I'm working on the sound design for a 3D illusion magic show. There is a sequence where a bunch of lightbulbs are floating through the air, they all flicker on and off throughout the sequence while randomly spinning and then coming to a relaxed floating state. I'm just about done with the sequence, and my employer is really digging it, but he wants the sound of the light switches to be more magical. At the moment I'm using a phaser with a medium depth, a high rate, and a pretty good amount of feedback. it sounds really cool, kind of watery/bubbly, but it's still missing something. Any suggestions for a guy trying to make things sound a bit more magical?

  • Using a phaser on what?
    – mavavilj
    Sep 20, 2013 at 20:06
  • The light switches
    – zinkley
    Sep 20, 2013 at 20:25
  • Use/add mellow pitch-sweeping drones of some sort or the almost cliché-like "high pitched shimmering". Too broad of a question and not that well defined (I don't hear what you already have) to suggest something specific.
    – mavavilj
    Sep 20, 2013 at 20:33
  • 1
    Yea my employer wasn't very specific, thats why i came here. Wasn't really looking for a detailed answer, just some general suggestions people have for "magical" sounds.
    – zinkley
    Sep 20, 2013 at 20:58
  • @zinkley Unfortunately, the Stack Exchange format isn't really designed for discussions, and questions soliciting opinions tend to be that. I've flagged this issue for moderator attention. If you could rework your question to give some kind of clear indication of what a "best" answer might look like, the question may avoid being closed - or be re-opened if closed it has already been. Nov 20, 2013 at 5:30

2 Answers 2


Magic sounds is always that we can't hear in real life. For your event try to mix this sounds:

1) Good warm and bright chimes. Try to find them in some orchestral vst instruments. Render a few variations, take 2 of them and pan hard left and right (left -100% right - 100%).

2) Sizzle of fire torch (\Boom Libraries\Cinematic Trailers - Construction Kit\Impact_Fire_Torch_Sizzle_Long), the part when the sizzle is stable (0:02 - 0:08 etc.). You need 2 samples - one for left channel, one for right. Pan them hard (again left -100% right - 100%).

3) In center you can place breath sounds or some singing voices. Pitched animal sounds with reverbs probably will work too. It must be with long attack and release.

4) Airy whooshes. Take some long sample of wind and apply doppler plugin (Waves Doppler or similar). Then splice it into individual flow samples. Mix them in proper places when your magic change the directions. Also pan and gain it appropriate to simulate the flow of your magic stream. To get cold feeling use the high pitched wind in mountains or caves, to get warm feeling use forest winds.

For effects use this setup:

1) 1st send - plate reverb. Apply it on chimes and sizzle if you feel them flat.

2) 2nd send - hall reverb. Apply it on whooshes and central sounds to inflate the atmoshere.

3) 1st aux or directly to channel - stereo delay. Waves supertap or similar. Works good for chimes/sizzles, to fill the gaps.

4) 2nd aux or directly to channel - phaser. It most be not obvious, just to glide everything.

5) 3rd aux or directly to channel - Waves Mondomod or similar. Use it for slightly swing the sounds. With proper use it can breath the life in your magic.

Mix everything with your own taste. Maybe something will be useless, maybe something you will add by yourself, but it is a good point to start.

Hope this wiil help you!


Maybe add some high end shimmering, like glass snippets/impulses through a reverb? Or some high pitched synth tones?

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