Hey there,

My mother really likes to build those miniature cities that many build at this time of the year, with "tiny persons" and houses, mini cars etc.. so I thought it would be nice to give a soundscape to the city.

My idea is to build a long-enough track so that when you stop and stare at it for a while, you don't quickly realize that it already looped to were you first started to listen to it.

So I came up with a challenge I still can't resolve, do you guys know of any way I can lets say, ensamble a library with sounds to be used (all of them) and with some software choose randomly between them? ofcourse with the ability to play several at the same time as there would be ambiences but also specific sounds like ice skates or bells of some sort (reminding us of chrismtas :) )


3 Answers 3



What a sweet idea! I guess there are many ways to do this. I would recommend to use Ableton Live or Max Msp. Both have the ability to loop sounds in interesting (non repetitive) ways. It will take some time to figure it out in Max, Live would be the easiest, youtube some tutorials on it. As far as selecting sounds, this is just plain and simple work, especially in Live.

Good luck!

  • hey! your'e right! I have a music proj with a friend and his main Daw is ableton, and I remember he once showed me he could do that in the session view and I really just forgot about it! thanks, I decided to go with Fmod though :), I guess it has more control over the "random" factors, but im sure max would do the trick pretty good as well! Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 21:19

I would highly recommend Figure 53's Qlab. Qlab is primarily used for live theater sound playback and it has built in functionality that allows you to build looping sound beds fairly simply. You can learn the basics pretty quickly, it's mostly drag-and-drop. You can built a cue list and loop each individual cue. Using your goal as an example, you could have a group cue that randomly picks from the loops within it (e.g., car horn, train pass by, skates). Undearneath, you could have several looping files of basic city noises that always play, and at different looping lengths. Since everything is set on loop, it won't stop playing until you stop it.

And on top of that, it's totally free for the functions you'd need—a little holiday spirit there :).

Take a look at www.figure53.com to download Qlab. Here are a few video links that explain the interface pretty well.



  • This looks pretty sweet! I had no idea Qlab existed, and was actually wondering recently about guys doing sound design for live theater. Thanks for the info and links! I went on with Fmod though :), but surely will try qlab eventually :) Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 21:16

This is obviously done often with game audio, so you might consider using a middleware tool such as Wwise (which is free to download).

  1. Set up a looping city hum sound
  2. Use procedural wind (Wwise has a plugin for this built-in)
  3. Add some random containers containing your various sound effects & set them to wait a random amount of time before playing the next one. Having more than one random container will allow more than one sound effect to play at a time. You can even set up some pitch and volume randomization for greater variety.

Lots of tutorials online to get you started with Wwise (or try FMod) and I'm thinking this would be easier than setting up a patch in Max/MSP

  • Thanks! you're right, it is pretty much like game audio, I just had no idea this softwares were for free :)! thank u, Im working with Fmod now :) Commented Dec 19, 2012 at 21:14
  • you're welcome. Yes, they are free with the exception of licensing your game, at which point you would pay to include these tools in your game. Commented Dec 20, 2012 at 17:50

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