Urban and Suburban is a 3.5Gb collection of 140 royalty free ambiences. It is available as a 24 bit wav download from Boom Library (99 Euros regular price).
URBAN & SUBURBAN provides a solid foundation for any sound designer to create a believable acoustic backdrop right out of the gate with common ambiences in varying intensities, daytimes and configurations. Easily accessible public places are captured in excellent quality, yet enough balance and distance to support the scene in the background and embed more prominent sounds into the mix.
While URBAN & SUBURBAN provides all the necessary basics, it also goes the extra mile by providing more isolated environments as well as recordings of special events that will come in handy when a change of scenery or dramaturgy is required. Various forms of traffic, groups of people, buildings, animals, wind and many more sound sources that make an appearance in this library ensure that you are able to craft an experience complete with the necessary components.
There’s an excellent range of suburban sounds from morning, daytime and night including sounds from parks, traffic, animals and people. The urban sounds cover a range of similar day and night sounds including sounds from parks, traffic, people and include locations of an airport and train station.
The samples have a good range of lengths, the shortest being 13 seconds and the longest 5 minutes 23 seconds. The files are labelled descriptively, i.e. ‘NP02 0224 Suburban morning dogs birds v1’ and there is also helpfully an excel spreadsheet and pdf file that give further details of each sample.
The samples don’t have fade in / out or loop points, I find this makes them more useful because you can set your own and adjust these to suit. The samples sound really good, some have a more pronounced low end rumble, this really adds to the ambience for many of the sounds but it’s easy enough to apply a filter and the chances are that you will apply EQ anyway so that the sound fits within your mix better.
What I really like about these sounds is that they are really useful to use in their own right but are also ideal for further processing with effects, whether subtle delay / reverb or more extreme glitch and mangling effects.
I’ve used some of the samples to create the album ‘modernity’ embedded above. It’s a soundtrack for modern life and the samples were ideal for subtle background or more pronounced use.
I’ve used the samples on all songs in a variety of ways. Sometimes processing subtly with Type A, vintage tape encoder by AudioThing on songs 1, 2 and 6; other times I’ve used more extreme processing. I recorded parts for songs 3, 4 and 5 live in Sensomusic Usine Hollyhock 3. I’ve used the u-drone sampler with Blackhole reverb and H949 Dual Harmoniser by Eventide; the joggle player and grain cloud player with Cryogen multi-effect by Glitchmachines and VLA-3A vintage levelling amp by Black Rooster Audio all processed by Type A and Litote Granular Exploration Box on the master channel.
In terms of EQ, I found VHL-3C, a free vintage high / low pass filter from Black Rooster Audio was a very simple and effective way of removing some of the low end so that the sounds fitted better in the mix.
I’ve also used Olafur Arnalds Chamber Evolutions by Spitfire Audio on tracks 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6. It’s a superb chamber strings library for Kontakt, you can read the review here. I’ve used RapidComposer to create the arrangements for Chamber Evolutions.
Track 4 used one of the train samples (0307). I really liked the ambience and feel that was created during the live recording, the sample was used multiple times and is the only sound source processed using a number of samplers and effects as outlined above.
If you want further information on the effects used, there are reviews of them available on my blog.