any advice, tutorial, video or even book you recommend for designing household sounds using a synth??

I work mainly in Live9 and in our next game I'm planning to design sound the majority of sounds purely using synths (no recorded real life samples)

so yups, household sounds like glasses clangs, open drawers, fire, tap water and all sorts of sounds you can imagine :)

so far I've only found some really nice tutorials using PD .. but I need to work it out in Live or using some external AU/VST .. other than that not much..

any input is super appreciated :)

  • I'm not entirely sure I understand the question. Is the intention to have it sound unnatural, or why would you use a synth for this? It's not really possible to answer without knowing exactly what you do want - if you want a naturalistic sound, this will not work, and if you want a sound reminding of the Commodore 64 or Nintendo NES-character you will have to take a whole other way than if you want it to sound for example Amiga or Sega Megadrive. Sep 17, 2014 at 16:33
  • @ChristianvanCaine ..good point.. to be more precise it's a blend of both.. those PD samples, say the fire was a beautiful mix between real and synthetic .. so no C64 stuff :)
    – coroneddu
    Sep 17, 2014 at 21:45

2 Answers 2


VST synths are not designed for this sort of thing, hence why Andy Farnell (I presume those are the tutorials you encountered) used PD.

Designing Sound is THE book for this, but I'm really questioning why you are planning to take this route when designing the sounds for a whole game; it's very interesting to discuss/consider procedural audio tech and its potential uses, but rendering synthesised samples to audio files for this type of sounds seems odd. Traditional recording will sound better and take a fraction of the time.

  • ..it's more about the palette of colors.. we're looking for a blend of the two's... so not entirely, clearly synthesized and not clearly realistic.. I already designed some working sounds, brooming the floor, and other "hybrid" tools which sound unusual but you can definitely say it's something based on a real life sound... which is right what we're looking for.. so to make it clear clear I'm not trying to reproduce realistic sounds from A to Z .. rather than getting inspired by a real life sound (a corkscrew, a blender, a broom etc etc..)
    – coroneddu
    Sep 17, 2014 at 21:54
  • and design its "hybrid" synthetic counterpart .. mainly what I'd think about is to preserve its realistic motion or modeling while having a synth texture/feel to it so to speak :)
    – coroneddu
    Sep 17, 2014 at 21:55

This seems like an awful lot of work, and I think you would get better results from recording foley. However, I understand that want to try exploring another avenue within synthesis.

As has already been mentioned, Andy Farnell's Designing Sound is the best resource for this kind of sound design, and all of that is done within PD. If you want to get away from PD and work within Live then I would recommend look into physical modelling synthesizers. If you have Live Suite then Tension and Collision are the way to go. You might also get some good results by experimenting with Corpus as well. I haven't checked this out yet but I just found a video from Robert Henke talking about physical modelling sythesis, there may be some nuggets of gold in there: https://www.ableton.com/en/blog/robert-henke-max-live-physical-modeling-and-composition/

Come to think of it...if you have got Max for Live then you should be able to translate almost any PD tutorial to an M4L device. It will take some R&D and probably a bit of debugging.

  • thanks for the insights .. I made some progress on the way .. got some interesting results pretty close to what I was looking for .. using Live's Operator mainly + some processing... you can have a listen here: soundcloud.com/ballpen/sets/household-sound-design .. just few examples .. I keep trying both Tension and Collision but they're not that user friendly and so far had no usable results .. seems like they do not welcome random twiggling that much .. they become super unpredictable and many times the suddenly start to scream lol.. I still want to squeeze (continues)
    – coroneddu
    Sep 24, 2014 at 22:24
  • Operator more and see where I can get with it .. the Multitool_broken sound you'll hear is based on a previous preset and after playing around a bit I came up with that "thing" ..which is quite impressive considering there's only 1 oscillator playing .. that complex "chainsaw" motion and all those hiccups are made by automating the pitch envelope only .. O_o!! I'm also starting to dig into Reaktor .. in theory it should be exactly what I'm looking for .. which I've always found more fascinating than Max ..
    – coroneddu
    Sep 24, 2014 at 22:28
  • I'll check those sounds out. Again with Reaktor I'm sure that you can translate the PD patches from Andy Farnell with a little bit of creative thinking. I think you'll have to refer to the manuals for Tension and Collision and get to know them inside out in order to avoid the feedback issues. Again, Corpus is another good one to try, especially if you're using Operator for most of your sound design. Sep 30, 2014 at 21:25
  • if you have any Reaktor source, videos etc about this kind of sound design please shaaare .. so far I've only found either the basics or musical instruments related sound design but nothing related to objects or non musical sounds..
    – coroneddu
    Oct 2, 2014 at 0:19
  • Hey, I just spotted this article which might help you: designingsound.org/2014/10/… Oct 3, 2014 at 11:39

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