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Ryan Baldwin - Technical Sound Designer & Audio Engineer - Blog

[Sound Design, Game Audio, Sound Art, Interactive Computing, Field Recording]

Audiokinetic Wwise certified!

Ryan Baldwin

I recently passed the Audiokinetic Wwise certification course, which covered the core concepts of using Wwise to implement audio into a 3D game. Audio middleware like Wwise gives sound designers (or audio Wwizards) a ton of power, and puts less of a burden on game programmers. It's a night and day difference from just rendering out audio files, and triggering them when an event happens in game. I particularly enjoyed learning about how straightforward Wwise makes optimizing audio for multiple platforms.

OS X tip: Speed up Safari page loading on Mac by disabling DNS prefetching

Ryan Baldwin

If you use a recent version of Safari on your Mac to browse the web, you may notice some sites that take forever to load, or don't load entirely, even on a speedy internet connection.

One trick I found that has helped my situation, is disabling Safari's DNS prefetch feature. There isn't a toggle in the preferences for this, but a quick trip to the Terminal can turn it on or off easily.

Make sure to quit out of Safari first. Then go to /Applications/Utilities to locate the Terminal application. Copy and paste the following, then hit Enter/Return.

defaults write WebKitDNSPrefetchingEnabled -boolean false

In theory, DNS prefetching is supposed to make navigating the web feel snappier, but for whatever reason it seems to often have the opposite effect. Try it out, your mileage may vary. Restoring to the default setting is also straightforward.

defaults delete WebKitDNSPrefetchingEnabled

MelloToneGen - Ambient Noise & Generative Music App for Mac - Initial Release

Ryan Baldwin

I've just released the first version of my ambient sound app for Mac. You can read more about it and download it here. It creates a variety of ambient soundscapes and can act as a sleep aid, or help with focus while working.

MelloToneGen is a generative ambient music and noise machine application for OS X.
Built with Max/MSP, it runs as a native Mac application, and creates soothing, meditative soundscapes, using sounds of nature recorded in the Pacific Northwest, along with algorithmically-generated synthetic tones.
You can choose from multiple soundscape themes, created from layers of original field recordings. Along with that, mellow tones are generated, that evolve over time (especially enjoyable on headphones).
Having a non-repeating source of ambient sound can be beneficial in many situations. Focusing on work or creative tasks in a totally quiet space can be difficult. Similarly, it's hard to concentrate when listening to music with melodies or lyrics. MelloToneGen aims to strike a balance by providing more than just white noise, and avoiding melodic repetition.
MelloToneGen sounds best over good headphones or speakers. Put it on while programming, drawing, meditating, doing yoga, or use it as a sleep aid...the name is in part a reference to Melatonin.

Please contact me with any feedback or issues.

"Half-Life 2: Episode Two" Audio Replacement - Sound Design Reel

Ryan Baldwin

A reimagining of Half-Life 2: Episode Two's audio. All visuals belong to the developer, Valve. Sound was removed from the original gameplay trailer and entirely replaced by me, using a combination of manipulated recordings and synthesis.

I refrained from listening to the original audio while working on the project, and tried to create my own take on what the scene should sound like, while also paying homage to a great game.

Patterning : Drum Machine for iPad & Free Drum Kit Samples

Ryan Baldwin

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of contributing to a very neat project -- Patterning : Drum Machine, developed by Olympia Noise Co. for the iPad. I designed samples for one of the bundled drum kits in the app, called "Extraterrestrial". All of the samples came from recording objects around my home, and then processing them digitally.

As beautiful as it is powerful, Patterning is a deep and flexible drum machine unlike any you’ve encountered before. With its elegant circular interface, Patterning transforms the iPad into a seriously inspiring tool for making beats.

Create dynamic drum patterns with the swipe of a finger. Make evolving, poly-metric rhythms, four-on-the-floor dance party jams, or laid back R&B grooves. Use Patterning’s independent loop settings to explore untapped rhythmic possibilities. Automate parameters to create intricate & complex beats. Arrange patterns on the timeline to construct songs. Use the built-in effects—delay, reverb, distortion, and 3-band EQ—to add atmosphere, shimmer and noise. Connect to other apps with Audiobus, Inter-App Audio, and MIDI.

Patterning comes loaded with classic drum machine samples as well as exclusive drum kits created and curated by contemporary producers and musicians. For the independent producer, it’s easy to create custom kits with your own samples.

With an extensive and uncommon feature set, Patterning redefines what an iOS drum machine can be.
— Olympia Noise Co.

I'm also making the individual drum samples available for download, as hi-res 96kHz/24-bit WAVs, for use in any audio application. They can be obtained from the SoundCloud playlist linked here.