I started Track Time Audio about a year ago because I love car sounds but hadn’t had an opportunity to use that passion productively. After finishing school I moved back to Minneapolis where my wife is still finishing off her schooling, and needed something to keep my sound skills fresh. I was also very aware that there’s a large segment of the internet dedicated to cars in some way (be it car clubs or racing games or auto blogs) but no one was really talking about car sound. See, there are many characteristics of a car that make up its identity. The look is a big part: how its body lines flow from front to rear, how it sits relative to the ground, if its “face” has a look to it. Then there’s the interior, how the driver fits the seat, how the gauges are laid out, what materials are used, etc. And there’s the driving performance, like how communicative the steering is or how touchy the brake pedal is. But one of the most memorable is the sound of the car, the rumble at idle or the scream at red line. The tone and character of that sound will have just as much emotional impact on the perception of the car as the looks do. And that sonic impression further follows into things like the turn signal indicator or the sound of the door shut (where many a study has been performed). And yet out of all of the entirety of car info on the internet, no one was really delving into the sonic aspect. Hence the creation of TTA.
Since its launch just over a year ago, I’ve been lucky enough to interview people who work in car sound professionally. Many of which have been from the video game camp, though some have also come from TV production. I hope to be able to expand into car manufacturers in the near future, too. In the course of the year I’ve written about things from how the camshaft in the engine can affect the rumble or “lope” of the tone of the exhaust, to how Audi has their own “Sound Studio,” to the recent collab with Damian on the Racing Game Sound Study. In that time I’ve learned quite a few tips and tricks on recording cars and about the length and breadth of the process of preparing a car sound for video game (or film) use. But it wasn’t until seeing Chris Figueroa‘s presentation on Kickstarter at an IGDA:TC meeting that I decided I could try my hand at making my own recording.
Which brings us to the topic at hand: The Dyno Sessions 001: The Kickstarter. As of this writing the project has been fully funded! Be sure to still consider donating, though, as your only opportunity to get a hold of these sounds is through donating to the project. I am ready to compile all I’ve learned through TTA and put it into practice in my own dynamometer recording session. However, doing so is not free. I will need to rent the space and technician, rent a stack of microphones, acquire a better recording setup, and provide the results to everyone. To keep budget as low as possible I’ll even be using my own car. For an idea of the breadth of work that goes into just recording, I’ve uploaded a .PDF of both take sheets (one that is for on-dyno time and one for things that can be recorded off-dyno.) On top of this, there is editing and compiling the results, plus writing articles on TTA on the process. I’ve even found a local film crew that can produce a short documentary for an extra $300, meaning I won’t have to film it myself, meaning much better results. If the process is well-received then I will be able to continue the Dyno Sessions series with other cars in the future, or maybe even be hired to do car audio professionally. So please, check out the project page, watch my corny video, tell all your friends about it, and donate what you can.
Thanks very much for reading and thank you to the Creating Sound crew for inviting me!