Back in 2017 I first decided to create Soundsauca. I had been working as a web designer many years but my hobby has for decades been all things synthesisers, and especially sound design. With a quiet spell on my work I thought about having a project where I could work around other commitments and do something I really loved.
As any synth aficionado will testify, synths are an addictive pastime. I’ve made many sounds over the years, but they were stored on old backups and generally all over the place. Many needed fine tuning to be useable. Despite wanting to launch the site as soon as possible, I knew it would be silly to put things live with just one sound bank and a few pages.
After some deliberation, I opted to take the time to compile five sound banks. That way there would be some substance and variety on offer. I wanted to do more, but setting up Soundsauca had to be balanced alongside the sound development.
I chose to make Superluminal for the Roland JD-990 first. The Super JD has always been one of my favourite synths, with timeless sound qualities that yield unbelievable patches decades later. I scoured my back catalogue of patch creations and loaded them up in my ancient but useful beta version of Emagic/Apple’s Sounddiver. It was a bit of a fudge to get working as Sounddiver is obsolete software now. I set to work on completing the full 64 patch sound-set.
Following on, I chose the Novation Mininova for the sound bank Novatronix. Having owned the original Nova since the late 90’s, I’ve always admired the classic warm Novation sound. But the Mininova is more current and has a wider range of synthesis capabilities.
The Mininova is often underrated, alongside its bigger brother the Ultranova. At it’s heart though, is an enormously powerful synth engine which really can do some exotic sounds. The effects section is also completely integrated into the mod-matrix, allowing for envelopes and lfos to be used as synthesis blocks themselves.
The last three banks are for the Roland System-1. This neon encrusted chameleon synth can host a range of plug-out mono-synths. Whilst it won’t win any beauty awards or set any quality control standards, the appeal to me was the internal synth. It has an especially diverse range of waveforms to offer. It’s also great to use as a control surface with plenty of knobs and sliders for sound sculpting.
Next I looked at website platform options. I considered using off the shelf solutions, but wanted to do it “my way”. In hindsight I should have saved myself a huge amount of work developing Soundsauca, but that’s not my way. I’ve been a web designer for many years, so designing a website was straightforward enough, I had a pretty good idea on how Soundsauca should look so it didn’t take too long to design the visuals. The challenges came in the web development stage, when integrating the e-commerce aspect to the website. I don’t think I’m naturally a coder but I knew enough to get myself into trouble… Several times I felt I’d bitten off more than I could chew, but through shear stubbornness and hard work, I persisted with integrating the back end to the front end.
Making sounds and putting them on a website sounded easy enough, but I knew the need for exposure to set them apart. Along with loving sound, I’m a very visual person, I wanted to present my sound banks with some videos. As a regular YouTuber, I see many synthesizer demonstrations. I knew that my playing was certainly not good enough to have a camera in front of me. I’m also way too shy to do so. Another option I had was to produce some animated graphics for the sound demos. I’d never tried making videos before. It couldn’t be that hard – could it?
What came next was probably the single biggest time drain of the whole project. I’d never used video editing software such as Adobe After Effects Apple Motion or Final Cut Pro. I knew I would need to invest serious effort getting up to speed but I liked what was possible. For weeks and weeks I watched tutorials on animation and video editing to teach myself some of these techniques. The result is a bit of a mismatch stylistically, with presentation being a bit awry, as I used this process to learn how to do things. I learnt through this that motion graphics is probably not my forte, so in the future, I’m going to try my hand at some photography. I believe this will be a more economic route to adding visual aspects to the sounds.
On the whole, I’m very happy with the results of the website. I have a custom built, integrated e-commerce site with blog, where I can showcase my sounds. I now hope to spend my time focusing on expanding my range of sound packs for the future.