Movie Audio: Getaway (2013)

Posted: Thursday, November 28, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: , , , ,

I am a huge fan of Fords – Mustangs specifically.  Needless to say, when I first saw the trailers for the movie Getaway (2013), I have always wanted to see it.  However, I only got the chance to see it recently.  Since this is not a movie review blog, I’ll save you my less-than-satisfied comments on the movie itself, and stick to the audio.

It’s obvious that anything big budget these days (this movie cost $18 million to make) needs to have audio that is high quality.  For the most part, this movie did a good job with the audio.  Probably one of the best audio related aspects of the movie was in the car dialogue.  When the two main actors Selena Gomez and Ethan Hawke were sitting in the Shelby GT500 talking to each other, the audio characteristics and reflections of the voices definitely sounded like they were in a car with the windows up.  That was a nice touch.

"I Do" Wedding Rings

Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: , ,

The visualization of audio is nothing new.  There are simple ways to “see” audio such as recording something into a DAW and seeing the waveform, or going a little more advanced and diving into the world of cymatics.  Either way, it is very interesting to allow another one of your senses to experience what (at one point) was specifically for just one.

Happily married people will often tell you that one of the best moments in their lives is getting married.  Wedding videos, rings, photos, and the like are all things one has to remember the big day by.  Japanese artist Sakurako Shimizu takes things one step further: she engraves the waveforms of the “I do” into rings.  To an audio geek, this is pretty freaking cool.  Now along with your wedding video and photos, you can now forever “see” your “I dos”.

Four Great Audio Blogs

Posted: Monday, October 21, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: ,

If you haven’t noticed, I enjoy audio: post audio, sound design, field recording, game audio, etc.  If you are here, chances are you do too.  Now as much as I’d love to say you only need one blog to read about audio, and that’s “How’s It Sounding”, that’s a little too egotistical for me.  When I come across a good audio blog, I put it in my blogroll.  Why?  Well let’s find out.

Grand Theft Auto V Audio Review

Posted: Saturday, October 5, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: , , , ,

Rockstar Games has once again released another game in the Grand Theft Auto line up.  Since GTA V has been out for a little bit now, it seems appropriate to review the audio of this game.  While of course I have things to say about the gameplay itself, this is an audio blog, so let’s stick to that.  Let’s dive into it, shall we?

Well, there’s a good segue: diving.  I am quite fond of how Rockstar designed the sound for underwater.  Everything is muffled with some very prominent low pass filters on all the sound.  There doesn't seem to be any unnatural sounds such giving fish a sound, just to give them a sound.  I love the deep rumbles and scrapes you get when crashing a submarine into whatever you find underwater.

Courtesy of Gotta Be Mobile

Top Five YouTube Video Audio Mistakes

Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: , , , ,

We have been at a technological point in our history for some time now where anyone can make a video and upload it to video sharing sites like YouTube.  Many people have taken this opportunity to create “high quality” productions.  Many people spend so much time focusing on how good the video quality is, they forget about the audio!  I will now share with you what I find to be the top five audio mistakes for YouTube videos.

1.  Pops and Click During Transitions
This has to be one of the BIGGEST annoyances to me when it comes to video editing.  This happens all too frequently, even in big budgeted projects.  This is very over looked.  For the most part, the art of long continuous camera shots and single takes are gone.  Everything now is fast paced, and multi camera angles.  A common YouTube video format is harsh edit points that trim off every conceivable second of unimportant video.

When people do this, they forget to add some type of audio fade between clips.  Most video editing software allows a user to place an audio transition/crossfade right onto the end of an audio clip!  There is no excuse to ignore this easy step!  Not doing so will cause the audio waveform to be cut off in the middle of its data causing a very unprofessional pop or click. 

Think of it as running your finger over a smooth and jagged piece of metal: your finger will gently glide over the smooth piece and be pleasing to the senses, but run your finger over the “unfinished” jagged piece, and your senses will be shocked as it cuts into your skin!

