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Sampling the Ambience

Brian Collins

A collection of ambient soundscapes and instruments using field recordings and found samples for Sound Design

 The aim of this final year project was to sample the ambience of nature, environment, and industrial themes through the practice of field recording using them to create sound design products. The research presents a brief history of field recording from the early ethnographic period to the digital era today. The study provides a background into the origins and concepts of soundscape studies, key issues and technical processes employed by artists involved with field recording before detailing existing sample based sound design products. The study outlines the field recording process along with the technology used in the project, presenting the audio production techniques required to transform the samples including granular synthesis and time stretching aesthetics.  

The study presents a discography of key sound artists who have provided the motivation for the project. A collection of five soundscape compositions and a sound design product of fifteen Kontakt Player instruments called MODULATIONS was created. Field recordings that responded best to granular, stretching, delay, EQ, and pitching transformations were chosen to create new sound textures and atmospheres. These sounds were included and modulated further to build digital instruments that contain a custom graphical interface, controls, and wallpapers made using Kontakt’s scripting code. The instruments are fully playable with MIDI on Kontakt Player, a free software widely available. The study concludes by presenting which areas of the project were successful, the scope for improvement, the challenges involved in sampling the ambience, and future technology changing the sound design industry.  

Keywords: Sound Design, Field Recording, Compositions, Audio Production, Digital Instruments 

Email: Briancollinswork@gmail.com 

Webpage: https://brianmichaelcollins.wordpress.com/ 

Date Published

Monday, September 6, 2021