Tag Archives: sound

How to Find Sound Effects Online

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Soundsnap. All opinions are 100% mine.

No great action movie, television series, or catchy commercial is complete without stellar sound effects. A cliffhanger moment in a box office blockbuster is often guided by the soundtrack – without it, dialogue lacks the empathy and emotion that is often dictated by the music in the movie. So how can you produce this same cinematic quality at the office or home?

With sound effects, professionals and hobbyists alike can access over over 120,000 premium sound effects and loops from an online audio library to add to their own productions. These premium sound effects are produced from the sound designers of Batman Begins, Million Dollar Baby, Ali, Happy Feet, Star Trek, The Addams Family, Tron, The Hunt for Red October, and more. Users can buy packages of sounds, or subscribe to an annual package for unlimited access to sounds and loops. These options are great and cater to users with a wide range of needs, whether you are a student working on the occasional school project or a professional video blogger. All contents are licensed and screened to ensure there are no copyright violations so that they can be used by any Soundsnap user.

Soundsnap is designed mainly for sound designers/recordists and music producers, filmmakers, bloggers, and video game developers. The Soundsnap library includes animal, human, and environmental sounds, as well as unnatural special effects useful for professional edits. Soundsnap can also be used by hobbyists for home videos and anyone else who needs sound effects for projects, such as students. Soundsnap’s diverse collection is easy to search regardless of a project’s needs, as results are descriptively titled. For example, a search for “sad” returns sounds and loops that would be appropriate for anyone hoping to do the next adaption of a Nicholas Sparks book.

Soundsnap was started by Tasos Frantzolas, a sound designer from Athens, Greece without any venture funding or other financial backing. Although a small team of 20 people was at the core of the community and collected the original 30,000 sounds to offer to the public, the main power behind Soundsnap is the worldwide community that contributes to its ever-growing collection. Check out Soundsnap at sound effects.

How To Optimize Sound Coming From Your Devices

I realized something last night: my iPad doesn’t have a perfect speaker setup. None of my devices do, for that matter. Unless you hold the speaker up against your ear, the sound is being pushed out in a direction other than where you need it to be. This is true of your phone, your iPad, your mp3 player and even your laptop. This frustrated me so much last night that I started looking for solutions online. The problem is that I really found nothing much to help. Therefore, I decided to appeal to Quirky for help.

Speakears! Slightly-concave cups that redirect speaker sound.

If you need a living example as to how this might work, go to bed and place your notebook computer on your tummy. Play a video or audio file. Then, cup each of your hands over your notebook’s speakers so as to bounce the sound waves directly towards your ears. You’ll absolutely hear the difference – and realize it’s not practical to keep your hands there indefinitely.

Now, imagine a product that will act as a pair of cupped hands – to be used atop your notebook computer or with any speaker!

I can envision exactly what needs to be done, but do not have the means to accomplish this goal myself. I can close my eyes and see what I’m thinking of, but I cannot begin to design anything such as this. This is where all of you come in. If you have suggestions or comments about my idea, please post them over on the Quirky page. Also, help spread the word by voting up the idea and share it on your social networks.

Holophonic Sounds

Put on your headphones and check out these MP3s:

Chris, Scott Lencl here (scolen3 to the chat room). I came across some pretty amazing technology I thought you would like to see, or listen to in this case. Its called holophonics, a type or binaural audio recording. Basically, two microphones placed on a dummy humans head, and recorded on two separate channels. The sound is enhanced is some special software that gives the illusion of sound in 3D space, most notably the up and down axis, though your brain does most of the work. It only works if you wear headphones, and make sure you have a good amount of volume to give it a more realistic effect.

Here is my favorite link for this: Get Your Virtual Haircut (and Other Auditory Illusions)

My favorites are the virtual haircut, by far – and the holophonic match box. If you have not yet head this before, prepare to be amazed.

Whoa! That’s trippy!

How to Get More Sound from Your iPod (without Power)

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There may come a time when you need to amplify your sound. Don’t turn up your speakers now, though. I’m just illustrating the difference between loud and soft for you. There will just be times when you need more. Anyone who has an iPod wants it to put out more sound. You may not always have cords laying around for your speakers though. Now what do you do? Why not try out the Griffin AirCurve.

AirCurve is a cleverly-designed acoustic amplifier that turns your iPhone into a no-power-drain alarm clock on your nightstand, or a mini sound system that never needs batteries or adapters.

AirCurve looks like a simple, elegantly minimal stand for your iPhone. But inside is a coiled waveguide “horn’ that collects the sound from the built-in speaker of your iPhone, amplifies it (by about 10 decibels), and projects it into the room. AirCurve’s waveguide has been mathematically engineered to deliver amazing amplification — you’ll swear there are full-sized speakers in there. And AirCurve’s see-through translucent polycarbonate body lets you appreciate the graceful curves inside that do all the work.

Will the AirCurve charge your iPod or iPhone? By itself, no. For this reason, we’ve added a pass-through slot so you can feed a dock cable through AirCurve. Connect that dock cable to your computer or power adapter and you can sync or charge while you listen.

My iPhone sits in the AirCurve nice and tight, so I don’t have to worry about it falling out/over. I opened up the music, and what a difference it made! I don’t know that you can tell over this video, but I could definitely tell the difference sitting in my office. It really does amplify the sound coming out! You don’t have to carry any extra cords or cables around to make it work, either!

For less than $20.00, you have nothing to lose. Pick one of these up today for yourself, and maybe one for a friend! An AirCurve will fit right into a stocking. Right now, you can save nearly half off! Get yourself an AirCurve for $12.37!!

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Top 5 Tips for Buying an Audio Mic and USB Headset

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On occasion, I’ve asked for your Top 5 tips and tricks. Thanks to bowler4ever for this excellent video email.

Top 5 Tips for Buying A Headset:

  • Don’t buy dirt cheap! They break too easily or too soon, they tend to not have any controllers for the microphone and/or headphones (if you have a headset), they tend to not last very long, and the sound quality can be pretty bad and you can get static to no end!
  • Buy within your budget! These $300 headsets may look great, but some can go for $45 and can work just as great or even better. So do your homework on these!
  • Find a set that looks comfortable for your ears and also look for an adjustable mic (so when you’re not using the mic, you can put it off to the side of the headset). Comfort is EVERYTHING in a headset. Make sure you find a headset that will fit your ears comfortably (preferably ones with the padding around the edge) and make sure they’re not too small, otherwise it’ll just keep falling off (having one with a clip that goes around the ear is a GREAT option, as this problem is vitually eliminated!)
  • Make sure the store you buy it at allows you to return it within 1-2 weeks, even if you’ve already opened the product, tried it, and you don’t like it. It makes no sense whatsoever if you buy a headset and try it, but you don’t like it and the store won’t let you return it, ESPECIALLY if they don’t have ones on display that you can try on! Staples is a great place to buy one and it has a 2 week return policy (as far as I know).
  • If you have never tried one that plugs in via USB, I strongly recommend you try one, especially if you have a bad sound card or you have none at all, because the drivers are either on a CD or, when plugged in, immediately recognized by the computer and the software gets installed via Plug-and-Play. (There are ones that come with both analog [which is plugged into the sound card] AND USB [via an adapter that comes with the headset]).

So, those are the top 5 tips for buying a headset! If you have any questions/recommendations for a headset, e-mail me via YouTube or Ustream or just shoot an e-mail to one of the best geeks in the computer industry. His name is Chris Pirillo and he can help you out with a lot of stuff. His e-mail address is [email protected] and if you want to see him in action, please drop by and say hello at live.pirillo.com. Thanks for watching!

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