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Interview: Randy Coppinger

Posted by on Jan 28, 2014 | 2 comments

Randy Coppinger has been dealing with voice and microphones for over sixteen years and is currently Dialog Production Supervisor at Disney Publishing Worldwide. He is active on twitter and his blog with studio anecdotes and thoughts concerning asset management, microphones, acoustics, recording and anything else related to audio and voice. In this interview we tackle topics ranging from microphones to voice talent, organisation and quality.


DS: Randy, thanks for giving us your time. Let’s start with your background. What got you started?

Thanks for asking me. It’s an honor and pleasure to share with you.

I was fascinated with my father’s reel-to-reel tape recorder as a child, which seems like the beginning of my love for audio production (I still have the Astatic microphones he used to record his singing quartet). When I was in college I worked at the radio station as a DJ, and eventually a student leader for all of our audio production. I became interested in the people who put the music on the discs we were spinning, which lead to an internship at a recording studio here in Southern California. I started out answering the phone and making coffee in the evenings. Then one fateful evening after all of the sessions ended my mentor, Chris Austin, poked her head around corner and asked me, “Would you help me put the microphones away?” After a few times striking mikes I learned their names and where they were stored. That meant I could also help get microphones for setups. Doing those setups allowed me to learn how each of the engineers positioned microphones for different instruments. I became a full time employee, assisting on sessions and learning from all of these talented people who worked at the studio. Eventually I was engineering my own sessions, and audio post production had become an important revenue stream for the studio including working on some of the early DAWs.


The New Soundtrack Journal Special Issue: Perspectives on Sound Design

Posted by on Jan 26, 2014 | 0 comments


Call for Papers for Issue 4.1,
to be published in September 2014
Submission of abstracts due by 1 February 2014

One hundred years ago futurist artist Luigi Russolo invented mechanical synthesisers, called Intonarumori, capable of producing and controlling noise-sounds. This, together with the emergence of recording technology, marked the beginning of Sound Design.

Nowadays the term Sound Design is used in many domains: academic research, university courses, commercial websites, film credits, job descriptions, etc.

But what does it mean to ‘design sound’? How does it differ from music? What are the disciplines and skills involved?

This special issue stems from a Symposium that took place at York University on 5th July 2013 that brought together leading international academics, researchers and practitioners to discuss the emergent field of sound design research.

The goal of this issue is to highlight the interconnections between sound design research and practice in fields that are often considered separate such as film and television sound, product design, game sound, sonic interaction design, auditory displays and sonification of data, theatre sound, soundscape design and more to reflect on the possible definitions and boundaries of this emergent area of research.

For details on this special issue and how to submit an article, go to The New Soundtrack page at Edinburgh University Press.

VIA The School Of Sound

Sonic Arts Award – Deadline extended until 10 February

Posted by on Jan 20, 2014 | 0 comments


The original 1st February deadline for the Sonic Arts Award 2014 has been extended to 10th February 2014. This year’s competition, its second edition, is currently inviting entrants in the following four categories:

• Sound Art

• Sonic Research

• Soundscapes

• Digital Art

A prize of €1000.00 will be awarded to the winner in each category. There are also a couple of truly wonderful additional prizes that have recently been announced.

Among those sitting on the jury are Canadian composer and academic Barry Truax, German sound artist Christina Kubisch, and composer and musician David Grubbs. There is a submission fee (€25.00 for one work, plus a further €15.00 per additional work entered) and, as always, you are strongly advised to check out the entry requirements and details before entering. The awarding committee has put up an archive of last year’s winners and honourable mentions, so you can get a feel for the competition style, as well as some free downloads if you’re in need of inspiration.

Good luck, if you decide to enter!

Sonic Arts Award 2014 entry

Twisted Tools Release Ultraloop

Posted by on Jan 14, 2014 | 3 comments

ULTRALOOP is a first-of-its-kind loop remixing sampler with a fast and intuitive visual workflow for Native Instruments Reaktor. ULTRALOOP combines advanced loop layering, comping, effect processing and automation techniques to generate new grooves, riffs and song ideas. You can use ULTRALOOP with the included factory sample library or to remix your own samples, injecting new life into any existing loop library. In addition to the factory library, Ultraloop Expansions are available as part of our Loop Expansion series.

