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    how to make something sound distant?


    Hey there,

    i have some sounds (like a gun shot, an explosion, a conversation, a church bell...) from freesounds.org and they sound (with my headphones) like the source is just in front of you or pretty close. I want to make them sound like the source is more distant. some should get a bit of a direction, i mean they should sound like they come from the right. Or a conversation should sound like it comes from the offstage 10m distant or at one point it should sound like the conversation is behind a door. what is the difference between a distant sound or a sound heard through a wooden door?

    What i am thinking and trying off right now (pleas comment or add suggestions i am missing):

    - make something sound distant:
    -> quiter the volume. increase/decrease the high/low frequencies?. if the sound should happen in a forest i add some echo/reverb.

    - add some direction-dependent information
    -> the sound is played by two speakers (stereo) with a horizontal distance of about 10m between each other, so i play with the pan. are there any other things i could play with here? are there any vst plugins (for Reaper)

    - hearing something through a wooden door
    -> which filters can i use there? i guess i have to adjust the volume and the frequencies (with an EQ). But how does a wooden door (or some other material) change the frequencies?

    I am not a sound engineer but i study electrical engineering so i know about things like frequency spectrum or impulse response. If this information helps you formulating an answer smile

    Greetings Flo

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    527 sounds
    651 posts


    As for distance, you could use a calculator

    http://resource.npl.co.uk/acoustics/techguides/absorption/

    Sound in a forest is typically with less echo than open ground because the trees absorb and interfere with the echo.

    "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." Douglas Adams
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    18 sounds
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    Sounds in a forest can have surprisingly more echo than you'd expect. Probably depends on humidity too, dry wood I'd think is more reflective.

    But for distant sounds, I would say, eq, high pass. Volume and panning are obvious.

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    1 sound
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    @Benboncan, thanks for the link. i guess thats a bit too detailed and scientific for just making it sound good and real in theatre. there i just need some information on how to change things quantitative.

    @nemoDaedalus, thanks for your post. are you sure about the high pass? i thought the deep bass rumble reaches further than the high frequencies.

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    18 sounds
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    Yeah, but you can test out different filters. But when I think about it, for example, distant church bells, I think you hear more higher frequencies than low.

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    167 sounds
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    Reverb is my ultimate friend here. Whats most important is to get the dry/wet mix correct for the distance. Obviously there are a myriad of different parameter sets for varying acoustic spaces and distances. Make good use of early reflection adjustments and damping.

    It is probably more apt to use a convolution reverb to attain a specific acoustic space according to the required effect.


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    I would try muffling the sound, maybe cutting some of the high-end with an EQ or filter and then playing around with echo, delay, reverb. Turn the volume down or deamplify. Delay effects work wonders-- instead of a lot of reverb or delay, try something subtle applied more than once.

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    Simulation of a distant sound source should be done using a low pass filter. The more distance there is, the more high frequencies are taken by the damping of the air. Remember when you hear loud music from a discothek or something from high distance, you only hear "bumm bumm bumm" thus low frequencies. I was thinking of why so many people recommending the opposite and i guess this is because most people made their experience of cardioid microphones, which boost low frequencies in the near field but this is not a natural behavior. You must take omnidirectional mic as a reference and then listen to different distances. You will then hear what really happens when the distance increases.

    -Erdie

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    527 sounds
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    Erdie wrote:
    Simulation of a distant sound source should be done using a low pass filter. The more distance there is, the more high frequencies are taken by the damping of the air. Remember when you hear loud music from a discothek or something from high distance, you only hear "bumm bumm bumm" thus low frequencies. I was thinking of why so many people recommending the opposite and i guess this is because most people made their experience of cardioid microphones, which boost low frequencies in the near field but this is not a natural behavior. You must take omnidirectional mic as a reference and then listen to different distances. You will then hear what really happens when the distance increases.

    -Erdie

    Amen to that.

    "I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." Douglas Adams

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