Sound Effects

Every time I sit down and go through the presets on my synths I’m reminded that these things can be used for crazy sound effects and not just musical, “instrumenty” sounds. I want to start delving into this sort of sound design because the results are just so fun and I know I’ll end up learning things I can use in my music as well.

I don’t have anything to share at this point, but I thought it would be great to have a thread where people can share their sound effects, discoveries and patches, and find inspiration and prompts to make their own space ships, alien creatures, submarines, old-timey car horns, abstract soundscapes, and whatever else they can think of.

So post 'em if you’ve got 'em!


Great idea for a thread!

I’m of the same mind and the same amount of engagement. At some point, I’ll get productive with fx exploration and post something tangible. Motivating me towards exploring more deeply the fx gear that I own is the one I’m eyeing: Eventide H9000 or H9000R. It occurred to just yesterday that the only way I could justify purchasing one would be if I were to use it to a fair degree in the ways you mention.

The first obligatory source for everyone interested in synthetic sound design/effects is the work of Andy Farnell a.k.a. Obiwannabe. His book and old tutorials are excellent and full of practical knowledge.


i’m currently working on synthesized nature sounds for an art installation, fire, water, wind, thunder, birds and a goose. some examples from andy farnell helped me alot in understanding how to build, layer these sounds. for the goose i used the makenoise dpo only and played it with a ribbon controller, here are two sketches:

…not that sound effecty but still fun to explore :slight_smile:


Great book recommendation. I have whatever edition has the yellowish cover and it was some of my first intro to Pd.

Nice timing on this thread too as I am currently (well procrastinating from) editing a piano track I recorded last week with some glitchy sound effects to match the video we shot for it and it is a lot of fun. Using Glitch 2 which is a blast from the past for me and I forgot how much fun it is. Must remember to be subtle…

These are totally what I mean by sound effects! Maybe a better title for the thread would be “Non-Musical Sound Design” so people don’t assume it has to be unnatural sci-fi stuff.

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Having ducks around in the town I live in, I confess these are really natural sounding.

well if that’s true then i failed, it needs to be a goose not a duck :flushed:
but maybe it’s near enough…

I frankly don’t know the difference but it sounds very close to the birds chillin’ out in the park :sweat_smile:

Not super adventurous, but this morning I wanted to create the sound of a rainy beach with my modular. Sound sources are a Pittsburgh Primary Oscillator and Dixie II with lots of cross modulation and self-patching, with various outputs sent to the inputs of a Steiner-Parker filter. The movement of the patch comes from Frames in quad LFO mode which can really quickly produce lovely natural sounding undulations. The droney tone that comes in and out towards the end is just feedback from the spring reverb.


I’ve been getting into shortwave listening the past few months and decided to put together a bank of patches inspired by shortwave signals on my DSI Pro 2. I’ve made these 4 so far, my favorite one uses the keyboard and mod wheel to make the synth “talk”.


I did a series of sweeping sounds out of this patch on my modular. I don’t remember it exactly but it was something along the lines of an oscillator’s sawtooth going into a sweeping highly resonant filter, then the oscillator’s triangle wave going into a BBD while the filter output modules it.
The sound reminds me of some kind of spaceship sound effect I’ve heard before but I can’t put my finger on it. A kind of destructive beam perhaps?

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Terrific! Wow, this evokes such fond memories of the “Conet Project.”


Some unusual sounds made with Benjolin, 3 Sisters and Magneto - delayed and filtered clicks that to me sound somewhere between marine life and birds:


Feels relevant here:

From Soundcloud:

Aquatic and synthesized life; distant voices; pure perception.

Seiji Takahashi: Cue(@seiji-takahashi)
Jonáš Gruska: Volanie (@jonas-gruska)
Otto Siddharta: Negendau
Josiah Steinbrick: (Two Bonangs, Coated Spheres, Piano, Two Synthesizers, Natural Objects) (@leavingrecords)
Annea Lockwood: Water Gong
Haruomi Hosono: バイバイ (Bye Bye)
Laraaji: I Am Ocean
Jon Hassell: Caracas Night September 11, 1975
Hideo Osaka: Take No Odori
Andrew Pekler: Bororo (@pekler)
Annea Lockwood: Popina To Rasova
François Bayle: petite polyphonie
Noël Akchoté, Erik Minkkinen, Andrew Sharpley: Rien (@noelakchote-1)
Sontag Shogun: no.16 (Windmill) (@sontagshogun)
Joshua Bonnetta: Everything that was Ever Something
Geoffrey Landers: Minored Birds
Abby Lee Tee: Respository II (@abbyleetee)
Rubén D’Hers: Disipador de tension (@dhers)
Ludwig Berger: Cargo (@ludwigberger)
Mika Vainio: Tila
Frank Bretschneider, ralph streinbrüchel: spirale
Rafael Toral: The Stars (@rtoral)
Tom Arthurs, Isambard Khroustaliov: Can’t Unsee (@tomarthurs) (@isambardkhroustaliov)
Kenneth Kirschner: September 19, 1998 (@kennethkirschner)
Izabela Dłużyk: Dawn with the white storks
John Cage, Hildegard Kleeb: Prelude for a Meditation


Great thread. Saw Francis Preve’s talk about his Scapes project which aims to recreate natural sounds using stock Ableton plugins and found it very inspiring. Also the Andy Farnell book is a great resource.