• Loop Remixing Sampler.
Advanced layered sampler engine with intuitive interface.
Visual loop compositing.
Generative Gestural FX to create fills, articulations and variations.
FX Sequencer
Specialized track sequencer with mono and poly draw modes.
Layered playback and editing of up to eight tracks simultaneously.
Independent controls per layer, organized into parameter cells with sliders.
Automatable Preset Grids per parameter group, with 17 memory slots each
8 Global Scenes per snapshot
Preset Grids and Scenes are playable via mouse, MIDI or OSC.
Extensive randomization options.
Time and pitch stretching to allow loops with different BPMs.
Flexible multi-output routing per layer.
Master Punch control
Control nearly every parameter with included iPad Lemur OSC Template by Antonio Blanca
3+ banks of presets
2224 Sound Variations
Over 800mb of included factory sample content by from Enig’matik Records, Loopmasters and Sounds of Revolution.
Optional Expansion Packs by cutting edge artists such as Dusty Fungus, Chris Carter and Si Begg.

Interview with Jack Menhorn – DS Editor-in-Chief

Posted by on Jan 13, 2014 | 0 comments

a sound effect

We don’t often blow our own trumpet here at Designing Sound. Rather, we prefer to focus on the array of creative and technical excellence out there in the world of sound design, for the likeminded among you to enjoy. However, for those interested in learning a bit more about how and why Designing Sound is kept going behind the scenes, check out the interview with DS Editor-in-Chief, Jack Menhorn, on A Sound Effect’s blog.

Jack Menhorn interview on A Sound Effect

ThalamasLab Initiate Experimental Sound Lab Project

Posted by on Jan 13, 2014 | 0 comments



ThalamasLab, has launched an an open call for sound effects and recordings that will contribute to Experimental Sound Lab – a free, experimental and collaborative sound library.

The Experimental Sound Lab shares a number of common goals with the freesound project based in Barcelona, Spain. However, it comes with one slight difference: a collaborative album will be released featuring tracks created from a selection of the sounds received during the open call. With this in mind, there are a couple of different licensing options available, which you should be aware of if you are thinking of submitting any of your sounds or sound recordings to this project.

Check for the licensing options, as well as for full details on submission requirements.

Designing Sound Discussion Group – SFX and Freelancing in the Games Industry

Posted by on Jan 11, 2014 | 4 comments

Photo by Dennis Beentjes. Used under Creative Commons license.

Photo by Dennis Beentjes. Used under Creative Commons license.

I’m going to be a little quiet on the site this month, but I’m making up for that by putting together a kick-ass virtual panel for you!

Sitting on the panel for the next Designing Sound Discussion Group are Gordon Hempton (The Soundtracker/Quiet Planet), Rodney Gates (Sony Online Entertainment), Matt Piersall (Gl33k) and Douglas Price (Pro Sound Effects). The genesis of this panel is in response to Gordon’s idea of restricting the sale of sfx libraries to indpendent/freelance sound designers with the goal of making the people themselves more desirable…thus giving them a little more job stability. He specifically thinks this is important within the games industry. He and I have spoken in some detail about it already. I’ll spare you my opinions at the moment, but I encourage you to listen to his guest appearance on the Tonebenders podcast and formulate your own opinions before the actual panel.

We’re going to start by touching on Gordon’s idea, talk about the different ways the games industry acquires or licenses their sound effects, and then move on to what makes a successful, gainfully employed, freelancer in the game audio industry. Sound like your kind of panel?

The webcast will be taking place via Google Hangout at 4PM (US Eastern Time) on Saturday, February 1st. You can watch from here on the site, or from the Designing Sound Google+ page…where you’ll be able to interact with us directly. Mark it on your Calendars!

Happy New Year…All Hail the King!

Posted by on Jan 2, 2014 | 4 comments

Photo from the National Museum of American History's flickr stream. Used under Creative Commons license.

Photo from the National Museum of American History’s flickr stream. Used under Creative Commons license.

A very “Happy New Year” to everyone in our community from the team at Designing Sound!

We’re starting off the year with something we don’t often associate with sound design. I’m going to assume you’ve seen The Wizard of Oz before. Recall that scene described in the script above, and remember everything that came before it. Picture the sudden burst of color when you get your first glimpse of Munchkin Land. There’s only one line of dialog in that script above, and it’s perfect level of understatement really drives home the impact of the film’s sudden shift. To quote that all important reminder, “Dialog is King.”

More than any other element (in most films/TV/games, at least) dialog carries and drives the story. Even if it doesn’t, the viewer is going to listen to and try to understand any dialog that enters their acoustic space…it’s just human nature. This month we’re going to look at the important work that goes into making dialog work.

Remember, we always encourage guest posts (both on and off-topic). If you’ve got something you’d like to share with the community, contact shaun [at] designingsound (dot) org. If you’re the kind of person who likes to plan ahead, we’re going to focus on animal recording and design in February.