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Underwater Mic Effect


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Well, the first thing to remember is that people can't actually talk underwater (at least not without a full face diving mask/helmet) so this is one of those effects where you can have fun creating something totally unrealistic that the audience will ACCEPT as what underwater sounds like.


If I was going to do this, I'd probably start from the idea that people hear underwater speakers as being tinny with a distorted frequency response so I'd probably heavily EQ the voice in the direction of bass cut/HF boost (but make sure you leave plenty of mids for intelligibility. I'd maybe use a telephone filter as a starting point--or, if available, maybe even add a pitch shifter upwards.


After that, people will assume underwater has a "burbling" quality so I'd probably play with some kind of modulation effect--maybe some kind of ring modulator or phaser. There's no right or wrong here--it's a matter of playing with effects and experimenting until you hear something you like.


I don't know the show you're doing so am unsure whether the effect can be pre-recorded or has to be done live but you have options either way. For pre-recording, most DAW software offers a variety of modulation effects; for live I know the Yamaha SPX series has useful effects too and I'm pretty sure you can also do them with economy things like the Behringer Virtualiser.


Finally, after the effects, I might also experiment with adding in a loop of real bubbles whenever the character speaks--might be too much or might work.


Edited to add: I've just had a 2 minute play using Adobe Audition and came pretty close using an effect there called "Sweeping Phaser". I think with more playing that could have been pretty good.



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Mixing real bubbles in is the way to go - can have a loop of the bubble sound gated, keyed from the vox channel? Heavily compressed, bandwidth reduced vocal sound mixed with the real bubbles should be pretty convincing!
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