Hey guys, I really need to come up with a mean epic dragon vox sfx. I tried using a bunch of animal sounds slowed down, but nothing seems to fit! any ideas?
Cool question. Try using some crazy pitch modulation on one or two of your layers. With the pitch modulation (especially toward the end of each vocalization) you can add a threatening, throaty "warble" to an otherwise static sample. I'll come back this post and add more as I think of things!
1) I've had a lot of luck with ring modulation when it comes to monster sounds (probably my favorite kind of sound effect to work on). Recently I experimented with modulating the dry/wet value of a ring mod over a midrange frequency layer on a monster sound and it gave me some really cool results. This works best if the layer is lower in volume than the others because obviously ring mod can sound really artificial if you're not careful.
2) Also try gradually fading in any of the lows and low mids in the vocalization rather than slamming the listener with the full frequency spectrum all at once. When the effect starts to play back you will create tension in the listener as they wait for the full force of the scream to kick in. I recommend fading these frequencies in with something other than a linear envelope (logarithmic maybe?) so that the rate of fade-in accelerates over the envelope time.
It all depends on your demographic, the visuals, and intended result as to what you would use. Think of how different the sounds for Dralcor, The Luck Dragon, from Never Ending Story and Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon are from the Dragon from Dragonheart or even Dragon Wars: D-War. There are lots of ways to go on this....
For a classic fantasy dragon I would probably start at with an elephant seal call verbed out and sidechained to Lo-fi mixed with a reversed Blow Torch blast or flame thrower hiss to make a fireball sound. Maybe I would add a processed slowed down bird caw/shriek as well to help it cut through any gratuitous bass centered background elements. Elastic audio is good for this. Also, if you want to go more cartoon-esque (younger demographic) and humanoid....try performing some vocalizations using a surface mic and mixing that in or adding kitten sounds or bear cub vocalizations. But, I second Nick's notion above....process your layers and blend, blend, blend. Ask yourself what emotions you want to portray and what sounds make you feel that way. For instance, by using steel and metal moans you can add a strong scary impersonal feel...You can make almost anything from anything these days.
Have fun! (I'm jealous.)
These are all great ideas! Another one to add to the pot is the record your own vocalizations and manipulate those. My understanding is that a lot of the 'iconic' monsters and creatures in film incorporate a human vox element - whether its just a manipulated recording, or using a vox input to trigger other sound samples based upon time or frequency range within software (Ben Burtt does this I believe).
Cats work well too when you slow them down for a higher-pitched dragon element, especially if you can find one that has a close up angry hiss. The meows don't work quite as well, but the hiss is other-wordly when slowed down.
I have heard a sound, only last week, no pitch stretching, no time shifting, a 100% natural sound, sounded like a REAL dragon. I was so blown away, I couldn't believe it - when closing my eyes, I thought I was near a real life dragon.
I stumbled upon it while sea kayaking near caves, there seemed to be an underwater hole in one of the caves, pushed air through it, when the waves stroke, it made a deep grumbling or growling sound with a heavy respiration. It sounded totally "alive" - Wished I could have recorded it, but maybe there is a collection of sounds from water holes by the sea side out there, wouldn't need much tweaking for sure. :)