Hiss and a Roar: Tim Prebble’s Vault of Sonic Inspiration

Hiss and a Roar is a library founded by the talented New Zealand-based sound designer Tim Prebble, whose work has been featured here at Sonic Field in the past. Its core idea is to provide raw elements for sound design tasks for media, music and any audio production process. We are not talking about the typical ready-made SFX packs, but dedicated and detailed works of sonic creativity.

Prebble is a true recording genius, passionate about sound in countless ways: he is the sound geek that could get excited about getting an old synthesizer and at the same time is constantly gathering props and visiting uncanny places in order to capture fresh sonic materials, resulting in a wonderful library of sounds he has developed for 12 years at HaaR, nowadays maintained through four different categories:

Although these libraries are a great source of ideas and elements for sound designers and producers, their process itself is pure sonic inspiration as such. Just by looking at the amazing videos Prebble produces for his products, it’s stimulating enough to give you lots of interesting ways to relate with objects, spaces and echoes. Take for example his latest library, Particle Feedback, in which he gets sounds from vibrating bodies activated through feedback emitted between a transducer and a contact mic:

Or what about his deep explorations of noise on EMF and Noise Source libraries and the amazing “Contact mic” series, in which he explores a wide variety of contact mic techniques on a lot of rare and unusual objects he uses to collect for his libraries. His perspective on sound is as unique as the way he develops Hiss and a Roar, where he has also created interesting collective initiatives such as his sound design challenges.

Although many of the libraries are recording in Tim’s lab, many of them are also captured in the field, as the majority of its Ambience libraries, as well as special ones such as the classic Seal Vocals, which as many of the releases, has been used in AAA video games and films all over the world. Having full metadata and high quality audio, the vault of Hiss and a Roar is a fantastic source of ideas for sound artists looking for new ways of recording or new timbres to work with, but it’s also the perfect example of an active field recording practice that transcends the basic idea of recording in place, to a more intimate, creative and interactive experience with space.

Prebble is a sound designer I have been following for over a decade, and his music of sound blog is probably one of the most inspiring, informative and rich source of auditory wonder. It’s always a nice moment when he posts a new detritus or nuzic, as well as the interesting reflection and stories he makes, featuring insights from the sound industry, posting about beautiful sonic technology or just dropping an priceless career advice. And that’s not all: Tim is also a fantastic photographer, drone enthusiast and musician, so his level of sensitivity and the passion he has for art permeates all his contents.

I encourage to take a trip on his impressive Vimeo archives, visit his blog, get some Hiss and a Roar noises and follow him on Twitter. Your sensibility will be expanded in deep and unimaginable ways.

Miguel Isaza M

Listener, speaker.