Making Stuff Sound Far In Front Of You

EDIT: This technique probably won’t work for you. And it might not work for me either without me realizing it. Some people obviously don’t hear what I hear, so this effect might not actually be doing what I think it is. I’ll leave it here just in case someone figures out how it works (or doesn’t). Sorry for making unnecessary noise. :lol:

I was playing with some tune of mine and discovered this trick by pure accident. I haven’t done extensive experimentation on it, so feel free to boo me away if it doesn’t work. I’ll do some more research later.

So anyway, to make something sound as if it’s far out in front of you, add a reverb (most settings worked for me, even just slight reverb), and then, after reverb, add add a band pass filter at about 1KHz. Cutting the lower end makes it sound far, so don’t go too low with the BP. You can see the settings used in my case in the screenshot below.

As I said, I haven’t done much experimenting on this, so I can’t be sure, but I guess it depends on the sound and pitch, not just the DSP chain. For the sound I was using in my tune, 1K BPF worked, but higher or lower cutoff have a completely different effect. If you want to experiment, try different sounds, at different cutoff frequencies.

EDIT: Sorry, guys, it was 4AM so I obviously omitted a few details. Here is a screenshot of the actual setup used.

Also, here’s the tune I used this effect on. It appears right at the beginning (headphones are recommended):

Sorry for being n00b, but with “band pass filter” you mean Comb filter or Filter? 'cause I don’t have any DSP called BPF in my list. :unsure:

I have a “AUBandPass” but neither of these three makes it sound like it’s far in front of me (in the way you described to do).

He probably means the filter device and pick the Band Pass from the drop-down.

Yes, sorry about missing details. I’ve updated the original post.

Hm, maybe just scratch this tip. Maybe my ears are just broken. My wife doesn’t seem to hear the same effect… :blink:

The perception is different for many people.
With only one sound this is harder to get a good idea from. You need another sound referencing on the foreground to allow perceiving the difference.

Reverb and a rolling off of the higher frequencies will generally help give at least some perception of distance with recognisable sound. As it travels towards you it will likely bounce of multiple surfaces (and higher frequencies can bounce off a smaller surface than low due to their wavelength being shorter) but low frequencies travel much further and high frequencies are heavy absorbed both by the air and by surfaces.

I think using a very bright reverb and then either heavy EQ to bring down the upper frequencies, or maybe a slow slope LPF, with maybe slight rolling off of the very bottom frequencies, might get close to making a sound appear to be distant.

Also some tremolo or other modulations, very subtly, may help give some realism, especially for sounds that may be travelling outside and affected by the wind.

Point is, when playing the tune in the OP, I was getting an impression that my headphone was unhooked, and that the sound was coming from my laptop. And then I realized that the sound was actually coming from headphones. One sound, alone. But, that seems to be an individual thing. This doesn’t work on my wife’s ears, for example. From what I’ve read so far, it depends not only on individual ears, but also many other factors, like being accustomed to hearing sounds from outside the headphones, and then having something sound like it’s coming from outside the headphones will give you an illusion that it’s either in front of you or behind, depending on the direction you usually get outside noise from, etc. In my case, I wear headphones waaay too much during the day.

People are easily fooled by where a sound is coming from. We can triangulate audio if there are walls or objects deflecting the audio.
Try to comprehend listening to a bird in the open field:You hear lots noises, but the generic noises that are coming from somewhere in front of you it is hard to tell whether the sounds is coming from below or above.
While when you are listening in a room, it is more easy to grasp the direction as the walls help you out.

The thing you can achieve with filters is mimic the material the walls exist off and how the shells of your ears muffle out stuff behind you. The rest is pure reverberation + panning (direction) and volume (distance).
That makes creating Binaural audio a bit more sophisticated to achieve.

Ha, you can say that again. :)

This idea of ‘distance’ has been one of my main stylistic elements since the FT2 days. Creating ‘space’ and ‘geography’ in music can be so much fun. Often it’s just use of a dub-delay that gives this feel, those echoes bleeding out into a distant midrange.