Hi guys,

I'm making a war film and I'm stuck designing the ringing sound you get after being stunned by a Stun Grenade. it's the sort of sound you get from a tuning fork but louder... any ideas?

12 Answers 12


If you go the synth/signal generator route, I'd suggest using two sine waves very slighty detuned from each other. This will add a beating effect as the sines move in and out of phase with each other (similar to a ringing wine glass).


GRM Freeze plugin is good for this - take any source material with high frequency content (eg a scream, a metal anvil hit, a tibetan singing bowl etc) and freeze its spectrum at the point of the frequencies you want.

  • @Tim, Nice heads up, they are free too :) Jan 19, 2011 at 19:45

Don't forget the moment of silence after it hits, and maybe a low-pass fade in.

  • 1
    Well put. You are learning, young grasshopper.
    – Utopia
    Jan 23, 2011 at 0:31

I would suggest messing with a signal generator and pitching it at a high frequency, synths may also bring the desired effect.

If you want to record something try water on a wine glass or similar.

  • Thanks Adrian, I like the wine glass idea, I'll give it a bash. Jan 19, 2011 at 17:20
  • +1 for the signal generator. The sound from a tuning fork should be (fairly close to) a sine wave.. Jan 19, 2011 at 23:06

I did this just a few months back for Gangster Squad. Someone shoots a pistol off right next to another guys ear. I used signal generator to generate a pure sine wave at a high frequency (don't remember the exact one right now) and it worked like a charm. More people commented on that than I was expecting!

FWIW I have first-hand experience with this sound in real life; I was nearly struck by lightning years ago and the high decibel level of that strike was absolutely terrifying. Immediately after the strike my hearing cut out and all I could hear for about 15 seconds was that tone. So yeah, I know what it sounds like!


The sound is called Tinnitus http://www.tinnitus.org.uk/what-is-tinnitus. I was creating this sound yesterday and used the signal generator in Pro Tools to create a 10 kHz sine wave, which was then phased a little to give a slight pulsing.


If you have Logic at your disposal, try messing around with the Sculpture Modeling Synth. It's an extremely versatile instrument. The Cosmonaut Space Capsule pre-set played in a fairly high octave is a great sound. Further sculpting will get you exactly the type of sound you're after.


I've had some success in the past playing with feedback. Especially on my Macbook Pro.

I used Logic (could be anything really) and selected an audio track to input the Built-In mic. Then record that but have the volume on the internal speakers up so it starts to feedback, but also raise and lower your hand over the mic (positioned around top left of the laptop body). Got some interesting effects doing that. Thanks to my friend Eilam for pointing that one out to me a while back noW! ;)


How about a triangle? Just hit it and freeze the frequencies you want.


I've needed a similar effect before and i used a couple of old springs from a sofa. when i struck them together, they had a great tone and much longer sustain time than something like a glass. then I looped the tone in kontakt with quite a long crossfade time and added some gentle pitch modulation. i think i may have also doubled up and slightly detuned resulting sound to get a more interesting sound.


just an idea, what about blending in some frequency created by rubbing a crystal glass or a tibetan sing bowl?


I would do what @Unicity suggested. A main sine at a specific frequency and a second or more not so loud, coming in and out at very close frequency match. It'll create the beat he mentioned.

Because of the high frequency nature of these rings, people might not pick it up if you try and reproduce the real thing. Try bringing the frequency/cies down to around 7k and you'll get the desirable effect without losing prominence.

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