HISS and a ROAR site launch!

Hiss launch

Wahoo – finally my new HISS and a ROAR site is live!

UPDATE: Gianpaolo has just posted an interview he did with me re HISSandaROAR, check it out at SoundDesign.info

UPDATE: and a great article at DesigningSound

I created the project because I felt the way sound effects are sold online doesn’t actually encourage sound editors to do their best work. As a sound designer I have no use for over-designed sound libraries; I want the raw elements, not someone else’s idea of the end result. And I don’t want to pay $5 for one sound effect, because one sound effect is never enough – I need a variety of sounds and performances so I can create my own composite sounds that suit the project I am working on. And while there are also many free sound effects available online, the issue is that they are hugely variable in quality & the copyright can be vague or inappropriate for professional work.

I’ll paste the ABOUT info from the site, but its much nicer to read in context here

HISS grassy

HISS and a ROAR release royalty-free sound effects & sound design libraries created by film sound designer Tim Prebble and while there is nothing new about the idea of selling sound effects online, these libraries take a different philosophical approach, which we believe is fundamental to the art of sound effects editing. We believe the four most important assets for a sound editor or sound designer are: an open mind, sharp ears, experience and a personal sound library. But what about ProTools? Plugins? A recording kit? The truth is that anyone can buy these things, and if they were lost in a catastrophic disaster then pending the insurance claim you would simply go & replace them. They are valuable and important but not irreplaceable.

The first three assets are about creative development and I offer what help I can via my blog, but being an artist is a never ending evolutionary process; the day I stop learning is the day I stop breathing. But it is the creative role of the sound library that I would like to stop and consider.

As a sound designer I well know the creative value of my sound library and while the ideal is to always record a totally new pallet of sounds for every film, sometimes schedules and budgets can make this difficult. So how do we resolve this compromise? Resort to a commercial sound library?

As I see it there are two important issues with regards to sound libraries, the first is variety. When I record a sound eg a door creak, I don’t record one version of it – I aim to record a definitive collection of performances. Later back in the studio, as a sound editor I audition the various performances and select and manipulate the takes that I feel best suit the intended use. I need that variety of performances because until I am editing it in context it is impossible to know exactly what will work the best – it’s about feel and instinct. But its also about finding the best sound – now and in the future….

The second issue is about memory. By finding and recording that sound myself I will never forget what it looked like, felt like and the acoustic space it existed in. But if you aren’t recording the sounds yourself then the most crucial aspect is knowing your library ie memorable sounds.

So the libraries I release aim to affordably solve both of these issues:

1. The libraries are not over-designed generic composites: as a sound designer I want the raw elements, not someone elses idea of the end result. So I aim to provide a huge range of source material to help you do your best work by editing, manipulating & layering individual elements to achieve a unique solution.

2. The libraries are context based. They are not a random collection of sounds, they are specifically targeted at particular circumstances that I have had experience with on many features films. And as you become familiar with the contents of each library it will feel as though you were there at the recording session too.

Context is everything: I noticed during my 20 years of working in the film industry that there are certain sounds in my library which have become incredibly handy due to recurring demands and my library recording priorities are driven by this knowledge. The first sound library is a good example of this; Vegetable Violence is actually the fifth time I have recorded such a collection. And it’s no coincidence that each of the previous sessions occurred during my work on a horror film; first in 2003 with The Locals then in 2005 for Boogieman, then in 2006 for Black Sheep and again in 2007 for 30 Days of Night. Each time we captured different performances and props because each film has unique requirements; a mutant sheep bite is different to a vampire bite after all… And it obviously isn’t just horror films that contain violence, I had to break a finger in Stickmen in 2000 and there were a multitude of samurai sword deaths in The Warrior’s Way 2009. But with this new library I aimed to record the definitive high resolution library, employing all the knowledge of what was actually useful from those recording sessions while making these films.


While all the recording, editing and mastering of each sound library is done at 24bit 96kHz, we offer four levels of delivery, targeted at the potential use for the sounds:

1. MAX LIBRARY is a definitive library provided at 24bit 96kHz for sound editors and designers who need the extended resolution for manipulation and processing and who also require a large range of performances with each prop.

2. MID LIBRARY is provided at 24bit 48kHz and contains the same number of props as the Pro Library, but with approximately half as many performances.

3. LITE LIBRARY is provided at CD quality 16bit 44.1kHz contains the same number of props as the Pro Library, but with five performances with each prop.

4. FREE LIBRARY is provided at CD quality 16bit 44.1kHz and contains the same number of props as the Pro Library but with just a single performance with each. This library is perfect for low/no budget projects and youtube videos, student films, music projects etc… This version is also a means of auditioning the sounds in context at a decent resolution before deciding whether to purchase a full library.

VV content

All libraries are provided as a collection of stereo .WAV files, carefully labelled & tagged with Metadata compatible with the ProTools workspace, SoundMiner, Basehead, Snapper and AudioFinder sound library software.

Apart from the .WAV files I also include a ProTools (Mac) session with all files laid consecutively on a single stereo track. Why? Well the fastest way to import the entire library into a session you are working in, is to import the stereo track from this session. And in fact this is a technique I use a lot, as compared with accessing files from the Region list or the workspace browser, using a library track allows you to reorder files, drop markers & comment on favorites & even rename sub-regions within the track for further reference.

