Sound Designer Glenn Ricci Trusts Audio Meter to Check Loudness Levels For Popular Haunted House’s Sound Effects
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA, OCTOBER 15, 2013 – As Glenn Ricci, the sound effects designer for ScareHouse, named by the Travel Channel as one of the top five haunts in the country, will tell you, sound is just as important as the visual element when it comes creating a convincingly eerie, skin-crawling atmosphere. Helping him raise the hackles of ScareHouse attendees is the TM3 TouchMonitor from RTW, a leading vendor of visual audio meters and monitoring devices for professional broadcast, production, post production and quality control.
Located in a supposedly haunted former Elk’s Club lodge in Pittsburgh, ScareHouse treats visitors to Hollywood-quality sets, characters and special effects that lend a high degree of realism (and terror). Its primary attractions include an entire haunted town, a demented anti-Santa, an alternate, zombified replica of Pittsburgh and a very nefarious basement. Human actors portray ghosts, zombies, ghouls and other evil night dwellers, sometimes grabbing at visitors for an especially authentic fright. The scares just wouldn’t be the same, however, without foreboding music, evil-sounding cackles and similar soundscapes setting the mood. Because of the importance these sound effects play, Ricci must ensure that the soundscapes he creates are smooth and the audio is on the level.
“I draw from a lot of different elements when I’m creating something for the show, so it’s important to even out the loudness levels for each source to make it sound cohesive,” says Ricci. “I might record or mix something using my own compositions, stuff from different sound libraries or even canned music, so I want to deliver a very smooth end product without uneven loudness in the final mix. I don’t want to worry about someone hitting play and not hearing the sound because it’s not as loud as the last thing they played. RTW’s TM3 really gives me the peace of mind of knowing everything is crisp, clear and even.”
Controlled using a touch-sensitive display, the TM3 features a 4.3-inch touchscreen and a stylish exterior allowing for horizontal and vertical placement. It includes a large number of graphical and numerical instruments showing single-channel along with summing-loudness bargraphs, PPM, true peak, SPL, loudness range (LRA), dialnorm and correlation. It handles analog or digital stereo signals and features a user interface allowing the selection of up to 10 presets quickly and simply with the swipe of a finger.
“I was pretty amazed with the pre-set capabilities,” says Ricci. “I like that I can program the device to customize pre-sets for me. It makes it more intuitive—you can just go and don’t have to think about it. You just spend a little bit of time setting it up based on the instruments that you plan to work with, and don’t have to think about it after that. It’s good to get different perspectives to just go between a couple of pre-sets.”
The TM3 also offers Ricci a way to ensure consistent loudness across the various software programs he uses. “What I like about having it here is that I never have to worry about what software program I’m using. I use a lot of software programs, such as Logic Pro and Abelton Live for some composition, and they all have different meters in them, so having one consistent meter that lives outside of it all is really helpful. It means I don’t have to check of the meters from a separate plug-in, which saves me time.”
“We love that RTW’s TM3 meter has not only helped improve Glenn’s workflow but that it being used to smooth the sound for such an interesting project,” says Christopher Spahr, U.S. Director of Sales and Operations, RTW. “His work for ScareHouse is a great example of how the TM3, along with the entire line of TouchMonitors, can be used outside of a traditional broadcast setting, lending a hand to sound engineers working on their mixes in post-production. It’s really a win-win for everyone involved.”
For more than 45 years, Cologne-based RTW has accompanied the steady technological progress in the professional audio industry with innovative instruments and technologies for visual audio monitoring in broadcast, production, post production and quality control. Its state-of-the-art audio and loudness metering systems have an excellent reputation throughout the world. With groundbreaking products such as the Surround Sound Analyzer, the company has been a key vendor of professional broadcast and audio metering equipment for decades.
RTW’s range of products currently include the SurroundControl series for monitoring, controlling and routing stereo, multichannel and surround audio and the TouchMonitor range, which truly marks a paradigm shift in visual audio monitoring and loudness metering. Combining maximum flexibility and modularity with an intuitive touch-enabled surface and multichannel signal analysis, the TM7 and TM9 units are the essence of many years of experience. The attractively priced TouchMonitor TM3 entry-level system opens new markets, targeting applications such as journalist cubicles, edit suites and small control rooms.
As part of its expansion into the U.S. market, in 2013 RTW established RTW International Corp. in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The new office is the first U.S. location launched by RTW, showing the company’s dedication to supporting its customers and dealer networks in the U.S. The new U.S. office will house all customer service, repair and final product assembly activities for U.S.-based RTW customers.