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Hi! I'm hoping to produce both an impulse response library and a sound effects library for commercial distribution. I was wondering if anyone had any tips on how to master sound effects and impulse responses.

Mastering music is surely easier because you just have to make the music sound the best it can and the loudest it can in as many possible environments. Plus with mastering an album you're trying to make the album fit together as a whole. With sound effects it's surely a different kettle of fish because only one sound effect from the entire library might be used in a given project and you've no notion how it's going to be used, what other sounds it will be interacting with, particularly if your sound is used in a game. Plus if you're recording real sounds, you want them to be as true to life as possible don't you, so surely the less post-production tinkering you do the better.

I guess I'm having a hard time distinguishing between the editing and mastering stage. In the editing stage you reduce the dynamic range, remove extraneous noise with eq etc, normalize, bring out frequency ranges that are a little lacking and then aren't you pretty much done?

Surely mastering impulse responses, particularly unconventional ones, is even harder because you've no idea what they're going to be convolved with. Any thoughts or tips would be much appreciated!

  • It would be great to have an Impulse Response Library, please let me know when you have it. Take care. – user511 Aug 18 '10 at 18:50
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If the question is "Can/should you edit IRs?", the answer is yes, and probably yes.

You at the very least want to trim off the excess at the beginning and end of the file. From there you can do a number of things - clean up the very high end frequencies that have a lot of junk, tweak the response based on what you know about your playback source, etc.

You can also do some of this before you convolve your files, especially if you were in a noisy environment. I have taken out bird chirps, clicks, pings, etc, without majorly altering the response.

Hope this helps.

  • Hi! Thanks for your answer. Perhaps I should have explained that my IR library will comprise synthesized impulses. I won't be attempting to record any acoustic spaces or anything. – JustinMacleod Jul 21 '10 at 12:25
  • Hmm. I feel like you'd just be modeling whatever reverb you use to create the impulse in the first place. I suppose you could create a given sound by EQing, compression, reverb, etc... but couldn't you just run those processes on the files themselves instead of creating an IR to do it? Seems a bit like faxing a document.. a lot lost. – VCProd Jul 21 '10 at 15:23
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My advice on mastering sound effects entirely depends on what the sounds are & the context for how they will be used, which is where experience is important. How would you expect to receive the specific sounds you are releasing? You would not treat a gunshot library the same way as an ambience library etc etc...

Re Impulse Responses maybe the best way is to buy another IR library and see what they have done - the Sanitarium IR library has a lot of synthesised IRs and they seem to work very well.....

http://www.spiritcanyonaudio.com/sanitarium.php

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I believe that if you like your IRs to be of hi-fidelity you shouldn't mess with them, unless you are going for a custom sound which is cool.

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