Sound design tips and ideas

Ok was wondering if we could share some general tips and ideas for sound design. I was thinking of trying to do a track for the ambient competition with all my own created sounds and patches. Perhaps even try just making everything from a single sound or sample.

What’s your favourite synths and plugins for making your own sounds. Anyone got any tips on getting, recording and processing found sounds?

Currently I really love the following synths for sound design

uhe Zebra
Arturia pigments


Soundtoys plugins
Valhalla shimmer

I’ll try and start posting any ideas and techniques I use and discover. If I have time will start to try and journal my adventures in sound design ( tricky as I work full time and have to squeeze in music production around everything else).

Looking forward to seeing other peoples ideas and suggestions.


Ah, nice post, I do love sound design! :wink:

So for instruments I always go to:

  • Omnisphere for Synthesized Sounds (lots of use of the modulation matrix + FX rack)
  • Battery for Hits/Percussive sounds (Layering for the win)

For Effects:

  • Step FX (Logic) is amazing for rhythmic/pulse/movement effect
  • Phat FX (Logic) for creative distortion but I would like Saturn later
  • Punish by Heavyocity for saturation/compression/transient designing
  • Supercharger by NI - Great for character
  • Various movement effects like tremolo/auto-panning on pads etc.

For Recording:
I have a Zoom H6, and sometimes even use the cheap Zoom H1. Just make sure to know what type of sound you want before you start. For example, let’s say you want crunchy sounds…break a hard bread under your shoes while recording. Break a frozen selleri or carrot (works great).

Oh and search on YouTube for foley effect recording, because you will get super inspired by those videos! :stuck_out_tongue:


Serum used to be my go-to, but I switched to VPS Avenger, which is much bigger, but still reasonably quick and easy to use. It also has a crystal clear basic sound. I despise that “low bit rate MP3” sound that many synths have these days, but fortunately, Serum and Avenger don’t have any of that, no matter how much you abuse them.

Europa is also interesting, but I might find myself moving to the recently acquired Wiggle for that sort of stuff. My favorite feature of these two is modulation of the actual waveforms, which makes for very dynamic and lively sounds, without that typical resonant filter timbre.

Another recent purchase is kiloHearts phaseplant, seems incredibly capable, but still (for what it is) easy to use. Kind of like VPS Avenger (which is also semi-modular, sort of), but closer to full modular.

As for processing, I have everything from kiloHearts and FabFilter, and I love basically all of it! FabFilter is just incredibly solid quality in both sound and UI design, and the kiloHearts snapin architecture is a huge workflow enhancer whenever you need to do some non-trivial multiband or parallel processing.

Eventide Blackhole is another nice plugin I often find my self using whenever I want some truly gigantic reverb.

Another favorite is Audified STA Delay, for nice analog-like delays that gradually make the tail warmer by running the feedback through tube simulations. Great if you want a massive, prominent delay, without filling up the entire stage.


Eventide blackhole, Fabfilter stuff and VPS Avenger are all on my wanted list at the moment. I haven’t really seen phaseplant and Wiggle - have to investigate further…

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Yeah love Step FX and Phat Fx. Would like one of the zoom recorders.

One of my recent ones I am trying now is Movement (which is actually the 1st prize in the Ambient Music Contest).

It’s really cool because it is essentially LFO type movement on various FX, and since it is an insert effect you can easily just change the source sound (instrument) you feed into it. I even had pretty cool results with just the stock organ sounds in Logic! :stuck_out_tongue:


Think there’s a demo on splice for movement- might give it a try :+1:t3:

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