Tag Archives: recording

Free Sound Effects Exchange Sites – Are They Good For The Sound Designer?

It’s not new — there are tons of free sound effects sites out there that give away sound files. The idea is simple, sound designers can upload their collections to these massive libraries, and then the masses flock to the site to download them. Perfectly legal, and perfectly free.

It seems like a win for the consumers, and the average joe looking for a quick booooiinng, but where is the sound designer in all of this? It’s quite surprising to see several big name sound designers giving away their product for free because it’s “good advertising.” Sites that database and archive sounds and allow free downloads by the masses seem to think that they are doing the world a huge favor, when in fact, they are merely hurting the artists and creative production professionals that they’re building their audio file archives upon (leaving sound effects pirates out of the mix here, no pun intended).

Sound designers invest a lot of money into buying expensive audio recording equipment. They spend years training, and more years perfecting recording and editing techniques. If a user is not willing to shell out a few cents for a sound effect, or even a couple of dollars to use royalty free sound effects in their projects, they should have to record the sounds themselves. They’ll quickly realize the hard work it takes to create a sound.

5 Cool Music Production Apps for iPhone

As phones and mobile devices get smaller and smarter all at once, the nature of electronic music production and audio production is changing dramatically. Even more groundbreaking is Apple’s iPhone. As many of you know, I’m a big fan of the iPhone (I don’t leave home without mine). And now I’m an even bigger fan, as more and more apps are being developed for the iPhone that are geared towards music production, writing, and recording. Here are 5 seemingly random super-cool apps to get your iPhone rocking.

1) Studio Devil – The makers of the Virtual Guitar Amp tube modeling plug-ins have teamed up with Quixonic to create an authentic tube amp modeling app for the iPhone. (coming soon)

2) Quixpin DJ – Yeah, so Quixonic makes a few — this one’s a true DJ app that allows you to mix and beatmatch music without all the heavy equipment, and then output a stereo mix to use at parties, or even cue and beat match songs while another is playing. ($1.99)

3) Noise.io Pro Synth – by Amidio, has a deep learning curve, but gives you countless waveforms and processing tools to create your own sounds. Custom sequencer and effects processor make this one an awesome mobile instrument and production tool. ($14.99)

4) VoiceBand – so this isn’t really a pro app, but it is pretty cool stuff. Using your voice, this app plays a real sampled instrument that files what you sing. Control 10 virtual instruments at once using only your voice. ($2.99)

5) Xewton Music Studio – this is a complete music production studio in the palm of your hand. Full 128-track sequencer, 21 pro-quality sampled instruments, realtime effects, sustain, reverb, eq and more. Track settings include tempo and time signature, measure level copy/paste, delete, repeat, transpose, MIDI import and export…. This one is pretty wicked. ($14.99)

NAMM 2010: New Field Sound Recorders Perfect for Sound Effects Production

The 2010 NAMM Show featured a slew of brand new products designed to make production easier and more mobile. Among them included several portable sound recorders that are perfect for those of you who produce sound effects and foley work.

Sanyo introduced the “world’s slimmest and lightest” Xacti sound recorder (their ICR series), measuring a mere 9.4mm thick and weighing in at only 46 grams. That’s right, grams. It’s somewhere between the size of an iPod and an iPod nano, but it does a whole lot more. It’s built in stereo mics (of which there are three sets) record sound in CD quality Linear PCM (that would be 16-bit, 44.1k), as well as several MP3 formats as well, up to 320 kbps. It comes equipped with a 4 GB microSD card, and you can get several cards for infinite hours of sound recording. It is a handy, true-to-life tool that can become a true asset in the field, and it’s optional speaker system is pretty sleek. Goes on sale beginning at the end of January, and no price has been announced yet.


Tascam’s new product line includes the DR-08 and DR-2d handheld portable digital recorders, which are a step up from the Sanyos. Both record up to 24-bit, 96kHz resolution, for seriously high-quality audio, in both Linear PCM and MP3 formats. The DR-08 is about half the size of the 2d, featuring and adjustable, built in stereo mic pair that can be spread and rotated to get the perfect sound. With USB capablities, the 08 is perfect for transferring recordings for editing or sharing on the web (or selling on Productiontrax). Runs on AAA batteries.

