Word from Soundium
Here at Soundium our mission is to always be connected with our fellow sound enthusiasts, and to always keep up with the latest trends and developments in audio technology. In 2023, we decided to start the new year by launching Soundium Magazine, a new publication for our fans, with the goal of presenting news, reviews and recommendations. We also want to share some extra content about cool creators and other sonic goods that we love.
If you have any ideas about what you’d like to see in our magazine, feel free to share your thoughts with us by dropping an email at email@example.com
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Interview: Viktoras Urbaitis
Photography: Radio Vilnius
Broadcasting daily, over digital waves, from a humble studio, Radio Vilnius plays jazz, Lithuanian archival records, talk shows, one-man comedy hours, electronic music, and everything in between for the whole wide world. The radio was founded by two mainstays of the Lithuanian capital’s scene, Kotryna Briedytė and Manfredas, inviting everyone to hear the contemporary sound of Vilnius. We spoke to Kotryna, who runs most of its daily operations, to tell us about the “whats” and “hows” of the radio.
Firstly, how would you introduce Radio Vilnius to someone who has never heard of it?
Simply put, Radio Vilnius is an independent internet radio station, a platform for independent music and a hub for the local artists, musicians & DJs community, which aims to create an audio portrait of the city we live and create in.
Radio Vilnius has been live since the spring of 2021. What have its greatest achievements and biggest challenges been so far?
Our biggest challenge was to get the radio going, there were a lot of technical challenges involved: from renovating the studio ourselves to setting up a reliable broadcasting system. As far as achievements go, we are most proud of the multifaceted community that has formed around this project. Also, in almost two years of our existence: we launched an app, curated numerous events for our dance music series EXZIBIT, started the urban festival “Laikas Eina Per Miestą’’, made several fundraisers for Ukraine & organized many concerts.
Your activity has already spread outside of the radio format into club nights, concerts, city festivals… What’s the motivation for expansion?
It seemed like the natural course of action for us, as we come from a background of organizing events, it’s a way to back the radio financially since we want to stay independent and adfree. Also, we want to create opportunities for our community members to showcase themselves and introduce our listeners to many names we admire, as well as encourage them to celebrate music in all its forms.
Musicians, contemporary artists, actors, comedians, DJs — what unites all the different sorts of hosts?
They are all linked to Vilnius in one way or another. :) Even though internet radio stations tend to orbit around music, we realize that interesting content comes from all sorts of fields, so we try to provide the platform for sharing their discourses. We are open to shows about culture, philosophy, technology, science or even occultist séances — if you have an idea, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, we want to create opportunities for our community members to showcase themselves and introduce our listeners to many names we admire, as well as encourage them to celebrate music in all its forms.
would have to be seeing how connections are made within the radio, connections that grow to friendships, collaborations and lasting relationships.
What’s the Radio Vilnius listener like? Where are they from?
Our aim is to have a broad scope of listeners and that the radio would be accessible to diverse audiences, so we are more than happy when we find out about someone’s grandma or young teens tuning in.
Have you noticed any particular shows or types of shows that have become listener favorites?
All the shows have their own audiences, but there are some shows that hit certain subjects, politics, ideas that are floating in the air, such as shows about the protests happening in Iran, war in Ukraine, current partnership/LGBT laws in Lithuania, and the like.
Speaking in a technical sense, what gear does it take for a web radio to operate smoothly?
2 x CDJ 2000 NXS2, 1 x PIONEER DJM 900 NXS2, 2 x Technics 1210MK2, 2 mics, 1 aux cable, 1 iMAC, and your very own Pranza, who is our smooth operator and the mastermind behind all the technical stuff.
And in terms of human resources — what does the radio crew consist of? What are its responsibilities?
There are many people involved — programmers, web, interior and graphic designers, artists, volunteers, technicians, and hosts; we are eternally grateful for the hard work and time they put in to make this project work.
What’s your favorite part of running the radio?
