Brief list of credits
The Swapper, AudioThing
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your sample libraries?
I am a sound designer and programmer. I started AudioThing in 2011 because I was always amazed by the possibility of crafting my own sample libraries. Over the years I felt the growing need to develop plugins, which are much more compelling and rewarding, although the learning curve is obviously really steep. So I’m now focusing mostly on developing effects and synths but I still love making sample libraries.
I also worked as a composer for a bunch of indie games (the most important is The Swapper by Facepalm Games: http://facepalmgames.com/the-swapper/).
How do you prepare or should we say, how does one start making sample libraries?
Most of the libraries I make come from strange or rare instruments, so I always find myself digging in car boot sales and flea markets to find strange stuff to sample.
Sometimes I try to re-invent the sound of a common instrument, working from a different perspective. For example I sampled a toy glockenspiel playing it with ping pong balls (http://www.audiothing.net/instruments/pong-glockenspiel/).
How long does it take to make a sample library? (recording, mixing, programming etc.)
It depends on the library. Some can take months or even years, while others may take no more than 1 week. A few times I had to completely redo all the samples because I felt they were not consistent. So you can see how a small project can easily become time consuming.
Can you give us a little insight on your creative process? (microphone placement, equipment used, vst software)
I have a small selection of microphones like AKG C4000B, RØDE NT-5, Shure SM57, but also custom built piezos, inductor mics and other toys. If the project requires better equipment, I usually book a recording studio.
I also have a ZOOM H4n for outdoor recording, usually paired with Binaural Microphones/Earphones.
The most important software that I use to edit samples is iZotope RX Denoise which helps to drastically reduce the noise that can easily build up in sample libraries.
How much sound design is involved in making sample libraries?
I have some libraries like Soundscapes Vol.1 & 2 and Strings that are made mostly of sound designed acoustic sources. I also include in my libraries some custom sound design patches like slowed down samples and textures made with original samples.
What inspires you to make such amazing products?
Everything is a sound source. If you hit a table with the right mallet or bow a bicycle rod with the right angle, you can get fantastic sounds that you couldn’t even imagine. There are already tens of libraries with the same sounds or the same concepts, so I always try to find unusual sources and different techniques for sampling.
Any specific “lessons learned” on a project that you could share?
When you have to record an instrument with more takes or gestures in one go, it’s a good idea to say to the microphone which take it is, or which gesture or mallet you are using. It could be really hard working on old sessions trying to remember what was used or what take it was.
How can a composer approach you to become a demo writer for your sample library? (Do you accept demo reels from composers?)
I already work with a few composers but if anyone is interested in making demo for AudioThing, just drop us a line: http://www.audiothing.net/contact/
What are your plans for the future?
I have lots of libraries in developing and lots of ideas for new ones, but the sample library market is becoming oversaturated. I will focus more on developing plugins (effects and instruments) and perhaps some standalone software for mangling samples.
Any tips, hints or motivational speeches for the readers?
Read books. Lots of them. We are living in what I call the “tutorial era” where knowledge is easily replaced by a 2 min youtube video. While this may be a good way to learn fast, it usually creates lacks and general bad habits. Reading books about synthesis, DSP, composition, etc. is in my opinion a good way of creating a solid knowledge. Then it’s all practice.