There’s no music without sounds, but being a musician and a sound designer are two skills – nay, artforms – that aren’t required to go hand in hand.
We put sample and preset libraries into three rough camps. There’s the hyper-real, ‘next best thing’ sample libraries that replace a concert grand or Balinese gamelan in your home studio, the ‘soundalike’ kits, full of turgid, re-sampled sounds that promise to have you sounding like your favourite producer without doing any of the work, and our favourite kind: ‘inspiration’ packs.
Objectively speaking, there is an ultimate piano sampler library out there; there is a library that gives the most authentic orchestral sounds. Far more interesting are the sounds that take full advantage of our digital facilities and create libraries of the weird and the wonderful, the ethereal and the destructive; libraries that invite you to take pleasure in their sounds are the best.
The FSE library is just such a collection, a stock library used for over 30 years in film production that has taken on an entirely new context in its digitally recorded form; now you can get a little of that classic sound in your productions with a previously unheard of authenticity.
We first saw this collection over at designingsound.org, where Miguel Isaga wrote about it, and interviewed Andrew Walker – the man who brought the library to the public. It’s a worthy read, and too a worthy listen – the FSE Library website contains SoundCloud examples of the library. I’m pretty enamoured with the Africa collection, myself, and may have to make a purchase…