So, it has been a recurring sound design question/challenge I've quite often come back to. Today I can say I'm the closest I've ever been from creating this sound using noise and plugins.

I run pink noise through the AIR Frequency Shifter plugin that comes with PT8. In Up & Down mode (the third position of the selector), with a feedback between 70 and 100% and mixing the output between 50 and 100% I managed to get the base with a frequency between 5 and 10Hz. Then, using flanger I added some "turbulence" to it (haven't managed to get an actual flutter yet) and finally some AIR Enhancer to generate some whistling highs and accentuate the cyclical thump.

Have you guys ever tried this? Would you like to share your experiences here? Any techniques/plugins that might give me a better result? The AIR Filter Gate plugin has Attack, Hold and Release controls that gave me superb control over the character of the propeller, but then it only has a stepped rate so you can't vary the modulation speed (I haven't tried automating the tempo of the session that is).



  • It would sound cool with a high pitch whine or w/e when powering down sort of like in Avatar when Jake goes to the jungle for the first time. Jun 20, 2011 at 9:49
  • @Stephen, do you mean the whine of the helicopter's turbine? In this case, it would be my next step. This is only the propeller, but yeah it doesn't sound right as one would only hear the propeller's sound when the turbine is active... I'll look into that! Cheers! Jun 21, 2011 at 18:10

2 Answers 2


Nice one! Pretty darn close :-) I agree with Stephen that it needs a high pitch whine.

Have you heard of the book Designing Sound by Andy Farnell? There is a really really REALLY great (can I stress that enough?) tutorial on how to recreate procedurally the sound of a helicopter. Definitely worth checking it out. It uses Pure Data for implementation, but the physics analysis is awesome, and I'm sure it will help even if you're using plugins.

Keep experimeting - love it!

  • Cheers @Andrew, I'll make sure to check this book out! Jun 21, 2011 at 18:06
  • 2
    +1 for Designing Sound. The PD examples are great, but the thing that really gets me about the book is the analysis of why things sound the way they do, combined with a 'from the ground up' design strategy. Hugely inspirational. Jan 8, 2012 at 10:40

Pretty close. Well Done.

I made a tutorial for this on youtube. Just look for luke sega- rotating properellers. I recommend VST Korg MS20 for advanced sound remod.

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