Sound Design: That Spinning Sound Effect

A few months ago I did the sound design for the video below; It’s the outro animatic for the award winning puzzle-platformer Of Light & Shadow and I needed some kind of abstract sound that represents the spinning thing at the beginning.

That Spinning Sound Effect

While looking for inspiration in my sample library I stumbled across a very interesting noise-sfx but I wasn’t able to adapt it to the video in a decent way. So I decided to recreate it. The Sound I wanted to achieve was basically some (white) noise spinning around in the stereo field but I had no idea how to do that spinning thing. After some research I found some tips by people suggesting to simply use an (software) emulation of the famous Leslie speaker.


The Leslie speaker is a specially constructed amplifier/loudspeaker used to create special audio effects using the Doppler effect by rotating the speakers or a sound-directing duct. Named after its inventor, Donald Leslie, it is particularly associated with the Hammond organ but is used with a variety of instruments as well as vocals. The Hammond/Leslie combination has become an element in many genres of music.

My Approach

So here is what I did:

  • I started with a mixture of white and pink noise out of a softsynth.
  • Then I added Guitar Rig as an effect and loaded the Rotator module (don’t forget to activate L & R channel in Guitar Rig and to turn of the gate).
  • In my case I focused on the treble rotator for further adjustments; You can modify the rotating speed for the slow and the fast mode of rotator there, the behaviour of the acceleration and the decceleration when you switch between these two modes and the stereo width in general.

Guitar Rig Rotator

  • After that I added an equalizer to pull out the mids more and I added a reverb for some space and to intensify things a little bit.
  • Everything else was a question of automation in the host.

The Result

The result isn’t very spectacular in a sonic way but it did a perfect job as layering sound effect.


If you don’t have Guitar Rig (Native Instruments) there is a great collection of free and open source plugins by mda-vst including a plugin called Leslie which should do a very good job as well.

mda Leslie

Another rather new alternative might be a plugin called LX122 by XILS-lab.


Kudos to Martin Kenzel for the great animatic!