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    How to make a noise more soothing


    I'm working on a video game right now and I'm trying to make the sound of a "magic crystal" type object that's constantly glowing with energy. I had a yeti microphone recording in front of a guitar amp that had a second microphone attached to that amp. Then put the amp's microphone inside of a plastic helmet and I got a really interesting feedback sound. I really really liked the way it sounded and I thought it might be useful for the sound crystal noise, but I want to make the sound feel grander and more soothing (it sounds a tiny bit harsh right now). Is there any advice on this? Would digitally altering the frequencies or EQ help and if so, what ways would accomplish this? Thanks.

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    It is hard to give advice without having heard the sound.

    Some techniques that might be useful:
    - Try a subttle chorus effect. I have sometimes tried this on raspy sounds and find that it helps to remove the harshness from very dry and synthetic synth sounds or raspy distorted guitar.
    - Try EQ, especially helped with frequency analysis. Very proeminent frequencies, especially in the high mids and high frequencies will almost always sound unpleasant. Apply EQ dip to these freqs.
    Rolling off the high frequencies with a gentle low pass (or sometimes a high shelf) is usually also a good idea. Depending on the sound you are looking for you will have to adjust the freq and Q of the EQ.
    - Reverb also reduces harshness and makes the sound more natural. Think of the space where the crystal is and apply reverb accordingly (for example, do not use a hall preset if the crystal is inside a box or in a small room). Too much reverb is likely to make the sound more 'distant'

    I want to believe.
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    All good advice above. And props to you for experimenting and recording your own source sounds. To add:

    Adjust the amplitude curve of the sound so it slowly fades in, or fades in and out, or apply a tremelo for a "womp-womp-womp" effect.

    Pitch it down.

    Add echo, or a pitched echo Harmonizer style for the classic sparkly space-crystal sound (the original Eventide Harmonizer literally has a preset called Crystal, heh)

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    Thanks! Both of your advice worked really really well. I also subtly layered the sound of me rubbing the top of a wine glass and it worked out really really well.

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    I was going to suggest the chorus and wide notch EQ at 2Khz but Alien has covered that.

    Another suggestion that hasn't been mentioned yet is to use a de-noiser as an effect rather than a restoration process. Depending on the particular plug-in, you can usually change the parameters in unconventional ways to achieve blurring of the audio.

    Also, you can download Michael Norris' free spectral plug-ins that work wonders for game audio, especially magic effects; I use them all the time for professional work. Unfortunately the package Mac OSX only.

    Michael Norris - Soundmagic Spectral


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