Tank Treads


I recently released a Tank SFX collection with Rob Nokes on Rabbit Ears Audio and I wanted to take a moment to highlight one of the things that make tanks sound like tanks: the tracks bands.

Over the course of 3 days we recorded 7 vehicles and got quite the workout. We recorded the following vehicles:

M5A1 Stuart Tank
M60A3 Combat Tank
M41A2 Walker Bulldog Tank
M106A1 Mortar Carrier
M4A2E8 Sherman Tank
M42A1 Duster Tank
M75 Armored Personnel Carrier.

We recorded everything from multiple exterior and onboard perspectives. Tanks can really kick up a lot of dirt, so after those sessions I actually had to ship my Sound Devices recorder back to Wisconsin to have all of the contacts under the buttons replaced. Next time, I’ll be putting my recorder in a plastic bag in my Portabrace bag. It also took a few days to not smell like fuel! After all was said and done and we finished editing, the sounds of the track bands really stood out:

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Rob recently comment to me about the metallic sounds of the M5A1 Stuart, and if you listen closely to the others they have more of a rubber squishiness to their clatter. The onboards on the tracks really made the tanks come alive for me – especially when they moved at slow speed and started to accelerate. And luckily, we didn’t lose any mics in the tracks of the tanks. Every now and then I wish my car would clank and rumble like that!

You can check out more samples from those sessions here.

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  1. one thing that stands out is the great separation between the tracks and the engine noise. where are the engines typically on these tanks? and did you put the cubs up under the fender overhang of the tracks? are those them in the second photograph with the blue cloth wrapping?
    cheers guys. wonderful recordings.

Michael Raphael April 1, 2011