Recently, I was offered an opportunity to submit a piece of sound design to a well-accomplished director, who is working on a new short film. I was asked to design a five-minute segment on a rough cut as an evaluation of becoming a sound designer on the project. As I just recently went freelance, I had minimal SFX libraries at my disposal. What I had access to at the time was good enough for my corporate projects, but I needed more choice on demand for developing a convincing sound scape for the potential project — something to cover all aspects of what I could imagine using.
So, after shopping around, I got straight onto the guys at Pro Sound Effects and I purchased the Hybrid Library that same evening to begin work on the project immediately. When completed, I had assembled a detailed piece of sound design. It obviously paid off because I was then awarded a position of being one of the sound designers on the film. I will admit that I do not think I would have been awarded the position if I did not have access to the Hybrid Library. The quality and choice of content was excellent, and being used to my older libraries, the wider variety of choice was a breath of fresh air.
Then by complete chance, I was asked to evaluate the new Hybrid Library 2017 from Pro Sound Effects. I felt privileged to get a preview of the newly-revised product. It contains two new features added at no extra cost, such as being bundled with BaseHead search engine, and most importantly, an additional 8,455 fresh SFX files created by the team at Big Room Sound to complement the already wide array of material available from many contributors. With that in mind, a sound library could arguably be considered useless if you have no convenient way to search and find exactly what you need from it. This is where the BaseHead search utility may be handy for those who currently do not yet employ a utility like this.
When I started in this industry, the post production house I worked for had hundreds of CDs with thousands of SFX tracks. Gradually we have been graced with the release of new search utilities such as the popular SoundMiner and equally powerful BaseHead search engines. Please don’t take these applications for granted considering the laborious tasks many of us went through over the years importing our SFX “old school.”
The teams at Pro Sound Effects and BaseHead have now decided to bundle their products together, which may make the Hybrid Library 2017
a more enticing product to purchase compared to most other libraries supplied with only SFX. What I find most powerful about the PSE Hybrid is that I can access my account online should I need some content on the go, and downloads from your online account are free because you already own that content.
The new SFX collection, which has grown from 55,000 to 63,000 SFX, is suitable not just to build a solid foundation on, but even complete the whole project. I find it is a wide scope cross-section of enough categories to get you suitable effects for most situations. I have so far used the library on a short film, television drama series and countless corporate projects. No longer having access to the larger SFX libraries which my earlier post houses had was frustrating as I knew what I wanted, but getting what I wanted was too expensive. However, getting what I needed came as a more affordable option thanks to the Pro Sound Effects Freelancer Program, which offers 60 percent off the full price. This is a welcomed break for professionals who don’t have big budgets like some post productions facilities.
If you separately purchased all the content included within the Hybrid Library 2017, it would amount to over $10,000! The value for money ratio is excellent. Plus, it’s not just quantity — you get quality of a rather high standard. The recordings are professional with low noise floors and clean subject content. All recordings on the Hybrid 2017 have been made within the last 10 years. There is multi-track content along with stereo and mono files. Much of the material was recorded at 96kHz/24-bit. If you are downloading online, you can choose to have the file type changed to MP3 or WAV at 48kHz/24-bit or 44.1kHz/16-bit.
I would say that regarding choice, the Hybrid 2017 is the most thorough cross-sectional library that I have used in 18 years of work in the film & television industry. During my trials, I have found what I was looking 80 percent of the times. Maybe 10 percent of my searches would result in something which was not a direct hit, but acceptable as an alternate to cover what I needed. Occasionally, if the effect was extremely specific, I would turn to alternate SFX sources, which I have as my second solutions.
As a sound designer, we can never just rely on one library. We all must remember that no library will ever have recordings of ‘everything,’ but having a well-balanced selection of 63,000-plus sounds to harvest from is what makes choosing the new Hybrid 2017 a wise selection for any sound designer. I can honestly say I looked elsewhere for alternates less often than I would with other libraries while I was using the Hybrid 2017. This new product gives much potential for good design and it’s reassuring to know the Hybrid 2017 will always be in my toolbox.
1) Good value for money
2) All content is supplied on a compact 1TB hard drive. Less than 400GB is used so you can add your own content to the drive if you wish
3) Online access to your own library
4) Over 63,000 SFX in one package
5) 1-year trial of a free version of BaseHead search software included with the purchase. This is essentially BaseHead Lite ($199) but limited to 100,000 records
6) Yearly updates and an additional 100 download credits are included for customizing your SFX collection with content from the Pro Sound Effects Online Library 175,000-plus files
1) Maybe the supplied hard drive could be an SSD instead of conventional spindle technology, as an SSD it would be better for traveling with and use less power consumption if you work from your laptop in remote locations like I do
2) Some SFX recordings are broken into multiple small snippets of single smaller audio files from the one master recording. I would prefer a longer file of a few seconds of a string of the same effect over and over so I can import and edit the media as I need, this would sometimes save me making multiple imports instead of just one
3) BaseHead version does not offer the Spot-to-Timeline feature. It does, however, fully support Drag-and-Drop to any DAW
Would I recommend the Hybrid Library 2017? Yes, 100 percent hands down, and I don’t know how I got on so well without it for so long.
The new Hybrid Library 2017
from Pro Sound Effects is on sale now exclusively to freelancers for $1,495 (regularly $3,995) until December 31, 2016. Only 150 licenses are available at $1,495 - after that, Freelancer Pricing will be $1,795 through the end of the year. Application is free with no purchase commitment. Learn more and apply at prosoundeffects.com/hybrid
Adrian Ferry is a sound designer, re-recording mixer & broadcast engineer. He can be reached online at: www.linkedin.com/in/adrianferry.