Sound Effects Article Roundup #5


Gear Hero

I finally polished off two major field recording gigs last week. After decompressing for a bit, I dove into my long list of sound articles gathered from Tweets, and various field recording websites.

I’ll share my selections of interesting articles and other finds in today’s post.

Articles & Blog Posts

  • We all know the classic sound effect used for drawing swords: schingg! This video explains just how wrong that trope is, using comparisons of real-world sword types. It’s mean to be humorous, of course. However, it suggests a good question: when should reality be set aside for “emotional” sound effects? Recent community discussions about gun silencers have approached the same topic.

  • The Power of Sound As An Art Form – This article from the New York Times describes the recent rise of sound as an art form, particularly in museums.
  • The Yorkshire Post features a short article about field recordist Chris Watson. This quote in particular I thought was an interesting way to see a city’s sound in layers:

    Once you take away the sounds of traffic which you get in any town or city, you begin to hear the real sounds of the city.

  • Nature recordist Bernie Krause discusses his work in soundscape ecology in this TED talk.


  • Recording Quiet Places: Six Questions With Tony Whitehead – Field recordist Tony Whitehead focuses on recording “silences” and quiet places. He has some interesting thoughts on the effect of the lack of sound in recordings.
  • An Interview with Trevor Cox – featured this post with Cox, a professor of acoustic engineering at the University of Salford. I found two things interesting in particular: his efforts to improve audio recordings in the same spirit of digital photography’s automatic facial recognition with his “Good Recording Project,” and thoughts on using audio with product design to create an emotional response.
  • A short documentary about sound artist Justin Boyd details his explorations of “the marriage of object and sound.” It blends Boyd’s intriguing field recordings to create an absorbing piece. Well shot and produced.


  • Game Audio 101 – Many people may know this one, but I found it just recently. A great list of articles about beginning work in the game audio field.
  • Twitter recently acquired Vine, which allows people to share short video recordings via Tweets. Audior is a site that does the same, but with audio. Designed to be swift and disposable.
  • The Sonic Spread – a collection of posts that link to audio articles on other sites. The site is no longer active, it seems, but it has a good scattering of articles about game audio and film sound reaching back a few years.

Plug-Ins & Software


  • I recently stumbled across a two part field recording guide on Audio Tuts. It has the broad strokes of the craft in two articles, covering the steps from acquiring gear to finishing your files. A decent general introduction for those wondering what field recording is. (Part 1, Part 2)
  • Avid Pro Tools 10 Verses Pro Tools 11 – Major Differences – haven’t upgraded yet? Considering it? This article is a good summary of the broad distinctions between the Pro Tools release.
  • A random keyword search revealed this series of Pro Tools video guides for beginners. It divides concepts well, and while it references version 9, the ideas remain valuable to newbies to the software.
  • Speaking of Pro Tools, here’s a visual guide to keyboard shortcuts. Organized by category, with key combinations that light up as you roll over each command.
  • Izotope’s RX audio restoration software is known as a silver bullet for troublesome audio. The catch is that the software is quite nuanced. The manual doesn’t help much. Instead, check out Izotope’s video tutorials. Here’s a playlist that shows how to get the job done, using their recently-released update, RX 3.
  • I remember first learning the proper way to wrap cables while working as an assistant on set: the “over-under” method. Why is this “proper?” This dude explains more in a YouTube video.

  • The Zoom H4n: a recorder featuring appealing pro XLR inputs. The Sound Devices MixPre: a robust silky preamp. Wouldn’t it be great if they could work together? Unfortunately, the H4n lacks pro-level inputs. A series of three articles by filmmaker Dan McComb explains how to get around this problem and use these two devices together. (Article one, article two, and samples.)

Field Recordings

  • Danny Meltzer’s Field Recordings – Meltzer offers recording previews from exotic locations such as South Africa, Mexico, Argentina, and more, paired with interesting notes from the sessions.

Free Sound Effects

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