[Help] how to create "electricity aura / current" sound effect ?


I’m looking to create a sound effect like the one used in superheroes movies for electric superheroes, or even for most electric stuff in movies (like a cell that is “filled” with electricity).

If anyone knows how to make one, or point me in a direction of an effect/tutorial I can play with to hopefully get what I want it would be great.

I’m really not sure if this is the correct forum to post this kind of question in. Let me know if there’s a better place

Please don’t multiple post. Your messages have to be read by a forum elf before they become visible.

I don’t know, but we can wait for another elf to post.


I know what I want to do to get this effect, but I can’t find the exact tools and filters to pull it off. I posted for help.

I want to generate a 60Hz tone (power line in the US). Intentionally distort it and overlay it with air escaping from a tire hiss. Now pulse it on about a one second cycle.

Even better if you can build the effect into the script. “Oh my goodness! Look at the electric sparking!!” The setup is sometimes what carries the effect.

As we go.

You can’t go far wrong by simply posting in the forum for your computer (Windows, Mac, Linux). If it’s wildly wrong, we’ll move it.


Take a look at https://freesound.org/
You’ll probably find something suitable there.

Still not evil enough, but first pass.


There is Jacob’s ladder on Freesound.

Could use it to vocode voice, e.g. …

[ I used mda Talkbox vocoder plugin in Audcaity, rather than Audacity’s native vocoder ].

kozikowski - sorry for posting multiple times. I kept getting an http server error 503 so I tried again every few minutes, thinking it kept not working. I stopped when it did.

I’m also a bit confused about your 2nd reply:
“I want to generate a 60Hz tone (power line in the US). Intentionally distort it and overlay it with air escaping from a tire hiss. Now pulse it on about a one second cycle.”

Was that meant as instructions for me? because if so, I have no idea how to do those things. Can you explain further / provide links/guides I can look or learn from?

Steve - I already tried freesound.org , didn’t find what I was looking for I’m afraid.

kozikowski - It’s close but not exactly. Too “noisy” I think. How did you make it though?

Trebor - looked at that, not really what I’m looking for either

I found some video on “The Flash” tv show of a sound I’m looking for like:


The link should put it at the correct time (4:27).
It’s a bit hard to hear with the background noise and him yelling “The god of speed”, but still.

I kept getting an http server error 503

That’s odd. You were supposed to get a message that said “We got your posting. You just have to wait.”

Was that meant as instructions for me? because if so, I have no idea how to do those things. Can you explain further / provide links/guides I can look or learn from?

That was thinking out loud…with my fingers.

It’s good when a poster gives us enough information and detail to go with. We have to build your world in our imaginations to do any good.

I’m weirdly appropriate for this job. I can do electric engineering and I know exactly what electric current sounds like when it arcs. Even better, I worked in Hollywood and I have a pretty good idea what people are expecting when an electric arc appears in a movie script.

My first step was to create a 60Hz sine wave. That is the exact character of the juice that falls out of the wall socket if you live in the US. Unfortunately, pure 60Hz doesn’t sound like very much. That’s one of the low, pleasant-sounding pedals on a pipe organ. So I jazzed it up a little by distorting it. I don’t know if you could follow the questions I posted to the senior elves on how to do that.

Distortion almost always creates higher musical tones in predictable multiples. In this case, distortion created additional tones at 180Hz, 300Hz, 420Hz, 540Hz, 660Hz.—and more. For reference, that tone the oboe plays at the beginning of an orchestra is A-440Hz. Clearly audible.

A side note. One of the tones that the TV networks ship back and forth to each other for sound calibration is 400Hz. I sweet-talked the Director of Engineering at NBC Washington to let us shift the Washington DC tone up to Concert A-440Hz. He, no stranger to whimsy, said yes. It may still be that way.

Anyway, Everybody Knows electric arcs have to be not only buzzy, but hissy, too. So I generated White (harsh) Noise and played that and the buzz at the same time.

Almost there. I used Effect > Fade-In to give me one second of loudness change from nothing to maximum over one second. That’s the one that sounds like a Jacob’s Ladder. That wasn’t quite dramatic enough, so I inserted a tiny fraction of silence as an abrupt contrast at the end. Copy/Paste four times.

I don’t like it, either. It’s too sterile and clean compared to a real electrical arc which is messy, erratic and dirty.

Google “Arc Welding.” I think that’s much more like what you want.

Scan up to 2:30. I wish he would just shut up long enough to capture the sound.


Same video at 2:08. That’s a segment without chatting.


If you do capture and use that sound, you’ll have to explain why it has copyright free background music behind it.


kozikowski - WOW! First let me thank you for the great explanation, details and help!

To be honest after reading everything I had no idea how to do what you did.
However, I played enough with audacity and managed to get the same result as you did (probably not as good, but still)
And I understand what you were saying about too sterile and clean.

Also, the arc welding sound from the video you put is a really good one! also right.

Anyway since I now know I’m looking for “Arc Welding” sound, I took another look at freesound.org and found this:

I think I can edit it to create a good result.

At this point I believe you know better than I what I actually want (hehe),
so what do you think about it?

Yes. That’s the idea.

what do you think about it?

There is a caution. It’s a lot easier to start with a loud effect and make it quieter than to make a quiet effect louder.

Production decisions are up to you.

Does it fit your script? Messing with sounds to make them fit the show is one of the Academy Awards.

One other note. How are you listening? Wireless earbuds are cool and terrific, but they can change tone depending on fitting and there has been at least one post where someone had BlueTooth noise problems. Much better to have good quality, wired headphones.