Seattle, WA—May 2017… In films, video games, virtual reality experiences, commercials, and the like, things are rarely what they appear to be. That’s especially true with Foley effects, which are often achieved by creatively recording sound sources that are completely unrelated to the purported source shown in the picture. You think you hear the onscreen character walking in snow; what you actually hear is the sound of Seattle audio engineer, Foley artist, and voice actor Jamie Hunsdale squeezing a box of corn starch. A cofounder, with partner Brandon Hogan, of audio post-production firm Impossible Acoustic, Hunsdale’s willingness to do almost anything to create sound-effects magic has earned him the proud moniker “Foley Rambo.”
After the sometimes risky work of smashing things, climbing on piles of rusty metal, and navigating hostile environments to get the perfect sound, Hunsdale brings his sounds back to the studio, where he ensures that they’re up to expectations. For that, he relies on a pair of Mackie XR824 two-way studio monitor speakers.
“This work is subtle,” he offers. “We have to make organic sounds realistic yet larger than life, which sometimes requires many layers of component sounds. When I’m doing my job right, you don’t notice any of it—but I have to hear every detail. You can really do yourself an injustice if you monitor sound effects in a way that colors or hypes the sound. So I didn’t want monitors that wowed me more; I wanted monitors that wowed me less. The Mackie XR824s are more honest than other speakers I’ve used. They pointed out areas in my mixes that needed help.”One major challenge in mixing and monitoring sound for picture is to ensure the audio will sound good in a wide variety of viewing environments. “Our sounds need to work in every shape, size, and variation of theater, from a foreign movie theater, to an inflatable screen in a parking lot, to people watching on their iPhones or laptops,” recounts Hunsdale. “It’s crucial that we can trust what we’re sending out will translate in playback on any system. When I monitor on the XR824s, I have a high degree of confidence that I’m hearing everything accurately, so I trust my mixes will translate.”
Even with his years of experience, Hunsdale was amazed at the difference the XR824s made in his work. “I mixed on another set of monitors for several years before switching to the Mackie XR824s,” he confesses. “With the XR824s, I hear high end and stereo separation that I didn’t hear with the other monitors. In fact, I was shocked and even embarrassed when I first switched to the XRs and went back and listened to a few of the older projects that I worked on. I heard things I wish I had caught at the time but the other monitors didn’t expose them.”
The XR824 features a 1-inch black anodized aluminum tweeter and an 8-inch Kevlar® woofer. A logarithmic wave guide provides acoustic alignment for balanced sound across the frequency spectrum, while Mackie’s ELP™ Bass Reflex System delivers superior output capability and extended low-frequency response. The result is clear, accurate, full-range sound reproduction that enables Hunsdale to catch every subtlety in his mixes. “The Mackie XR824s have made an incredible difference in my work,” confirms Hunsdale. “I just wish I’d had them years ago.”