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Digital Juice Sound FX Library ReviewVersatile, high-definition SFX from Digital Juice
Digital Juice, well-known for their video animation and other stock products, have made a logical and impressive foray into the audio world with the release of their new Sound FX Library. This jam-packed 10-DVD set brings 10,000+ sound effects to your desktop. What's more, the library's native format takes advantage of high-definition 24-bit/96kHz audio specs for impressive quality and clarity unsurpassed by other offerings.
The package ships with about 10,000 sounds divided into four categories: General, Human, Musical, and Noise. As expected, some sounds are short snippets, such as animals, door closes, weapons, and sci-fi tracks. Many, however, are longer, more involved, and robust examples such as the dozens of background ambiences ranging from auto shop to World War II. Many of these also included variations of placement, distance, and density for really layering and building convincing environments, including matching camera perspectives.
I found myself listening to all the previews and being inspired by nearly everything I auditioned. New sounds often spark my creativity, so having such a huge and diverse array just a few mouse clicks away will continue to feed my muse for a long time.
The General category is filled with your bread and butter sound effects. For an upcoming NAB presentation, I grabbed plenty of footsteps, backgrounds, props, explosions, and a great collection of weather elements from which to choose. I was a little short on thunder sounds, so this library immediately filled a pressing need.
There's a terrific complement of sounds here, all meticulously recorded and edited. The quality is stunning, so much so I had to "grunge-up" some of the material to fit in better with other soundtrack elements. There's enough raw material here to fill probably around 80% of your effects needs, and with a little fudging and creativity, possibly even more than that.
In the Human section there are dozens of words and phrases, in male and female voice, that you can presumably stitch together to build convincing announcer spots for telephone systems, radio, TV, and the Web. While you won't be putting any voice-over actors out of business any time soon, these phrases will be handy for some low budget projects or even when building convincing walla tracks. For a recent project, I started with a general ambience and then sweetened it with announcer snippets mixed to sound like PA announcements at a busy mall. Some of these tracks have been manipulated already to sound like telephone and walkie-talkie communications.
The musical category forgoes the full-blown song approach and instead takes a novel spin by offering short bits with several thematic variations. These musical phrases come in a variety of styles -- acoustic, comedy, rock, urban, etc. -- and function quite nicely as audio logos and bumpers when used between video segments or when going to/coming from commercials. The variations range from subtle to dramatic depending on the style. Digital Juice also throws some individual instrument lines, such as flutes, piano, percussion, and so forth, that can be used to add some customized features to the music. I imported a few of these lines into Sony Acid 6 and built some new music compositions, too. The musical textures group provides additional understated musical stabs arranged by emotion, such as happy, sad, and suspense.
The Noise category has a lots of swooshes, crumps, fizzles, and other abstract sound elements that complement flying titles, graphics emphasis, Flash buttons, video wipes, and so forth. You'll be "Fox-izing" your videos quickly as you match the right sound to your visuals.
Of particular note are the handy "Evolvers" sequences that build a complete effects bed in one file. Drop one on your NLE timeline and edit your video to match the sound instead of the other way around. This saves a lot of time and results in a stronger match between screen and sound.
Digital Juice also released an update to their processing software. The Juicer 3 has a slick new design and makes previewing and processing all the sound files a snap. You can install MP3 previews of all the files to your hard drive, making auditioning sound effects fast and easy. The install is about 1.5 GBs, so if space is at a premium, you can preview direct from the first, index DVD.
Like its predecessor, Juicer 3 let's you drag files to a batch list for further processing which includes exporting the files in different formats and varying sample rates and bit depths. Once you have what you need in the batch, the Juicer 3 takes over, calling for discs as needed, and preparing the files per your specifications. It's not a wholly unattended process, but painless.
You can also preview from within your NLE/DAW by putting in the index DVD and navigating through the folders where the MP3 previews are stored. I use both Sony Acid 6 and Vegas 6 for audio-post, so it's easier to find what I need and test it against other mix elements direct from the Explorer in either of those two programs. Once you find what you like and add it right to your timeline. Later you can hunt down the high-quality versions on the other DVDs and swap out the media.
Since I prefer using the native 24-bit/96k files anyway, I find no need to process through the Juicer 3. It does mean I have to write down some files names, and hunt through the DVDs a little, so the time savings is probably minimal. Kudos to Digital Juice for including the file names in the Juicer 3 interface. Ultimately, I plan to move all the DVD content to an external hard drive for instant access and bypass the previews/Juicer 3 entirely.
If you're serious about the audio side of your projects, you already know the power of sound and how it can influence your audience. Having a wide-ranging sound effects library at your disposal will make your job so much easier. The Digital Juice Sound FX library deserves a listen. (SFX: Applause!)
Contact Digital Juice, www.digitaljuice.com
Digital Juice Sound FX, $599
Jeffrey P. Fisher provides audio, video, and music production and post-production services. He also co-hosts forums on Acid, Sound Forge, and Vegas on Digital Media Net (www.dmnforums.com). For more information visit his Web site at www.jeffreypfisher.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeffrey P. Fisher is a Sony Vegas Certified Trainer and he co-hosts the Sony Acid, Sony Sound Forge, and Sony Vegas forums on Digital Media Net (www.dmnforums.com). For more information visit his Web site at www.jeffreypfisher.com or contact him at email@example.com.
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