Sound Design – Unique Clap

Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: , ,

I love post audio and sound design, but every now and then, I like making some music.  When I have the opportunity to fuse the two together, then what could be better?  A while back, Indaba Music offered up the opportunity to remix Young London’s “Let Me Go”.  I decided to give this song a whirl, and I gave it a different remix feel.  This is not my best work, but below is what I ended up with as my final product.

Top Videogame Soundtracks

Posted: Thursday, August 8, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: , , ,

Just about everyone enjoys playing some type of video game, and just about everyone enjoys some type of music.  When you put the two together, some great things emerge.  We have come a long way from the 8 bit sounds of the classic games, to full on orchestral arrangements.

Throughout my videogame experience, I have learned that I may not have played all the classics.  I primarily have enjoyed action games, but from what I have played, I think these are the videogames with the best soundtracks.  The following are in no particular order.

Movie Audio: Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: , , , , ,

There are tons of war movies out there that are done very well.  However, one of the best would have to be Saving Private Ryan.  I’m sure everyone who has seen it has said the same thing, but how many have focused on the audio of it?  Being a sound guy, that’s obviously one of the first things that I do.  So let’s dive into the audio of the classic war film’s audio shall we?

If anyone has seen this movie, that opening scene that takes place on the shores of Normandy, France during D-Day will be something you will always remember.  While it was shot incredibly well, Gary Rydstrom did an amazing job as the sound designer for Steven Spielberg’s hit film

Signed Streetlight Manifesto CD

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: ,

For anyone who is into the ska band Streetlight Manifesto, you know it is pretty rare to too see something autographed/signed by them.  This was just what I was thinking when I ran into someone who claimed to have a signed copy of Streetlight Manifesto’s 2007 album “Somewhere in the Between”.

Soundtrack that Boosts Productivity

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: , , , ,

If you’re like me, you find yourself doing many tedious tasks that often take a bit of time.  This could be creating some document on a computer, or soldering some cables together.  Either way, there comes a time where you find yourself looking at the clock and wondering why time has slowed down.  You’re losing interesting, and productivity has slowed down.

For me personally, I have found listening to specific music doesn’t exactly help me focused, but it helps the time pass faster, and I whine less about the work I have to do.  However, not just any music did it (nothing new to anyone, but just hear me out).  If there were lyrics, I would get distracted and sing.  So I found movie or videogame soundtracks worked the best.  Then I started playing a group of soundtracks, and my productivity increased, and my mental fatigue decreased.  I present to you, my soundtracks of choice: Back to the Future, Part I, II, and III.

Badpiper – The Fire Shooting Bagpiper

Posted: Sunday, June 30, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels:

If you have listened to my tracks “Not Your Grandmother’s Ireland” and “Not Your Grandfather’s Ireland”, then you should know that there is a spot in my musical heart for the sound of bagpipes and other Celtic sounds.  Now while I normally don’t talk about music on this blog, I recently came across a performer that is unique enough to be mentioned, and that is The Badpiper – “the world’s only flame-throwing, punk rock bagpiper.”

The Badpiper Playing ACDC’s Thunderstruck

I personally am not the biggest fan of punk rock.  However, as mentioned in my article How to make your Music Sound Different, I’m not opposed to listening to something new.  ACDC songs are an undeniable classic, so when I heard some guy with bagpipes would be performing “Thunderstruck”, it was worth giving it a listen, and I’m glad I did.

The Last of Us Audio Review

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: , , , , ,

It seems that anyone you ask gives a similar answer when you ask, “how is The Last of Us?”  Just about everyone says something along the lines of, “this is the best game I ever played.”  I love Uncharted, so when I heard about this game, I had it pre-ordered as soon as it became available.  The game was very good, but let’s talk about the audio shall we?  I mean after all, this is an audio blog, right?

Courtesy of Christian Gaming 

How to make your Music Sound Different

Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: , , ,

Have you ever had that moment where you become frustrated with yourself when you try to compose some music because you realize it always sounds the same?  There is a difference when “that’s so-and-so’s signature sound” becomes, “haven’t I heard that before?”  I have recently been running into that problem.  I’m going to share some of my tips that helped me get out of it.  These “tips” may be common sense to some, or not helpful to others.  However, I hope these may help someone!

