Taking Production to the Next Level With Hollywood Edge

No true sound designer worth his or her salt would even consider passing up a chance to put an ear to the latest cool sounds to come out of The Hollywood Edge. So, when the opportunity to do so was presented to me by Radio World, I could not resist.
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No true sound designer worth his or her salt would even consider passing up a chance to put an ear to the latest cool sounds to come out of The Hollywood Edge. So, when the opportunity to do so was presented to me by Radio World, I could not resist.
Product CapsuleThumbs Up

Sheer size and scope of the areas covered by each library

Quality of sound ... no fake, tinny, eq'd effects

Easy to find; well indexed

Affordable

Thumbs Down

Some effects created with the visual medium in mind do not translate well for radio use

Many mix outs have similar sounds

Prices: $199 to $495; see article

Contact: The Hollywood Edge in California at (800) 292-3755 or visit www.hollywoodedge.com
I was able to choose as many libraries from The Hollywood Edge as I liked; truly this would be the ultimate test drive.

I chose Lon Bender's "Wacky World of Robots, Widgets & Gizmos" ($199), "Extreme Drones" ($349), "Eerie Edition" ($299), "Busted and Most Wanted" ($249) "Sports with Balls" ($495) and "High Tech and Top Secret" ($395).

I tried to choose libraries I thought would be the most radio-friendly and useful to the average radio producer.

Overall, I was impressed with what I heard, but there were a few effects that seemed better suited for TV or film sound design than that of radio. That figures; The Hollywood Edge is a division of SoundDeluxe, the folks who create many of the sounds you hear on TV and the movies.

Radio needs differ

In fact, most of the effects that make up The Hollywood Edge libraries come directly from movies or shows that you may have seen.

When it comes to radio production however, sometimes the effect you need is not the effect that sounds true-to-life, but rather one that your mind perceives as real. That is where a few elements in these libraries fall short. Still, you cannot beat the quality and depth of a Hollywood Edge library.

Lon Bender's "Wacky World of Robots, Widgets & Gizmos," a two-CD set of all kinds of mechanized sounds, is a must in any studio. The first of the two CDs features impacts, weapons and machines, including much-used metal blade chings, and a few good pneumatic sounds.

Also included are cartoony gadgets, a la Jetsons-like splats, robot movements and things working. Unique sounds include musical machines doing everything from jingle bells to metal drums. You can set a nice ambience with lab backgrounds and other atmospheres.

The second CD features beeps galore. There are high-tech buzzes, warnings and electrical effects. There are moving robotic sounds -- even robot voices laughing -- which would work well in a radio spot.

If radio imaging is your thing, you should check out "Extreme Drones." This three-CD set is the perfect set of discs to establish a mood. The effects are not the typical zings, zaps and music beds that one finds in a radio-imaging library, but they complement any of those types of libraries well.

"Extreme Drones" would work well with video. It features odd-length cuts ranging from 56 seconds to 3 minutes, 39 seconds. Name a mood ... scary, airy, tense, light, caves, soft textures, bell tones, winds, angelic sounds or alien and it is likely to be in this set. Again, while not a stand-alone solution for imaging, it does complement what you may already have.

Halloween

Be honest. What radio producer does not totally love producing scary, Halloween spots? If that describes you, then you are probably tired of cheesy horror effects and beds. Your producer need is fed with "Eerie Edition."

This is a three-CD set with the first disc featuring Human/Animal effects. Specifically, the sounds include breathing, groaning, pain, pleasure, monster, demonic, scary seagulls and growls. On the second disc you will hear Ambiences/Elements. These sounds are great stage setters, and include heartbeats, winds, dry ice, thunder, metallic sounds, running in leaves ... great stuff for autumn-type spots.

The third CD contains a unique set of self-described Musical Hits & Hells. This is where music meets horror. Need a Halloween spot done in a hurry? This is the disc you want in your studio.

Another useful three-CD set from The Hollywood Edge is "Busted and Most Wanted." If it is broken, this fixes it. If you have holes in your existing effects libraries, this fills them. Track through aircraft flybys, alarms, backgrounds (such as air conditioners running, room ambience, cheerleaders, clocks (a la the opening scene of "Back to The Future"), computers, doors and electrical sounds like a guitar plugging into an amp. There are machines, pinball machines, a bath fan and a Coke machine. Plus, as the name implies, broken machines.

Spinning your wheels

Check out cool sounds like a drill straining, a hair dryer dying, wind downs, servos, a vacuum cleaner dying and doors rattling. There are trains, vehicles that are busted featuring starts/no starts, dies, flat tires and even tires spinning in the snow. How many times have you wanted that one?

If you are looking for libraries that go deep into their themed sound-design, then The Hollywood Edge box sets are worth a close look. I love "Sports With Balls." This six-CD box set has it all: football, baseball, hockey, basketball, football crowds and baseball crowds - realistic and usable. Are you imaging a sports station? If so, you need this library.

The final library I checked out was "High Tech and Top Secret," a five-CD box. The set is a cool combination of useful sounds, such as robots, data streams, communications, hospital sounds, tools, buzzes, alarms, static, walkie talkies and more. Spend a few hours with this library to really make your head spin.

I have always been a fan of The Hollywood Edge. Its sound on the radio jumps off the dial and helps to make "theater of the mind" a reality. Hopefully your production budget will allow for a couple of these libraries this year.

Your clients will certainly appreciate the quality that you can offer them for a little bit of money.

You can hear library demos at http://thehollywoodedge.com.

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