I was asked to create the sound for a locust swarm, however not a usual one, but one that is characterised by its evil and metallic buzz, sort of otherworldly, mutated...

Now my main problem is that I am stuck with the basic swarm noise and I was wondering if maybe anyone of you had an idea of how to create that... I dind't find any good samples online, but maybe you have some?

Thank you for any suggestions!

8 Answers 8


you could experiment with a suitably raspy, metallic source(s) (air conditioning/engine sounds?) and experiment with granular resynthesis - KTgranulator is an allright free vst- randomising pitch and panning might help with the swarm idea?


Start out in mono and very thin and small. As they swarm, pull them out into stereo/5.1 (depending on your medium) and use layers of pitched down flies, other bugs and such - there is a great library you can buy made here: http://www.therecordist.com/sbhd-ifly01-flying-insects http://www.therecordist.com/sbhd-ifly02-flying-insects-2

Also, I'd experiment with dragging a duffle bag on different surfaces or rubbing a piece of metal on different ribbed surfaces to get a sort of a wing-flap sound and pitch/process those.


You can use an electric shaver to make a metallic buzz. I'd experiment with various different shavers as well to get different tones if you can.

When recording them, wave the mic in front of them to get doppler sweeps, layer them randomly to give it movement and while editing them try using various layers of pitch shifting, granulation, comb filtering and maybe a touch of reverb to make some heavy metallic droning sounds.

You should also find several pairs of heavy and light gauge scissors and record the sound of you making a lot of very fast snipping noises so you can also layer those, maybe pitch them up and down and add delays to to get a more precise and detailed metallic wing flapping sound. You'll likely have to roll off the low end of these sounds with an EQ though as you'll already have heavy buzzes and drones from the electric shavers being pitched and layered.

When you're done you can automate volume, EQ, reverb and panning to simulate doppler, proximity and intensity.

Good luck and post the results and how you got there if you can. I'd like to hear what you do with it and what ended up working.


Utopia has good ideas here. I'd also experiment with the upside down bike technique for textures a la noise jockey. maybe add some distortion and metal sounds to taste.



Never underestimate subtle growls and screams mixed in... play off the primal instinct of the listeners.


I have just this week been working on a similar sound. Mine were more 'digital' sounding, so I used some bit reduction, a bit of subtle flanging, some panning, and a neat trick I picked up from watching a panel discussion with the tron legacy sound team talking about creating movement in the sound of the discs by waving a microphone in front of the speakers like a light sabre.


I made a car engine out of pitch shifted pig squeals, cannons, squeaks, and a few other odds n ends


cool thanks for the ideas, great help!

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.