Hello, my name is Alexey, and this web page presents a project for Location Sound module of Leeds Beckett University named «ArcadeSound».
The main goal is to document sounds of different vending machines, arcades and gambling automats. All audiofiles will be able to download for everyone.
You can hear best sounds from this project in Demo:
My background is a film audio post-production work, where you have to fill the silent and inexpressive picture with colorful, bright sounds. It`s always about time — you have to get the exact sound that you need right now. So, I use sound libraries and online sounds database almost everyday. And this project is about adding my own recording in the online database where anybody will be able to download it and use — right now.
What I want to get and what problems should I think of?
The main idea of this project in to make a collection of sounds of various automates/machines — such as vending machines, slots, arcades… I`m looking for in-game sfx as well as buttons` sounds and mechanicals noises itself. It will be good if the sound will have its own character in will be able to describe the device without an image.
What problems should I be aware of? Well, the first thing is that all this machines are in somebody`s property. It is either in a museum, bar, or gambling zone. I will need to ask a permission to work on location if I can — or make my equipment almost unnoticeable.
Secondly, people. Locations gonna be busy areas. So I need to plan my visit to get the space empty — best are work days` mornings. How people will react? According to Virostek (2013), there are 4 types of reactions to field recording: self-consciousness, overacting, curiosity and awkwardness. Gonna see which of them I will encounter. In each particular case you have different ways to resolve the situation.
At last, I should think how I`m gonna interact with machines while recording. Should I do all by myself to get direct sound and exactly what I want or should I record some random person — to get sound as natural as possible? Should I explain what`s it all about or hide the mic somewhere? Or maybe I could ask somebody who I know to help me?
Since I have to record sounds a lot, not just for this project, I needed a portable and small device for recordings. I used several portable devices, such as Zoom h4n and Tascam DR-05 before. But now I wanted a really small mic that will be in my bag always. So I decided to buy a mic for iOS device, since my iPad is always with me and I use its musical apps a lot. After some searching, I chose a RØDE iXY mic. Here are some features taken from the official web page (www.rodemic.com/microphones/iXY):
- Record stereo audio at 24-bit, 96kHz*
- Matched pair of 1/2″ cardiod condenser capsules
- Metal casing for enhanced durability and electromagnetic interference immunity.
- Includes windsheild, zip case
- Software-switchable 72Hz high pass filter for reduction of unwanted low frequency noise.
||20Hz — 20kHz(selected HPF @0)
||120dB SPL (@ 1kHz, 1% THD into 1KΩ load)
||-42.0dB re 1 Volt/Pascal (8.52mV @ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB @ 1kHz
|Equivalent Noise Level (A-weighted)
||46.00mmH x 55.00mmW x 40.00mmD
As a recording app I use an AudioShare app (http://kymatica.com/Software/AudioShare) since it`s quick, has easy-to-see metering, has some editing and fx features and it is a great files organizer. So I can easily record, crop, rename, group files and export them in Dropbox of via local Wi-Fi.
November, 16th 2014
These machines are a good start. I made this recordings in my University, where three vending machines stand in a row. Obviously, the humming noise from them are constant. I putted the mic deep between the machines and recorded all the hum; then got each button separately, and process of making coffee. When somebody wanted to buy anything, I just stood nearby and recorded all the sounds. Don`t think that anyone noticed what I`m doing — that`s the good thing about small mic.
November, 20th 2014
I noticed a slots machine in Student Union Bar in Headingly Campus several days ago. The problem is that usually bar is very busy and the music from TV is quite loud. Furthermore, there are pool tables nearby, so I needed as few people to be here as possible.
After several tries, I came here this morning and surprisingly the bar was almost empty and the music played quietly. At first, I recorded some buttons. After that, I spent some pounds to play and recorded all the sounds. Unfortunately, the game is very quick itself and you can hardy understand what`s going on. Didn`t win any money.
Sounds are not very rich, just some music on the bonus game and rare sound FX. Note: need to found machines` speakers before game if possible.
November, 30th 2014
Well… I wasn`t thinking that my journey to this ruined monastery will be relevant to my project somehow, but the fact is a fact — I found something intresting in Abbey House Museum!
Inside the building there is a reproduced Victorian street with all the shops, housing, etc. On the second floor there are some really cool exhibits — old penny arcades.Unfortunately, my iPad turned off since I spent all the battery charge in the park near the Abbey.
You need to buy some pennies to play, so I asked an administrator how these devices are sounds like and is it worth to come here another time with equipment. He was kind to show me some of them in work. Regretfully, since these machines are very old, they make no sounds apart mechanical. After little conversation, he mentioned Old Penny Memories museum in Bridlington that has a big collection of Arcade Machines from different times — 1880 to 1970. Probably it worth to visit.
December 4th, 2014
These recordings were absolutely accidental. I came to airport very early, about 5 am, and there were a couple of hours until my flight. At first I noticed some slots machines near the cafe. I got some great sounds there (tracks Slots 1 and 2, toy machine). I did search for any security people to ask for a permission but there wasn`t any around.
And then I found this amaing little arcade zone full of crazy sounds — and completely empty. One of the machines was so loud that you can hear it everywhere. Again, no security or administration people here. I`ve recorded some static atmosphere and tried to walk around.
Later, some people came there and I recorded an air hockey game — standing in the middle of the table. When they looked at me curiously, I just told that I am recording sound — that was enough.
January, 7th 2015
During my holidays in Russia, I decided to visit an unique place — the Museum of Soviet arcade machines.
This is a big hangar full of the devices and goods from my parents` childhood. I asked administration if it`s ok to record anything here, but they didn`t care really. Since it was holyday, the place was busy and the place`s acoustic is not perfect for clean recordings. I was lucky to have my girlfriend with me — she helped me a lot since I could record everything I need while she was playing.
It`s not the best recording because of busy environment, but it documents these machines well. I think it worth to ask the administration for opportunity to record everything in a closed time `cause I don`t think a sound library of soviet arcades exists.
To play, you need to buy old currency from the reception. You get 15 coins for 3.50 GBP.
It worth mention that almost every arcade machine here is a clone of a foreign game. Here is a pinball game called «Circus»
A PONG clone named Telesport
But as far as I know this one is originally USSR game and I`m sure it was really popular in 60s-70s.
Hunt, Sea Pilot, Champion, Billiard, Interceptor games.