For a team challenge this week, I thought it would be fun to give everyone an onomatopoeia sound as a jumping off point for creative sound design. No rules. Just create a sound inspired by the following phrase:


I asked that everyone 'show their work' and type up a few words about how they went about inventing these new sounds. Here are each designer's take and the final sound effects.

Jessey Drake

I started just playing in FM-8 with some very high modulating tones without any direction at all. Sometimes just playing around with notes and different types of sounds is the best kind of inspiration. So I started manually pitch bending the notes and they started to sound very horror movie-esque. So BOOM, since its October and who doesn't like a good scary trailer hit, that's the direction I went in. So I have my pitch-bended, modulating tones, I added in some ghostly whispers over top of that, along with screams I processed in Soundmorph's WaveWarper, to create the lead in to the hit. The actual impact at the end is comprised of a whoosh/hit that I created that has some electric/synth qualities to it, a couple big and gnarly horror hits and of course a "little" LFE impact to round out the whole thing.

Tess Fournier

For this post I created the sound of a grenade being thrown and exploding. Because onomatopoeia is so tied with cartoon sounds, I thought it would be fun to create a cartoon representation of this. I used cork pop for the pin pull, a balloon deflate for the shell scream (along with a sail zip to add propulsion), and used a combination of anvil, shovel, cymbal and timpani hits for the explosion. Finally drums (usually representing foot movement in cartoons) were used as "debris." Just for fun I wanted to see if I could make this sound slightly more realistic through processing. I I ran the explosion elements through guitar amp and pitch shifted them. I pitched the balloon deflate up and added reverb and also turned the gain down significantly. I reverbed the sail zip out and used only the reverb tail through Doppler to create same propulsion with less of a cartoony feel. Lastly, I sped up the debris drums at the end and EQd them to make them more realistic. You can hear both versions in my clip.

Eric Paulsen

Cinematic Whoosh_01: I wanted this sound to be a quick and fast buildup and fall. Almost like an engine starting up and powering down very quickly. I used various whooshes to build the airy part and blended those with a synth I messed around with within KONTAKT. The ending bass hit were various thuds/drops I found in my SFX library. I processed those as well within KONTAKT.

Cinematic Whoosh_02: For this sound, I wanted to to have a very eerie/creepy feelings. As if something was lurking around the corner to scare you, and considering that it’s officially Halloween month I thought that it would be really fun to create something scary. I used different bowed cymbal swipes and paired it with a neat swoosh effect I found on an instrument in KONTAKT.

Cinematic Whoosh_03: This sound I created by recording some virtual guitar instruments. I added some pre-delay and a phaser to make it sound sic-fi’ish.

Cinematic Whoosh_04: This sound was a culmination of a lot of processing. I used a bunch of cool metal moaning and scrape sounds within my SFX library. I mashed and played around with different presets in KONTAKT and I eventually ended up with this warped up sound.

Cinematic Whoosh_05: I wanted this sound to be different from the rest. Kind of a time-bending element to it with the reversed tape effect. I used a hybrid piano instrument, added some breath instrument layer, a light high ringing whoosh for the buildup and then resolved by a sub hit effect.

Brad Meyer

I did my best to mimic the sound of the word you would make with your mouth while pronouncing it, with sound effects. To me, 'Weeee' is a squealing type noise, which I used a bottle rocket to create. It didn't have the 'W' sound at the beginning that I would have liked so I added a whoosh right before. for the 'Sha', I used a combination of recordings of both male and females 'shh-ing', as this was the most human way to get the 'Sha' effect. Lastly, for the 'Blawng", I used a combination of a large metal impact and a few cartoony sounds, including a coconut hit and a timpani hit, since 'blawng' seems very animated to me.

David Carfagno

The way I approached making this sound was to break down the words and try to create sounds for each syllable. For the Wheeeeeeeee I took a fire torch whoosh and added in a down pitched synth swirl with a little bit of high velocity wind. The Sha is mainly a slowed down bull whip, and it has a reversed ride cymbal scrape and reversed vacuum cleaner whoosh to add texture. BLAWNG I felt like was the trickiest part, I wanted a good amount of bass so I added a bomb impact. To get that ending NG sound I a got a barbell dropping sound and added a good amount of reverb. I still felt like it was missing some sort of crunch however, so I took a plastic cup cracking sound and used an eq to rolled off the higher frequencies.

Mary Spohn

I started by using a punchy high- frequency synth that I created in Max/MSP and used convolution reverb on another sample I had of a bottle nose dolphin giving it a texture. After that I used a whoosh sample but ran it through a vocoder which was mixed in at a low level. Finally the "Blawng" sound is a sample of a gun shot with a lot of delay and/ echo as well as the vibrato from a distorted synth sound I created. 


Featured image from Photopin