Punch Sample

Hi all, the attached link is a clip extracted from Captain America Blu-ray. That is the first fight scene, and all the punch SFX are placed at Center channel only, there is no LFE. The SFX have punchy and nice 60-80HZ range. I always wonder how to create this kind of punch SFX, with nice low end. Would anyone kindly give me some suggestion?

  • Why are NONE of these answers up-voted?? – Marc W Nov 7 '16 at 12:49

Punch sounds are made from layers of different frequency transient sounds. From hitting leather with a baseball bat to hand claps for sweeteners. Its all in the frequencies, there's a hundred different ways to record sounds for this but ultimately you want lows, mids and highs. Boom sound libraries do a professional hand-to-hand combat library, it's expensive but gives you everything you'll ever need for Hollywood punch sounds.

  • Actually I have purchased Boom library, but didn't get those 60-80hz. That low end sounds like LFE, but as I said, that is only center channel. – Ah Kei Oct 4 '16 at 2:54
  • I'd have to listen to the clip on my monitors to see what you mean. – Melloj Oct 4 '16 at 7:55

Many (most?) SFX used in major productions are likely layers of several sounds blended together to produce what they wanted. So perhaps your solution is as simple as setting up a makeshift Foley stage and recording some low-frequency transients to mix with the SFX you already have.


The 'low sweeteners' that boom provide should be low enough in frequency to achieve what you want, you just have to process them. I suspect you are not using them correctly. If you have the construction kit it's pretty much unlimited as to what you can create with them. I said earlier punch sounds (like many sfx) are layers of different frequencies.

  • Thank you. I usually use the designed punch sfx and split them into mono for 5.1 mix. The problem I have is the designed one already have been compressed and leave no more headroom. If I add more layers on it the limiter will squash it more. I don't quite really good at how to create good punch from construction kit – Ah Kei Oct 5 '16 at 2:08
  • I always buy their construction kits for this reason. They're more expensive but you get more mileage, a lot more. You can make a career from them. That's why I like Boom. – Melloj Oct 6 '16 at 13:00
  • But I actually dont know how to create good sfx from the construction kit, I mean what plugin to use and how to layer them. Do you have any experience about that? Would you like to share it? – Ah Kei Oct 6 '16 at 17:40
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    There is one thing I always don't understand. Most of the punch sfx from construction kit are recorded with nearly no more headroom. But of course they are not loud enough. And if I put more layers on that the limiter will squash more. So should those sfx be compressed and use make up gain to compensate the loudness level? – Ah Kei Oct 7 '16 at 18:19
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    no, simply reduce the level. If you are using a decent DAW you will have more than enough headroom to play with. Don't start worrying about the levels until you have constructed a sound that you like. You can start worrying about levels when you get to premix stage. – Mark Dec 7 '16 at 14:44

The thing to remember about fast transients is that they always clip. They have no head room. But the frequencies that are clipping are so high as to be vitually inaudible.

  • Sorry about I don't fully understand what you mean. You mean EQ the elements? And is clipping acceptable is SFX editing? – Ah Kei Oct 8 '16 at 18:06
  • Clipping of audio is nothing to do with how fast the transient is, also nothing to do with the amount of headroom. Clipping is entirely an artifact related to excess level. You can have fast transients without them clipping and you generally want to avoid clipping at all costs. – Mark Dec 7 '16 at 14:41
  • Many fast transients clip at range in the frequency spectrum that is so high and instantaneous that its hardly worth worrying about. They'll almost always clip. If you bring down the level to the point where it isn't clipping there's virtually no sound left. – Melloj Dec 9 '16 at 12:30
  • Digital clipping is not a function of spectral content. It is always a function of level. Issues where you have high-level high-frequency content causing clipping can easily be corrected with shelving EQ – Mark Dec 10 '16 at 2:31

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