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I thought I would try to give some helpful information about how I run my thunder. It's a compilation of ideas from myself and other haunters and I hope it might help some others.

I'm an audio nut and this is the best quality thunder CD that I've found. It's a couple dozen different, and 100% real, thunder claps. Rykodisk, The Atmosphere Collection, Thunderstorm. http://www.amazon.com/Thunderstorm/dp/B0000009VZ (Funny thing...the negative reviews all seem to be that this is an effects disk with scary thunder and not a nature, put-me-to-sleep disk. Perfect!)

I use the free audio processing software Audacity. First, I ripped everything in Windows Media Player in lossless WAV format to my disk to get the full digital range. I loaded a thunder track in Audacity, kept the first 15 seconds of high intensity sound and stripped off the quieter rumble stuff off the end of the track & faded out the last 5 seconds to silence. Then, I inserted 3 minutes of silence at the end of the track and saved everything again in lossless WAV format. I did this for most of the 24 tracks. Not all tracks were suitable for me, since I wanted the hard core strikes (and not the "also powerful, but not as startling" tracks). I burned the modified tracks to a CD - about 4 of these tracks were extra good, so I made copies and had them on the disk twice. I ended up with 19 strikes in about 1 hour of time.

On Halloween, I run the CD player on Repeat-All and let her fly all night, through and old they-don't-make-them-like-this-anymore receiver with some custom subwoofer (with horn tweeter) cabinets. I run a color organ that drives some Halogen floods that light up a huge tree in my front yard in tandem with the thunder.

Here's the twist... I modified the CD player by soldering in a 120VAC relay to the Next Track button on one end and a 120VAC power cord on the other end that plugs into an X-10 receiver module. By pushing an X-10 remote button on and then off, I can skip the CD player to the next track and get thunder On Demand...which is great when making a point with someone! Ha. (note: sometimes it jumps more than one track before I click Off, but on repeat-all, it doesn't matter) Or, just wait 3 minutes for the next strike.

With the 3 minute delay and a few hundred clean Watts of sound, it's amazing how many people you can scare. They're just walking up the walkway, standing on the porch waiting for candy or just oogling the scary stuff and POW ! BLAM ! RUMBLE ! and they scream & shriek. This also seems to scare adults. :)

Hope this helps!
 

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Brilliant! I love Audacity, last year I bought a new "modeling amp" for more guitar effects and it came with a cut down version of Ableton Live. I spent countless hours trying to get a handle on Ableton and finally came to the conclusion that it's just way too complicated for what I'm doing. I got hung up on so many of it's little details that I was spending most of my day trying to remember how I did this, and looking up how you do that again until I noticed that I was continually going back to Audacity. I know Ableton is a superior product but it's so complex you would have to be using it for hours everyday to get productive with it.
 
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