The 2d is the big brother, and has a really cool new feature: it records a simultaneous second take at a lower level so that if your main recording spikes or clips, you have a backup ready to go. The larger size (about the size of an iPod) affords the 2d a larger widescreen interface, a scrubbing wheel, and SD card slot (comes with 2GB). Another handy feature is the wireless remote control, which lets you get your sounds recorded from across the room (like when you don’t want to be right next to the lion when it roars…).


Also releasing new portable digital recorders was Sony, who introduced the PCM-M10 Linear PCM Recorder. Similar to the Tascam models, this guy records up to 24-bit, 96kHz, and is ideal for live music, nature, and field recording. Has built in memory of 4GB, expandable with the trusty micro M2 sticks OR microSD cards. It features a 5-second pre-record buffer, WAV and MP3 formats, digital pitch control, and is bundled with a copy of Sound Forge LE for desktop editing. Featuring both a built in mic and speaker, as well as a line in AND mic in, this little machine is extremely versatile. Also available in your choice of red or black, if you really are that vain, and there is a line of add-on products designed to accompany the recorder including a wind screen, tripod, carrying case speaker set, and the supplied remote control (although the remote is NOT wireless like the Tascam model). Weighs 6oz, and runs on AA batteries.


NAMM 2010: New Sounds and Software for your Studio

MOTU Updates Performer, Plugs

MOTU showed off their new plugins on a new version of Digital Performer (that thing is still around???) — some high quality stuff. Directly competing with Apple’s built-in plugins for Logic Pro, MOTU’s line of plugins features the following:

Electric Keys, a low latency 40GB keyboard sound library of electric pianos, organs, clavs, tape samplers, string machines and more classic and vintage instruments. Nearly all are sampled at 24 bit, and the plugin is 256-note polyphonic, and is complete with an effects rack and amp simulator.

BPM, which looks remarkably similar to Apple’s drum sequencer, gives you the ultimate rhythm programming experience. Includes plug-and-play support for hands-on pad controllers like the Akai MPD32, which is good news for many sample pad enthusiasts, but now with unlimited sample layers per pad (or as much as your computer can handle). Awesome tool for electronic music performance and beat sequencing.

Ethno2 delivers stunning ethnic and exotic instrument sounds from Africa, Asia, Australia, India, South America, and more. I may have to buy this just for the penny whistle and Celtic instruments, and the Flamenco Percussion and guitars.

I didn’t get to hear the Symphonic instrument, and I have a hunch that it may fall a little short compared to other libraries (ie Vienna and EastWest). If you’ve heard it, let me know what you think.


BigFishAudio and Vir2 Instruments Ready to Release Electri6ity

Electrici6ity is the most epic electric guitar virtual instrument to hit the market (ok it’s not out yet, but get ready). This awesome instrument contains some of the most advanced, detailed, and versatile collection of guitars ever. The plugin features the Strat, Tele, Les Paul, P90, Rickenbacker, Danelectro, ES335, and L4 and uses 24-bit samples from each, with three pick up options for each. Every, and I mean every fret of every string was sampled for this library. Downstrokes, upstrokes, ghosting, mutes, hammer-ons, slides, pulloffs, and more are included for every guitar. Articulation and Velocity morphing adds depth and seamless transitioning between effects, while the advanced AI adapts to your playing, allowing for fluid lines, 2000 different chords and positions, and more. If you sequence guitars, this one is a must have.


Piano Sounds from Synthogy

If you’re looking for some fresh Piano samples that hit the spot with realism and features, you have to check out Synthogy’s new Ivory II virtual instrument. Featuring tons of pianos and synths from uprights to grands to synth combos, this piano instrument has half-pedaling, pedal noise, lid position effects, tuning tables, and even sympathetic String Resonance. Check it out at Ilio.