Kitchen sink

A Bumper Batch from Fox Audio Post-production

Posting this blog article has been a little delayed. Two weeks ago, we were lucky enough to welcome another contributor on board – Fox Audio Post-Production. Why then has this blog article been so long in coming? Because Fox Audio has been generous enough to give us over 140 sounds and I wanted to listen through to them and evaluate them properly, which, as you can imagine, took some time.

This bountiful crop of sounds comprises their household sound effects pack so all the sounds fall into the category that you’re bound to need at some point to illustrate your character/s daily routine.

When I look through new sounds, the kinds of things I’m looking for tend to fall into four categories, sounds you can never have enough of no matter how many you have, sounds that make good source material, sounds that have been well covered elsewhere but are captured in different ways and sounds that fill holes in my collection. There are plenty in each category here.

The sounds you can never have enough of include drawers, keys, opening and closing doors – (oven, microwave, fridge and normal doors), toilets and taps. That isn’t to say though that all of the doors featured in this collection are in plentiful supply elsewhere. There’s one that I particularly like that could just as easily be used as the sound of blinds being drawn and I don’t have many other sliding door sounds like this.

Speaking of slides, we come to the category of sounds that fill a hole in my library. There are sliding window sounds, I don’t think there are nearly enough of these and also sliding chairs. I think furniture movement sound effects are so important to bring scenes to life and, given the number of different types of chairs there are and the number of surfaces on which they can be moved, there aren’t nearly enough sounds like that available in libraries. Well, this collection goes a few sounds towards solving that.

This collection also goes far beyond toilet flushes and even lid movements. There is a sound of the handle being manipulated, which I’ve never come across anywhere else. It also includes garbage can sounds, which are also surprisingly rare, as well as many different types of switches.

There’s also the sound of plugs being connected and disconnected from the mains, again very rare. Here’s an example.

I deliberately chose the least elaborate of the available plug sounds, not a very interesting sound by itself you might say, but it’s these mundane sounds that are the bricks and mortar of any project with attention to detail. That tiny little sound and others like it can give realism to a scene because they colour in the picture so to speak.

Then we come to sounds that can be used as source material. Although any sound can be mangled into a completely different type of usefulness given time and enough experimentation, this is one of my favorite things to do, there are some sounds that are particularly inspiring and the clear winner from this collection in that category is this dish-washer door that is in dire need of oiling. I’ve never heard a dish-washer door like it. There are some great squeaks here, right where I wouldn’t have expected to find them.

Then we come to the different perspective on a well-covered subject. The vast majority of these sounds are sweetened with the ambience of their location so they will fit into certain projects easily and quickly without you having to go to the trouble of constructing an appropriate reverb to treat them with. This makes them ideal for podcasts, audio books and commercials. It’s worth noting that all the sounds are mono, but they still have value from certain perspectives where stereo discrimination isn’t really possible in the real world anyway. Plus treating them with a little free reverb, a very short one or a stereo widening plugin, of which there are several free alternatives, I favour this one, which will give them a stereo sense if you need them to have one.

The fact that they all have the ambient flavour of the house in which they were recorded also makes them good source material for making whooshes and impacts. Take one of the sounds, a percussive one, copy it to the clipboard, reverse it and paste the sound from the clipboard at the end. With a little tweaking, this will put you well on the way to making whooshes. Since the reverb is short, the whooshes could be short and short whooshes are desirable because they don’t take up much space in a mix while still making their point. Of course, everything, including reverb time gets longer if you pitch the sound down or time-stretch it.

Thanks very much once again to Fox Audio Post-production for fattening up our household sound effects collection. I hope you find their sounds useful in your projects. Check out their website to see what other services they offer.

Justin Macleod is a sound designer based in the UK who runs SkyClad Sound. You can check out his sound effects here at zapsplat.com and follow him on Twitter @SkycladSound