Today’s post is a roundup of articles from last year. It features posts that received a good response (thank you!). I’ve also included articles I enjoyed writing or made me think about field recording, sound effects mastering, or library curation differently.
My plan for 2017 was to focus on writing about mastering sound clips and sound library curation. So, many posts revolve around that. Honestly, I thought I would exhaust everything about these topics in 2017. However, there’s still a lot more to say about those subjects, so more articles about that are coming soon.
It was a bit tricky to keep a regular schedule writing. Why? In mid-2017, I began preparing for a permanent move overseas. Also, around the same time I began working on an very cool project with incredible people, and I have turned my focus to that. That’s why many posts were “roundups” intended to send you articles consistently while I was busy with other things.
I started sharing posts on Facebook. After that the site began receiving more traffic, especially to some older, popular posts. So, many articles last year were updates designed to refresh the site with up-to-date information. I actually found it illuminating to see how the things had changed for field recording equipment, metadata apps, and other sound fx tools featured in those articles.
Now, the articles:
Field recording equipment is always a popular topic on the site. Here are some posts about sound recording kit:
- The year began with an in-depth Sony PCM-D100 Review. It examined features of the popular portable recorder, provided sound samples, and contrasted it to its big brother, the Sony PCM-D50.
- Want to know how one microphone’s noise floor, maximum sound pressure level, and price compare with another? I listed those stats and many others for popular microphones in the Field Recording Microphone Specifications Quick Lookup Chart.
- The Field Recording Gear Buyer’s Guide is the most popular article on the site. That shares how to buy sound recording equipment and upgrade it through a field recordist’s typical career path. But what about atypical sound fx recording? The Unconventional Microphone Buyer’s Guide shared a list of unusual microphones used to capture sound clips: hydrophones, parabolic dishes, contact microphones, and more.
- What are the best sounds for your microphone to record? One post examined a Sound Effects Decibel Level Chart to compare the loudness of sound fx subjects with the capabilities of popular field recording microphones. A second post looked at the decibel chart a different way: how sound levels affect our hearing .
Sound FX Mastering
- A reader asked me how to prepare long, multi-hour field recordings. A two-part series shared ideas:
- Should room tones be mastered to -20 dB? Perhaps -35 dB? Is it better to consider these numbers as peak, or an average? 2 Techniques for Setting Sound Effects Library Mastering Levels examined both sides of this frequently debated subject including pros, cons, and goals of each technique.
- You finally managed to record a fighter jet passing by. However, there is a single dog bark on the approach, and a bird chirp on the fade out. A Quick RX Tip for Mastering Sound Effects shares a trick for removing these small errors without affecting the field recording beneath.
- Sound effect mastering techs often need to manipulate sound files formats. TheSound File Batch Conversion App Roundup post explores software options for getting the job done.
Curating Field Recordings
- Metadata adds bonus data to sound clips. That allows them to be found more easily. The category and subcategory fields are important ways of classifying field recordings. Four articles examined the nuances of sound library categorization:
- The series began with An Introduction to Sound FX Library Categorization – The Basics.
- 13 Lucky Tips & Tricks for Sound FX Library Categorization offered guidelines for classifying sound fx.
- What’s the best way to arrange your sound effect categories? How to Build A Sound FX Library Category Tree shared two approaches.
- How are sound fx category and subcategory data added to clips?How to Apply Categories to Sound Effect Libraries shared workflows for both desktop organization and popular metadata apps.
- An earlier article shared a list of apps that add metadata to sound fx libraries. A post this year explained how to choose the best sound library manager app for you.
- A new series on the site explored the field recording technique Ambisonics. It began with an introduction to the technique, followed with a number of pro interviews, and closed with a list of Ambisonic hardware and software resources.
- How does a new field recordist learn the craft? A pair of articles shared how to do this with an unlikely subject: doors. The first shared a cheat sheet for recording doors well, and the second explained the theory behind the value of recording door sound fx.
One of the most difficult field recording challenges is balancing technical skill and creative inspiration. A three-part series explored ideas on doing this while field recording, mastering sound effects, and curating sound fx libraries.
I usually write roundups when I receive many reader emails about similar topics (keep ‘em coming!).
- Even more sound designers and field recordists became interested in sharing their sound effects. I wrote a few roundups with step-by-step info and collections of previous articles to help with the three steps to do this:
- In July tech news website TechCrunch shared an insider tip that sound sharing website SoundCloud had laid off half its staff and had only 50 days of funds remaining. SoundCloud is vital for field recordists and sound designers to share the sounds they create. The Sound FX Streaming Services Roundup compiles a list of alternatives.
While writing this post I was surprised to see that I’ve been writing articles for 7 years! I also want to thank you to everyone who has visited the site and read the articles. Thank you to everyone in the community for their support.