More than a Sound Effects Publisher, he's a Master Sound Artist with the passion of collection, perfection & endles possibilities!
Who would have guessed the five year old working at the local racetrack would grow into one of the finest designer/publishers in the pro audio arena? He's here to share his advice and experiences with SoundEffects.com readers. (Scroll down, or click here to listen to Mr. Nokes' interview on SFX.fm)
--Who is Rob Nokes? What is your educational/professional background?
I started working at five years old at a horse racetrack, Assiniboia Downs, in my hometown of Winnipeg, Canada. Starting off as a gopher, I went on to be a cook, color boy (silks caretaker), part of the grounds crew, and then a TV cameraman and television switcher. At nineteen I moved to London, Ontario to attend OIART audio school, and at twenty, I was working as an assistant at Master's Workshop, a post sound studio in Toronto. My best education was through the racetrack, hockey, reading, and playing with computers in my home studio from 1982 onward.
--When and how did you start Sound Dogs?
The predecessor of Sounddogs.com, Sound Dogs--spelled with two words--was based at Sony Pictures in Culver City, California, and was founded by Robert Grieve, Greg King, and myself. My partners worked for Directors like Rob Reiner, Ben Stiller, Peter Berg, Larry Kasdan, Jake Kasdan, Michael Mann, and others. In 1996, Sound Dogs incubated Sounddogs.com for the purposes of brand building, promoting Sound Dogs to picture editors, and creating a future publishing revenue stream. Sounddogs.com went live in 1997. Unfortunately, the success of Sound Dogs and the slow growth of Sounddogs.com led to us splitting up the companies at the end of 2001. I am thankful I got Sounddogs.com because I love sound effects.
--What does SoundDogs.com offer?
Sounddogs.com offers over 600,000 sound effects, via immediate download, and production music. Our strength is SFX. I have been recording sounds for movies since 1990 when I first assisted Peter Thillaye on an IMAX movie, Gorilla's in the Midst. When I began working with Greg King at Sound Dogs Canada in 1991, we became a great team for recording sounds, with his editorial background and experience recording for English sound editors, along with my enthusiasm, we started recording the library that eventually was launched on Sounddogs.com. Fast forward twenty-three years, and clearly our expertise, experience, and passion is what Sounddogs.com offers in its libraries and service.
--What would you have done if you did not start Sounddogs.com?
Most people enter the sound effects business as a business, that's not me. I came into sound effects in an artistic pursuit of great sounds; I believe that critically listening to sounds is far more interesting than music if you apply yourself and listen to the details and nuances of good sounds. Music has rules about time, meter, pitch, harmony: it’s blah blah blah boring. Sounds have no rules: they’re either good or bad--the possibilities are endless. I prefer listening to sounds for this reason.
Collecting has always been a hobby of mine. When I was young, I collected 65,000 baseball and hockey cards. My passion for sounds turned me into an avid buyer of high quality sound libraries, like George Watters II, SoundStorm, Casablanca, Masters Workshop, Coll Anderson, and others. I've spent over $300,000 buying sound libraries--that’s passion! Anyone reading this with a good sound effects library, sell it to me. If you are a professional with skills and good equipment you should get paid for your work.
I can’t imagine my life without recording sounds. I’ve been doing it since I was ten years old. If I were not involved in sound at all, I guess I would be running a web site or working at the racetrack as a Racing Steward.
--Talk to us about your production facility. What type of equipment do you use for pre-production and post production?
I have a re-recording mix room with four Pro Tools, two D-Commands with a fader pack, MADI, HD I/O to a SoundWeb BSS 160 feeding nine JBL 6328 speakers and a sub (7.1). This room is overkill for mastering sound effects, we shoot a lot of ADR and mix movies in there. Check it out at 3rdstreetadr.com
--Tell us about your staff--if any?
It’s a small staff of three people that runs Sounddogs.com, we are dedicated to quality sounds and support. Customers are very relieved to call and speak with someone on the phone, and often, they say they wish that were the standard for all businesses.
--How do you see the future of the Sound Effects industry with the advent of the internet and the so called free sound effects?
Beneath the moniker of “free sound effects,” there is too much piracy. Pirates justify their stealing with lies to make themselves feel okay about theft, but it’s just wrong. When I spend $4,000 to record and create an awesome car set, and then hear about a sound editor thief that stole my car set off of a server, it sucks. If someone did not pay for the recording, labor, mastering, cataloging, gas, hotel, and equipment, is it really their own copyrighted sound to take and give out for free? That same thief wants to get paid for their labor. Unfortunately too many “free sound effects” are just stolen goods.
--Does Sound Dogs buy Sound Effects or Music?
Absolutely! We buy original sound library copyrights from professionals. We look for talented sound effects recordists who have a good ear for good sounds, and we will gladly buy their libraries. Recording sounds though, is the easy part; the true cost of a library comes from mastering and cataloging. A one day shoot will generate five days of mastering labor. Properly mastered libraries are worth more than original, raw recordings. Also thorough documentation is needed to ensure that the seller has the rights to sell the sounds to us--we have to carefully vet the sounds.
