I've been working on creating hits similar to the type you see in movie trailers and tv spots and am having a creative block on what I should record next. This has been discussed in various questions before but I am still interested in more ideas. The Charles Deenan article on Whooshes and his video on sound design on Waves website are also very helpful.

What do you think would be good source material for creating huge hits, impacts, and whooshes?

Some of the things I have recorded and used so far are: large metal doors (still trying to find the type that you have to close with a wheel) dumptrucks and garbage trucks construction impacts (often difficult to get without alot of ambience) banging everything in my kitchen against everything else at 192 and pitching down subway trains breaking glass oven rack (if you haven't recorded your oven rack you should, it can make many sounds) dock work (hard to get close to the action, still working on finding a liason) car wrecking yards (usually near freeways but the impacts are so loud it sometimes does not matter)

Some of the things I would like to record but have not had the opportunity yet: demolitions explosions guns bombs water plant (cool sucking and whooshing sounds) car plant (all kinds of servo sounds and large metal sounds) factory that makes weights (that has to sound cool) any factory in general sawmill wood shop crash test center

Any ideas?

3 Answers 3


Garage doors, inside metal garbage cans, a kick drum played with a drumstick, inside your car's engine compartment or trunk and slam the hood, dry ice bombs in various sized bottles... Even without pitching any of those down, you'll have some decent source material for impacts.

For wooshes, try various lengths and thicknesses of PVC pipe.

  • Nice start thanks! I forgot about my car completely. (Although I plan to record it completely in the future at some point). Forgot about dry ice too. When I heard Chuck's metal fx library I made a note to do some dry ice recording..
    – bpert
    Apr 9, 2011 at 2:44
  • No problem. A couple more ideas: inside a large cardboard box that's hit with something; and keep unevenly detuning the kick drum until it's beyond floppy, recording a hit every crank of the tuning key. Apr 9, 2011 at 18:17

I haven't done any of these yet myself... but I've been making a list.


Sheet metal, plywood + sledgehammer, handclaps pitched down.

A chair in my office drops so fast when you pull the handle that the base crashes down on top of the wheels with a wicked bang.

Staccato piano mashes.

Drop bits of wood off your roof onto concrete (or more wood/dirt/large gourds/empty garbage cans/full garbage cans). Ditto for cinderblocks, iron bars, eggs.

When I was in university one of my less well advised friends made a potato gun from some pvc that made a thunderous ssssssssThwoup! kind of sound.

Sudden releases of pressure, the first split second of a shaken up pop can being opened, champagne corks popping.

Got some pretty useful stuff from a recent balloon session. Pitched up and down some of the squeals would be great for missle/rocket/bullet flybys.

Find a good bass player and get him to do some individual slaps through a distortion/octave pedal. Snare drum sat on top of a floor tom.

Guitar string snaps.


Tie a knot in the end of an old ratty towel and flick it.

Large canvas sheets.

Squash/tennis rackets.

Golf clubs.

Dead XLR cables, whipped.

Car aerials/straightened out coat hangers.

Tie basically anything onto the end of a piece of string and whip it around.

Whiffle balls. Baseballs.

Drill a bunch of holes in the rim of a frisbee and huck it past your mic setup.

  • You love that chair of yours, don't you? Apr 9, 2011 at 18:17
  • @Dave, Yes, yes I do.
    – g.a.harry
    Apr 9, 2011 at 18:50
  • Try not to go too crazy with dropping cinder blocks from your rooftop. Be sure not to crush either your microphone or sound assistant. Maybe just drop more deadly items from standing height. Apr 10, 2011 at 22:25
  • @SqueakyFish, You're probably right with that one.
    – g.a.harry
    Apr 10, 2011 at 23:23


  • I saw this awhile back. Pretty basic stuff in this tutorial.
    – bpert
    Apr 10, 2011 at 1:17

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