With close to 30 years of Sound Design experience in live theater, I would have thought doing sound for a television series would be quite easy. I'm surprised that it's actually a bit of a challenge. I find it to be almost the complete reverse of theatrical sound. In theater, I start with a silent space and add whatever sounds I deem the production requires. In television, I am given a set of audio tracks in which most of my work involves removing sounds from.

http://www.iamthewisp.com will show the current episode. Any constructive thoughts, comments and/or suggestions would be most welcomed.

1 Answer 1


I watched Episode 103 or so that is on the front-page.

Here are some critics (sorry if I only mentions things that i don't like but its the most easiest :D)

  • Dialogues are jumping in the stereo field sometimes. Better keep 99% of dialogues mono, right in the centre. Just pan spoken words if you want to hint into a direction -> someone from the far right is yelling at the actress in the middle.
  • Dialogue levels are jumping a bit so have a check on these, use compression if needed. Riding the level via a volume automation or midi controller works best for 80% of the time.

  • Sound Effects like footsteps are to loud and present sometimes. I know it is tricky if you get some shotgun mic-ed footsteps in a reverberated room. So always have some deeper, softer footsteps in your library to replace if needed.

  • Ad more atmosphere. Especially silent rooms can need some fresh atmospheres to make them more interesting. Lightbulp beeping, airconditioner. mumbling from neighbours. Noise from outside the window. Simply noise. A lot of high end TV-Series drench the whole sound in atmosphere, so flaws in recording and sound fx are not that audible anymore and you get a sense of being in the scenery.

So here is my Tip when mixing/re-recording/engineering/producing/etc. sound for TV:

  1. Lay down Atmosphere and make sure it has a RMS of around -24 dB (my guideline)
  2. Make sure the transition of the atmosphere between scenes works well
  3. Add in Music (if available at that stage) and make sure it hits at max -18 dB
  4. Add Sound FX and make sure they hit max at -12 dB
  5. Add Dialogue and make sure it peaks at -12 dB

Et each stage I try to fit the elements so that I enjoy watching the scene.


  • Thank you SO much for taking the time to watch the show and critique the Sound Design. I especially found helpful your specific level guides and your thoughts regarding atmosphere. I had been shying away from adding much more atmospheric sounds in fear of sounding too intrusive or "canned". I'll be rethinking my approach to that type of thing. Nov 6, 2013 at 6:49
  • Watch some high-end productions with focus on atmosphere. You will be amazed :D gl! (the levels are very rough guidelines, find some they work well for you and your productions) Nov 6, 2013 at 23:19

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