Hey all,

I'm pretty new to sound design and currently working on a soundscape project for school. I want to add that "shell shock" silence effect, like when a grenade goes off to close to a character, but I'm not having any luck. Anybody have any suggestions? I'm working in ProTools 9.



5 Answers 5


A common method is to use the Signal Generator AudioSuite and generate a sine tone @ 7-12Khz. You can then use the 1-band EQ set to a low-pass with a steep rolloff (24dB/oct) with a slight resonance and automate it down to a cutoff of around 120-200Hz. To augment the effect you could increase the Q on the filter when it reaches the lower frequency, even use a delay/phase effect. Tip: Using a short delay time with a mix of ~30% @ <20ms you can also achieve comb filtering effects.

  • I love this answer because it allows multiple effects to be run in parallel and mixed to taste, both on the sinewave tone AND the voice. The sine-wave is a cliché, but for good reason, and a loss of high-frequency response happens to me when I'm exposed to loud sound sources. Having ALL these things interplay and evolve could be quite cool. Commented May 31, 2011 at 5:16
  • The sine wave may be cliche, but any of use who've suffered (or do suffer) from tinitus know it all too well!
    – Sonsey
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 14:40
  • Thanks for the tips on the resonance and delay! They really made the effect stand out a bit more. Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 18:28

I'd use a filter and a synth. Use the filter to create a low-pass and remove almost all of the sound, then sweep the frequency back up as the "shell-shock" effect wears off. While the sound is filtered out, use the synth to create a high pitched "whine". A sin wave will probably work for this.

This is just off the top of my head, it might not work, but it could be a good place to start. Let us know how you get on!

EDIT: Just saw you're using PT9, you'll be able to get the whine from the Vacuum instrument and you would be able to automate the EQ3 plugin for the filtering.

  • Worked great, but the sound was a little too clear, just lowered. I guess I should have specified that I was looking for a bit of a muddy/muffled sound after the shock. Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 18:26
  • Cool, well hope it helped you work out what you were after anyway :)
    – JTC
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 21:42

You could go a little more figurative with it and pull everything, all of the sound, and replace it with something really uncomfortable, two slightly mismatched tones (100hz or something), maybe some low-passed thunder.

The filter thing is a little cliche for my liking, but then again, it's probably accurate...

  • Do you mean pull every strip down with, say, automation? Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 18:23

Use a filter from fruity loops. There are a few Shell Shock presets that I know a lot of people in hollywood use quite regularly.

  • Unfortunately I don't have access to fruity loops at the moment. I'd love to use it a lot more, though! Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 18:22

What you could do is process the sound multiple times with AudioSuite reverb and EQ it to make it sound somewhat dull. Maybe add some reverse sounds in there and a light flapping or fluttering and at the end of the sides of the stereo field use a particular sound perhaps a ringing or someone screaming but have it processed so that it doesn't sound like a scream at all maybe by pitching it up, time compressing it, and duplicating it a bunch with EQ.

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