On Monday we announced the champion of our Audio Olympics: Saro Sahihi, the German sound designer behind SoundBits, a one-man Project Studio specializing in design, mixing and remixing. (He also happens to lecture at the SAE Institute in Stuttgart.) We caught up with Mr. Sahihi earlier this week to talk shop, and go inside the process behind his winning Monkey vs. Wolf boxing composition.
How did you learn about the competition?
I read about it on www.designingsound.org. I was taking part in the sound design challenges already: Part 12 and Part 13 (I won this one too). I loved this competition; designing sound without picture is much more interesting, and needs a lot more imagination.
Which sounds from the Rare Animals collection did you use?
Were there any you wanted to use but ended up foregoing?
The whole library is awesome. There were so many sounds I liked... so, I'm very happy I won!
How did you conceptualize the match, and how did that idea change from your first concept?
I am fan of having the weak win, but it would boring just letting the monkey beat up the wolf. So I decided to knock out the monkey right away. You commiserate with the monkey, and then he comes back and beats the sh-- out of the wolf! The punching sounds are layers of two "normal punches"—one is from a library; the other I did on my own a while ago—and heavy wood impacts, short whooshes and some bone crunch.
Designing the monkey's knockout was more editing and experiments until I felt satisfied. I liked the explosion sound, and reversed the explosion when he comes back. I added some dog whining for when the wolf gets beat up, and the knock-out-birds to make the whole scene more comic.
What tools did you use?
I am working with Steinberg Nuendo 5.5 as DAW for sound design here at SoundBits. As far as plugins, I use lot of Waves: Renaissance Axx, REQ, some LoAir on the Punches. The wolf and monkey sounds were strongly compressed (elysia mpressor + waves RVox). Most of the design was editing, layering, reversing, offline pitch-shifting and so on. The slight reverb for the stadium is from Nuendo's REVerence. The knockout reverb is the Waves IR-1.
Did you listen to any other submissions before or after your submission? What were your favorites?
Yes I did listen to other contestants' submissions, after I finished mine—to avoid being influenced. There is one submission that I liked very much: The Triathlon by Juan Pablo Lagos. It had a real story.