Quick background: 1vs1 strategy game, aerial sort of 3/4 view

This is a sound that I have that occurs after the robot gets shocked with a large lightening like "laser" which is really a big quick pop and buzz. This is supposed to be his energy shield getting disturbed. To me and my programmer, it sounds A. not dangerous enough and B. sort of like a UI sound for "you can't do this action right now".

I was going to try mixing in some explosion for menace, and this wasn't really cutting it.

The sound you're hearing is absynth 5, pretty basic patch just for the synthetic and a slowed down plastic pipe hit that I recorded and processed. Any suggestions on this are certainly welcome.

I have komplete 7, some waves stuff, logic 9, michael norris spectral magic if it helps at all. I don't think it will, the answer is probably simpler than I've tried to exhaust.


5 Answers 5


In my opinion, the solution is easier than you think :) I really like the base sound.

1- Add a kick in the beggining, to get a slight punch 2- Scoop a bit of mids. 3- Saturate / Tube Distortion

  • check out the second version that I put up. I actually did some saturation with that new free NI Driver plug-in, and it sounds pretty vicious. I was thinking about adding a kick, but that would have interrupted the wwwwwwhump and put the attack more in front. I could mess with it on the peak though
    – Dave
    Dec 19, 2012 at 17:17
  • too much saturation this time, it's got to be really light. also, i miss some attack, even if it is just a tiny punch Dec 20, 2012 at 11:35

What sound is appropriate also depends on the look of the objects and how they're animated so it's a bit difficult to say. But perhaps if the synth route isn't working you should try using samples?

I'd probably source a load of:

Hisses Explosions Crackles Whooshes Rumbles Cracks Creaks Hums etc...

....and mix them all together with some basic effects. I often try to think of these elements only in terms of the texture they will add to the final sound and would probably expect to add together a good few to achieve the end result. Sometimes it helps to try and imagine the event step by step - two energy sources collide and one absorbs the other. To me that means an impact sound of some kind, then one sound fading out (the laser being absorbed) and another sound fading in with a ring-off (the shield absorbing the bolt and confirming it is still operational), perhaps with a rougher texture for the first half transitioning to a smoother texture for the second half, like a rough aggressive sound being diffused by a more rounded and stable sound. I'm not saying it needs to be very long, but our brains are capable of registering changes in very short sounds so it may need to evolve.

Hope that helps



I'm not sure what kind of advice you're looking for, because I'm not sure what exactly you're looking to do. And how would I, because it'll be trial and error anyways :).

Tools/"methods" that can be used for getting sounds for laser sounds and regarding the style in the example that you've posted: simple pitch envelopes, automating reverbs, sweeping comb filters, granular synthesis. Resampling, resampling, resampling. Manual phasing/comb filtering as well, i.e. having a couple or a bunch of similar samples or even the same sample duplicated and just nudging them out of phase and possibly re-editing/cutting them. Simple stuff.

Just play around!


Hi Dave,

You've already got some good advices, so I just can offer you my version of Energy Shield sfx which i created some time ago. Feel free to use it if it fits your needs.


  • Serge, that's pretty nice. what is the front, some Jacob's ladder spark with an impact? I like it. I think they may like the second version of what I had up, but thanks for the offer, I may still take it up!
    – Dave
    Dec 19, 2012 at 17:19
  • As i remember, i mixed about 6 sources to create this. Synthesized "energy" sound, sharp impact and some static fx from the SI 6000 library. Dec 19, 2012 at 19:52

I always prefer the 'dry' approach, I believe you may be able to create this sound mix realistically without a ton of modification.

It needs some more impact noise, something like arcing against metal or tesla shock sounds to start. Your base sound is good though you might want to extend it.

To really add some emphasis to the affect of the laser you should look into some strained metal sounds, like the lazer has affected internal components. Trying skidding on tile or linoleum with a boot or maybe a bike wheel. You can also take a factory tour and get some real good industrial sounds to work with, plenty of which I'm sure will sound strained and aching.

That said there are a huge variety of things out there that can create this effect for you. Your best bet is to get into your mind (as I have) what you want this effect to sound like and then think of all the things that make sounds similar to that. experiment! Elephants call? rubbing a wet pumpkin? A kazoo? tearing cardboard? You have tons of creative freedom with something like a lazer hitting a robot. Just think of the huge variety in star wars; you would not believe the things they used to make some of those sounds.


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