Create Explosive Transition Sounds for the Dance Floor

November 8, 2013

  Unique transitional effects—noise bursts, whooshes, explosions—are a great way to set yourself apart from the pack when it comes to creating your own original sound. While there are some fantastic and complex effects in modern loop libraries, taking the time to design your transitions is well worth the effort.

Some of the most dramatic effects come in the form of original explosions and dive bombs to kick off a massive breakdown before your final peak (or “drop” in current dance floor parlance) brings your track to its climax. This month, we’ll dive into two different ways to craft a unique explosion effect.

Scroll down for step-by-step audio examples from our SoundCloud page.

Step 1


Propellerhead Reason’s Subtractor includes just the right set of features to quickly set up a classic dive bomb. First, reset Subtractor’s parameters to their defaults, and then choose a waveform that has the right flavor for your track. I’m big fan of triangle waves for dive bomb sounds, since they have just a touch of upper harmonics without being to bright or buzzy.

Step 2


Next, set up your amplitude (volume) envelope so that it has a long decay and release.

Step 3


Finally, add the pitch sweep, using Subtractor’s modulation envelope, which defaults to affecting oscillator 1. Start by setting it up so that it matches the amplitude envelope, and then tweak the amount and release parameters until you’ve got your bomb perfected.

Step 4


Sampled drums are an even simpler approach to creating epic explosions. Start by loading a floor tom or kick drum into your favorite sampler.

Step 5


Now, add a massive reverb with a long decay (10 to 15 seconds is a good starting point) and max out the wet/dry balance so that it’s all reverb. Sometimes you’ll need to tame the high frequencies of the reverb, so apply a lowpass filter at the end of the chain for easy control of the highs.

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