As a newcomer I'm somewhat confused about the scope of this SE sub site. The sub domain "sound.stackexchange.com" tells me it is a broad sound oriented scope (and most of the questions I see support this), the title tells me it is 'Sound Design' strictly and the history tells me that a merge between SSD and AVP took place which widened the scope.

There is no other broad audio production SE, so where - if not here - should people put questions related to audio related gear, audio engineering, mixing, live productions, mastering etc?

Moreover the audio world in general is filled with rather diffuse and overlapping terms for the different disciplines, and there is a great overlap in knowledge in all of them, i.e. it is very likely that a person with bias towards specific discipline will be able to answer questions in other areas.

Studio engineer, Recording engineer, Mixing engineer, Mastering engineer, Sound designers, Tonmeisters, Game audio designers, Live sound engineer, FOH technicians, Instrument technicians.. and the list goes on. It seems plain stupid to set up that many SE's when the shared knowledge domain is that big. The tagging system could IMO suffice to identify relations.

So the big question is: why is this SE name biased towards "Sound Design" in its naming - why not just "Sound" or "Sound Production"?


5 Answers 5


I have to agree that "Sound Production" would be a much more logical name than "Sound Design". From several decades in both audio and video production, "Sound Design" has a very specific definition which is much narrower than the stated scope of the forum in question. And if segregating equipment questions is desired, then create a forum called "Sound Equipment", etc.

  • It seems completely capricious and arbitrary that this forum is defined... "* live production audio" and "* field recording" but then but studio activities are narrowly defined as "* mixing and recording in a studio from the perspective of the sound tech" Can anyone explain the reason for that? Is there some other forum for "studio production"? Or for studio design, etc? Commented May 6, 2016 at 1:11

In my view, the constant barrage of "off-topic" questions strongly indicates the need for a more general-purpose audio forum. Even the narrower topic of audio production seems to be excluded from this ultra-narrow forum of "Sound DESIGN". I continue to think the name (and the scope) of this forum cause constant confusion and "abuse" by people with quite legitimate topics that don't fit within the very narrow scope of "Sound Design".

  • I recently proposed a new SE Site for Film/TV Sound Recording but this was quashed by SE with no discussion. Emails to moderator have gone unanswered. This forum is way to broad to be of any possible use.
    – Mark
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 2:49

I'd rather add this as a comment, but as I'm missing the required rep here it goes...

I agree with other users, and believe "Sound Production" to a better name compared to "Sound Design", and here's why:

I do a lot of part-time work as a sound tech for live events/concerts. I rarely get the chance to "design" anything, as I more often than not only have enough time to figure out approximately how a band wants to sound before doing a quick soundcheck. A lot of times there isn't time for anything but a quick line check, with bands often starting their show during it.

Sound design sounds to me like it's narrowed down into sound recorded for film or similar, and doesn't include the live aspect of sound. Stuff such as to what mics are best for certain instruments or mic techniques in a live setting just doesn't feel like it belongs under "sound design", and neither does topics such as rigging, or virtually anything related to doing a live show from the technical aspect to the more administrative side of it all.


Audio production, engineering, mixing, live production and mastering would all be on topic. Gear is potentially on topic, but is also possibly problematic depending on where it is trying to go. If it is shopping or repair related, chances are good it will go foul.

The full site description gives the best explanation:

Sound Design is a site dedicated to questions and answers about professional sound design and production.

Questions that are on topic include questions about:

  • sound design in the film and video game industries
  • live production
  • audio mixing and recording in a studio from the perspective of the sound tech
  • field recording
  • 3
    But why is it still called 'Sound Design' then? Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 6:35
  • Michael - why not? The title is just a short description - if you wanted it to describe all that it would be that long...The site is about sound design.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 6:54
  • 2
    The site seems about a lot more than 'sound design'. Lots of questions relate to technical issues, live production etc. The current title has a bias towards the creative design aspect of sound production. My point is that in reality the questions you see in here is a well spread between all thinkable audio disciplines, not just sound design. "Sound Production" or simply "Sound" would probably fit better to the actual use and scope. Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 15:01
  • @MichaelHansenBuur - there was a lot of debate about that early on around and after the merger. The previous site was Social Sound Design and so the name kind of came from there, but the thought process behind keeping it was that we are looking for more design oriented questions rather than basic technical questions. In other words, they should generally be somewhat related to theory, if only loosely. There is a greater focus on the art of sound. It isn't exactly a perfect fit and some stuff that is on topic goes outside of that, but it was the closest we could come up with.
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 17:55
  • The problem with just "Sound" is that that becomes unclear that things like hifi and home audio aren't on topic. Similarly, professional sound was a bit too narrow in some aspects and a bit too broad in others as well. There wasn't really a clean name, so by default we kind of stuck with what we had. I don't object to the idea of trying to figure out something better, but it's harder than it "sounds".
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Commented Aug 15, 2015 at 17:56
  • 1
    What about 'Sound Production' then? It seems to me that it would embrace all of the disciplines and exclude the hifi reproduction branch. Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 13:32
  • @MichaelHansenBuur - I believe the argument on that one is that it didn't feel like it included the design side particularly well for those from that side of things. I don't remember exactly. Personally, I was with you that I thought that was a better alternative, but there wasn't a strong public agreement at the time.
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 13:56
  • 1
    @AJHenderson Music SE was named Music: Practice and Theory. Following the same direction, here you could use something like "Sound Synthesis and Engineering". Sound Design can refer to any induced change in sound dynamics, so it doesn't seem to be a good fit for the intended scope of this site. I've been part of some discussions in this site, and even some of your avid users seem to be confused by the scope. Perhaps this naming issue needs to be resolved, rather than explained.
    – NPN328
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 21:11
  • @RoryAlsop The current name doesn't fit the intended scope in either direction. I feel like it's too vague (or narrow, depending on the interpretation) to be useful, and it's by far the most used reference for the scope of a site (I wonder how many users actually read the full site description). Read my comment above.
    – NPN328
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 21:16
  • Remember the way we ended up with a name change on music? A meta post requesting options, then community voting, then SE discussions. Worth doing, although as we are still a small beta I don't know how high priority it will be.
    – Rory Alsop Mod
    Commented Aug 17, 2015 at 21:29
  • @JCPedroza mostly due to there having not been much apparent community interest in it and most of us were here for the last go around on trying to improve the naming. There are also (or at least were) factions of the community that want it more limited. So consensus is hard. The merger of the audio crowd from AVP and the social sound design crowd was, how shall we say, less than smooth. In addition, as I understand it, SE generally doesn't like long names, so you have to make a really strong case for them and normally can only change once, so we'd need to make sure it's a very good change.
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 16:49
  • @RoryAlsop I feel like a concise and clear scope is fundamental for growth, and a title with those characteristics is no exception. With that in mind, there's no better time to address the name of the site than now because the site is still small.
    – NPN328
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 16:49
  • 1
    Personally, I don't feel that I have a good enough name alternative to be worth using our change, though if someone had a strong suggestion that we haven't tried before (or that the community now showed more interest in), I could get behind it.
    – AJ Henderson Mod
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 16:49
  • @AJHenderson When SE was watching Music SE name change they told us that they were not interested in names like "stack overflow" or "server fault" anymore, and were looking for more descriptive stuff, and had no issues with the new name. It shouldn't be an issue here either, if it fits the site. For other examples, SE has names like "Theoretical Computer Science", "Science Fiction & Fantasy", "Personal Finance & Money", "Geographic Information Systems", etc.
    – NPN328
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 16:53
  • @AJHenderson I can see how difficult naming this site accurately and concisely can be, but you don't have to start the change with a name in mind. Perhaps you can poll the user base, let the community share possibilities and see if we can find a better name through a meta post.
    – NPN328
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 16:56

Sound production and sound reproduction go hand in hand. Unless we have 10+ different categories such as

  • Microphones

  • Room Acoustics

  • Speakers

  • Digital Sound Engineering

  • Sound Recording

  • Studio Equipment

which we will never have, we need to combine them into a single package.

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