Review – Studio Box Mark III by Bestservice.de
What can we do with a bunch of Foley effects? Actually, plenty of things. When inspiration doesn’t strike, just use our recipe that can spice many a desolate musical moment.
by A. Arsov, March. 2015
Strange, why should we cover a box of sound effects full of surrounding and ambient sounds? This package is aimed mostly at productions of film, advertising and games and we are not exactly that sort of magazine since we are mostly oriented to pure music production.
OK, let’s make a few things clearer. No, Bestservice didn’t offer me this one; I asked for it. Why? Actually, I must tell you my little secret. In the last ten or maybe even more years, whenever I run out of inspiration, not for a basic part of a song, but just for a part where phrases sound too repetitive – and it always happens that there will be some part that you really don’t how to make a bit more interesting – then, yes, there come the effects. Not musical effects since I will have already filled other gaps with them, but those of nature, ambiance, crowds and other sorts of human or industrial audio . I’m talking about all other sorts of familiar sounds that can push things a bit further without banging your head with additional melody. Even if they are almost so quiet in a mix that you are not sure what’s really going on, at the same time they can add something familiar that will be ringing in your ear.
My second sweet little secret is that whenever I make any music for advertising or movies, I always add some Foley effects synced with the picture along with the music. No matter that final effects will come later at the end of the production process, and that my job is strictly to provide just music. I always use this trick to sell the track. When the client hears the music along with some real life effects that support the picture, they automatically think that music is really in line with a story.
After they have bought the music, I send it without any effects to the Foley-studio, as they are experts in that field and they can make that sort of thing work much, much better.
One way or another, this little trick has helped me to sell many tracks. So, Long live Studio Box Mark III, summer is coming and I definitively intend to add some seaside, human, nature or even industry sounds to my upcoming songs.
We’re talking about almost 30 GB of well-organized everything, and not only well-organized but also sounding first rate. Yes, I know there is a huge quantity of free effects available for download to be found on some specialized site, but the quality is not assured. I’ve tried some of those free effects and even a deaf person can hear the difference between what’s there and what should be there. After all, you pay for top microphones, stereo recording, years of experience, clarity etc., etc., the end result is just the tip of the iceberg. The problem with those free Foley effect is that you can’t nail them in a mix since they can hum and contain low level additional dirt that is revealed when you try to equalize or compress them.
All effects are arranged into the main categories: Cinema + Game, Human, Nature and Technical.
In the first one, Cinema + Game, we can find a large number of effects that you can simply throw into your music production, since they are tamed and fine-tuned for just that particular purpose. Then there is a mountain of artificial, unnatural effects, similar to those that you can find on some synths. The main difference is that they are sorted by logical names, like Dangerous, Distorted, Dark and the like, so it is much easier to find what are you looking for. We must also mention the collection of exotic Foley effects, like various alarms, guitar feedback, sword fighting, and metallic sounds along with all sort of impacts, sweeps, blasts and even carton voices. It is a pristine, well-organized madness, a bit different than those that you’re likely to find it in your own sound trumpery.
The next category is Human. Amongst all the footsteps, snoozes and hiccups there is also a load of specific sounds of people in different situations and ambiances. So, if you wish to involve the sounds from a police station in your song, you will find it here. The same is true for sounds from a boat, casino or even from various sport events. Laughing, crying or just pure mystical human sounds are also there. Actually, there are plenty of such sounds that I use almost in all of my music, especially in a last beat a before break or in a quiet parts. Those human noises can really humanize any instrumental song without adding any real vocal line.
For all nature lovers there is also the Nature category which includes fire cracks, water falls, splashes and all sorts of animals and natural ambiances. I know that you can recreate wind with filtered noise on many synthesizers, but this one offers so much more variation that it is almost impossible to recreate it with any digital contrivance. There is plenty of first-rate material for all musical quiet parts. Various water and wind sounds along with some crickets are some of my favorites.
The last directory is a technical one. Cars and airplanes can be a perfect substitute for various risers and falls. While other office, submarine, machine and varieties of engine and industry noises can be a good solution for spicing a drum loop or for enlivening various melodic phrases, adding unexpected sound at the end. Use a word like “travel” in your song and sound of a train can bring a whole universe of the memories by adding some personal associations to the listener.
All in All
Actually there are so many subcategories in each category that it could take forever to name them all. There are 10,000 effects in this collection; this should be more than enough to cover all your lifetime musical and cinematic, game or similar video editing needs. After all, a good clip of recorded thunder can be better than some other artificial impact. It is a well-rounded collection that can cover all your Foley-effects need for many years to come. It is suitable for all sorts of other purposes, but it is so sweet to abuse things by using them in an unexpected context. And, of course, if you ever start to mess with video (and as a musician, you probably will do so sooner or later), this big collection will definitively be your best friend.
I don’t know if you realize this, but in a movie you never ever hear the actual sound. Almost all dialog is rerecorded in studio. Close your eyes during the movie and you will hear the well-known color of a studio recording. In case of ambient, even if the original sound is OK, there is always some doubling, adding extra color or impact. So good sound will take you a long way toward good video.
And what if you are a video-game professional? Then I can say to you only this – do you remember Series 1000 and the later 6000? This one is on the same level, but significantly cheaper. So, the final decision is yours.
The package weighs in at almost 30 GB and includes 10,000 Foley effects for € 299.25 EUR or $ 299.25 USD.
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