Sci-fi sound effects are some of the most memorable in any genre of film. And, they’ve been responsible for advances in sound design since the mid 20th century. Lately, we have fallen in love with the dark monolithic sounds you hear in films like Godzilla. These simple audible cues establish mood and character.

While the Godzilla sound designer used dry ice and whale bellows to get a distinctive roar, you don’t have to go to such great lengths. The Output team’s creature feature fanatics used REV to replicate this shadowy and imposing sound design technique.

Here’s a quick demo showing you how to build a dark synth in 30 seconds with REV’s Instruments engine — one of the four engines found in the REV collection.

Get Your Copy Of REV

REV simplifies the magic of reverse sounds with four engines that let you play instruments in reverse and in real-time. In this example, we will use the Instrument engine to create a massive dark swell.

Start by selecting the Cello patch. Click the Layer 1 tab and turn the equalizer on. Drop the treble volume down to -12.0. Without the highs, the tone becomes darker and more restrained.

Next, turn the Delay 1 button on to give the sound more presence and a small tail. And, turn the Drive button on for distortion and weight. Now click on the Main tab and turn on Rage mode. Everyone has a good time when they go into rage mode.

Switch back to Layer 1 tab and turn on the filter in the top right corner. It’s time to map a couple of the filters to your MIDI controller. Right-click on the cutoff to reveal Kontakt’s MIDI learn option. Click on the dropdown and move a control on your controller. Repeat this process with the Global Sample Start slider in the center of the screen.

To nail this sound, the automation of these two parameters should swell together. It’s easy to do this if you route both parameters to the same knob or slider on your device.

That’s it! Now you have the perfect sound to mark the arrival of a Cthulu-like creature or create foreshadowing for an apocalyptic event.

Now, go make your own sci-fi sound effects! We’ll give you a head start. Download the patch from the video here (for REV owners): Dark Synth REV preset. And, go learn more about REV’s layout and Instrument engines.