Sound Effects Library
Review by Carlos Garza
Originally published in Pro Audio Review
|Sonic Energy is a collection of beds, distortion, noise, impacts, low frequency effects (LFE) multimedia effects and production elements. The beds occupy all of disc 1 and most of disc 2. The remainder of disc 2 is noise and distortion effects. Disc 3 contains impacts and LFE, and the remaining two discs contain multimedia effects and production elements respectively.
This set comprises five audio CDs and a bonus DVD-ROM with copies in 16-bit, 48 kHz WAV format. The DVD contains 1233 WAV files totaling almost three GB.
The 1-page CD track listings don’t do justice to the complexity of the sounds but the full descriptions, which come in text, Excel and PDF format, are very useful. I was pleased to see that the first audio disc had been entered in Gracenote’s CDDB, which made auditioning the sounds much easier in iTunes. Unfortunately, the other discs were unrecognized.
Years ago, I purchased a drone sample library that turned out rather dull. I understand that drones are not supposed to be exciting but a little variety would be nice. Luckily, the Sonic Energy beds are richly textured and varied.
This is not just another set of low hums and drones, the shimmering qualities are very modern, the stereo images are enveloping and the low end is rumbling when it wants to be. I’m planning to use some of the ominous beds in an upcoming live performance of my band’s original score for the classic vampire silent film, NOSFERATU.
There are not too many mild distortions or noises, most are intense. Watch the volume when you audition these, there are some real “ear cleaners” here. The distorted communication sounds and other vaguely familiar sounds were my favorites. They would work well in a sci-fi drama or game where something has gone wrong.
I found a few treats in the impacts and LFE sounds along with familiar sounding electronic boinks, metallic clangs and chirps. The low frequency elements are meaty and satisfying. The palette runs from synthesized analog zaps to digital splats with a few metal hits and manipulations.
Between the impacts, laser hits and low frequency rumbles you have all the sonic elements for a dynamite role-playing game. I liked the “underwater sonar ping” and metallic effects. In some cases, the best part is the way the sound evolves through the reverb tail.
The multimedia effects disc comprises chirps, beeps, clicks, bonks and tiny sweeps. These are ideal for games, as in picking up an object and scoring points. Some of the zaps are odd and comedic. The sounds are generally short and subtle but there are a few “ear cleaners” in the set. A few sounds are reminiscent of Star Trek alarms and some sound like struck glass and metal objects.
The production elements overlap the hits and beds somewhat. The logo elements are ideal for crime dramas and “most wanted” TV shows. If you are designing sounds for space alien or aquatic intruder/invader shows you might want to check out the stingers and “whooshes.”
All together, this is a fine set with a varied and high quality collection of beds, hits and LFE sounds. It is recommended for game creators and sound designers for TV and film.
(c) 2006 Carlos Garza