I have been trying to add reverb to wind, thunder, and air sounds while also pitching them down and the results are in...

Can anyone share some insight on how to process a sound like wind, a swish, or another to create a whoosh?

What are some creative ways to make a whoosh and what sounds have you processed that yielded fruitful results?

5 Answers 5


Oh, the possibilities are endless!

Depends on what type of "whoosh" you want to create:

  • Long vs. short
  • High freq vs. low freq (or mid)
  • Sharp vs. smooth
  • Peaceful vs. scary
  • Simple vs. complex
  • Singular vs. multiple peaks

Working with wind and air sounds will usually yield smooth, long whooshes which can add body to your sound design. Or they could be used in an emotional context, such as peaceful, happy, "airy", calm, etc.

Thunder and gunshots will go a different route, usually yielding undulating whooshes with sharp peaks (as per Ryan's example).

There's so many other ways to go, too. Try working with your own voice; record yourself singing a steady tone, whistling a note, blowing steady air, etc. Work with doppler/flanger/modulator plug-ins to add movement, then work in some reverb for added depth. Delays are helpful here, as well. And if you don't have access to fancy plugins, you can create very effective sounds with simple techniques, such as EQ sweeps and fader moves. Just like in the good 'ol days before fancy digital doodads.

Layering is a good way to build complex whooshes. Try stacking a pole swish, reversed transient attack (ie. metal hit or drum hit), and a vocal element together in your DAW (syncing up the peaks) and see what ideas you come up with.

  • Well put! Forgot about the emotion of them - that is an extremely good point.
    – Utopia
    Sep 1, 2010 at 4:05

I created some long whooshes a while ago. I played wind through a speaker, got a boom mic, pointed it 90 degrees from the speaker and slowly went 180 degrees the other way. Got some great long whooshes for a slow motion scene.

If memory serves isn't this the way Burtt did the Lightsabers? Someone here must have that new Star Wars book!

  • yeah, he was playing back the interference he recorded from a crt monitor over a speaker, and then foleying against picture with a shotgun mic using the technique you mentioned. Sep 1, 2010 at 12:03
  • of course....and that will sound killer with some long animal growls/roars/groans
    – Kurt Human
    Sep 6, 2010 at 17:29
  • didnt he also layer that with a boom mic sweeping near a telephone wire?
    – Chris
    Sep 8, 2010 at 14:48
  • I love this technique since you can do it to picture and choose how airy, mid, or low the swoosh is. Feb 22, 2016 at 23:35

I haven't gotten a chance to try this one out yet. But I'm soooo looking forward to it.

  • It's fun -- give it a try! The setup takes a while but once it's done you can use it as a template for future sessions. Sep 1, 2010 at 3:35
  • Mocked it up a while back, got a silly amount of whoosh sounds now.
    – ianjpalmer
    Sep 1, 2010 at 7:16
  • good link. i guess its time to make some whooshes today.
    – Chris
    Sep 8, 2010 at 14:52

As to the technique of using a boom mic and a speaker: also try to stick your mic into tubes and swing that around. I used this to fake the sound of a fire extinguisher.


If you like to work with synthesizers, then take some white noise and run it through a filter and layer it with other sounds. I use Absynth 5 and I'm still exploring its immense potential.

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