a step back from the site’s more regular content, but I wanted to challenge myself to something. I’m going to try to post a musing on sound once a week for the next year. I’ll probably fail, but I want to keep the juices flowing. Contributing to this site over the years stimulated a lot of paths of exploration for me, and I don’t want to lose that impetus. While I no longer have the time to contribute in a more dedicated way, these little bite sized musings are something I should be able to handle. This isn’t a New Year’s resolution, but the the start of a year sure makes it easy to keep track of. ;)

So here’s the first “Sunday Sound Thought”

Our hearing changes throughout our lives. That means that no matter how many times we hear something, we can always hear it in a new way. Even if you eliminate the ideas of experience and reference from the equation, there are biological changes that affect how we hear. Children’s ears have a wider frequency response than adults, but the neural structures that interpret our sonic environment don’t mature until our 20’s. Even if you fastidiously protect your hearing, presbycusis sets in and attenuates the higher frequencies in adults. And let’s face it, we can’t perfectly protect our ears.

So remember the next time you hear something you’re tired of listening to, even that mental state means that you’re hearing it a little differently.

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