sound opinions Asbjoern Andersen

Thinking about creating an independent sound effects library? Here are some thoughts on a crucial first step you should take before creating that debut sound effects library:
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To say that the market for independent sound effects has exploded is something of an understatement. When I started A Sound Effect back in 2013, there was a small but great selection of SFX libraries available from the community. Fast-forward to today, and the amount of content from independent sound effects creators is simply staggering, both in terms of quality, quantity and coverage.

With that much quality-content out there, if you want to stand out, you need to do some thinking first

For the end-user, this is great news, as there’s so much excellent content to choose from. For indie SFX creators, the equally great news is that more and more people are becoming aware of indie SFX, and the interest just keeps growing.

There’s a challenge though: With that much quality-content out there, if you want to stand out, you need to do some thinking first.

Creating an indie sound effects library is no simple task, and it usually takes a lot of time, effort and energy, requires quality equipment, and can often cost you out-of-pocket money too (for props, gear, access or transportation, for example).

That’s why I’d wholly recommend you take one crucial step before beginning your SFX library adventure. It may seem like common sense, but I know from first-hand experience it’s something a lot of people tend to forget:

Research what’s available already – before you start

A way to explore what’s out there – and to get new ideas:


1. Want to know what’s already out there? Try searching through the vast number of libraries on A Sound Effect to get an idea. Try some variations on your topic keywords to get a feel for the current coverage.

Search for sound effects below:

2. Looking for inspiration for new sound effects libraries? The results of our most-recent survey on sound effects that are hard to find can be found here (new survey coming soon).


Running A Sound Effect, I’m often contacted by new indie SFX creators who are looking to have their sound effects libraries released. And more than often, it’s a whoosh library, a futuristic UI library, an electromagnetic field library, a (vegetable) gore library and similar.

While many are great in their own right, when there are numerous similar libraries out there already, standing out and getting your library to gain traction can be a huge challenge. Think about it this way: Why should someone pick your gore or UI library (or any other crowded category) over the, say, 10+ quite similar libraries out there?

And even if you manage to put a different spin on a SFX library in a crowded category, you’ll need to do some thinking on how to make that easy to understand for customers (who are looking at a large number of seemingly-similar libraries). That’s not always easy.

If you’re going to be spending hours, weeks and months, thoughts, talent and resources creating a new sound effects library, you owe it to yourself to familiarize yourself with what’s already available

Of course, for many, getting into indie SFX is just as much a passion project as it is about making money on the sounds. There’s a lot to be learned – and often, a lot of fun to be had – from coming up with an idea, recording, editing, packaging and publishing a library.

But once it’s out there, for the vast majority of SFX creators, it’s definitely rewarding to have people noticing your library, and to make some money off of it too. And the more crowded a given category is, the harder that’s going to be.

So if you’re going to be spending hours, weeks and months, thoughts, talent and resources creating a new sound effects library, you owe it to yourself to familiarize yourself with what’s already available, so you won’t end up disappointed after all that hard work.

This isn’t to say what you should and shouldn’t make, but after you’ve researched what’s already out there, you can make a much better-informed decision on how to proceed.

This isn’t to say what you should and shouldn’t make, but after you’ve researched what’s already out there, you can make a much better-informed decision on how to proceed

You can then decide whether to go ahead creating a library in an already-crowded category – or if you should do a bit more thinking to see if you can put a different spin on it, find a less crowded category, or see if you can downright spot a hole in the market instead.

Whatever path you end up taking, best of luck with your indie sound effects adventure!


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More reads on creating indie SFX libraries:

If you want to do some more research before having a go at your first sound effects library, I recommend checking out these fine reads:

DIY SFX libraries – Your guide to your first sound effects library
Sound Effects Survey – what people are looking for (new 2020 version coming soon)

A Sound Effect gives you easy access to an absolutely huge sound effects catalog from a myriad of independent sound creators, all covered by one license agreement - a few highlights:
  • Genres Vintage Anime SFX Play Track 350+ sounds included $69

    The Vintage Anime Sound Effects Library brings all of the excitement of your favorite Japanese animated series to your fingertips. Inspired by classic cartoons from the 80’s and 90’s, these recognizable and versatile sounds will instantly enhance any FX collection. Vintage synths were used to create the auras, beams, mecha blasters, atmospheres, magic spells, guns, sonic blasts and explosives that makeup this pack of over 350+ custom 24bit/96khz .WAV files. Perfect for film, video games, podcasts and any project that could benefit from a power up!

    Both designed sounds and source recordings:
    • Classic anime sfx from the 80’s and 90’s

    • Auras, mecha, beams, blasters, spells, explosives and more! 350+ sounds!

    • Tons of source material for experimentation

    • Expert crafted metadata

    • Vintage Anime PDF

    Add to cart
  • Human Swordfighter Play Track 479 sounds included $25 $12.50

    Swordfighter is a robust package with sharp sounding swords, heaps of variations and all the extras you need to make a fight come alive. Build unique sword swings with various hits, swooshes, schings, different fighter vocals and impacts on various surfaces. All up there are 137 sword sounds, 93 surface impact sounds, 15 knife throwing sounds, 48 swooshes and 180 fighter vocals.

