Posts Tagged 'samples'

ccMixter

Just stumbled upon another database of audio files under Creative Common Licenses: ccMixter. Amazing! It collects finished remixes on one hand and material to remix on the other. Instrumental tracks, drum loops, voices and the like. They can be searched by tags or filtered by BPM. A “How I did it” tab in the extras section some artists describe what tools, processes and/or samples they used.

Happy mixing! Just make sure to follow the licenses attached to the works.

using audacity

Audacity is a free program, no need to give your email to anyone. Better download directly from its home on sourceforge!

It’s a well known program with GPLicense for recording and editing sounds. There is plenty of links on the internet on how to use it. However, it always takes some time to find the answer to special questions so I will document here on my experiences.

basic recording

I run Audacity using jack. To hear my source (e.g. MiniDisc) although I’m not running anything else I connect system-in and system-out directly. I switch  to Audacity and use a new empty project. When the record button is pressed (or key “r”) Audacity automatically sets up two jack audio input channels and reads system-in. The level meter goes with the flow and blue lines on the meter mark the highest peak of  the recording. One easily sees if the signal level was too high.

Then most probably one wants to save the recording. New name and so on…

editing

… saved. From now on, when I change my project, I can save it under the given name with CTRL+S. Nothing unusual so far. Funnily one can provoke  a rather strange “error” here, which confused me for quite a while. Sometimes it says: “Disallowed for some reason.  Try selecting some Audio first?” You maybe think about it and press OK, then you think you’d better save it again and the same message comes up. What it actually wants to say is: “There were no changes made to save. So I cannot do what you asked me for”. One can see, that the save entry in the file menu is disabled!

Saving a project leaves a file called project.aup and a directory with the name project_data.

listening

SPACE starts playback always at the marker (fine black line, NOT where the cursor is) and SPACE stops it again. A new playback will start at the marker and not where you stopped it. The marker can be set by clicking with the selection tool (F1) into the sample. When you mark a region by dragging the mouse-click along the sample, playback stops at the left end. SHIFT+SPACE will start looping playback on the selected region. The marker can be moved a little with the LEFT and RIGHT keys, it jumps to the beginning with HOME and to the END.

audacity selection tool

Audacity: The selection tool is for marking ranges or moving the marker line. The blue lines in the audio level meter show the highest peaks during the last playback.

Sound Transit – a different kind of sound database

A few months ago I already posted links to some sound databases on the internet. This time I want to present you another place which has – apart from the recordings –  a very nice feature to explore them. But one after the other.

soundtransit.nl

Rather than just sounds of opening doors or dogs making love, soundtransit.nl collects field recordings from around the world “with an emphasis on the unintentional sounds which often go unnoticed in our daily lives”. The user is invited to upload their files and one can search and download everything under a Creative Commons-license.

What makes this site special in my opinion is the part where you can book sound transits: Since the recordings are filed with the place where they were taken you can enter two locations and a number of stops in between. As a result a mix of  corresponding sounds is generated and can be heard or downloaded. One example I like very much is a journey from Berlin (Germany) to Palma de Mallorca (Spain), via Egypt, India and Albania.

sound databases

Well, before going on to the promised topics I’ll tell you something else. When you are looking for samples, sound bites, weird noises or any other piece of sonic experience you might go out and record at your will. But you might not have recording equipment or there is no chance for you to find a suitable source. Then you will probably search the internet for help. There are a few resources where one can find samples for free but to me the most intriguing is freesound.org.

the freesound project
At freesound.org one finds a growing number of Creative Commons-licensed samples. Anybody can listen to them, downloading is only possible after registration. This, however, is free of charge and easily done in an instant. You need a valid e-mail adress to do so.
The sounds are documented by the uploading user and furthermore tagged with single words. The site has a section with geo-tagged sounds to find the sound of a Waikiki thunderbolt or of a Greenland river.

not-so-free sound projects
Apart from above database, there are many more resources, but it is not always clear if the material is free to use or not. So it will be up to you to find it out. There is a sound search engine which will find a lot of links to sounds throughout the internet but you cannot be sure about the license. One would have to ask the provider of the samples concerned.

probably-copyrighted sound project
A different kind of resource is the wav planet where you find lots of quotes from movies and TV shows. This service is probably not legal in many countries of the world, so check with your lawyer or with your government.