How do you make a sound, sound "soft around the edges?"

I know that you can compress a reversed sound and then reverse it again. Fluffy crossed with cartoon is the sound quality.

Reverb? Compression? EQ? Layering?

3 Answers 3


Try baking in reverb on a duplicate layer and mixing the dry and wet that way. Sometimes it helps to be able to process the dry and wet layers independently.

Drop some of the presence out of the sound, the frequencies humans hear at a higher volume than others because of the way we perceive sound. I believe this is based on the Flecher-Munson Curve. Look here: http://www.vettaville.nl/vvFletcher%20Munson%20eng.htm and see where it says around 500-5000hz we perceive these to be louder than lower or higher frequencies. Drop some of these out and maybe it will feel less detailed, adding to your fuzziness quality (in addition to the other techniques as well).

I know older recordings sound a lot less crisp than newer, well recorded audio. Try looking online or in your library for some old recordings and layer those in. Sometimes that thick muffled quality can be exactly what layer you are looking to add.

I know the Hana Barbara stuff is very cartoony, this library might have the more cartoony layers for your design as well.

  • I'm not thinking in terms of older recording quality, I'm thinking more in terms of Toy Story.
    – Chris
    Mar 14, 2011 at 20:25
  • I tried unsuccessfully to use Kontakt's AET Filter and morph sounds together but no luck.
    – Chris
    Mar 14, 2011 at 20:26
  • Go simpler maybe? - Sometimes using complex processing can make it sound too... well, processed haha.
    – C3Sound
    Mar 14, 2011 at 20:39
  • @Update: I have had some success with cardboard box sound. I shortened the file to 1ms and when you do that with convolution, it acts as a filter. With some EQ so far, I have found a softer sound but the main thing I'm trying to change now is a little bit of hollow resonance which may actually be from the mono voice recording.
    – Chris
    Mar 14, 2011 at 22:05

Daisy chain compress the whole lot for 50/150ms and 150/50ms, group everything to a sub master bus and add some miniscule reverb and pull the dry signal down a bit. You might also want to try a minimal amount of chorus to that channel as well, It adds more silk to the mix but you have to be really REALLY careful with the plugin mix level...


What is your source material and what exactly is the sound for?

I have a few ideas but if I knew what sound you were trying to make more fluffy and soft I think I could give a better suggestion.

  • The source material is mainly dialogue but also would like to have the entire movie with this feeling.
    – Chris
    Mar 28, 2011 at 20:47
  • 1
    @Chris Oh in that case try a compressor on the dialogue with an extremely fast attack and slightly slower release so it rolls off the transients to make it sound warmer and softer. Watch out, though, because the stock Pro Tools compressor can start distorting on the fastest attack rates.
    – Utopia
    Mar 29, 2011 at 0:21
  • I'll try that. I have a few other ones. One called Syrah from flux that I got as a comp at AES this year that I havn't tried out yet.
    – Chris
    Mar 29, 2011 at 3:00
  • 2
    @Utopia A little trick i sometimes use when i want fast attack settinggs is to duplicate the track and mute it. Nudge everything back by 50ms or so on the muted track and have a pre fader send set to 0. Then use a side chain compressor on the non muted track with the attack set to the ammount that you nudged back the muted track. Jun 15, 2011 at 12:11
  • @Filipe THAT IS BRILLIANT!!!! It's like a manual look-ahead compressor!!!
    – Utopia
    Jun 15, 2011 at 17:24

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