Sound Definitions - Audio Design Desk
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Sound Definitions

Type:

Beds:

  • Generally long, subtle, low-velocity soundscapes that provide an atmospheric foundation for a sound design composition

 

Sub Type:

  • Bed – a low velocity, multitimbral, evolving design element for subtle atmospheric purposes
  • Drone – a long, low velocity, generally low frequency, synthetic design element for subtle atmospheric purposes
  • High Drone – a low velocity, high frequency, synthetic design element for atmospheric purposes
  • Pad – a low velocity, long, polyphonic/multitimbral bed of sound that has tangible musical tones/chord(s)
  • Pulse – a low velocity, pumping/rhythmic soundscape for atmospheric purposes
  • Stutter – a Bed that includes a tangible stuttering effect, which can be described as “rapidly interrupting and resuming a signal”

 

Hits:

  • Cinematic impacts generally created using synthesis, for the purpose of adding emphasis or intensity to a sound design composition

 

  • Boom – a low-frequency sub impact.
  • Metallic – an impact with metal sounds/tones most heavily featured.
  • Organic – an impact that most prominently features natural, acoustic elements/tones rather than synthesized elements/tones.
  • Stutter – an impact that includes a tangible stuttering effect, which can be described as “rapidly interrupting and resuming a signal”.
  • Swish – an impact that is preceded by a quick crescendo, generally in the mid-high frequency range.
  • Synthetic – an impact that most prominently features synthesized elements/tones rather than natural, acoustic elements/tones.
  • Title – especially intense/cinematic impacts, that are also generally complex and synthetic in tone. Good for title reveals.

 

Rises:

  • A sound design element that evolves drastically over the duration of the file. The sound starts at a low place in either volume, tone, or complexity, and gradually increases one or all of those elements until the end.

 

  • Glide – rises that feature a gradually ascending tone, the pitch of which can be clearly tracked.
  • Modules – rises composed of multiple elements to create a complex composition.
  • Orchestral – a non orchestral rise Rises that predominantly use orchestral instruments.
  • Organic – rises composed of naturally-occurring, organic, and acoustic sounds.
  • Stutter – a rise that includes a tangible stuttering effect, which can be described as “rapidly interrupting and resuming the signal”.
  • Synthetic – made up of sounds that are digitally synthesized.

 

Transitions:

  • Sound design elements that crescendo at the beginning, and decrescendo at the end, generally with no tangible difference in intensity or volume from the end of the crescendo to the beginning of the decrescendo.

 

  • Cymbal – reminiscent of, if not actually, a cymbal swell with mallets.
  • Delay – a transition that utilizes a delay effect.
  • Fly By – generally heavily synthetic transitional element that is reminiscent of an aircraft flying by.
  • Power Down – usually synthetic. Reminiscent of a machine powering down. Typically features a polyphonic/multitimbral descending glide.
  • Reversal – utilizes noticeably reversed impacts/hits to achieve its crescendo.
  • Static Suck Back – quick, synthetic, Rise-type elements for quick transitions with a synthetic static sound. Generally a short crescendo followed by a short reverb tail. 
  • Stutter – a transition that includes a tangible stuttering effect, which can be described as “rapidly interrupting and resuming the signal”.
  • Suck Back – quick, synthetic, Rise-type elements for quick transitions. Generally a short crescendo followed by, if anything, a short reverb tail that is less intense than the crescendo’s peak.
  • Whoosh – short, generally organic, airy element that is often paired with fast on-screen movement.

 

Pitched:

  • Assorted design elements that have a clear and tangible fundamental frequency/pitch, and often have a musical motif.

 

  • Drone– long, low-velocity soundscape/bed with a clear fundamental frequency.
  • Melodic – design elements with a clear and tangible melody and/or musical motif.
  • Pulse – a design element which has a clear fundamental frequency, and the volume of which goes up and down at a consistent rate. Whereas a Stutter can be characterized as interrupting and resuming a signal, a pulse is a signal’s volume/velocity coming in and out smoothly.
  • Singles – typically short single uses of a musical element.
  • Stutter – an element with a clear fundamental frequency that includes a tangible stuttering effect, which can be described as “rapidly interrupting and resuming the signal”.
  • Superhorns – cinematic design elements with a clear fundamental frequency that prominently feature either acoustic or synthetic orchestral horns and/or sounds reminiscent of orchestral horns.

 

Textural:

  • Assorted atmospheric sonic elements that are not pitched. They serve as ethereal sound beds.

 

  • Organic – elements made up of sounds that are presumably naturally-occurring, organic, and acoustic in nature.
  • Synthetic – elements made up of sounds that are presumably digitally synthesized.

 

Rhythmic:

  • Assorted design elements that have a clear and consistent rhythm/musical motif.

 

  • Ending – elements that have a rhythmic fill and some indication of finality, i.e. a reverb tail at the end.
  • Percussive – rhythmic elements that prominently feature standard percussion sounds, or sounds reminiscent of those.
  • Pulse – pulsating rhythmic elements. Almost beat like.
  • Synthetic – rhythmic elements made up of sounds that are presumably digitally synthesized.

 

FX:

  • Sound design types, such as hits and rises, but created from synthetic, often aggressive sounds for example, machines, car horns, clocks, phones, alarms, etc. These are generally heavily layered, synthetic, complex sound design compositions.

 

  • Hits – cinematic impacts generally created using synthesis, for the purpose of adding emphasis or intensity.
  • Pulse – a low velocity, pumping/rhythmic soundscape for atmospheric purposes.
  • Rhythmic – design elements that have a clear and consistent rhythm/musical motif.
  • Rise – a sound design element that starts at a low place in either volume, tone, or complexity, and gradually increases one or all of those elements until the end.
  • Textural – atmospheric sonic elements that are not pitched. They serve as ethereal sound beds.
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