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How to make things sound "distant" outdoors

Bjorn Lynne

I'm creating an outdoor scene involving, among other things, some seagulls. I have a recording of a seagull that's really close mic. Even if I put it into the mix at very low volume, it somehow still sounds "close", just lower volume.

If it was an indoor scene, I'd obviously add some reverb and reduce the direct signal to create the impression it's far from the microphone. But outdoors in an open field, there shouldn't really be any reverb, so does anybody have any tips on how else I can make this sound "distant"?

Jamey Scott

Why not take a speaker outside and record the playback of your close mic'ed sound at a distance. :)

Markus Hastreiter

Roll off high frequencies the farther away they are (additionally to the volume decrease of course).


What I do to distance sounds is EQ a fair amount of high and low end out. Then I use a delay that is close to a slapback with a very small amount of reverb with very short tail.

Alexey Menshikov

Reverb is your friend - with long decays go try Accoustic mirror with outdoors presets - briliants Also try apply low pass filter to emulate air absorbtion

Garry Taylor

Roll off some top end (try a LPF -3 to -5 above 4 or 5k), and roll of some bottom (try a HPF @ about 250-350Hz), and bring the volume down a bit. Try these values as a starting point and experiment.

You could also try adding a v. tiny bit of delay/rev, but don't overdo it.

Anthony Airon Oetzmann

You may want to go outside and listen to the real thing. As soon as those birds turn away, there goes more of the highfrequency content. I like to automate some careful hipass filtering.

Probably not easy, but if you layer enough of those sounds it'll give you more authenticity. I use this on ADR voices too when the character turns away from the view.

Edited excerpts from discussion thread "Making things sound "distant" outdoors" oct 2002 at

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