If you love sound, it’s impossible not to be enchanted by the work of Ben Burtt. His approach to sound design for Star Wars was inventive, surprising, organic — let’s let him talk about it. A lot. It’ll make you want to grab your mic. Jamming air hammers!

Last year, via Apple, we got to see a lot of the new generation of design – particularly Bonnie Wild.

Let’s go back to the original for this year.

Scroll down for complete breakdowns of sounds, especially if you’re rewatching the OG trilogy.

R2D2 is relevant today as KORG reissues the ARP 2600:

Speeder bikes – yeah, vintage planes and racecars you’ll recognize, but power tools, too:

Pew pew – it’s a radio tower thing. (It’s actually amazing how much this has entered popular consciousness since of course this technology really still does not exist).

The Death Star stuff is way more subtle, too, and less celebrated than some of the better-known anecdotes.

Imperial walkers:

TIE Fighters:


I’ve written about this before, but partly because I love malfunctioning tech and this is maybe one of the most complex sound designs in the original trilogy:

Explosions! (They… may damage your mics!)

Here are some deeper reflections on sound design and the role of the sound designer:

Also, for someone whose approach is often so organic and acoustic, it’s nice to hear him talk about new technology – and still focus on “the right sound.” (That applies to music, too, I think.) It takes a brain. Sorry, AI.

Plus a road trip to Skywalker Ranch:

Trilogy sound breakdowns

Complete breakdown of New Hope:

Complete breakdown of Empire:

Complete breakdown of Jedi:

And more sound:

Plus, on the graphics side: