teufelsberg-impulse-responses-01

Long before PRISM was tuning in your chats and emails, the US National Security Agency (NSA) had Teufelsberg – the three-domed structure erected on top of a “devil’s mountain” of WWII rubble dumped on top of a half-finished Nazi military school. From this perch high above Berlin, the US government and its allies listened in on the Communists of the Eastern Bloc and Soviet Union.

Touring Teufelsberg these days is certainly possible, but it requires some climbing – you’re unlikely to be able to haul a sound system to add reverberation from its magnificent, neo-futuristic geodesic dome spaces. Here’s the next best thing.

The folks at Balance Mastering got into the different domes of the structure to record impulse responses – files that you can add to a range of reverb tools (including some free ones) to make it sound as if your sources are being heard in this environment. (The technique is known as convolution.)

They’ve captured some amazing sounds. You get cavernous reverbs, but with a lot of character – strange reflections and resonances owing to the space – in a number of variations. Logic and Ableton each have reverb plug-ins you can use these files with, and Balance Mastering in the article suggest other solutions, too, including free Mac and Windows plug-ins.

Free Teufelsberg NSA listening tower impulse responses

If you’re curious about the space – which has also been the scene to some Berlin party history (well, and the odd Native Instruments promo video), VICE/Motherboard have been there:

Take a Tour of Teufelsberg, Berlin’s Abandoned NSA Listening Station

Maybe that isn’t your only wish. Curious what your tracks sound like on a big club sound system – and don’t have any friends running sound at Berghain? Solved:
Free Funktion One impulse responses. Hear your mix at London club The Hive Project.

  • Adam Boulanger
  • Adam Boulanger
  • JJ Black

    As someone who toured Teufelsberg in almost complete darkness and encountered a group of drone musicians in the top tower, I can assure you the reverb up there is fucking delicious. Next time I’m there I’m bringing my OP-1.

  • jblk

    As someone who toured Teufelsberg in almost complete darkness and encountered a group of drone musicians in the top tower, I can assure you the reverb up there is fucking delicious. Next time I’m there I’m bringing my OP-1.

  • Oscar B

    Reminds me of silophone, which actually plays and records the sounds you send in an abandoned concrete silo. Amazingly still online. Sadly still stuck using shitty RealAudio.

  • Oscar B

    Reminds me of silophone, which actually plays and records the sounds you send in an abandoned concrete silo. Amazingly still online. Sadly still stuck using shitty RealAudio.

  • Alex White

    Amazing location, David Lynch wanted to build a university of the invincible Germany on the site, apparently under all the rubble lay the ruins of the half built SS academy, also of the invincible Germany. The videos of his press conference announcing the University have all been taken down by Lynch’s lawyers but this Time article still remains:
    http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1684582,00.html

  • Alex White

    Amazing location, David Lynch wanted to build a university of the invincible Germany on the site, apparently under all the rubble lay the ruins of the half built SS academy, also of the invincible Germany. The videos of his press conference announcing the University have all been taken down by Lynch’s lawyers but this Time article still remains:
    http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1684582,00.html

  • erasedbodies

    we did two compilations based on sounds recorded at teufelsberg, check them out!
    http://fantomton.de/ft006-radarstation-2/

  • erasedbodies

    we did two compilations based on sounds recorded at teufelsberg, check them out!
    http://fantomton.de/ft006-radarstation-2/

  • Ian Scott

    I visited Berlin a couple of years ago and was lucky enough to tour this place. That top tower is one of the most acoustically impressive and intense places I have been. I raced ahead of the main group hoping to experience it alone for a few minutes. It worked too – the sound of people approaching the stairs to enter was amazing. The slightest noise takes on another character up there. Shame I left the portable recorder in the hostel! Best go back then.

  • Ian Scott

    I visited Berlin a couple of years ago and was lucky enough to tour this place. That top tower is one of the most acoustically impressive and intense places I have been. I raced ahead of the main group hoping to experience it alone for a few minutes. It worked too – the sound of people approaching the stairs to enter was amazing. The slightest noise takes on another character up there. Shame I left the portable recorder in the hostel! Best go back then.

  • Balance Mastering

    Dropbox links temporarily down. Alternate download links added now…

  • Balance Mastering

    Dropbox links temporarily down. Alternate download links added now…

  • For the curious, you can import the impulses into iOS app Altispace and it sounds great!

  • For the curious, you can import the impulses into iOS app Altispace and it sounds great!

  • rayola

    wonderful! having a sonic bliss blast….

  • rayola

    wonderful! having a sonic bliss blast….