Sounding Sweet: ‘Audio is paramount to VR immersion’

Whether you’re making a small indie title or a big triple-A game, audio is always going to be key. Sounding Sweet specialises in creating audio for the games industry, coming highly recommended by Playground Games’ Gavin Raeburn – our 2017 MCV Awards Person of the Year no less. We talk to founder Ed Walker.

Tell us about Sounding Sweet for those unfamiliar with your work.

We’re a UK-based independent recording and audio production company with a recording studio in Stratford-upon-Avon and separate post-production facilities in Leamington Spa. Our recording studio is equipped with the latest technology, including a 7.1 surround sound dubbing suite and two purpose built voice-over booths which double as foley studios and music recording spaces when necessary.

We are also fully equipped to record ADR, via Source Connect and ISDN. We provide the latest audio technology both in-game and in the studio. We have a comprehensive knowledge of the latest audio middleware and production techniques.

When and how did you start Sounding Sweet?

I worked in-house at Codemasters and Playground Games for a number of years before setting up Sounding Sweet in 2011. The company started in my house when I converted an outbuilding into a VO booth and a spare bedroom into the control room. We initially focused on dialogue recording due to our close proximity to the Royal Shakespeare Company. As the workload increased, I invested in a bespoke recording studio built from the ground up in Stratford-upon-Avon. We opened the Leamington offices in late 2015 to accommodate a growing team. This now enables us to work on multiple projects simultaneously while also providing a cost-effective service to our clients.

To date, what are the biggest projects that you and the company have worked on?

As part of the audio team at Codemasters, I worked on the Dirt, Grid and Formula One racing franchises, before joining Playground Games where I worked on Forza Horizon and Forza Horizon 2.

More recently, Sounding Sweet has had the pleasure of working on Forza Horizon 3, MotoGP 17 and Guitar Hero Live to name a few. We provide audio design services and assist in various areas of audio production such as implementation, mixing, field recording, voice recording, music composition and editing.

Can you tell us anything about what you are currently working on?

We are currently working on a triple-A mobile title. Its large audio requirement is both challenging and rewarding. Despite it being a mobile title, we are striving for a high-quality, console audio experience.

Do you see changes on the horizon for the sound recording and audio business in general?

With the arrival of VR and advanced graphical realism, audio is paramount to selling immersion. We embrace the changes of growing technology and new ways to approach audio, to ensure we are on par with the visuals.

What successes have you seen recently?

This year, our work can be heard in multiple game titles and trailers. We have also provided a number of supporting marketing activities to various game developers and publishers. We were recently nominated for a Develop Award in the category of ‘Creative Outsourcer – Audio’ for our work on Forza Horizon 3. 

No doubt you have plans for 2017 and beyond – what do you hope to accomplish?

We have just invested in new field recording equipment in view of enhancing our own SFX library. In the last few months, we’ve been recording various vehicles and foley which may be available to purchase in the future. We are really looking forward to continuing to push the boundaries of mobile audio development. We are in the process of upgrading our studio to Dolby Atmos to ensure we have the latest technology available to our clients.

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