Don’t turn into this; unless it makes you tons of money of course!

InfoComm13 Thoughts and Recap

Posted: Saturday, June 15, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: , , , , , , ,

Ever notice in the world of entertainment, the original is best, and the sequel is subpar?  Well, with this being my second visit to InfoComm (2011 being my first), this was no different.  I was shocked about how dissimilar this one was.  I was ready for an amazing event!  I even gave out some tips about how to get the most out of it in my previous InfoComm13 post.  I was let down.

InfoComm13 from above; it looked better then it was


Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: , , , , , ,

Courtesy of GPO US

There are conferences and conventions for everything these days.  If you are in the audio or show production industry, then InfoComm is the convention for you.  According to InfoComm’s website, “InfoComm International is the trade association representing the professional audiovisual and information communications industries worldwide.”  What that means: you get to see all the shiny new toys first!

This year, InfoComm13 is being held at the Orange County Convention Center June 8 through June 14, 2013 (with exhibits from June 12 to June 14, 2013).  I had previously attended InfoComm back in 2011 when it was last in Orlando, and it was an amazing event.  I only attend the exhibits, but that is still something worth seeing.

Logic VS Pro Tools: Who Do You Give Your Money To?

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: , , , ,

In the world of audio, there are quite a few digital audio workstations (DAWs) to choose from.  However, unless you are set on making phat beats with FL Studio, then you are aware that the two biggest players in the DAW world are Apple’s Logic Pro, and Avid’s Pro Tools.  With the onset of Pro Tools turning things up to eleven, and more unconfirmed rumors about Logic Pro 10, it’s only appropriate to visit the Ford VS Chevy battle of the audio world: Logic VS Pro Tools.

 Share this blog for cheesy blue explosive versus pictures!

Currently, Apple is on its long running Logic Pro 9.  Avid’s Pro Tools is currently on version 10, but is to be rolling out version 11 in the near future (Pro Tools 10 will be used for comparison unless stated otherwise).  Both are quite popular in the industry.  Which one is best?  This can seem like a loaded question, unfair, or inapplicable to some.  GearSlutz has a heated forum thread about this.  There are simply certain things that each does better than the other. 

Pro Tools Turns it up to 11 - Goodbye RTAS and TDM

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: , , , ,

If you are in the audio industry, you are one with Pro Tools.  That is just how it is.  If you have been keeping up with Pro Tools, then you are well aware that Avid is releasing the next installment in the Pro Tools line up: Pro Tools 11.

Courtesy of XLR8R

I always thought that Pro Tools 9 was a huge jump forward, but Avid took it even a step further after 10.  Dare I say: they turned up to eleven?  There are plenty of changes this time around.  Some I am looking forward to, some I am not.  Now I will say that since I am on a budget, the latest Pro Tools I have is PT9, and I like most things about it. 

Movie Audio: The Matrix (1999)

Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: , , ,

I was recently reading a forum thread in Gear Slutz about which movies have the best sound effects.  There were a few shared responses, and one of those was The Matrix (1999).  First off, let me say that this is one of my top favorite movies.  The concept, the graphics, the settings, and the sound were just stellar for the time, and even now.  Reading that people believed The Matrix had great audio gave me an excuse to watch it for about the hundredth time to do “research” for this blog.  Before I get into the audio, let me inform you readers that I DO NOT have surround sound.  The judgment of this audio is based off of my 2.1 system.

If you have seen the movie, you know everything action in the movie is digitally and electronically based (I don’t mean the way it was made, I mean the fact that the Matrix itself is a computer world.)  Also, everything action of the characters is based off of speed.  The audio reflects this very well!  There are TONS of whooshes and electrical sounds throughout the movie.  As you no doubt have guessed, I think Dane A. Davis did an amazing job as the sound designer for this movie.

Dude, Did You Hear That Data!?

