A new sound pack all starts with an idea. It can range anywhere from being inspired by something you see in the room to recreating a specific type of sound. Other times conversation sparks the magic, “hey, you know what would sound cool…”. That’s the genesis of creating Audio Design Desk sound packs. Turning these ideas into reality is the job of our sound team.
The actual process of creating a sound pack is divided into 6 stages. Technical and creative knowhow are melded together to create our packs. From small things like cloth and material movements, to all kinds of footsteps, to massive robotic and science fiction sounds.
Sound Pack Planning
The first step is creating a plan for what the pack will ultimately look and sound like. This begins with a number of questions, such as what kinds of sounds do we need specifically, how feasible are they to attain, and can they be created in DAWs with plugins or do we need to go out into the field or into our studio to record them. If we do need to record, do we need to rent props or can we find what we need in our own houses? Once all of these things have been considered we create a roadmap for the pack where we can then track the progress of each step in the process.
Creating the Sounds
Once the roadmap is established, we begin the process of creating and/or recording all of the sounds we need for the pack. If sounds need to be recorded, such as footsteps or foley, we will gather up any props we need and head down to our studio to spend a few hours recording as much as we can. If we’re working on a pack that will be focused on those more complex designed sounds, such as mechanized movements or sci-fi type sounds, then we will spend anywhere from a few days to a few weeks creating the sounds in our DAWs of choice. Once the sounds have been recorded, they are then stored and organized, which allows us to decide if we need more of any sounds we feel are missing.
As the sound team is recording and/or creating the sounds for the sound pack, we also begin tagging the incoming sounds with our metadata. We first find the best way to categorize our sounds. The 4 main types of metadata here are Category, Subcategory, Type, and finally Subtype, where as you go down the chain, the categorization gets more specific. For example, a bustling downtown city ambience would be Ambience – Element – Exterior – City. Next up are the keywords that allow the sounds to be found via search.
We use a combination of standard keywords that are directly related to the Type and Subtype of the sounds, as well as more specific keywords that allow you to filter down to more specific sounds. After Keywords comes Intensity and Complexity, which basically indicate how intense and how intricate a sound is on a scale of 1 to 5. Finally, we have the Sync Marker which is added to the high point of a sound and is the point the sound is synced to when using triggers. After all of the sounds have been properly tagged, we then move on to the process of curation.
Sound Pack Curation
After all of the sounds have been tagged and assembled, the team meets up and listens to each sound individually. During this meeting we find any sounds we think don’t fit the overall theme. We’re also on the lookout for sounds that may feel too similar. These sounds are set aside for future use. The goal of this stage is to distill the initial group of sounds to the best possible sounds. Now we’ve completed the creation process and focus on the technical aspects as we draw closer to the final release.
Sound Pack QC (Quality Control)
Once all of the sounds have been tagged and curated, the pack then moves into the second to last phase. It’s time for quality control (QC). Curation focuses more on the quality and variety of the sounds and the overall aural structure of the pack. QC is more focused on making sure things are sound on the technical end. Here, we make sure all the metadata is correct: keywords, spelling, categorization, etc. After any necessary changes are made, it’s on to the final stage!
Export and Final Touches
Next we bring in all of the files, set the pack’s name and description before exporting the final versions. During this time we also create a preview file (a demo track people can listen to) for the pack. This gives ADD users insight into the sounds they can expect to find in the pack. Once that has all been completed, the preview file and pack description are then sent to our marketing team. They then create all of the promotional material that is sent out in each release.
We also want to hear from you! What sounds do you need and can’t find? Your favorite in our library? What do you want more of? We check every message that comes through our inbox. Drop us a line sometime! And be sure to check out our Twitch channel, public Slack, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social destinations to get engaged.