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The sound of a distant playground....

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The sound of a distant playground....

Postby Phil Ward » Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:25 pm

All,

A mix effect that I've never really been able to pull-off consistently is to put a single element in the "distance".

I'm working (in PT LE) on a relatively simple guitar/voice/synth pad track that also uses a "childrens' playground" sound effect as an occasional atmosphere (it's not a sad old cliché, honest). The basic track is reasonably dry but I want the playground to sound distant. Just drowning it in a long reverb doesn't really do the trick, so can I have some suggestions please?

Phil

PS. The playground sample is stereo.
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Re: The sound of a distant playground....

Postby tomafd » Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:39 pm

It's often the early reflections that define the 'space' more than the reverb tail. Try different types of verb with the tail volume reduced right down, and just listen to the different early reflections, with no dry signal, in the monitors. Once you've found one that sounds closest to what you're after, start mixing in a little of the dry signal, get the relative volumes of the reflections and the dry signal right, and then bring the tail volume back up - you may not need much at all, and probably quite short, for a kiddies playground. Slap an eq over the reverb return and try filtering off most of the low end, and play with pre-delay times on the early reflections - bigger times usually create a bigger 'space'. You may find that no dry signal at all gives the best result.
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Re: The sound of a distant playground....

Postby geefunk » Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:43 pm

Along with adjusting the amplitude of the dry signal, experiment with a combination of high and low pass filtering, early reflections levels on your reverb, pre delay, and the eq of the reverb itself....

Edit: cross post with Tom, saying pretty much the same thing!
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Re: The sound of a distant playground....

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:31 pm

I'd go for lots of early reflections as well, and with plenty of top rolled off to add more distance. It occurs to me though that another noticeable effect with distant sounds is the 'drifting' you get as air movements give you intermittent snatches of the sound rather than a smooth, continuous flow.

I'm just having a think as how how that could be programmed. Hmmm...

Actually, this is a great thread for our new Sound Design forum, so I'll move it there but leave a link here for everyone to follow.


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Re: The sound of a distant playground....

Postby The Elf » Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:42 pm

I created this same effect a looong time ago. We ended up with some severe filtering and a couple of slap echoes to simulate hard walls in a playground.

I'd probably now use some pre-delayed, very short reverb to get the smeared slap echo and chorus/flange the result to make it a bit more 'washy'. Obvious reverb (especially long reverb) isn't going to help in making it seem distant, because the real thing would be outdoors - the reverb will just draw attention and seem unnatural.
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Re: The sound of a distant playground....

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:54 pm

'smeared slap echo' sounds just the ticket Elf, although the chorus/flanging would have to be quite subtle I suspect.

I wonder if automating the early reflection spread (perhaps using a small amount of sinewave LFO with one cycle every few seconds) to further smear those echos in real time would help create that 'drifting' effect I was mentioning?


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Re: The sound of a distant playground....

Postby The Elf » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:01 pm

The chorus/flange needs to be very subtle, just to simulate outdoor air movement pushing the sound around. I'd use two or three of them, each in tiny amounts and at varying speeds. You could put them in series or parallel, or both.

A chorus/flange ahead of the reverb might add a little extra random element too.
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Re: The sound of a distant playground....

Postby Phil Ward » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:56 pm

All good stuff guys. I might get the chance to have a play with it later. I'll report back.

Phil

PS. Now why didn't I post this in the Sound Design section in the first place? Doh!
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