Stereoize Hero

Have you ever returned to your edit suite to realize one channel of your stereo field recordings is distorted beyond hope? Has a client demanded a stereo delivery spec, regardless of the source sound effects in your sound library? Do you have a cool mono drone you’d like thicken up?

If any of these situations sound familiar, you’ve likely thought about transforming your mono sounds into a stereo file.

However, this task of “stereoizing” mono files isn’t simple. Why? Well, there’s the ever-present risk of accidentally corrupting your new stereo file with phase problems. And what about audio quality? Often stereoized files sound flat and lifeless. Is it possible for stereoized mono files to sound good?

I struggled with this for years. I used mastering hacks to get this done: shifting a duplicate track a few frames, or dropping half of a mono clip underneath on a second track. There are other tricks. I wasn’t satisfied with any of them.

A few years ago I stumbled across a post that explained a bulletproof, acoustically sound method of stereoizing a mono file. It recreates the physics behind the way our ears hear sound.

I tried it. I was thrilled with the results. I’ve used it ever since.

Today’s post is the first in a two-part series that explains how to use this trick. This article shares step-by-step instructions for stereoizing mono files, with the kind assistance of a special guest contributor.

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Price Pie Chart

A few weeks ago, I announced a new community sound effects tool called Sound Effects Search. It’s a search engine for independent sound libraries.

The website launch gave me some insight into independent sound library collections. I’ll share those thoughts in this “post-mortem” post, and also include a few resources for fans of indie sound bundles and also for sound library publishers, too.

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Pro Tools 12 Logo

Avid has just announced two software releases at NAMM 2015: Pro Tools | First and Pro Tools 12.

Details are still emerging about the new sound editing apps. Today’s post takes a quick look at what we know so far.

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Sound Effects Search Hero Tablet

Last year, I created a new “Community” tab on the website’s menu bar. The first page I announced was a list of field recording blogs. The second listed community Web shops. There’s also a selection of SoundCloud sound effect groups, too.

My hope for those pages was to spread field recording knowledge and share all the excellent sound libraries you’ve created. I believe that all of our work improves when more audio knowledge and better sound surrounds us. I had hoped to contribute a small resource that would give back to the field recording community I’ve enjoyed being a part of.

Many of you wrote to tell me you found those pages useful. So, inspired by that, I’ve released a small, new tool which I also hope will help the sound design and field recording communities: Sound Effects Search.

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RX4 Hero

It seems like just a few months ago that I wrote an article comparing iZotope’s RX3 audio restoration software with its predecessor, RX2.

At that time, RX2 had been known as a respected tool for polishing troublesome audio. The software hadn’t seen a major update in years, however. So, last year’s announcement of RX3 was met with considerable excitement. It delivered a fresh coat of paint, new tools, and welcome workflow improvements.

iZotope didn’t wait as long to release RX4. It arrived roughly a year after RX3. Does that seem quick to you? You wouldn’t be the only one to think so. Many sound editors understandably wondered what could have changed so quickly to be worth hundreds of dollars in upgrade fees.

I’ve written this article to answer that question. What’s new in RX4? What’s changed? Is it worth your upgrade dollars? Today’s post takes a deep dive into RX4 to learn more about the cornerstone audio repair software.

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Tutorial: Pro Tools Track Preset Trick

Track Preset Hero

You’ve just returned from a field recording session. After backing up your work, you dump your raw sound effects into a Pro Tools session for mastering.

If you’ve mastered sound effects for any length of time, you’ve likely crafted a Pro Tools editing session template, arranged to taste. Perhaps you’ve built a session with tracks arranged, panned, and sized just how you prefer. You’ve stacked each track with the proper plug-ins. Of course, it’s a pain to recreate this layout every time you fire up Pro Tools.

Thankfully, Pro Tools’s session templates sidestep the hassle of redoing this every time you launch the app. That’s been around for a while.

Session templates are a global way of setting up your editing workflow. What if you want more control? Well, an intrepid Pro Tools fan discovered a hack: track presets. They work similarly to session templates, except on a more granular level. The hack allows users to add preset track arrangements within a session. How does this help you?

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Old Lock and Key

Do you own a sound effects Web shop? A brief PSA: your checkout may be outdated, and your customers’s information may be at risk. I recently learned about this flaw which affects supposedly secure websites, Internet-wide.

Now, I know that sounds alarming. But before you call your Web developer in a cold sweat, please note that it affects only a subset of Web visitors. In fact, your shop may not be affected at all.

However, we do talk about sharing sound on the Web on this blog from time to time. I know many field recording pros share their sound libraries on their own Web shops. So, I felt it was important to share the info so you update your own site if you are indeed affected.

This post will briefly describe the problem, explain how to check if you’re affected, and help you fix it yourself.

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Article: Understanding Multiband Compression

Multi-band Compression

Ever wondered how multiband compression works? Curious about why you would use it, or how compression processing affects your tracks? Thinking about using it when mastering sound effects?

This article at explains the nuances of multiband compression, complete with audio samples you can compare. Its examples cite musical compositions, but it’s helpful for considering how it can be applied to sound effects, too.

Via The Loop

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e-Book Combo Pack Complete

A brief update: I’ve collected the sound effect e-books I’ve written into discounted Combo Packs.

They gather the Upgraded Edition of each e-book with all bonus materials into a bundle for a 15–20% discount. There are two Combo Packs.

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Lately I’ve written a lot about creating sound effect libraries. In an interview with A Sound Effect, I mentioned that many sound collections begin when a sound editor notices certain sounds are missing.

This is exactly how the Free Firearm Library began. Of course, many of you know this library. It has received a lot of press and support from the community. The library has been downloaded by many sound pros. The crew behind the library, Still North SoundFX, recently mentioned that library clips were used in Boardwalk Empire.

The library also offers something more than tricky sound clips, however. The reason why it was created and how it was done provides insight for audio pros interested in sharing sound themselves. How?

Well, we’re all familiar with the sound of Hollywood-style suppressed gunshots. Ben Jaszczak and Brian Nelson of Still North SoundFX knew silencers sounded differently. They were determined to capture realistic-sounding suppressed gunshots. To do this, they turned to the community to support the project with what became a popular Kickstarter campaign.

So, what’s interesting is that the library grew from a need to record a specific sound effect that was difficult to capture: suppressed gunshots. Also, the Firearm Library involved the community intimately by using a tool rarely seen when creating new collections:

It’s been some time since the library was released. I recently reached out to Jaszczak and Nelson to hear their reflections on these ideas. They kindly shared their time answering questions about recording the gun library, working with the community, and their plans for the future.

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