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Ideal Equipment for Sound FX

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Hiya guys! I'm new to the "audio" side of game development and was wondering what equipment was best for recording your own sound effects. By "equipment" I mean tools, hardware, software, etc. As always all replies are greatly appreciated and have a wonderful day.

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You'd need a decent mic. You'd also need to know if you want a portable set up or an in-studio set up. You'd also need a good pre-amp depending on what kind(s) of source as well as the type of mic you're going to be recording with. 

Larger studios do something called "foley" pits where they have these pits filled with various materials and they record sounds to picture with that. You'd need a good audio card that can record at decent sample rates. Especially when talking about sound design. The higher the sampling rate, the more you can process the sound without getting artifacts. 

Software-wise there are free DAWs out there but sometimes the included plugins are very limited. I think it would be better to know what kinds of funds you have to work with when building up your studio. If you're wanting to spend as little as possible? Or do you have some money set aside for this? 

It also depends on your recording space. How noisy is it? Are you going to have to clean up the sounds in the background if you're not in a treated space? All of this is very doable, I don't mean to overwhelm you but those are some of the questions you're going to need to answer as your build up your studio. 



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18 hours ago, nsmadsen said:

I don't mean to overwhelm you but those are some of the questions you're going to need to answer as your build up your studio. 

It isn't overwhelming! These are the questions I need to be asked. My budget is pretty minimal, possibly with the $1,000-$2,000 range. I know that there are many sound FX assets available in the Unity store but I don't want to be an asset flipper. I basically want some basic, albeit unique, sound FX. (Punching, running, jumping, etc.) I also have ever heard of a folley pit. I'll do some research on them. :)

My office space itself isn't that soundproof, but I have access to such facilities. 

You also mentioned some DAW's. The DAW doesn't necessarily have to be free, I'm just looking for a decent DAW for the price. 

I also no basically nothing about audio cards and mics so are there any that you can personally recommend that fit within my budget?

I appreciate the help!


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For a mic, I asked the question earlier on this forum and got shit for relevant answers. Someone mentioned a Zoom H4 which is $200. That makes perfect sense for field recording, but no sense for foley work, since you're DAW is sitting right there on the Foley stage, and I don't see how you could possibly get a $200 mic to give you anything good. Everyone else answered without reading the damn question. But other places, I've heard the Sennheiser MKH series is pretty common for foley. So far, I've used an SM81 and AKGC414 for recording sounds, and they've worked, though I'm sure there's better stuff out there. That was just what was available in my mic locker. If you're total budget is only $1000-$2000 (assuming you already have a computer), I might consider an Rode NT4.


They're just under $500, but your mic important. I'd advise buying it from Guitar Center or somewhere you can return it for two reasons 1) ...incase you try it and think it's shit. 2)...incase you try it and can't tell the difference between the NT4 and a $30 behringer mic.

Keep in mind you'll have to spend time at first playing with the placement of the mic. Foley guys spend a lot of work making stuff sound like stuff that it's not.

As far as DAWs, I use all the major software out there. At a base level, it doesn't really matter. Reaper, Logic, and Studio One are all acceptable choices. Pro Tools if you're a student because a student copy is $9/month. Reaper does a LOT of stuff for $70, but its learning curve is arguably a little tougher than Studio One. If you're starting from square 1, you may need to dedicate some time to learning how to use these things.

Audio cards...I highly recommend one of these if you're just starting out. https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Scarlet2i4G2?gclid=CjwKCAiAxarQBRAmEiwA6YcGKDQUuzFIRWBVZAjLMsH0UJTBW9ZgeKdgihV1lfmWu7M47zKOHu_roRoCr9UQAvD_BwE

Here's what it looks like...



With this, you don't need a dedicated card. This acts as your card. Just plug it to your USB port, and it sends all the audio in and out of your system. So your mics go into the front, and your speakers hook up to the back. Its pretty idiot proof. There is a one channel version of this, but BUY THE TWO CHANNEL VERSION. You want 2 inputs for recording sound effects, because it gives you the option to run stereo. The Rode NT4 mic I mentioned earlier is stereo.

Last, you need monitors. DO NOT try to do this with headphones. DO NOT try to do this with hi-fi stereo speakers, and DO NOT try to do this with Logitec computer gaming speakers. There is a specific speaker called a studio monitor and you MUST have a pair. This is non-negotiable. A dirt cheap pair of shit monitors is better than an expensive pair of headphones, because they are the correct tool for this particular job. You can start with these if you just wanna get your feet wet...Here's the dirt bottom, but they're sufficient for getting you started in my opinion.




Some other options are Yamaha HS8's, JBL LSR, KRK Rokit...you're in the $400-$600 pr pair range with those (I think). These are not high end pro speakers, but they'll get you going.

You don't have the budget to acoustically treat a room. You're not even remotely close. For now, just throw all kinds of random shit in the room, and try to get it dead. That means minimize any echoyness or sound you hear bouncing around off the walls. Carpet is helpful. If not, then rugs. There's absolutely nothing you can do for $2000 to really get your sound under control. If you can stuff boxes, bags of clothes, a mattress...whatever...stacks of books...along the shelves, that stuff will all help dampen the room. 

If you go bare minimum of acceptable, usable, and functional, here's where you're at:

Speakers $200. Mic $450. Daw $100/yr. Interface $150. Cables and stands...maybe $100. Foley pit itself...Hmmm....I maybe $200? Hell dude...I'd go dumpster diving or talk to junkyards and thrift shops to collect props.

The last thing you'll need is plugins. Incase you don't know, this is sound processing software that lives inside your DAW. It expands and enhances your ability to warp, mangle, and re-shape sound. You really have to be intentional about what you're getting. I almost think it'd be better to wait and see what you do with the hardware, then I would advise you to check back in a couple weeks or a month to re-evaluate what exactly you limitations are. Audio plugins will chew through a sound designers budget faster than anything else you can buy. Probably best to wait and see what you can or can't do with the Pro Tools plugins first.

Check back anytime...would love to see what you come up with.




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On 11/12/2017 at 11:13 PM, Novadude987 said:

I'm new to the "audio" side of game development

Nova, which side of game development are you fluent with? I would possibly be willing to trade off some audio training in exchange for some training help with scripting (in C#) if you're up for it.

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Sadly I'm not the best with C# although I am practicing it (along with 2d/3d artwork) as much as I can. It wouldn't be a very fair trade-off lol. I'm fluent with video game writing and design. Storyboard, script, character bios, etc. I've been doing videogame writing/design for... 3 years I think. C# I've been doing for 2-3 months. I really appreciate the offer though!

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