Apart from the usual suspects such as: recording sounds, pitch, reverse, delay etc.. What cool sound design tricks have you discovered?

6 Answers 6


I gotta say, if you're a mac user, Michael Norris Soundmagic Spectral. Wild stuff. I'll spend some time a few mornings of the week just putting up a drum loop or something else like noises in logic and just switching the plugins out and recording the outputs. They can be difficult to follow because the terminology is not similar to many other plugins, but with some experimentation, you can get a little control over them.

If you're not a mac user, i would try any of the manifold granular plugins available to you. granular synthesis stuff is great at creating sci-fi or magic sounds almost instantly.

Another thing i would mention, credited to ric viers Sound Effects Bible, is LISTEN THROUGH YOUR RECORDER!! I know it sounds obvious, but it's not just about what your ears pick up. Everything sounds different through super sensitive condenser mics. Also, it's not that our ears are bad, our brains are physiologically programmed to ignore certain things or perceive them as unimportant. On a hunch, i took one of my pit bulls rubber kong toys and slid it across the refrigerator door. My ears said "cool squeak and rumble". My recorder said "holy shit, the house is coming down".

Good luck.


My favorite sound design trick is the one that does the job at any given task. What that might be differs greatly from project to project, and is completely dependent on the movie. It's not unusual that my methods gets up to three or something revisions as I find new and sometimes better, sometimes just different, ways to deal with thing.

So if I'd say anything as a favorite trick, it would pretty much be to never let myself get stuck in old tracks.


Hello everybody, I enjoy the different sounds of wind, I use them for making things like car pass by using the Doppler plugin comes with protools and eq them on the later part with a light reverb. It's not because I'm lazy, but it gives me the correct feel, when the whole audience is concentrating on the main protagonist,It simply doesn't drive the attention away but fills up those nice blanks. 2ndly, I enjoy using Signal generator(comes with protools -audio suite), if u really want to underline the POV Panned shots to give it a more stylised version, it's a cool way, But the choice of freq. is important, even what kind of wave u r using. But u have to be perfect in fades. Fades does all the game and a leak of reverb makes it so smooth.....hmmm...yummy...!! There are many tricks, if you guys want any then mail me at [email protected]

Cheers...have fun..!!


My favourite sound design trick is not to share my sound design tricks ;)

But seriously, I'm not sure if this is old news and everyone does it (I actually nicked this idea off someone else), but simultaneously recording materials with a contact and open air mic can sometimes give you a good options in terms of mixing between the body and more live aspects of the sound. Almost like wet and dry. Obviously you can't do this with, say, a horse :)

Also this isn't a trick either, but I think this free plugin is awesome for foley work:


It's an all in one distance plugin that adjusts stereo width, EQ, air diffusion, gain etc with one fader. It also works great for creating doppler whooshes if you automate the distance gain.

In summary, none of these are my tricks, just passing on the knodge.

  • 2
    I think the opposite, sharing technical tricks is just fun, and will develop your own bag of tricks as you will want to find new and better ways compared to your old ideas that everyone now knows about. Also it's very rarely about how, it's almost always about when and why...
    – ErikG
    Jan 22, 2013 at 20:02
  • I've gotta second @erikg here (not sure if the @ symbol actually works on this forum), but when I started, shit, i think i'll always consider myself starting, I was really bummed at the lack of "tutorial" stuff. I would have even settled for watching a video of a good sound designer just playing. I feel like so many of us try to do van halen and "play with our backs to the audience", it can be intimidating. for all of the musicians, think of all of the stuff you picked up from watching others! I know @squidlick's comment was sort of meant as a joke, but it seems to be a thing with this field.
    – Dave
    Jan 23, 2013 at 13:20
  • Yeah just want to clarify that the not sharing thing I said was meant to be a joke! Sort of a tongue in cheek observation of the industry in general. Forums like this however are testament to how people want to share and collaborate, which is something I am always willing to contribute to and learn from :)
    – Squidlick
    Jan 24, 2013 at 13:40

For me, it's more a philosophival thing. My favorite trick is entering the show and leaving from it without the sonic contributions being noticed by the audience. That's one of the coolest and most rewarding trick in my mind.


Worldizing is my favorite trick.

Nothing sounds as good as properly placed mics and loudspeakers to place a certain sound in a space.

Also, when trying to make a song sound like it's coming from a car, or a newscast sound like it's from a TV in another room, that's where Worldizing will always win over EQ or a plug-in.

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