Categories Menu

Recent articles

Inspirations / Distractions – Your Stories

Posted by on Apr 9, 2016 | 0 comments

We’re trying something new this month to keep the pace between features: a steady drip of thoughts, musings and anecdotes from voices in the wider community.

Starting MON 4/11, catch a fast-flowing stream of reflections on our theme from around the industry–and the world!

We’ve still slots for many more, so if you’ve got something to say, email doron [at] this site to contribute to this month’s topic.

New SFX Libraries: March Recap

Posted by on Apr 5, 2016 | 0 comments

A pair of headphones hang on a long line in a rolling field. Article by Adriane Kuzminski.


If you are releasing a new SFX library and you would like it to be included in our recap, send us the details through our SFX Independence Submission Form. However, please notify us of libraries that were released within the last month or substantially updated, since we will not include old libraries that are on sale.

Last month, we had the most submissions I’ve seen since taking over these recaps six months ago. There are sounds of snowpocalypse, machinery hums, granular and rotational noise, expanding Reaktor libraries, handwriting, whooshes, copyright-free broadcasts, drones, destruction, Catalan ambiences, excited dogs, and new glitchy and experimental libraries for Ableton Live. So, let’s get on with it and check out these new libraries from our community.


Snowman HD Professional by The Recordist
Ho, ho, ho, Merry.. wait? It’s Spring! And this means your chance to capture snow sound effects is over! (Unless you’re in the path of Winter Storm Ursula.) But if corn starch just won’t cut it, check out Snowman HD Professional by Frank “The Recordist” Bry. This library goes far and beyond the usual crunchy footsteps and snowball fights. It contains avalanche-quality slides and impacts, as Frank recorded his tractor dumping chunks of snow and piles sliding off his metal roof. He also included many gentler sounds in this library with powdery impacts, light debris and icy sprays as well as the simulated sounds of bodies and tires interacting with snow. If you purchase this library, I suggest you take Frank’s advice and pitch-bend these sounds for some real winter crunch!
(339 Stereo/Mono WAV files, 823.4MB, 24bit/96kHz) (more…)

Sunday Sound Thought 14 – Sound’s Golden Mean?

Posted by on Apr 3, 2016 | 5 comments

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, I have a question. While I may occasionally ponder the idea, I’ve never devoted a significant portion of brain power to it for a substantial period of time. That might sound lazy on my part, but it’s actually a hard question and I always have higher priority items on my plate.

…and now I’m just creating excuses. ;)

In case you didn’t notice it in the past (or haven’t been visiting the site as long as some other people have), you may have missed the fact that I’m kind of a nerd when it comes to psycoacoustics. Many of the Gestalt principles or “rules of organization” that describe how we perceive visual stimulus have direct corollaries with the way we perceive sound. There’s one that’s difficult to translate though, because there’s such a stark difference in the way we perceive space through our eyes and ears…the Golden Ratio (sometimes referred to as the Golden Mean).

So what say you sound design community? How do you think the Golden Ratio can be related to sound, or can it not?

Monthly Theme: Inspirations and Distractions

Posted by on Apr 1, 2016 | 0 comments

A little girl sits atop her father's shoulders, staring off into the clouds.

The mind wanders, the mind returns. [Credit: The Atlantic.]

April already! Time flies when you aren’t watching.

Maybe you’ve been buried deep in a project–maybe you’ve been spacing out.

This month’s theme at Designing Sound is Inspirations and Distractions.

How do you lash the reins to inspiration? Where have you found it in the first place? And once you’ve started, how do you stay on course? Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve felt inspired. We’d like to hear about that, too.

Send us your stories and join the conversation around these two daily players in the universal journey to create great sound.

Please email doron [at] this site to contribute an article for this month’s topic. And as always, please feel free to go “off-topic” as well.

News: The Genius Loci Weimar Spatial Audio Competition

Posted by on Mar 29, 2016 | 0 comments

The Genius Loci Weimar Festival is holding a spatial audio competition

Photo: Genius Loci Weimar Festival Spatial Audio Competition. Article by Adriane Kuzminski.


The Genius Loci Weimar Festival, an annual celebration that brings buildings and structures to life with multimedia facade projections and audiovisual performances, is running a spatial audio competition until 13 April. The Festival is seeking a project that focuses on the concept of genius loci, an idea from Roman religion that is defined as “the distinctive atmosphere or pervading spirit of a place.” To enter, you must register on their website and submit an artistic 30-second spatial audio concept that focuses on the spirit of the Hafiz Goethe Memorial with respect to its architecture and historical events and without using clichés or “careless historical retelling.”

The Festival will take submissions until 23:59 CET on 13 April. If selected, you will receive a 5,000 Euro commission to finish a 10-15 minute production that will be performed during the festival on 12-14 August 2016. To learn more about the details of the competition, check out the general terms and conditions page.

News: The Northwest Soundscapes Project Kickstarter

Posted by on Mar 28, 2016 | 0 comments

Andy Martin stands with a boom mic and recording gear ready to capture the lush forest surrounding him. Article by Adriane Kuzminski.

Photo: Andy Martin


With his Kickstarter ending on 2 April, Andy Martin (Senior Sound Designer at Sucker Punch) will spend the next year capturing sounds from the last great untouched North American wilderness for The Northwest Soundscapes Project. The idea for the sound library transpired while recording birds and wildlife for Sucker Punch’s inFAMOUS Second Son. The more time he spent recording these natural soundscapes, the more his ecological understanding began to grow. Inspired by Gordon Hempton’s “One Square Inch of Silence” and Bernie Krause’s “Great Animal Orchestra,” Andy Martin decided it was time take his passion to the next level and develop a comprehensive library dedicated to the Pacific Northwest. He will be capturing sounds from a diverse range of terrain from the deserts of the Columbia Plateau, the glaciers of the North Cascades, the islands of the Puget Sound, the Hoh Rainforest and the Colville National Forest, Trout Lake, Sherman Lake, Lake Chelan… and the eclectic list of landscapes goes on.

