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Boom Wildcats Sound Effect Pack Review
Review by George Spanos
As we all know sound effects are an important part of a sound designer's toolset. Depending on the type of sound you need to create there really are only three options.
1. Record your own sounds in the field or the studio
2. Use some sort of synth or other plugin/hardware unit
3. Make use of pre-existing sound effect libraries
Obviously the above three options are a really simplistic and boiled down set of options, but they are definitely the foundation for sound design and sound effect creation.
Sometimes it is simply not feasible to record your own sounds because of a variety of factors: time constraints, no access to the real-life counterpart, or lack of gear with which to properly record. And other times creating sounds from digital means in your computer or via a piece of outboard gear simply will not give you the results you are after. Very often you may need another sound to layer into what you have previously recorded, either to create an entirely new sound or simply to augment what you already have edited.
This is where sound effect libraries can come in. In this article we will be reviewing Boom Library's Wildcats - Tigers and Lions sound effect package. Obviously, this library is all about big wildcats. Access to these types of wild animals can be pretty limited and recording them can take a lot of time. Sourcing a suitable location, gaining access, and having the right recording gear can add up quickly in terms of both cost and time.
This review was not solicited by Boom library, I asked them for the Wildcats package to review independently. What follows is my honest opinion after listening to and working with the library over the course of a couple of weeks. Boom offered to provide gamesounddesign.com readers with a 10% discount code which I will publish at the end of this review for you to use. The discount in no way affected my honest review of the library.
Overview of Wildcats
This sound effect package is available as both a direct download and a shipped product from Boom's website. I opted for the direct download and received four zipped folders containing over 4 GB of data. The zipped folders contained a dedicated Lion, Tiger, and Lioness set of recordings at 24 bit, 192 kHz and another folder with all the sounds at 24 bit 48 kHz.
Quite often the need for pitch shifting of raw sound files is needed when designing monsters or creatures that need guttural and threatening vocalizations, for example. The higher the sampling rate means the less degradation of high frequency content when pitching the sounds down and can often reveal frequencies which were once too high in pitch for the human ear to hear. So the fact that this library was made available at 192 kHz makes me very happy. It also ensures that the recordings are future-proof, as DAWs and plugins are more readily able to handle these higher sampling rates natively.
Growls, Roars, and Other Things
Naturally one would expect to get a healthy sampling of growls and roars with a library that features wild cats. This library does not disappoint. Each of the lion, tiger, and lioness folders contain a fair number of growls and roars at varying intensities and inflections. Occasionally you can hear a bit of room reverberation in the recordings, especially in the lion roars, but it really is minimal. The tiger roars are wonderfully clear and detailed, so much so that they make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
In addition to roars and growls you get a healthy dose of the lion eating which is a nice added bonus. The eating may not be the most useful sounds in the library but they are nice to have, especially if you are working on a project which features a big cat eating prey. Some very nicely recorded wet lion snarls round out the lion folder along with some sniffs that are more reminiscent of soft growls.
A nice surprise in the tiger folder was the inclusion of some cougar squeaks. These are some great high pitched roar type of sounds which I can see being very useful as an element for a medium sized alien-type of creature, should you happen to be working on one. Also found in the tiger folder are some great exhale breaths both with and without a little growl at the start. You also get some tiger moans and snarls which provide you with some nice additions that are not merely growls and roars.
The lioness folder contains some group lion roars and snarls which are pretty roomy, but that is to be expected when recording a number of these big animals together. Also included in the lioness folder are some sniffs that are a nice touch to round out the collection.
Overall I am very happy with this library. It is definitely one of the best out there that features a great array of wildcat sounds. These can be used as-is for a literal representation of the cats they are, or mixed with other sounds to provide some nice bite for that monster or alien creature in your game.
The only other thing that would be on my wishlist is for this library to have included some baby and young tiger and lion sounds. As I mentioned earlier the cougar squeaks were a nice touch, but some more young cats thrown in would have made it a perfect library. But this really is a small qualm and should not hold you back from seriously considering this package.
You would indeed be hard-pressed to find this many variations of growls, roars, snarls, breaths, and sniffs in another package at this fidelity.
Boom library is giving gamesounddesign.com readers a 10% discount to be applied in their store towards the purchase of any of their sound effect packages. Just head over to their store and enter this code when you check out: GSD-BOOM10
-Recording fidelity: 9/10
-Variety of sounds: 8.5/10