Q It Up: What libraries do you use for sound effects? - Part 1

Henry Onings/The Budman! <onings[at} cwo.com>, Bud’s Productions, Seaside, California: Bud's Productions/the Budman! (studio in the US but working for several Dutch stations) is mainly using Major records' sounds effects. Further, we have several CDs from different sources. Main problem is that most of these sound effects are recorded like on the streets, and there is not really a stereo sound on it. Further, there are several background noises with it, too. Still, it gives the final product some flair except when birds and other background noises can be heard.

Dave Foxx <foxx[at}z100.com>;, Creative Services Director, Z100 Radio, New York: I suppose that most people will respond with Sound Ideas. Far and away, this is the most comprehensive library of sound effects out there. However, it DOES have its shortcomings. I've pretty much gotten the whole "magilla" available from SE, including the 1000, 2000, 4000, 6000 and 7000 series of SFX. Each series has its particular strengths and weaknesses, but the biggest weakness is the fact that these are the same sound effects EVERYONE has. I can't watch a syndicated TV show without hearing effects that I know quite well, which can be very disconcerting. It's seldom I hear effects on even the RAP tape that don't come right out of the SE catalog. So, I've taken to picking up odd little CDs from time to time that feature sound effects.

One that has been particularly helpful is an industrial library called The Works. This little ten-pack of CDs has just about every sound you might find in a factory setting--switches, pneumatics, motors, servos, fans, and an odd assortment of other effects like camera shutters. These have been very helpful in creating impacts and floats, which can really add to the atmosphere of some promos and sweepers.

One other source that has been wonderful for me is movie EPKs (Electronic Press Kits). A LOT of these come with split tracks on VHS, having music on one track and dialogue and effects on the other. Some really talented people in Hollywood have created effects on a soundstage for scenes in movies which have a LOT of impact and are instantly recognizable which, when one is painting a sound picture, comes in really handy. Adding some bass harmonics to a movie explosion really makes it jump out of the speakers. Creating an atmosphere using a stock stereo background from Sound Ideas and adding these effects, panned to an appropriate place in the L/R spectrum, makes for an intensely real picture setting.

I'm certainly not against recording my own effect when needed. I've been known to carry around a portable DAT recorder with a decent microphone, capturing things as diverse as a heavy thunderstorm, service station ambiance, and once, the scene of an accident (not mine) complete with arriving ambulance and fire trucks. I know it sounds kind of geeky, but I have to say those sounds all really worked well for me, adding a dimension to my work that is really hard to achieve sometimes. I don't walk around with this thing strapped to my side or anything like that. I just keep a fresh battery pack in the car and the recorder in my trunk, waiting for something to spark my interest.

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