Posted: Monday, March 4, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels:

Data: it’s everywhere.  From our finances, NASA satellite readings, customer purchases, and more.  We see this as numbers, statistics, spreadsheets, and long drawn out calculations that someone who spent too much on education should be doing because no one else can be bothered by it.  While this may be the case, people like Robert Alexander handle all of this a little differently.  This man takes raw data, and makes music from it.

Courtesy of YouTube Vice

Robert Alexander is a “Data Sonification Specialist”.  That is an awfully fancy term right?  Well it simply means that he takes any type of data and turns it into sound.  A basic example of this would be a heart rate monitor.  That “beep, beep, beep” sound that you hear is essentially the sonification of someone’s pulse.  This is very basic though.  Alexander takes this to the extreme.

Deal Making to the next Level

Posted: Saturday, February 9, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels:

Recently I was talking to a friend of mine named Darrell Seale, the Director of International Programs for Fixed Wing Sensor Programs at the private defense contractor Lockheed Martin.  Now what does this have to do with audio?  Well actually, absolutely nothing.  However, this man negotiates multimillion dollar deals for breakfast, and it got me to think, how does deal making like this compare to deal making and negotiation to someone in the entertainment industry?

Courtesy of The Dividend Pig

After Seale received his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Aerospace Engineering from Oregon State University, he did a lot of satellite imagery work, and was a program manager as an officer in the US Air Force.  After that, he was negotiating national and international deals for Lockheed Martin.

So what makes these negotiations different from that of someone in the audio field?  Well, Seale deals with defense products (high tech military weaponry) and someone in the audio field will be talking about who gets to record what.  Price is also different.  An extreme case in the audio world would be Jay-Z’s $150 million dollar record deal back in 2008, but it is not uncommon for Lockheed Martin to close a deal worth over three billion dollars.  Seale also informed me that these negotiations could go on for months at a time.

 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod: Some of what Seale Negotiates.  Courtesy of Lockheed Martin

The Turtle Beach Alternative

Posted: Monday, February 4, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: ,

It seems that if you don’t have a Turtle Beach headset, you are a loser and cannot call yourself a modern day console gamer.  Call me a loser then, because I don’t have any.  I have the alternative: a game chair.

When I first heard the name “Turtle Beach”, I thought it was an Xbox Live Arcade game or something.  After all: who would think that something with a name like that would go on your head?  Well I started using sound localization before it was cool.  Anyone remember the old X-Rocker game chair (about $145)?  I had one of the original ones from back in the day.  It’s so old, I only found one picture of it after searching for an hour.

Courtesy of Better Improvement

How's it Looking on How's it Sounding?

Posted: Saturday, February 2, 2013 by Dylan Benson in

It's easy to "see" what "How's It Sounding" is all about!  Bookmark us for more audio reviews, tech talk, and whatnot all about audio!

Create your own here!

Misophonia: A Serious Medical Condition

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels:

No one likes the sound of nails on a chalkboard right?  It makes you cringe, cover your ears, and ask why someone did that.  Now what if you feel even worse than that every day, but to an extensive amount of day to day sounds?  What if you become angry, get headaches, cry, or slam your head into the wall saying “make these sounds go away”?  While this may sound like a crazy person, it’s actually a disorder called misophonia.

Now, I am not a medical professional, so take this only as information and not medical advice.  Misophonia is literally, “the hatred of sound”.  And no, I did not make this up.  People with misophonia can become enraged by a simple auditory trigger.  These “triggers” are things we all hear in our day to day lives: texting, chewing, pen tapping, laughing, and the like.  When people with misophonia hear these triggers, they cannot help the feelings of anger, emotional distress, and/or anxiety they feel.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter Audio Review

Posted: Monday, January 7, 2013 by Dylan Benson in Labels: , , ,

Let me start off by saying that I have been a die-hard Medal of Honor fan since the first game hit the shelves for the PlayStation in 1999.  Then Rising Sun came along and things changed.  Let’s not get into that because I have still played and loved every game in some way.  There is no difference for Warfighter.  This is one of the most visually stunning and auditory pleasing games I have played in some time.

Courtesy of Just Push Start