The how do I make this sound thread


How do you make the ‘reverse’ sound used in many (old school) techno tracks? You may know what I’m talking about already, but here are popular examples: (at 1:24) (at 0:43) (at 1:44)

Thanks in advance!


It’s really as simple as it sounds, you take a sampled drum hit and reverse it. You may have to do some trimming of the sample - for instance, cut out the attack of the drum sound and keep only the tail. Or, you might have to trim the tail to a reasonable length to keep it in time if the sample has a really long tail. Pretty much any sampler should let you do all of this. Then normalize the new sample (since you probably just cut out the loudest part) and it should sound just like this.

Different sounds come from different drums, so in the examples you listed above, I think they are actually using three different drums when they do this. The first track sounds like they reversed a hihat or a snare, the second sounds like a kick, and the third could be a kick, snare, or tom.


In the second track, it even sounded like the whole loop was reversed at one point. Sometimes freezing and flattening whatever you’re working with can make for interesting results when reused together.

If you’re using a DAW with a timeline or anything like that, you can usually just reverse and trim however you want. I avoid samplers here because it’s hard to get it precise enough, but there are a million ways to do it. If you’re using a tracker (IIRC you said you used one?) you probably just have a reverse command that you can toggle back and forth like a boolean, which can make for really interesting patterns as well.


Thanks for the help!

Ok, that’s what I assumed. I was silly thinking it was some synth-specific technique : /

I don’t think there’s such a feature in Buzz or OpenMPT, but the uses would be interesting…


If you like the tracker style and want some easy FX commands like this on hand, I definitely recommend Renoise! It hitches together really well with modular, too (which might serve as a potential replacement to the UI?). The coolest part about commands like this is that you don’t have to go in and manually reverse the sample, so you can still use it like normal without that little command attached.

Although, you could probably reverse a few samples in audacity and then import them into the tracker / DAW you use as separate instances. You might not even need a whole lot to get that effect occasionally!