    This version includes two sub-folders: one optimised for a film & TV workflow and the other optimised for video games workflow. Plus a few bonus sounds of a charging army.

    50 %
    Add to cart
  • Liquidation is a liquid texture library covering everything from water to slime to fizzes and bubbles. Source material in this library includes wet slimy pasta, giant water balloons, large containers being submerged underwater, leather fizzing in a chemical bath, pool water splashes and more. Plus it was all recorded at 192kHz/24bit so you can really stretch and thrash these sounds – and the vast majority of the sound files are in stereo. Whether you're designing an underwater adventure or an alien autopsy, this library is full of complimentary textures to layer together.

    50 %
    Add to cart
Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
  • This mini -library contains sounds from a reptile shelter. They take in injured, negelcted or abandond reptiles and take care of them. They finance through a small zoo and due to corona had significant loss in income. 50% of the sales of this library will directly be donated to the shelter. For more information check:

    The recordings contain sounds from 14 different species. With the focus on reptiles, it also features amphibians, mammals and birds.
    Ever needed a realistic hiss of an Arabian Cobra, the roar of a Nile crocodile, the sweet chirping of a Djungarian hamster, or the whistling sound of a Reticulated Phyton coming out of cold water? Here you go. With two mic positions in 192kHz I followed around the tails of big (Diamondback-) and small (Massasauga-) Rattlesnakes. I even recorded the purr of giant lizards (monitors).

    If you don’t need these specific animals, these growls, sizzling, and calls are a great source sounds for dragons, dinosaurs, monsters and other beasts. Also great to add as a layer in vehicle sound design or as sweeteners to add the noise of a dart frog to your jungle atmo.
    These recordings are hard to come by and my mics were nearly hit by poison, that crystalizes and stays venomous for years to come as well as they got nearly eaten by a crocodile (was very scary indeed with me at the other end of the (way too short) boom pole)

    The best part, the handling with the animals was very thoughtful. No animals were tortured or stressed. They had some great animal voices at the shelter, that didn’t want to speak during the recording session, so we let them sleep and didn’t take any animals away from their hide.

    Full List: Arabian Cobra, Diamondback Rattlesnake, Diamond Dove, Djungarian Hamster, Domestic Chicken, Domestic Goat, Nile Crocodile, Massasauga Rattler, Papua Monitor, Puff Adder, Reticulated Phyton, Ring Tailed Lemur, Yellow-Banded Poison Dart Frog and, well, a fish tank with my hydrophone with some weird electronic sounds from the heating.

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  • The Decal Audio team are all too familiar with fast turn around jobs where a full foley session is sadly just not an option. We need quality, practical sounds that can be called on in a flash and dropped in with minimal editing required.

    The Take a seat library from Decal Audio is here to assist and brings you over 600 individual chair, sofa and bed sounds. The library is fully organised into actions covering, pick ups, put downs, sits, stands, scrapes and sweeteners, covering multiple chairs and multiple surfaces, providing a construction kit to allow for the tracklay of any number of different seating scenarios.

    We have also included some designed elements created utilising the sounds found in the library.
    All audio was captured in mono, 48kHz/24bit using a Rode NTG 3 directly into focusrite preamps or a Sound Devices MixPre.
  • Want that sound that’s made between the Optometrist asking if a or b is better? Want to hear what it sounds like when your eyes are being scanned and tested? Hear your glasses being adjusted before you get to wear them? The optometrist equipment library has all of this ready for you to use. This small boutique library covers a range of equipment used everyday to help optometrists figure out how well we see. Whether you’re using the machine noises to cut an optometrist scene or if you want to take the many mechanical sounds and design them into something other worldly it’s all there for you.

  • It’s Cold… It’s Dark… And the snow has frozen over…. Time To Shovel

    Driveway Ice Snow Shoveling is a collection of Shoveling Recordings and various ambiences taken while shoveling.

    Shovel Recordings recorded using the LOM UsI Pro Microphones feeding into the Zoom H1 Recorder, at 24 bit, 96kHz, clamped onto the shovel. Recordings include Digs, Scrapes, Scoops, Debris, Pokes, Stabs, and more!

    Ambience recordings recorded using the Sony D100 Recorder, at 24 it, 192kHz, at various positions. Recordings Include Distant Shoveling, Car Pass Bys, Icy and Crunchy!

    Stay in the nice warm house.
    All files are meta-data tagged using Soundly and Basehead.

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  • Alchemy of Guns is a comprehensive weapon laboratory of single sounds made to be mixed, assembled and fit with each other.
    We built the library as an array of modular layers, each one bound to a specific alchemical element, each one made with a specific Xfer Serum setup, and since we enjoyed finding ourselves sketching on paper combinations of elements according to the combinations of the samples, we kept this general structure.

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