recording for sound effects

For a simple Android version of a board game I need some basic sound effects like dice rolling, or checkers being dropped. Instead of using an existing library of sound, I thought it would be easy enough to capture my own sounds. It was!

I used my smart phone to capture audio (using Samalyse's TapeMachine app). This let me get physically away from noisy computers and other distracting background noises. I was surprised at the high quality of the recordings and the lack of "hiss" or background noise.

For each kind of sound I wanted to capture I repeated the noise (i.e., rolling the dice) for about a minute, leaving a bit of a gap between repeats so snipping the audio wouldn't be too complicated. This gave me a lot of different takes to select from. For the rolling dice, I tried rolling them on a number of different surfaces (kitchen table, kitchen floor, desk, magazine, etc), but eventually settled on using an actual felt-covered backgammon board.

The TapeMachine app is able to save the raw wav files to my Dropbox, so getting the files onto my desktop for editing was trivial.

From Dropbox I loaded the wav files into Audacity and identified the likely candidate snippets and labeled them with 'label' tracks. From those I picked a couple different ones worth saving and did a bit of processing on them (Normalization, and a bit of BassBoost), and saved them out to .ogg files, ready to be packaged into my app. This was my first project with Audacity and I found it to be very usable. I had to go through a couple of the tutorials to understand what could be done and how the UI worked, but it was smooth after that.

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