Another note: any files I provide that are a series of variations on a sound (eg a celery crunch) are spaced 1-2 seconds apart. Why? It provides an efficient means of trying alternate takes of a sound: sync the first sound to an onscreen action and trim it to length. By then putting the nudge amount to 1 second and using the Control and numeric keypad plus and minus, you can quickly step through all the variations in the file without having to resync. Heres a quick example of what I mean:

I very much appreciate feedback so as you use the library please let me know any problems and/or ideas you might have to improve it. I’d also love to start a log of projects that each library has been used on, so let me know what you are using the sounds on.

I have another eight libraries in various states of development, but if you have an idea for a library I would be very happy to reward you if it is a unique idea and one that I haven’t already thought of….

Also note – if you have bought the MID Library and wish to upgrade to PRO, I’m happy to charge you only for the difference – drop me a line and I’ll sort it out for you…


19 Responses to HISS and a ROAR site launch!

  1. Carl says:

    That’s awesome, Tim. Great idea.

    I know what you mean — Most bought libraries or effects are mixed and mastered as though they are performances in their own right rather than components for subsequent use. I always laugh when I listen to a commercial atmos track that someone has gone to the trouble of creating a 10-second fade-out for, as though it’s ever going to be used like that!

    Good luck with the enterprise.

  2. Enos says:

    Congrats Tim! Good to finally see the site live and I’m liking your ideas/policies behind Hiss and a Roar!

  3. klif says:


    I really like the idea of getting well recorded, raw sounds in great variety, than already mixed fx.



  4. Mark says:

    Wow, awesome site man. Great idea

  5. insomniacNZ says:

    Nice sounds, love the standard spacing idea. And just in time for 48 hours this weekend 🙂

  6. Dan says:

    Hey Tim, have followed your blog for a long time so thanks for many hours reading. I too love your ideas behind the collection – we’ve only a small facility and are desperately trying to pull away from libraries and get proper gear to make our own
    Well done

  7. Miguel says:

    Wow. Looks awesome!! And sounds very very good. Congratulations, Tim!

  8. Michal says:

    Sounds and looks great!
    And I love the 1sec pause idea.
    Waiting for new libraries 🙂

  9. tim says:

    Thanks heaps for all the kind words & support!

  10. Great work, I’m sure your library will do well 🙂

    I like the idea of spacing your sounds exactly 1 or 2 seconds apart so you can audition different takes by nudging the event.
    Out of interest, did you have to do anything special to make the metadata compatible with any of the sound library apps?

    • tim says:

      I’m half way through a post about metadata… easier to explain my experiences there as went up a few blind alleys in the process

  11. Enos says:

    That one second nudge thing is really cool! I must start doing that! Looking/sounding good Tim!

  12. Jeff Pitts says:

    Thank you Tim. Very reasonable prices 🙂 I will buy every one 🙂

    • Jeff Pitts says:

      sorry Tim one question. Are we responsible for our own backups or will you offer downloads if we have hard drive failures in the future?

      • tim says:

        Thanks Jeff!

        I am totally happy to provide new download codes should you ever need to re-download the files again, forever more…

        Once you have worked with the files for a few weeks I’ll also canvas everyone who has bought the library for feedback as I plan to add updates to the library free of charge eg one sound I really wanted to add to the VEGE library was blood splatters & drips, but after experimenting & making a real mess, I decided to delay that addition & record it exterior, in a very quiet location on a still night!

        • Jeff Pitts says:

          Great! unfortunately I just finished a film that I could of used this library all over 🙁

          Next up is a children’s animation from a large toy company with a L and a O in the name so I don’t know how much use I will get out of these new sounds in the coming weeks. I do a lot of horror and violence though so I will be a heavy user 🙂

          On your blood splatters and drips library adds I would like to see drips and splatters on different surfaces eg carpet wood metal glass and also different intensities of drips and “gush”. Also bullet impacts?

  13. Dan says:

    Congratulations Tim! Great site, concept, and implementation. I wish you all the best with it.


  14. Congratulations Tim on another great creation – I think you’ve really nailed something with this. All the best with it.

    Ever since I came across companies like microhammer and sonic couture, I’ve begun to feel like us post pros should develop the idea of sound fx/ design equivalents. I’m not interested in buying sound ideas, etc but I would (and will) be intrigued to buy smaller collections of well organised and well recorded sounds such as yours. I’ve built upa huge collection of veg fx from working on the descent films but for 30 quid (UK) I will still be prepared to fork out to hear your recordings. Why? Not sure, just love hearing fresh takes on things, potential for new ideas, or is it just sound fx equivalent of gearlust? It’s hard to explain exactly what I find so exciting about the concept – one way I can put it is it feels like shopping in a deli rather than a supermarket! (although for once the deli is cheaper than the supermarket!)

    • tim says:

      hey Michael, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head… And I am definitely inspired by the work of Sonic Couture and Tonehammer, that great combination of high quality sounds, unique ideas & also directly contributing to an artists work. Every time I buy a Sonic Couture library I can’t help but speculate about what they will create next!
      But relative to Sound FX and ambiences, I think everyone would benefit if all the sites that were discussed here a while ago (Sound Recordist blogs) also had a simple buy now button to access high quality sounds…. I well know that some sounds you happily buy immediately, but others you will happily buy when the occasion arises (and who knows? maybe even get the production to pay for them!) so there are both immediate and long term benefits for the creators and for the people who happily support them….

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