So I'm trying to make some stuff which is unimportant for this thread and I want to use a sound. The problem is, I can't find the raw sound, anywhere! It's probably because I don't know what it's called, so what's it called? What's the technique used to make it? etc.

It's very faint in this:

I'd describe it as a swooshy sound (can you tell how amateur I am?) It also variates in frequency. My friend said that it was in a lot of sci fi movies in the 80s/90s.

3 Answers 3


The sound you're looking for might be the audio illusion called a Shepard Tone.

Depending how they are made, they are a tone that seems to be always rising or falling in pitch.

  • nah, the sound has more variation, it's not just an illusion of it going up or down. Apr 20, 2016 at 21:43

From the top of my head: Do the following:

  1. Sine Wave.
  2. Add some release and some attack time to it (I'd say about 1/4 second or a bit less)
  3. Reverb. Fairly reasonable decay time but don't restrict the frequencies of it (This is normally affected by the "High Cut", "Low Cut", and "Damp" parameters).
  4. Knock the wet volume up and the dry down. I'd go about 60% on both.
  5. Notation. Find the right pitch range and use a LOT of glissandi. (If you're using FL Studio this is a 5 second job. If you're in anything else, apply a portamento function or a legato function with a fairly large glide time.
  6. Experiment and adjust to taste.

Here is a screenshot of what I made. I have a 3xOSC with only one oscillator on as a sine wave. There is attack and release time but they aren't shown. Then I have the reverb in the middle and delay on the right. The reverb has very high wet volume, reasonable decay, full room size and diffusion, dampening is off. The delay is the default preset as it fits nicely (dotted quaver delay; standard). Then there is a zoom in of the piano roll on the right. I'm using high notes and LOTS of glissandos (Notes with the small triangle at the top right of them).enter image description here

The sound this makes is here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bzs1MIj4w0doSkhtT2xMekJiVDg/view?usp=sharing

  • Man, I'm super amateur. So can I do any of this in Audacity or ShotCut. (they are both free) Also can you give an example? Apr 18, 2016 at 22:45
  • I have never used either of those so I have no idea but I'll put in an audio demonstration and some images from what I made as a guide
    – user18028
    Apr 19, 2016 at 14:59
  • close but no cigar. I think it's also more like a space ship in warp (star trek) or maybe a flying saucer landing? Apr 20, 2016 at 21:47

Main piece seems composed for violins, yet in the background I think I've heard the sound of a theremin. You can check out a performance with this interesting instrument here

Hope it's what you've been looking for

  • No, it's not but it's close. The sound I'm talking about is like a flying saucer, I guess. Apr 18, 2016 at 22:46

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