Hi guys I'm currently working on a project that includes enormous robots transforming, I've read a lot about the sound of transformers and I've been experimenting with a lot of different techniques and plugins so any suggestions on what sounds to search for or plugins that you recommend using or a certain process that you have to archive that sound would be highly appreciated!


7 Answers 7


You can make the classic transformers sound using a flange and tremelo and preferably source input that rises and falls in some way. For example ....choose anything from a simple sine to a complex sample, slow lfo on it's pitch, pass it through meta flanger into tremelo and fiddle with the trem speed etc.

For more complex transformations, it's good to choose your source samples wisely. You want a disparate mix of machinery,various automobiles ,metal being played with, all at varying lengths ...then some pre-rendered synthesised source fx such as filtered noise , laser zaps, dark menacing tones, sub elements. Obviously all source should be well recorded. Don't use anything that can't be warped without losing it's quality too much.

The you can go about combining these in various ways. This depends on what software you use....

As said above, synths like Massive and Dcam are good for creating your synthesised parts. Alchemy is great for combining and manipulating your source. Reaktor is always handy for both.Using Kore fx is ok also, especially if you modulate the fx paramters using same controller/envelope change affecting the sources envelope(s).

Generally speaking,you want to experiment with the pitch, speed, direction, frequency of each sample. So set up envelopes for those parameters on your sampler or record automation to reuse. Trigger the samples manually in different orders ,or several together. You'll start to modulate the envelopes of each to work with the other and the sounds will then start to mould together.

An easy way of doing this is to use multiple channels in your daw,

Example, loading your chosen sampler on three channels. In each , assigning a different range of source samples and modulation settings, then triggering all three by keyboard note,you can delay or change note on separate channels to create different combinations.

Render these as you are manipulating them. Now you have a whole variety of organic machinelike modulations

Then you lay these out on another sampler to trigger, manipulate and combine them in sync with your project.

I made a similar library called robostep, which can be found here



  • Thank you for your answer that's exactly the path I followed, I used Metaflanger, Mondomod and the GRM Delays combining both synthetic elements and also organic elements I'm really happy with the final result, I'll post a link to the video once it's finished thanks!
    – Tripps
    Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 4:58

If you haven't already seen them, designing sound has some videos about the sound design for the films.



I highly recommend the Search function on the website ;)

Transformers 3 teaser trailer sound

  • I did that but I couldn't find a lot of detailed information in that post and I also did some kyma experimenting already so, that's why I posted a new thread.
    – Tripps
    Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 2:55
  • Did you check out the soundworks video linked to in the other post? Loads of stuff there. Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 15:39

Transformers is done with lots of synthesis. You can create some awesome sounds in programs like massive or reaktor but as far as the metallic sounds you need to try some foley work. I know for footsteps you can combine some car doors slamming and gate a lfe hit to give it body. Also something simple as pots and pans and silverware will work for when the transformer actually transform. You can also go out and get some stuff at homedepot and collect all sizes and weights of metal beams or tools and this should get you a really great start.

  • Cool thanks for the advise will try some massive tonight see how it goes...
    – Tripps
    Commented Mar 14, 2012 at 1:37

Been doing a lot of thinking about just this topic. Servos, metal impacts, gear/mechanical types of sounds, lots of them, in very quick succession. I think that's probably a good start.


Check out the "Transform" library from Twisted Tools. Some really fantastic sounds, and they come both as WAV files and mapped out in many of the common sampler formats.

Cheers, ~Matt

  • Yeah I saw that library looks really cool for sure is just that I wanted to do the sounds myself instead of buying them but I might in case I get really stuck Thanks!
    – Tripps
    Commented Mar 16, 2012 at 2:45

Cheap technics.Try Video recorder servos & digital camera optic movings.

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