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Lightsaber inspired sound

July 13, 2013 | 2:47 am

Hi guys

I am working on an idea inspired by the sound produced by a lightsaber, which would be a constantly produced sound with increases in volume and pitch when required. However, the current methods of producing this sound have not produced interesting enough sounds. The system is in place, but its what is making the sound that is the problem. I have experimented with the phasor~ and noise~ but these are bit too dull and don’t offer any fluctuating tones.

Does anyone have any idea of creating a slightly more interesting constant tone, or maybe the solution is to combine several ideas to make the depth of the sound more complex.

Any way hope this was clear, and any ideas are always welcome. I will be delving into my designing sound book after writing this so I might find something interesting in there.

All the best


July 13, 2013 | 4:44 am

Just off the top of my head, several micro-detuned saw oscillators with subtle amplitude and filter sweeps might get you started. A year or so ago someone posted a link to a description of the THX bass sweep, which is similarly specific, you’ll probably get same help if you stick around and search here; and for "burtt interview"


July 13, 2013 | 4:56 am

and this might help:

and search here for "doppler" too


July 13, 2013 | 5:17 am

Damn. I’m really gonna have to de-register from this forum – I have WAY too much to do. Anyhoo, this took me ten minutes:


— Pasted Max Patch, click to expand. —


Just bare-bones, but you get the idea; probably no better than your own efforts?


July 13, 2013 | 8:48 am

Noob_meister’s sounds pretty damn close. That youtube video sounds awful though.

July 13, 2013 | 8:50 am

It does. And it does ;-)

July 13, 2013 | 9:59 am

Yeah I would say that’s better than my first effort! I took a slightly different approach which sound more like electic, but still kind of cool.

Thanks for your help though, might have a go at adding to that and seeing how it sounds.

All the best


July 13, 2013 | 10:10 am

I added some slow low ampl random sweeps to various parameters such as fundamental, noise freq, resonance etc and it sounds more, um, filmic. One element I couldn’t get was the high frequency scattered "zing" which Burtt achieved using a high tension steel cable I believe. Some physical modelling of a string for this perhaps?


July 14, 2013 | 3:17 am


July 14, 2013 | 3:19 am

cannot delete attachment – – – – – help!

July 14, 2013 | 3:34 am

Right, that was an un-f**king-mitigated disaster.

Here’s a cool patch by Peter McCullough, what does a comb thing in gen~.
Play with it, it’s fun.


October 30, 2013 | 3:48 pm

I was under the impression part of that sound was created by holding a mobile phone in front of the speakers and recording the disturbance sound.

October 30, 2013 | 11:36 pm


hmm…mobile phones in 1977? Not many.

From wikipedia – The lightsaber sound effect was developed by sound designer Ben Burtt as a combination of the hum of idling interlock motors in aged movie projectors and interference caused by a television set on a shieldless microphone. Burtt discovered the latter accidentally as he was looking for a buzzing, sparking sound to add to the projector-motor hum.

The pitch changes of lightsaber movement were produced by playing the basic lightsaber tone on a loudspeaker and recording it on a moving microphone, generating Doppler shift to mimic a moving sound source.

Watch at 3’16" Burtt recording the loudspeaker with a shotgun mic

November 16, 2013 | 6:49 am

:) thanks for clarifying! very cool

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