Anybody know of anyway to create a low rumbling earthquake like sound? The only way i've managed to see online is to rub a balloon, but the rumbling is short when I can actually make the sound. Any suggestions? I am going to assume o lot of processing will need to take place, but looking for an initial sound to record and work with.

  • there are so many good answers to this already, but I thought of this question the other day when I was at the mall!. I heard someone rolling around one of those huge metal dumpsters on pavement and it made a great rumble. I wish I had my recorder on me. Just a thought...
    – aross001
    Mar 28, 2012 at 19:07

15 Answers 15


Blow (gently) directly into your microphone.
Roll off the high-end.

No synths, no fancy jiggery-pokery.

If you're worried about ruining a nice condenser, try it with an SM57 with the cap pulled off.

You could also try dragging the 57 along the ground. The rougher the better.


If you want a textured rumble I've made them by processing source sounds like fires, a roller door, animals stampeding etc... processing = a low pass filter plus a subharmonic generator eg LowEnder plug.... Be careful where you set your LPF, good rumbles are in the LCR speakers as well as the sub...


One technique I used: took a large rolled up carpet and dragged it slowly across a cement floor. Then pitched the sound down a couple of octaves in the workstation. The lack of a distinct pitch was useful in this case--it was a low, rumbling noise.


I've gotten great rumbles from the drum skins - the larger the better. Just hold it loose and shake gently so that it's got some movement; it'll probably sound a bit 'snappy' but record at a high sample rate and pitch down to get a nice deep sound.

  • I forget who, but a sound designer online used a bodhran to amazing effect to get LFE's. Very effective, but only for hits, not rumbles. Mar 27, 2012 at 22:49


Camel Audio Alchemy is brilliant for this as you can use either waveforms or sampled sources or a combination of those. After that it's a case of just modulating and filtering it.

But you can of course get all kinds of rumbling by just low pass filtering a heavily modulated or noise containing synth patch.


I just made a really nice low rumble the other day by taking a 96k recording of AM radio static and pitch-shifting it down 2 or 3 octaves.


I use several different techniques for rumble, but blowing in cardioid condenser mics and shaking a humongous sheet of thin steel is what I use the most. Other good things is grinding a large boulder on the ground and pitching it, or large waterfalls from certain angles.

The shockwave in the sound used for the first atomic bomb was a recording from the Niagara Falls, slowed down. The explosion was actually regular dynamite razing a house, as it burns very slow for an explosive!

Yet another good rumble, though I can't remember where it was used right now, was a room filled with a very old but sturdy newspaper printing-press.

When it comes to synthesizers, I never use them for this kind om sound. There are things they are great for, but their sound is far too synthetic to make a convincing earthquake.


Driving through a rocky/bumpy road and recording inside the car?

This is the raw recording, think of what you could do with it:



Well, i took once a pre-generated pink noise, processed it with Quadra Fuzz (20-60hz max gain), passed through a LP Filter, then Maximizer, a reverberation (optional) and a limiter at the end. The resulting sound is exactly a low rumble, though it'd be nice to add some "earthly" elements to it.


85hz sine tone, with doppler and then a delay. EQ if needed.


Lie your mic (without any stands etc) down on a picnic table, then drag something heavy along the surface of the table. I'd say a contact mic would work best with this, but anything would do really; I used the internal mics on my portable recorder.

I accidentally got some nice sounds this way, the vibrations in the table recorded by your mic will be a nice low frequency rumble. I personally was dragging a brick across a spare paving slab, on top of the table, with my DR100 on the table too.

EDIT: (The picnic table was also on paving slabs, but this may work with it on bare ground too)


Similarly to Tim if had good results processing source materials. I recorded some jet plane sounds with a lot of low energy then pitched down and low passed the file to get some serious rumbling effects!


I use the low rumbling of thunder recordings as a basis for earthquakes and add sliding doors pitch shifted down and other things to it as well. A roll of carpet dragged across the floor and pitch shifted down is another option that can work.


I accidentally pitch shifted a large audience applause recording in sound miner and it sounded pretty cool.


I came accidentally on this thread. Interesting comments here. I just finished a sample bank of 61 different texture of rumbles (not only for earthquakes) made ​​almost exclusively with Sculpture in Logic Pro. Amazing what you can do with this instrument presumably obsolete!

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