--What is your advice to a younger sound producer who wants to start a career in the sound fx business?
Volume. Record a lot of great sounds and master them. Stay away from common sounds like the toilet flush and generic wood door. Unique sounds, well recorded, are where you can generate value for your library. Learn how to identify great sounds, and record them the best you can.
--What is your #1 sound effects library that you would like to share with our readers?
Every library is different and has different strengths. As recording and mastering technologies improve, it’s unfair to compare sound effects’ eras. Listen to old WWII movies: they sound incredible for what they are, but sonically compared to modern recordings, they lack fidelity and dynamics. The same is true for the ¼” and DAT era: they simply do not compare to modern Zaxcom or SoundDevices recordings. A good sound is still a good sound, and it depends on where it is being used.
--What makes Sounddogs website different from other web stores?
Sounddogs is a reflection of Rob Nokes, and about me being all about recording and collecting great sounds. All my trips and vacations are based on recording sounds. It’s a passion first and a business second. No other webstore brings that same recording expertise, experience, volume and detail. Just look at my recorders when I go out for a shoot: Zaxcom Deva 5, Zaxcom Maxx, (2) Tascam DR610, KORG MR-1000, Tascam 2CH, Zoom H4N, and four ZFR-200’s. The microphones are”: (5) Neumann 190 / 191, (3) Sennheiser MKH-60, Schoeps CMIT5, AKG Solid Tube, AKG C4000B, Shure SM44, Neumann U89, Sennheiser e901, (4) Sennheiser e835, Yamaha Subkick, (4) Sanken COS-11D, (3) Sanken CUB-01’s, and more. I am going to record every sound with the right microphone to make it sound the best it possibly can sound in a recording.
--Please tell us about your professional experience in Hollywood related to Sound Effects?
I record sounds for a lot of people in Hollywood; each person has a different style or need, so it’s interesting adapting to their orders. Some people want really hot levels, different perspectives, and varied performances. I’ve learned a lot shooting for some great sound editors. Generally speaking, when I work for someone, I pull them sounds from my existing library, and then shoot for them the most important sounds for the story. I do my best to get the sound editor a lot of bang for their buck.
--Please tell us about your partners and how they interact with Sounddogs?
We promote our publishing partners by providing their logo next to their sound and having a page that tells about who they are. It’s really important to promote the fellow sound artists on the site. On a quarterly basis, we send them out a check with a log of all their sales. On occasion, we hire them directly to record sounds from their part of the world. Our partners are everywhere.
--How can potential customers reach you?
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, and in case of an emergency, you can find my cell phone on the Contact Us page at Sounddogs.com. I answer emergency support calls at night and on weekends--thankfully I get few 911 calls.
--Do you offer custom sound effects library?
Definitely. We’ve done custom work for hundreds of films and television shows. Our clients are in England, Norway, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Mexico, America, and more. We can shoot a new library and/or pull from our vast archives.
--Is there any specific Library you’d like to share with our readers?
Right now I am mastering the George Watters II SFX library; it’s excellent--lots of detail and time went into shooting this library. Great sounds. We’re in discussions about mastering a historic sound library from Europe.
--What would you like to share as a final message to our readers?
If you have questions or need advice about recording or mastering, I am happy to share my experiences with people. You can also reach me about selling your library or having us build a custom library.
--What special promotion can you offer to our SoundEffects.com readers?
Call us and we’ll send you a sound effects and production music cd, and if you like we’ll give you an extensive bonus for a prepaid account at Sounddogs.com. Let us know how we can help you!
Sounds have no rules:
they’re either good or bad--
the possibilities are endless.
expertise, experience, and passion
is what Sounddogs.com offers
Collecting has always been a hobby of mine. When I was young, I collected 65,000 baseball and hockey cards.
When I spend $4,000 to record and create an awesome car set, and then hear about a sound editor thief that stole my car set off of a server, it sucks.
Rob's Special Promotion for SoundEffects.com Readers:
Call us, and we’ll send you a sound effects and production music cd,
and if you like we’ll give you an extensive bonus for a prepaid account at Sounddogs.com. Let us know how we can help you!
North American customers call toll-free (5:00am-5:30pm PST Monday-Friday)
Customers outside of North America call collect for free
Hablamos español - Spanish Spoken
Sounddogs Site Tutorials: English, Spanish and Portuguese
24-hour editorial, emergency-only support (personal cell # - must be critical)
RobNokes@gmail.com Rob Nokes - President and Founder
Contact via Skype: Rob Nokes
Augustine Pereira - Music Licensing/Content Suppliers
Contact via Skype: Augustine Pereira
Lori Steele - Administration
4712 Admiralty Way # 497
Marina Del Rey, California, 90292, USA
AOL Instant Message: SOUNDDOGSSUPPORT
Yahoo! and MSN Instant Message: SOUNDDOGS