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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old January 27 2014, 06:33 PM   #1
BMariner
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TOS Sound Effects

Forgive me if this question has been asked and answered before here; the search function didn't return any previous threads on this topic.

Can anybody direct me to some resources about how TOS sound effects were developed and created?
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Old January 27 2014, 08:04 PM   #2
Warped9
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Re: TOS Sound Effects

I understand quite a few of them were borrowed from previous TV series and films. I also understand the sound of the alien parasites in "Operation: Annihilate" was a kiss put through a sound moderfier or something. The photon torpedo sound effect was originally from the 1953 film War Of The Worlds.
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Old January 27 2014, 09:23 PM   #3
Harvey
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Re: TOS Sound Effects

Per Inside Star Trek, I believe the Enterprise's "whoosh" sound was actually Alexander Courage blowing into a microphone.
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Old January 27 2014, 09:45 PM   #4
BMariner
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Re: TOS Sound Effects

Harvey wrote: View Post
Per Inside Star Trek, I believe the Enterprise's "whoosh" sound was actually Alexander Courage blowing into a microphone.
I think I read that somewhere too. By the way, I'm loving your blog!
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Old January 27 2014, 09:54 PM   #5
Nebusj
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Re: TOS Sound Effects

Warped9 wrote: View Post
I understand quite a few of them were borrowed from previous TV series and films.
Many of the ambient effects were part of stock libraries. Among the disturbing elements in Chuck Jones's 1963(?) cartoon movie Gay Puree is that when Tom the cat detects a mouse he does so to the sounds of someone pressing a couple buttons on the Enterprise bridge.
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Old January 27 2014, 09:58 PM   #6
CorporalCaptain
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Re: TOS Sound Effects

Warped9 wrote: View Post
The photon torpedo sound effect was originally from the 1953 film War Of The Worlds.
I thought that was debunked? That is to say, I remember reading on the board that they used the same idea, but it's not literally the same recording. I have no link to that though.
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Old January 27 2014, 10:05 PM   #7
Silvercrest
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Re: TOS Sound Effects

Not even sure if this applies to Trek, but: When I was younger I noticed that whacking certain metal light poles resulted in the sort of "Pew! Pew!" noise associated with a lot of futuristic handguns. (More the "bolt"-style energy weapons as seen in Star Wars, etc. rather than the "beam"-style Trek weapons.)

Later I read that was actually how they created the zap gun sound effects for some franchise or another. Possibly Classic BSG, but I can't find confirmation.
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Old January 27 2014, 10:24 PM   #8
Robert D. Robot
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Re: TOS Sound Effects

^ I saw a local, Central NY PBS special on Ben Burtt, Jr. which included him recreating some of the Star Wars sounds. One segment showed him hitting a support cable hooked to a utility pole, which created the "pew pew" sound that was modified and used for the blaster/laser fire. (His dad, Dr. Ben Burtt senior was a chemistry professor at Syracuse University who was the instructor for my freshman biology class years ago!)
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Old January 27 2014, 10:52 PM   #9
Silvercrest
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Re: TOS Sound Effects

Ah, I had probably read some similar account of Burtt, Jr. then. Thanks!

My own experience really was with a metal pole rather than with a cable, but as I recall it was specially shaped. One of those things with a square cross section supporting a street light over a basketball court, perhaps. I'm sure the shape would affect the sound; I doubt you'd get a similar noise out of any old length of metal. (This was 20-30 years ago, so I can't be more specific.)

Anyway, it doesn't help much with BMariner's question, but I thought people would find it interesting.
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Old January 27 2014, 11:24 PM   #10
Warped9
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Re: TOS Sound Effects

I seem to recall reading somewhere that the rumbling sound heard when the Enterprise cruises by was actually the sound of a jet engine modified into a rumble.
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Old January 28 2014, 01:28 AM   #11
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Re: TOS Sound Effects

I read somewhere that the transporter sound was of a toilet tank filling, recorded in a studio restroom.
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Old January 28 2014, 01:52 AM   #12
Redfern
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Re: TOS Sound Effects

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Warped9 wrote: View Post
The photon torpedo sound effect was originally from the 1953 film War Of The Worlds.
I thought that was debunked? That is to say, I remember reading on the board that they used the same idea, but it's not literally the same recording. I have no link to that though.
Hmm, first I've read that it was "debated". Now, it is true the "wing tip" blasters of the war machines were fired in rapid succession and as such each "Thoong!" partially overlapped the prior, but I reasoned the base sound started with a single "Thoong!" and the sound labs that provided Trek's audio effects just played them at different rates. I also heard a single dramatic "recoil" used for comic effect in an early Martin and Lewis film. Jerry and Dean are riding a train and try to setlle for the night in a sleeper car. Jerry Lewis strikes his head against the the underside of the upper bunk and I heard the famous photon effect with a great trailing "echo". That film, like WotW, dated from the 50s.

And to my (admittedly untrained) ear, I suspect the phaser sounds were originally created to depict the war machines' "magnetic legs". They were most noticeable as the machines elevated from their landing pit, the pitch of the cicada like droning rising in pitch as the machines themselves rose. Trek used the lower registers for the ship's batteries and the higher shrills were used for the pistol and pocket weapons.

Now, how they created that sound, shoot, I have no idea, but I always thought they were derived from the same sources.

And while some may wish to call me traitor for stating this, I've always loved the sound of the Jupiter II engines, the incredible buildup when the craft launches, the steady drone as it cruised and the power down as the ship landed, or more often crashed. For some time I've imagined the J2 "takeoff" "mixed" with the "revving" of the Enterprise's warp engines. That would, at least to me, sound like hell-aciously powerful mofo' of a ship! It would almost literally scream, "Outa' the way, b*tch!!!"

Sincerely,

Bill
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Old January 28 2014, 02:11 AM   #13
Warped9
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Re: TOS Sound Effects

^^ The Jupiter II engine and flight sounds are very cool!
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Old January 28 2014, 04:18 AM   #14
BoredShipCapt'n
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Re: TOS Sound Effects

The liner notes of the "Star Trek Sound Effects" CD gave these two accounts, true or not:

  • The pneumatic doors of the Enterprise were actually the sound of an airgun played in reverse.
  • Spock's viewing machine was in reality the thump of a torpedo firing pin played backwards.
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Old January 28 2014, 05:11 AM   #15
LMFAOschwarz
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Re: TOS Sound Effects

I only know that the engine room ambiance was the transporter room played at half-speed...or is it the other way around?
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