Article By: Frank Bry
Transient enhancement plug-ins are wonderful tools to have in a sound designer’s arsenal. They can be used to soften a sound or to make it balls to the wall, hard hitting intense. Explosion sounds really benefit from this type of process. If you have recorded explosions, you may already have discovered that live is much better than tape, or should I say “BWAV file.” The human body feels the concussion wave from a powerful blast as well as hearing it. The sound still feels massive even when wearing hearing protection . In the video you will see the snow lift off the ground a little bit, and it’s especially noticeable in slow motion. When you load the raw sound files into your DAW to listen to them they seem a little limp (no pun intended). So, bring on the transient enhancement!
This leads me to the next area of this article which is recording the sounds. This article will serve a dual purpose in a way. I was going to write a separate article comparing the new Rycote ORTF mount for one of my Sennheiser MKH-8040ST microphone sets and a standard XY mount for my other MKH-8040ST. At the end of the article, I will get into this more. (Note: this article is not a product review even though it might sound like it at times. I will just share my thoughts with you on each plug-in used in this demonstration.)
The sounds I recorded for this demonstration were done in my front yard here on the ranch on a very cold day; it was just under 20°F with very little wind. I hauled my gear out the door and set up in my driveway which is currently surrounded by tall snow banks. I used two SD-702 recorders synced together and set them up 25 meters away from the explosive targets. I would shoot from this position with a .22 caliber rifle. The microphones were about half way between me and the doomed snow bank. Explosions in a snowy, winter environment are actually perfect candidates for this kind of transient process because most of the initial intense mid and high frequency energy is instantly absorbed by the soft blanket of powder snow. This makes the sound more like deep pop. Even with all the natural sound absorption there is still a great deal of sound during the first few hundred milliseconds – we just need to bring it out.
The Sennheiser MKH-8040 microphones record way beyond 20k, and they also record a fair amount of sub-sonic information too. To see how much and at what frequencies this very low end energy is, I turn to Waves H-EQ. This plug-in has nothing to do with transient enhancement, but it does effect how the transient plug-in reacts to the explosion especially when pitched down. I love this plug-in since I can see what’s going on with level and frequency at the same time and adjust accordingly with the various EQ emulations and parameters. As you can see in the H-EQ screenshot, there is quite a bit of sub-sonic energy between 10 and 20Hz. I added a slight roll-off at 16Hz and a slight bump in the upper range. There is also a decent spike at 100Hz, but I will leave that alone because when the explosion is pitched down an octave it becomes 50Hz and that might work in our favor.
Black Friday/Cyber Monday wasn’t your only opportunity to take advantage of some awesome deals. Whether it’s the holidays or the countdown to the New Year, deals start popping up out of the woodwork. There are already a bunch in available in the lead up to 2013. Here’s a run-down of what we’ve seen so far…
Let’s dive in to some October SFX news:
Benjie Freund, Sound Designer at Hi-Rez Studios has started his own SFX Library site GetSoundEffects.com:
We are very excited to announce that today is the official launch of GetSoundEffects.com. The #1 place to get royalty free sound effects.We offer a wide variety of sounds effects and are continuously adding new sounds every week! From alien spaceship alarms, to thunder and rain recordings. Have an idea for a sound effect bundle that you would like to see sold? Send us a message and we will create it! You can even custom order unique sound effects for all your project needs!Whether you need sound effects that are already designed and ready to be plugged into your project or custom foley recordings to design yourself we have them!In honor of our official launch and this years Southern Interactive Entertainment & Game Expo we are offering a 20% discount on your entire purchase! visit GetSoundEffects.com today and enter the promo code ‘SIEGE2012′ during checkout to receive your instant discount. Offer expires 10/14/2012.Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on all the new content that we add.
JM Sound+Music is currently running a contest to win a copy of his SHIFT Sound Effects Library:
On November 15th I will be giving away a copy of the SHIFT Sound Effects Library to one lucky winner – To enter, all you have to do is LIKE JM Sound+Music on Facebook!
The SHIFT Sound Effects Library from JM Sound+Music features over 40 sounds of high performance race cars such as: pass-bys, distant race ambiences, revving, slowing down, accelerating, heavy downshifting, and more.
The Recordist Frank Bry has started up a new SoundVault series:
Presenting the SoundVault series from The Recordist. These sound effects collections are from over 23 years of recording mayhem. The source material is from original 16-Bit 48kHz DAT and up to 24-Bit 96kHz recordings. Mastered and delivered at 24-Bit 48kHz, these highly focused libraries contain rare and sometimes very difficult to obtain categories including ambiences, airplanes, vehicles, nature, foley and more.
The first SoundVault release is Jet Airliner Interior. This collection contains sounds from inside four airplanes during flight. Most were recorded in the mid 1990s when flights were many and people were few (those were the days!). Three of the interiors were recorded with the Sonic Studios DSM head worn microphones to a PDR-1000 DAT machine at 16-Bit 48kHz. The fourth was recorded in 2009 on a PCM D-50. All the sounds were edited and mastered at 24-Bit 48kHz.
The aircraft recorded are: Boeing 737, Boeing 757, Mcdonnell Douglas DC-10 and a Mcdonnell Douglas MD-80. I was lucky enough to be on flights with very few travelers so the voice activity is minimal. There are sections that contain voices from the pilots, flight attendants and passengers.
For more information and to purchase go here: http://www.therecordist.com/jet-airliner-interior
Frank Bry of The Recordist has released another library in beta form. Explosives HD Pro was released on September 14 and like his other beta library, this one is at a discount! Blurb from TheRecordist.com:
Get ready… It’s coming very soon. More than 450 earth shaking explosions and black powder sound effects in High Definition from The Recordist. Here is a small sampling of the many recording sessions from the last 3 years. Don’t miss the blooper clip at the very end of the video!
As many of you already know I’ve been recording lots of Black Powder and other “Explosive” things. Well, here is the audio teaser and video trailer showcasing some of the sounds I recorded and designed from the raw source material.
If you haven’t been keeping up with Frank Bry’s blog over at The Recordist (which you totally should) let me bring you up to speed on Bullets HD Pro:
Presenting the 2nd pre-release Beta version of Bullets HD PRO Sound Effects Library at an introductory price of $150.00 USD. When the library is completed in late August (at the very latest: early September), the final version of the library will be available to pre-release purchasers at no additional cost. (A savings of $50.00 USD)
As you might know, this library is a massive undertaking. It is not delayed or taking longer, it’s just an issue of recording all the source material I need to make it a comprehensive collection of bullet sound effects.
I still have many recording sessions planned over the next few weeks with many types of guns. I also plan on recording lots of bullet foley.
Thanks, Frank -The Recordist
So in a nutshell you get to have a library early, and pay less for it. Frank has made very detailed posts about his recording process:
Slow Motion Bullets Part-1
Slow Motion Bullets Part-2
Having listened through the library I can certainly glad I have it. The assortment of impacts, whiz-bys and ricos alone is worth the price of admission alone. I really love the authenticity the samples have, which isn’t something easily attained when designing a whiz or impact from scratch.
The library is slated to be completed late August or early September so if you want to grab some savings you might want to pick Bullets HD Pro up sooner rather than later!
Also make sure to follow Frank Bry on Twitter.