Royalty Free Sound Effects & Sound Libraries

What is Impulse Response?

What is Impulse Response And How To Use In Ableton Convolution Reverb Pro

Last year, a sound designer reached out to me with an intriguing proposal. He had noticed my frequent travel to unique locations around the world, and suggested that I record impulse responses and room tones to provide valuable resources for sound engineers everywhere. At first, I was unsure of what impulse responses were and how to go about recording them. But after some research and discovery, I learned about convolution reverb and how it pairs well with impulse responses. Today, there are various high-quality reverb plugins available that allow for customization with personal impulse response recordings.

What Is Impulse Response?

Capturing the true sound of a room, or the “impulse response,” requires a sharp and loud sound source, such as an exploding balloon, clapping a slate, or even clapping hands. While some may use firecrackers, gunshots, or even shouting to capture an impulse response, the options are endless. Recording in 32-bit is a game-changer, as it eliminates clipping and distortion in the audio file. This is why I use the Zoom F6 and always record in 32-bit. It allows for greater flexibility in post-processing and ensures no loss of information in the final file.

What Can You Do With Impulse Response Sound Effects?

Impulse response recording opens up a world of possibilities for sound engineers and designers. But what exactly can you do with these recordings? That’s where convolution reverb comes in. With this technique and tools like the Ableton Convolution Reverb plugin, you can use impulse response recordings to create a wide range of realistic and unique soundscapes. For example, you can use it to make your voice sound like you’re in a tunnel, a parking garage, or a church without ever having to be there. But it’s not just useful for voices – you can use it to create realistic footstep sounds in a tunnel or other spaces, and it’s perfect for ADR, animation, video games, and dubbing movies into different languages.

Imagine the main characters meeting in a dark, spooky parking lot and having their dialogue right there. When listening to the reverb of the voices and the spooky ambiance, it will sound like a parking garage.

If this movie is dubbed, the voice actors aren’t flying to the same location to record the scene. They are standing in a soundproofed studio booth and the sound engineer uses a convolution reverb to match the sound with the scene.

If the location sound recordist who worked on set has recorded the room tone and the impulse response, it would be perfect for the sound designer to use. This means they can later use this effect to make the voices, footsteps, or a car door closing sound authentic to the space.

I know there are some very expensive convolution plugins like Altiverb out there that cover almost everything, but not everyone has $600 or $1000 to spare on a plugin like this. If you’re an Ableton user, you can download it for free on their website and use it either with your impulse response or one of the 200 presets.

Check out these Free Convolution Reverb Plugins

If you’re curious now how to use a convolution reverb but you don’t have Ableton check out Bed Room Producers Blog. Tomislav wrote a very nice article about free plugins!

Sound Samples

Below is our popular royalty-free sound library with 77 different impulse responses! To download click on your desired library and you’ll be directed to our Bandcamp account!


Who would have thought a handy sound recorder in Cambodia would lead us here?

Hi there we’re Marcel and Libby and every sound on this site has been recorded by us. For nearly 7 years, we’ve been traveling around the world recording unique sounds for others to use! 

If you’re curious and want to learn more about our journey traveling full-time as sound recordists you can read on here or on CNN Travel.

Free to Use Sounds Story

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