REVIEW: Sound Particles 2.0
Company: Sound Particles Product: Sound Particles 2.0
Price for Individuals: $16.90/month
Price for Companies: $49.90/month
Price for Individual One Time Payment: $399
Price for Team One Time Payment: $2,490 Our Rating: 4.8/5
Industry revered sound design software Sound Particles brings further advancements with it's 2.0 version, which is dubbed as the Ultimate 3D Audio Software for audio professionals and we would be inclined to agree. It allows you use audio samples as 'particles' which can be triggered according to a predefined set of start times, movement parameters, and audio modifiers then rendered through a virtual microphone system.
Sound Particles 2.0 is now available for both Mac and PC, much to Windows users delight. It comes as a downloadable program installer file and is very easy to set up. Once installed and opened you are met with a templates window, which allows you to select from some of the templates such as 'Battlefield' and 'Doppler' in order to manipulate audio in a variety of ways.
Once a template is selected, or an empty template is selected, you will then be met with the beautifully designed interface, which has an almost 'CGI-like' view of your particle elements.
At the top of the interface, you will see the perspective view of your particles (denoted with small dots) as well as the virtual microphones (denoted with arrows) This is such a user friendly way of demonstrating what could be a very cryptic audio system otherwise.
Like Pro Tools, you have the ability to create multiple types of tracks in the section at the bottom with the 'plus' button. You can create Particle Groups, which will trigger whichever audio files you have imported into the audio files section. You can create Particle Emitter, which will emit samples at a predefined particle rate per second, which is where the magic in Sound Particles really is. You can import a couple of audio samples of dogs barking, and allow the Particle Emitter to generate a huge kennel of angry canines. It is also possible to add a single point source track if required. You can even create a Mic System track and choose between a variety of formats including stereo, 5.1, Atmos and Ambisonics 1st order through to 6th order, these are used to record and then later render your audio in a virtual space. Finally, a video reference can be added to watch your rendered files in context.
There are some very forward thinking features like the ability to import CGI elements and link particles to those.
Making Your World Sound Better, Faster
Some of the obvious use cases for Sound Particles are when you need to generate lots of variations of a single or a few sounds in a large space. Traditionally, Sound Effects Editors will tracklay huge battle scenes, or medieval villages by placing background effects and then more specific spot effects which have be panned, worldized, eq'ed and reverbed individually. Sound Particles allows you to import a couple of these sounds, perhaps some mono gunshots, explosions and screams, and then use particle emitters and a mic system track in 5.1 to generate an entire soundscape in minutes. You can personalise the audio modifiers involved in the random distribution of particles. For example, I could add a pitch variation of 5%, a random gain of 6dB, and then hit render and Sound Particles will do the work for you.
Another very common use is generating Doppler sounds from mundane or static effects. The Doppler effects in Sound Particles have been called the best sounding in the industry. And although they are in a separate software to Pro Tools, the creative process is easy and intuitive. Once you have hit render to generate your elements, you can play them back or export them to audio for use in your DAW.
You can get as much, or as little involved as you want in the parameters behind the scenes. This is the magic of Sound Particles. You can use the templates and import different audio elements as particles and generate hundreds of variations, or you can add 10 different audio modifiers to generate full 7.1.2 Atmos beds.
So how does it sound? F***ing amazing. This is the most natural 3D Audio Engine that we have ever experienced. Because of the way it uses the unique particle engine, the results are very convincing, and we will be using Sound Particles 2.0 on lots of upcoming projects. Particularly from a creative world building perspective, this the future of audio design and creative media projects.
Sound Particles created a bit of controversy in the industry with the initial 2.0 release of the software, which was priced much higher. The company responded by reducing the price for a limited time, which is very noble of them, as it shows their commitment to listening to their user base.
The pricing is rather high for a perpetual license, but you do have the option to subscribe for a nominal fee. This software is definitely not a gimmick like many 'experimental audio tools', but instead offers a genuine solution to a common problem with Sound Designer's increasingly harsh deadlines and quality expectations.
The other area that really needs some further development are the templates available as standard. With such a complex and multi faceted software, you would expect the developers to create much more of these.
The Bottom Line
If you often design complex sound worlds within films, or enjoy visualising your effects and executing advanced audio cues Sound Particles 2.0 is for you. The Doppler and atmospheric sounds on offer here are second to none, and very fast to define and render.
344 Audio is an Audio Post Production studio in Manchester.