Snowblind’s “Lord of the Rings” Video Game Gets Dangerous

Edmeston, NY – June 22, 2010 – Craig Duman is the sound
design and music expert at Snowblind, a Warner Brothers Interactive
Entertainment Company that specializes in video games. Duman has over fifteen
years experience in game audio and has worked on over 75 games for many of the
top companies in the industry including Interplay, Shiny and Rock Star. Duman is currently in the midst of creating audio for "War in
the North," a Lord of the Rings themed game that is highly anticipated by
fantasy game players. It features all the latest in graphics and sound
technology, including the audio in 5.1 surround. At Snowblind Duman has recently
installed the Dangerous Music 2-Bus LT analog summing amp and the Dangerous Monitor ST/SR stereo and surround monitor controller. 
"One of the main reasons I went with the Dangerous Music equipment was
because I was on an ‘analog kick’ – I learned on 2-inch tape and a traditional
console," explains Duman. "I was looking to bring that analog sound and feel to
the projects that I work on. The Dangerous equipment was a natural solution to
that. I’ve been mixing-in-the-box on Pro Tools for about 15 years, and I was
looking for something that could increase the headroom in the mix environment as
well as bring back the clarity and the punch – the 2-Bus does all that along
with delivering a lot more depth too.  We have 16 D-to-A outputs from the
Digidesign 192’s and we feed them to the 2-Bus which sums them to stereo. The
2-Bus is simple to use – there’s no bells and whistles to degrade the signal
path, and its recall is easy and instantaneous, which I like. I don’t have to
write everything down like with other analog equipment."
"With mixing in the box in order to not clip the internal stereo buss you
have to bring your faders down pretty far, so you’re not using all the bits,
whereas with the Dangerous 2-Bus I can leave tracks set pretty hot. It doesn’t
clip, it doesn’t distort, and it blends the audio in a nice way. I like the Mono
function on the 2-Bus too, a lot of the game sounds I do are mono sounds, so I
just hit the switches and there it is. It’s just so much more punchy and
powerful sounding than mixing in the box. I had to go back and rework a bunch of
sounds that I did before I had the 2-Bus because they just didn’t have the punch
and sound quality that the newer sounds did."
Describing his initial reaction to setting up the Dangerous Music equipment
in the Snowblind studios, Duman recalls, "I got the 2-Bus and the Monitor ST
installed at the same time and immediately I could hear that they made a really
*^#@! big difference. I didn’t think it was going to sound this good. I was
very, very impressed."
Snowblind has given Duman and his audio group a new level of power allowing
them to actually program the sound elements into the game ‘code’ and the Monitor
ST plays a big part in making that work successfully and smoothly.  "These days
sound design and implementation are tightly woven together art forms. We really
want to punch up our games and make them stand out, we’ve got to implement the
audio in the game ourselves,’ says Duman. "When I first got started in games
we’d hand the music and sound effects to the programmers and they’d often come
back with the music in the wrong place and the wrong sound effects. Taking
complete ownership of sound implementation makes our games stand out and is done
right the first time," states Duman.
Once he found the Dangerous 2-Bus and looked over the other products, Duman
realized with the help of his salesman Ryan Sloan at Sweetwater Sound he could
also get the monitoring system he needed from Dangerous, and that it was a
system he could build on. "In addition to the 2-Bus, I was also looking for a
surround monitor controller, but initially I wasn’t focused on the surround
elements because it was early in the development of the game.  The modular
design of the Dangerous system was perfect for us.  We got the stereo Monitor ST
first and added the SR unit for surround later.  I was asked by accounting if I
could buy some now and some later – and I could.  It worked out great for my
department budget."
"I was using a low-cost monitor controller at the time," adds Duman. "The
Dangerous Music Monitor ST made my existing speakers sound better. The ST added
a lot of depth perception and I really like the repeatability of the volume
control. Also my old controller wasn’t very movable because all the cables
connected to the back of it. I like that the Dangerous remote is easily movable.
You can pick up the remote and move around the room and check your mixes in
different spots, and that’s something I really like. You can put it wherever you
want, it makes it real easy to check your mix and work in different parts of the
studio and still have control of the volume and speakers. 
Duman uses the Monitor ST/SR to listen to the game in actual play mode
because that’s how the sounds he creates and programs into the levels and game
actions are generated: during game action. "It all depends on what is going on
in the game. Sometimes the character is in front of you and sounds come out the
front speakers and sometimes that same character is behind you. I have to
monitor in surround and then adjust the in-game parameters for that mix to
happen in surround. I’ll play the game, as for example the warrior guy, I’ll go
into a level and play-test the whole level."
Having the Monitor ST’s latch and quick press "solo" speaker buttons really
help with their work, Duman explains, "I’ll hear a problem going on in the game,
‘But where is it?’ Now I can quickly solo out a channel and find out what’s
going on. Another example is ‘Why does the dialog sound terrible?’ – we can
easily diagnose the problem and fix it. Find out that it’s playing in the wrong
speaker. Because we are implanting the music and sound into the game itself,
there are so many places for it to go wrong, the Monitor ST helps us zero-in on
where it’s going wrong. And we can find it a lot faster than with other monitor
controllers – I hit the buttons really fast, other controllers may have speaker
solo buttons on them but they are not like the Monitor ST. The Monitor ST
buttons don’t stick!!! It’s easy to work with. I didn’t think the latch and
quick press solo functions would be as helpful as it they are!"
Visit the Snowblind website to find out more about the "War in
the North" Lord of the Rings
video game:
About Dangerous Music, Inc.
Dangerous Music, Inc. designs and builds products that are indispensable to
any DAW-based recording environment. Dangerous Music electronics designer Chris
Muth has spent over 20 years working in and designing custom equipment for top
recording and mastering studios. Muth and company founder Bob Muller pioneered
the concept of the dedicated analog summing buss for digital audio workstations
with the Dangerous 2-Bus in 2001. Today the company offers a wide range of
products for recording, mastering, mixing and post-production facilities, all
designed and built with mastering-quality standards and a practical aesthetic.
Key products include the Dangerous 2-Bus and 2-Bus LT, Dangerous Monitor ST-SR
and its Additional Switching System expansion units, Dangerous D-Box, Dangerous
Master, Dangerous S&M, Dangerous Monitor and Dangerous MQ. For more
information visit phone
607-965-8011 or email: [email protected]