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Designing Products with Sound by Amber Case, Aaron Day

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Chapter 4: The Sound Design Proces

Introduction

Working with sound is a wide and deep craft, as is the body of knowledge that supports it. It’s impossible to cover all the intricacies of sound design in a single book, and in any case, this book isn’t intended to teach you to be a sound designer. It is possible, though, to give enough of an introduction to have a dramatic positive effect on the audible components of whatever UI you’re designing. In this chapter, we’ll start discussing the details.

Yet even though sound design is not a science, there’s a lot of science behind it, and you can’t tackle it effectively without at least a basic amount of technical knowledge. Through a series of explanations and case studies, followed by more in-depth processes and definitions, we’ll introduce some of this knowledge -- enough to start capturing sounds from nature (or a studio), to synthesize simple sounds, and to edit and arrange pre-recorded sound. 

But for the most part, sound design is a craft, so there isn’t just one way to do a thing. There are tools, but there’s also improvisation and personal touch. There are many standard methods of sound design, some of which we’ll cover, but some of the case studies will show some untraditional and improvised solutions for client needs. For further reading, see the Appendix, where we’ve laid out our favorite books and websites on the subject. 

So, to start with -- what exactly is sound? For our purposes, the best technical definition is ...

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