I am working on an animated series for kids about cars (and other vehicles). I use a lot of toy and cartoony sounds for their jumps, fails etc. I also need a good variation of tire rolling sounds. Main characters usually drive on sand and asphalt. I have lots of real tire rolling sounds but they are either too heavy and massive or just don't feel right (too slow, too much rattle etc). I am looking for recommendations on how to fake these sounds in a studio setting. Since it's an animated series, the pace is pretty fast, so I will need to record a good variety of various speed and surfaces rolling sounds, pass bys, approaches etc, in order to be able to cut fast. No budget for foley artist unfortunately. Other than using a small pit with sand (and something else for asphalt) and some round and heavy object to imitate movement I have no thoughts.

Any ideas?

2 Answers 2


Sand: Can be a bit tricky to get decent recordings of. Wet sand is by far the best, the more courser the sand the better - really course river sand is great, or even beach sand if you have sand that is reasonably course. Fine beach sand is okay, but in my experiences course works better.

Asphalt, have you tried gravel from driveways/roads? Or even a footpath at your house or street footpath?

You can buy cheap toy cars to make the rolling sounds with, check out Op shops in your area for bargains in this department.


A few ideas to try:

Instead of tires, use other spherically-shaped objects such as basketballs, soccer balls, big exercise balls, etc. Varying amounts of pressure on said objects will create more or less friction on your surfaces.

For sand, try sugar, coarse salt, or even cereal like Rice Krispies!

For asphalt, try concrete pavers.

Let the forum know how you make out!

  • 1
    Sorry for such a late response. I haven't been checking stack exchange.
    – user25903
    May 7, 2019 at 21:01
  • No problem! Just a reminder to upvote answers that you find helpful - it benefits the entire community! May 7, 2019 at 21:03
  • 1
    Sorry for such a late response. I haven't been checking stack exchange. I ended up recording various balls on different surfaces, rolling and dragging them on sand, grass and dirt pits. I did it at a professional Foley stage. It turned out okay, however, there is that ball resonance that I always have to EQ out. Also, hand grabs are an issue (when dragging a ball is a circle), so be aware of that if you ever decide to record these sounds. Also, I've found out that artificial grass sounds like sand sometimes. I hope this helps.
    – user25903
    May 7, 2019 at 21:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.