Post production sound engineer and studio co-owner, Ed Walker can’t stress this enough. “It’s difficult to explain, the Audient doesn’t sound clinical. It’s a high-end mic pre which sounds really musical somehow, whilst being incredibly accurate. That’s what I get when I use Audient.”
Sounding Sweet has recently been shortlisted for a Develop Award in the category of ‘Creative Outsourcer – Audio’ for their contribution to racing game Forza Horizon 2 for Xbox One, which was released late last year.
Something of a specialist in the genre, with GRID, DiRT and F1 also on his CV, it’s not unusual to find Walker out on runways recording the sound of high-end super cars. “It’s only in recent years that we have had the ability to play back truly cinematic high fidelity sound in games, the future of game audio is incredibly exciting.” explains Walker.
“Things are changing so fast. There is very little compression, we’re running hundreds and hundreds of channels in real time, and it needs to sound as good as a film. Yes, we draw from the creative and technological advances in TV and film, but we’re also doing really very ground-breaking and exciting things with games.”
There are a few things he’s working on right now that are so new, he can’t talk about them. “Suffice to say, all audio that comes through my speakers has been through Audient.” he laughs, indicating the Audient master section monitor controller, Centro that he uses along with the new ASP880.
“I don’t do that much music,” he adds. “Most of my work is audio post production for Computer Games, Film and TV – including ads. I tend to use the Audient mic pres for ADR and Foley. The AS880s are perfect for this type of recording as the signal often needs to be really clean.” Sounding Sweet boasts a 7.1 surround sound dubbing suite with two big voiceover booths, which double as Foley studios and music recording spaces when necessary.
Walker has used the Audient mic pres to record various actors for the RSC’s recent CD and BluRay releases, and in addition to this, the studios’ film and television credits include: Postman Pat: The Movie, American Dad and Family Guy, as well as the #epic Money SuperMarket ads featuring Patrick Stewart on voiceover.
Sounding Sweet’s location is great for work; the studios are just five minutes away from the Royal Shakespeare Company, so as well as high profile actors such as Patrick Stewart and David Tennant, RSC directors have also been in the voiceover booth, commentating on their BluRay DVD releases. “They can come here and work at an industry standard level without having to head all the way down to London,” explains Walker.
Despite all the secrecy surrounding new games developments, he can disclose what he would tell a young Ed Walker just starting out in the business: “Don’t cut corners when it comes to gear and your production values. I strongly believe in getting the best possible signal chain. If you’ve got somebody important in the v/o booth, or you’re trying to capture some Foley to picture, or record a guitarist for a band, you get ONE shot at it. Use the wrong mic, the wrong mic pre or if there’s a problem anywhere in the signal chain, then you’ve lost that opportunity.
“I’ve dabbled with various bits of equipment in the past, and I shouldn’t have messed about. Go for the jugular: get a couple of Neumanns and do the right thing from the start.”