Are there secrets to "iconic sounds"? Or is it just a lot of trial and error?

I mean like "title effects" of some computer games? Some of them sound so "perfect" and like they don't resemble anything "easily distinguishable".

Does this suggest that they're a result of a long effort? Like e.g. months on just a single effect? Several resamples.

Still they're technically probably not complex, since some of these have been produced in early 90s for example.

So how would one create iconic sounds using 90s gear? Just sample, filter, pitch, cut, layer?


Iconism is bestowed, not claimed. You're not in charge of that process, the rest of the world is.

One significant part of 'iconic' is .. frequently heard, evocative of a certain era, image, movie, game etc.
You get that by being the one who got lucky enough to be in that place at that time.

You probably need talent & few connections to arrive at that point… after that it's just pure luck.

You don't start out trying to make "an iconic sound". You could start out by copying some, but that's relatively easy in comparison.

eg, opening sound to Van Halen's Jump… just own the right synth - iirc, it's an Oberheim, maybe OB8, OBXa, preset #3. The rest is what they did with it, not what it was. Another, just as iconic [more so for the Brits, I'd think] Opening of the EastEnders theme. You've got it before the second drum beat. Simmons Drums, circa 1983, simple as that.

  • But OTOH I think I heard a rumor that the THX effect was a result of months of work. Short sound, but there's a lot of detail. – mavavilj May 27 at 18:29
  • …and whoever did it first got the job - right place right time. It would still be iconic if it had been a different sound. 'iconic' comes after the fact, not before. – Tetsujin May 27 at 18:31

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