I asked this question over in the Game Dev, but was told I would get a better answer here related to the specifics of the terminology and background behind the issue.

In the Unity game engine, before I managed sounds properly, if too many accumulated at the same it would become this loud drowned out mega sound (like the speakers got blown out). With proper audio management this is never an issue, but it's funny how many times I see this problem come up in professional level games (notably Demon's Souls and Dark Souls when too many collisions happen with breakable boxes triggering too many sounds to happen at once).

Is there a word that describes that drowned out mega sound that happens when too many sounds are being played at once? Also, what's the process that's happening on the audio technical side when this sound is played, meaning are the sounds just being shoved into one mixer or something?

2 Answers 2


A common descriptive term for this is "cacophony". Strictly speaking, this translates just as "bad sound" but it is usually employed when several sound sources combine in an unpleasant and incoherent manner.

A dictionary definition would be:

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:

cacophony n 1: a loud harsh or strident noise [syn: {blare}, {blaring}, {cacophony}, {clamor}, {din}] 2: loud confusing disagreeable sounds


This isn't really the place for this, and there are way too many possible answers, but the most relevant for this site is probably:

Muddy: no clarity, and mushy-sounding distortion usually. Caused by too much going on at once, so audio hits limiters which compress every bit of detail

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