It would have to be seeing how connections are made within the radio, connections that grow to friendships, collaborations and lasting relationships.
Any future plans you’d like to share?
We have just opened the radio’s own cafe called Cafe Vilnius, a spot for our community and listeners to congregate, which is just around the corner from the station. Also, we are launching a label in a few months — our first two vinyls are being pressed as we speak. And many more news are on the way so stay tuned.
Sound Design for Interactive Media
Interview: Viktoras Urbaitis
Although computer games have been around for several generations now, video game sound design is still a niche craft, its professionals few and far between. To find out more about it, Soundium spoke to Linas Maknys, a Lithuanian sound designer with over 16 years of experience working for Nordcurrent game studios. Nordcurrent has made many successful games for consoles, PC and mobile platforms over the years; Linas has contributed audio work for most of its flagship titles such as Cooking Fever or Murder in the Alps.
What separates a sound designer from a music producer or composer?
Imagine a monster in a movie or a game: it could be a small, cute monster, but it could also be huge and angry; it could roar, fly, or ooze around. The sound designer would have to create sound for the monster, including all the movement noises, vocalizations, and everything that is happening around them. Composers, on the other hand, would create a fitting musical piece for whatever is happening on the screen.
What are the influences that help you decide what a video game is going to sound like?
The visuals will heavily dictate and influence the sound. Just by looking at the art style of a game, I can start working on fitting audio. There are rare occasions where tests are needed to be done, as sometimes the opposite fits better. Contrast should also be considered: for example, I really like when pixel art games use realistic and complex sounds.
How is video game sound design different from other mediums, such as film or TV?
Film and TV is linear media, so it will always be the same as there is no viewer interaction. Games, on the other hand, are non-linear: the player decides what to do next, so the soundscape should react accordingly. Sounds should be designed to work well with each other, as a lot of things might happen at the same time. So they should either complement each other, or, at the bare minimum, not clash.
Sounds should be designed to work well with each other, as a lot of things might happen at the same time.
Let’s talk about the technical process. Do you create most sounds from scratch via synthesis, or do you use libraries often?
Most of the time I would make sounds almost from scratch. Sounds from libraries are not always completely fitting for specific needs and situations. The sound might be too short or too long, in the wrong space, or wrong pitch, etc. That’s why sound designers layer and edit raw sounds to fit their needs better. Regarding synthesizers, the presets are mostly designed for music, so when working with synths I start from scratch.
Do you prefer using synthesizers to mold unique sounds, or manipulating samples?
It’s a mix of both: for realistic stuff, manipulating samples is the way, but for sci-fi/fantasy sounds, a mix of both synthesized sound and recorded samples is the best way to achieve great results.
Do you work in a studio?
No, but we do have quiet rooms for when I need to record some sounds or voice-overs.
What are your favorite digital or physical tools for the job?
I couldn’t do my job quickly and efficiently without Reaper. In recent years it has become the industry standard for game audio, and I can see why. It’s extremely customizable and supports scripting languages. Even if you can’t write a line of code, there are plenty of scripts already available to speed up workflow. Also, I couldn’t live without my Zoom F6 field recorder or my small collection of microphones, as I do quite a lot of recording.
Personally, did you have any prior technical experience in sound before working in games?
I didn’t have any experience in creating sounds, but I used to make my own electronic music; I still sometimes do for my own pleasure on a small hardware setup, just to take a break from the computer screen. So that helped a bit, but over the years I taught myself most of the skills needed for sound design.
What’s your advice for someone looking to enter the game industry as a sound designer?
Learn Reaper, lots of AAA studios are also using it. Start recording your own sounds as early as possible, and write good metadata for them so that they would be easy to find later. Record some gameplay footage of your favorite game and try to make all the sounds you think are needed for it, experiment, and have fun!
Do you have any recommendations, tips or tricks for other sound professionals?
Get a microphone if you don’t have one, it’s an easy and relatively cheap way to introduce some organic, natural-sounding flavors in whatever sound work you’re doing.
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