In today's digital age, what better place to look for professional resources than the internet? Not only is the internet probably the most abundant collection of useful information, it is also the most accessible given the fact that we already spend nearly all day tethered to a computer, smartphone, or tablet. Why not take a quick break from your work and learn something of use rather than perusing the latest cat vids (although I am by no means against wonderfully indulgent cat videos)? Below are my absolute favorite online resources for sound designers. They span the breadth of online content from sound effects library downloads, technical support forums, mixing videos, and even mini documentaries to keep you current on the latest movie sound design trends. Enjoy, and internet away!
Designing Sound is an all-around go-to resource for me. To get a general overview of what is happening in the current world of sound design including plug-in reviews, interviews from resources such as the Tonebenders podcast about sound design for popular movies, and articles on the philosophy behind top designers' work, you can't go wrong with Designing Sound.
Don't be put off by the name. Gearslutz does not contain NSFW content, and all of us at Boom Box Post regularly peruse this forum to find answers to absolutely any technical problem we may encounter. In a world of ever-evolving technology, which means ever-evolving compatibility issues, having an entire community of experts as well as novices (someone needs to ask the questions!) readily at your fingertips is a very powerful resource indeed. Thinking about buying new speakers or a new portable recorder? Definitely check out what the pros on this forum have to say first.
I can't get enough of these incredibly well-produced videos which take the viewer directly inside the thought process of industry-leading minds. Soundworks produces these short documentaries showcasing the sound design and musical composition processes for nearly all major blockbuster films. I almost always walk away from these with at least one new idea that I'm excited to integrate into my workflow.
Women's Audio Mission is a non-profit devoted to advancing women in the recording arts, and they've extended their dedication to providing educational internet courses on all things audio. For $25 per month, both men and women can have unlimited access to their online library of study materials which are laid out much like an actual audio engineering course--quizzes and all.
Lynda.com is a LinkedIn company that offers similar services. They have an entire Audio & Music category of video tutorials made by experts in the field which include subjects such as post-production sound, plug-ins, DAWs and more. Basic memberships start at around $20 per month, and Lynda has the added bonus of a 10-day free trial.
While Sound Channel is more of a stand-in for standard courses you would take in audio engineering school with start-to-finish continuity, Lynda offers shorter, more self-contained videos and a customizable user playlist. Both are well-respected options for those who may be looking to simply gain audio knowledge rather than a degree, or just want to brush up on a singular topic or two.
As much as we all gripe about Avid (sometimes on a near-daily basis), we have to admit that when it comes to post-production sound, ProTools is the only real choice. So, I say, embrace it! I have been thoroughly enjoying this series of videos on post-production mixing put out by Avid's blog. They are great for new mixers, but I also recommend them to all of our editors. Because as I'm always saying, there's no point in designing great sounds if your layout is so poor that those great sounds are too cumbersome to mix. I guarantee that will only result in exactly two things: a grumpy mixer and a mix that heavily favors the music. So, make your mixer happy and learn a little about his or her job.
I'm a big fan of the Hybrid Library by Pro Sound Effects. It is a great across-the-board bundle, and I would definitely recommend it to any new sound designer who is starting to build his or her library, or to an established designer interested in modernizing a bit. Pro Sound Effects also has a pay per download option, or a monthly subscription model.
This is the official Avid user forum. If you are having issues with your ProTools rig, have questions about newly added functionality, or just want to look up compatibility issues or an annoying error message, check here first. I have found answers to even the most specific and problems using this site. It has yet to fail me.
Synthtopia is a website devoted to the tools used to create electronic music. Luckily for us sound designers, those tools are also incredibly useful for creating cool sounds. I'm especially a fan of their iPad section, which reviews different synth apps available for use on a tablet. These apps are incredibly powerful, interesting, and inexpensive means to create new sounds. If you haven't started using your iPad for sound creation, you're missing out!