To support his Kickstarter and receive rewards of soundscapes and impulse responses, visit The Northwest Soundscapes Project.

To learn more about Andy Martin and details about where he will be recording and how he plans to capture this extensive library, check out his interviews with The Audio Spotlight and A Sound Effect.

Sunday Sound Thought 13 – Contact Hearing

Posted by on Mar 27, 2016 | 2 comments

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…

In a previous post, I posited that perhaps hearing is a specialized function of touch. An experience I had on my recent vacation made me think of this idea again in a different light…hearing through touch.

I was on a boat traveling between islands, and I had ear plugs in (the engine was pretty loud). I reached down to press against the hard seat, and noticed a bump in my perception of the low end of the spectrum. I took my hand away, the bump left. I stood up from the seat briefly, but didn’t notice any significant change in the spectrum. Sat back down, and placed my hand on the seat again. That boost in the low end was very pronounced. I don’t know why contact with my hand had such a dramatic impact over the fact that I was sitting on the seat…maybe because the vibrations in my hand/arm had less muscle and fat to attenuate them when traveling through the skeletal structure to reach my head? Regardless, I heard the engine differently when I place my hand on a surface that was vibrating in sympathy with it.

That’s an interesting angle from which to explore subjectivity of perspective in a story. Not something that can be used in just any circumstance, but it’s one more tool in the bag for putting the viewer in the mind/space of a character.

GDC Roundtable Recap – SUN 3/27 5PM PST

Posted by on Mar 23, 2016 | 0 comments

Sightglass Coffee is where it all gets broken down each morning.

#lostdinklybird Photo: Luca Fusi / Hashtag: Chris Trevino

GDC’s a week in game audio overdrive, a week-long gathering that resonates all through the following year.

Several of Designing Sound’s editors, friends and family were fortunate enough to make the trek to San Francisco in time for this year’s show. And before the embers have cooled, we thought we’d get together and make some sense out of everything we saw.

So join us for an interactive community roundtable and discussion:


WHEN: Designing Sound’s Google+:

WHERE: Sunday, March 27th at 5PM PST


If you’ve any specific topics you’d like to see discussed, leave us a comment here or on our Twitter feed:!

An archive of the talk will be available thereafter.

Sunday Sound Thought 12 – Documenting Vs. Experiencing

Posted by on Mar 20, 2016 | 0 comments

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…

I just got back from a two week vacation to the Philippines, and a lot of my more sound oriented friends asked me questions that were all variations on, “How much did you record?” The answer is just over a minute of audio.

It seems like a crime to go someplace so different from my everyday experience and not sonically document it in more detail. I’ve noticed one of my personality traits over the years though. If the purpose of my activity is not to be out collecting sounds (i.e. on vacation with my wife), I’m FAR more selective about pulling out my recorder. If I’m going to record a sound in said situation, it better be something I can unequivocally use without fuss in the future. If there’s music playing somewhere in the background…not recording. If HVAC hum is going to be present in an otherwise beautiful nature soundscape…not recording. The list goes on.

I choose to follow this philosophy because listening to record and listening just for the experience are two very different things. If I’m trying to record a sound, I’m not likely to notice how the leaves on a bush behind me are reflecting only the high frequency components of a power washer, or the unique way the different components of a helicopter modulate as it crosses the sky…seeming to break the normal laws of Doppler phenomenon. Being aware of unique occurrences of sound interactions in the environment gives me new ideas for mixing and sound design that I can use in the future.

That’s something I can’t always get while concentrating in an attempt to record a bird call in the tropics, using only a Sony M10, while the bungalow next to me blasts the AC and music echoes down from the nearby outdoor cafe.

New SFX Libraries: February Recap

Posted by on Mar 14, 2016 | 0 comments

A boom mic sits in the snow recording the wintery ambience as the digital recorder sits in a GDC bag. Article by Adriane Kuzminski.

Photo: Frank ‘The Recordist’ Bry

If you are releasing a new SFX library and you would like it to be included in our recap, send us the details through our SFX Independence Submission Form.

As many of us travel to San Francisco for GDC this week, some of our fellow sound designers won’t be able treat it as a vacation with assets to create and soundscapes to design. If you are in need of endless gore, futuristic weapons, granular loops, quick and dirty waveshaping, clicking and grinding bicycles gears, whooshes of every sort, and cinematic suspense and punch, look no further than these recent libraries from SoundBits, New Sound Lab, SoundMorph, Audiomodern and StrangeLines.


Just Gore | Add On by SoundBits
Do you find yourself overwhelmed designing sounds for zombie and horror games? If the sounds of bones crushing and limbs avulsing are your bread and butter, SoundBits has a new add-on pack to breathe fresh life into your festering undead. Just Gore | Add On contains 790 sounds of blood-soaked sadism with splattering lacerations, squishy impacts, twisting rips and tears, flowing blood, clean stabs, and bone marrow cruelly exposed to the light of day. All that’s missing is your katana and a Cornetto. While this library focuses on R-rated gore, the sounds are dry enough to be added to any film or game that wants the audience to feel their characters’ pain.
(790 WAV files, 553.7 MB, 96-192kHz/24bit) (more…)