How to create distance without using lots of reverb?

VST, AU, AAX, CLAP, etc. Plugin Virtual Effects Discussion


6db slope lo pass filter. This is what I use regularly for my job as a game sound designer.


Here's what I've programmed : ... sp=sharing

Not sure that's the sound you're after (a distant sound in the middle of a city doesn't sound the same as a distant sound in the middle of nothing), but that can help you take decisions.

EDIT : and I just made a second version. Re-build everything from scratch. ... sp=sharing
Last edited by DJErmac on Wed May 08, 2024 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Please don’t read the above post. It’s a stupid one. Simply pass.


Things that are far away are delayed and dampened by the air. So I'd go with a few delays/ multi tap delay with no sync, of course, and low pass on any feedback followed by EQ on the wet signals. This would give you full control. There are also reverbs that have very detailed control of the ER, MTurboreverb is good for this, and also allow for scaling the overall size of the ER. So you can have only 5 or 6 reflections and scale those from bathroom size room to grand canyon. I personally would use only the ER from some of the altiverb outdoor IRs. That's the fastest way to achieve it. It would be a great exercise to figure out how to do it from scratch with delays and filtering though if you have a DAW that allows for creative routing.
Don't F**K with Mr. Zero.


I think nobody mentioned ambient sound.
When a sound is far away it is somewhat wrapped in ambient sound, noise, wind, etc..

Also reminds me of the interesting free plugin Lofi Oddity which could help provide some of that distance and degradation feeling, recommended to all actually :


paramita123 wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 6:57 pm I think nobody mentioned ambient sound.
When a sound is far away it is somewhat wrapped in ambient sound, noise, wind, etc..
True, but nobody can tell what ambient sound the user is seeking. So it must be added next, user per user. But indeed I also thought that was missing from my tries.

But what if you're trying to simulate a missile going from very far right on your spaceship ? Out of every law of sound, right ? But we've all seen things like this everywhere around in films and games. :shrug:

There are so many possible "far" options that I believe you're forced to start with a clean base.
What if the sound replicates itself heavily on big buildings (let's say you're in the middle) ? It needs extra echoes at a moment.
What if the sound is supposed to be in a forest ? More reverb I believe, the sound should be more diffuse.
What if the sound is supposed to be on a far away mountain (an eagle ?) ? Nothing to block the sound except air between you and that eagle, though diffusion everywhere around...
What if the sound is supposed to be very far in a cave ? Deeeeeeep verb I believe ?
Please don’t read the above post. It’s a stupid one. Simply pass.


A lot of what is perceived as “distance” comes from its context relative to another point of reference. In other words, a sound that is processed with some high-cut filtering, reverb/delay, and a low volume panned to one side might just sound like that in isolation (i.e., a quiet, muffled sound drenched in reverb). However, when you contrast that with a much more prominent part that is mixed to be front and center, relatively dry, and in your face, it helps to frame the soundscape and the distant part now has some context to place it in its own space.

Also, I think sounds will be more distant without raising the pre-delay. Sources that are far off usually don’t have a distinct gap between the source and the reverberation like our ears are used to hearing from close sounds in most natural environments.
Logic Pro | PolyBrute | MatrixBrute | MiniFreak | Prophet 6 | Trigon 6 | OB-6 | Rev2 | Pro 3 | SE-1X | Polar TI2 | Blofeld | RYTMmk2 | Digitone | Syntakt | Digitakt | Integra-7 | TR-8S | MPC One | TD-3 MO


Jakob Valentine wrote: Wed May 08, 2024 6:37 am Hi!

I need to make an instrument sound like it's far away, but without it echoing everywhere. Sort of like im playing a big outdoors arena with a wall behind me and the listener is a couple hundred feet away. The closest i've gotten is with an impulse response of a church, which they captured by standing sixty or so feet away from the sound source. Heres what i got, first dry and then with the convo-reverb IR:

Even then it still sounds too cluttered/muddy because the reverb is too echoic. I'm thinking about getting the BOOM Outdoor Fields & Spaces IRs and trying with those, even though they're expensive.
Is a good convo-verb the best bet or am i missing something?

Happy day!

I prefer algo reverb, since they allow you to make the exact reverb you need.

In some reverbs you will find controls of
1. Distance - how far to object is from the listener head. (same as using a mix knob between late and early reflection)
2. Pre delay of the late reflections(not early) - also plays a big role in distance

So to push the object away you need to use pre delay LR and the distance knob.
Another thing you may think, is to make the area feel huge you need to increase the Decay time, but this will create a big Woosh you don't want. Luckily this is not true.
If you do the right thing with pre delay and the ER/LR mix, a short decay time will be enough.

A good starting point may be
Mix on 50% late reflection at least (equal to long distance)
Put a pre-delay on late reflection around 100ms.
Short decay time so it doesn't sound wooshy.

Further you may want to play with the high frequency damping and eq.


If you send a source through a convolution reverb such as Logic's Space Designer, the Waves IR-1 or Heavyocity's Vast and you dial the wet/dry to 100% you effectively put a sound at the back of that space.

The reverb will probably doing a lot of that natural filtering off the top end, but may need a little assistance. Though it wouldn't be applying any compression, so it would be helpful to dial a little of that in or maybe try using a transient shipper and just shave a little off with that.

But that's the back of the space. The counterpoint to that is almost 100% dry with none of that eq or compression applied. Though, at this point, you may want to dial in some early relections. Some reverbs have them, others dont. Out you can imitate it with a delay effect. multi-tap for the most realistic emulation. Not too many repeats and dial some high frequencies off that.

So here you have two contrasts, a back of the space sound and an upfront and close sound. Anything in the middle would require setting somewhere in the middle, of thereabouts. If you were creative enough and had an effect chained like StudioRack than you could take advantage of those Macros to simplify this near/far process for you. Not that it's necessary.

Getting back to the original statement, it sounds to me like a Cathedral space might be too dense for you. I would suggest trying a Large Hall or a Small Cathedral. if you roll off some of the low-end you could sculpt it into something less "boomy" too.

Return to “Effects”