Product: Urban Crows
Price: $38 (HD Version)
Our Rating: 4.5/5
Detunized are a German company who have been developing compact sound libraries and Ableton Live Packs since 2009. Their Urban Crows bring the gritty, haunting and wonderful sounds of these birds into your projects.
Opening Our Copy
On opening the review copy, we were greeted with a rather simple and neat folder hierarchy, containing metadata, licence agreements and a greeting PDF with details on where to get support for the product - always a nice touch. Also placed here are the 24 Bit 96 kHz Mid/Side recordings, which were captured at varying times of day with multiple weather conditions, offering a sense of ambience in the side channel, and a more direct sound in the mid. All sounds are also extensively metadata tagged. The files vary in length from around 1 minute to 4 minutes, enough to cover most scenes with interesting crow calls and weather effects.
A Little Birdy...
One thing that drew us to Urban Crows was it's gritty and natural, homemade sound. When placing one of the files in a scene, you'll instantly notice it adds character, with the surrounding ambience captured in the M/S recordings combined with a plethora of unique and downright weird crow calls.
This unpolished sound lends itself well to placement in urban environments or bleak futuristic wastelands. We have used this library in so many projects that it has become our go to for adding dimension and fullness to otherwise plain and neutral shots, or scenes with a sinister and near future vibe. We assumed that Detunized were UK based as the sounds here felt very British in tone and colour - that is a good thing though as it means they are interchangeable and you can't pinpoint the source!
The ambience captured brings some natural noise floor to your backgrounds track, but when mixed at a reasonable level and brought in line with an M/S plugin, you have a lot of control over the focus of the effects. Everything from cleaner center crows, to rumbling, dirty residential hums in the sides.
Overall, the sound feels well captured, more so in the performances of the crows than the overall tonal and technical aspects. In many of the files, the crows are huge groups unlike we've ever heard before, replying to each other in a distressing almost zombie-like fashion. Detunized have spent the time to record snapshots of a mysterious and iconic common bird, making uncommon vocalisations.
It is hard to fault a library that finds itself landing in so many of our projects. One thing that is a clear word of caution is the higher noise floor (ambient noise) that these files have compared to more clean ambience libraries. This can be toned down to an extent, but then you lose the stereo field. A quick high pass filter cleans up much of the rumble (we like the dirt though, so choose to let it sit in the mix for EXT scenes).
The price is rather nice, considering Urban Crows used quality equipment, provides unprocessed recordings and has sounds that are difficult to find anywhere else, useful in lots of projects. It also runs at 1 hr 30 minutes in total. If you are on the fence, a lower priced mini version ($22) is available with less files and a 48 kHz sample rate. There is also a huge sale for Detunized libraries at the moment (linked below). We cannot put a price on a library that adds extra sonic spice to otherwise dull surroundings though - and neither should you!
The Bottom Line
Caws aplenty, files lengthy, bit rate twenty............four. Go buy it!