April 14, 2010 12:08 PM   Subscribe

I want to record/create/find the kind of groaning/sudden pinging/twanging noise you get when a large metal structure is under a lot of stress. Suggestions for how to achieve this?

It's for a game I'm making, where I'm trying to create a sound effect that says "your spaceship is about to break apart". Basically, the kind of creeiiiTWANGchkhhiieehhTWANGcrunchSqcheeegh that says "the front half of your massive spaceship is about to fall off".
posted by Zarkonnen to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hang a metal Slinky from the ceiling and mic it up at various points. Gently hit and scrape it with something metal, trying it out at various points along the Slinky.

If you have a decent mobile recorder, you can use a hammer to hit and scrape the guy wires that hold up telephone poles, and they make the sound you're looking for, too. Try both a metal hammer (and try different sizes) and a rubber mallet.

Also, if you have access to an electric guitar with a Floyd Rose tremolo or even a traditional Stratocaster tremolo unit, you can mic up the springs in the back of the guitar and then push the trem bar all the way to the body and then fiddle with it a bit to get the sound you want. Putting the guitar through an amp really loud and mic-ing that up will work, too. A combination of the amp and the mic'd up springs in the body will do nicely. Just don't pluck or strum the strings at all.
posted by The World Famous at 12:13 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Go to a boatyard. I hear these sounds all the time there. The hulls of big boats make sounds when the water shifts. I think that's what it is. There may be too much ambient noise there though.

Maybe try a large drum with something running across it? (Sort of how you make a champagne glass ring.)
posted by brenton at 12:14 PM on April 14, 2010

The tension springs on older garage doors make that noise when you slowly stretch them (by operating the door slowly by hand.) The flat-door type rather than the articulated track-rolling doors sound best.

Newer garage doors have torsion springs instead, which don't sound as scary. (For good reason - they're safer.)
posted by ctmf at 12:20 PM on April 14, 2010

Any metal bridges in your area? If you can stand underneath and record the sounds as traffic passes overhead, you might get some good stuff. There's an underpass here in Earthquake Country USA where I hate catching a red light, because the clunks and groans are so theatrical. Aaaah! It's the Big One! Oh wait, it's just a big rig. Phew.
posted by Quietgal at 1:18 PM on April 14, 2010

I used to work at a gas station a few years back. Every time it got decently windy the large logo sign would sway in the wind making those noises.
posted by cody at 1:37 PM on April 14, 2010

Have you looked at freesound? I'm not sure what you would search under but perhaps they might have something you would find useful, free for you to use.
posted by marble at 4:49 PM on April 14, 2010

I found this, which sounds like what I think you're looking for.
posted by word_virus at 7:28 AM on April 15, 2010

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