How to create a sound effects library Asbjoern Andersen


A growing number of audio pros are getting into independent sound effects libraries - but how do you get started, and how do you get it right? This in-depth guide by Chase Steele shows you how to build a sound effects library from scratch, and he even shares some free sound effects he created while making this video.
Please share:
Video Thumbnail

 

Download a selection of sounds from this project here

A big thanks to Chase Steele and Sound Spark LLC for exclusively hosting this video on A Sound Effect. Find the Sound Spark Youtube channel here, and meet Sound Spark on Twitter here.

 

Some of Chase Steele’s key points from the video, on how you can build up your library of sounds:

Put a System in Place

The creative process can be very chaotic by nature. Sometimes it can feel more like a discovery process than anything else. Without some guidelines or limitations to direct what the approach should be time is at risk. Without an organizational system, the ability to track progress or assign goals becomes flimsy. In the case of building a personal sound library, it’s possible to lose really great material in the chaos of working on projects or demo reels.

It’s easy to get frustrated trying to conform a creative workflow to a rigid system. Sometimes the steps or order initially put in place will fail or become obsolete. Accepting that this is ok and in itself part of the process is important. Systems and approaches can be changed over time and should be. Have the system in place for getting sound into your personal library, use it and improve it. Do not expect it to be perfect at first.

Things to think about in building your system for sound library creation:

– After finishing recording, and importing the files on a computer where do they go?
– How will they be found again in the future?
– After editing the sounds what happens to the originals? Where do the edited sounds go?
– How will sounds that change or become manipulated heavily over time be traced back?
 

Active Versus Passive Library Curation

When I am adding to my personal library of sounds I have two different mental modes of operation. When time permits I engage in active library building. This is an in depth exploration and creation based on ideas, props or design aesthetics that I’ve had on my mind. These are usually self contained projects of their own. The goal in mind is to add a lot of new material to my personal library and potentially offer it to others.

Most of the time, I’m in a more passive mode. My personal goal is to try and record something every day. It doesn’t really matter what it is. Ideally I don’t spend more than 15-30 minutes doing this. Over time this naturally expands my library and can easily lend itself to new ideas that I can actively expand on later when time permits. Patterns also start to emerge, eventually it will make sense that a group of material recorded passively works well together and might be something worth releasing as a commercial library.
 

Build a Foundation for Success

Making an effort to cultivate your own library of sounds can feel daunting. Especially after a day of dealing with a regular workload, setting aside time for library building can quickly get written off. In addition to setting up a system and making everything about how you’re going to do this look great on paper, you have to then actually do itn There are a few very simple adjustments that can be made to help.
First of all, be ready to record. Personally, I hate setting stuff up. I suspect this is common. At the minimum I always have a mobile recording rig ready to go, only needing to turn it on. Even if it’s just a handheld recorder.
With handheld recorders I do recommend also having some wind protection and a mini tripod. Wind and handling noise can be pretty inexpensive to prevent and these items will save time in your editing process.

Maybe you don’t mind setting stuff up but perhaps there is some other barrier. Identify the friction in your workflow and try to eliminate it.

Look for ways to create positive feedback loops in your workflow. Need to update your demo-reel? Great – make sure every sound you design or record makes it back into your personal library. In this case make it a learning opportunity too and try crazy ideas. Maybe you don’t care for exactly how this design work turned out. Well, all that sound could be just great down the road in a different context. So save it!

Popular sound effects libraries from Sound Spark:

Hear some of the popular sound effects libraries from Sound Spark below –
and browse their full catalog here:

  • Horror Gore (SSP) Play Track 257 sounds included, 13 mins total $19.99 $11.99

    The Gore library contains 257 total sounds of squishes, smashes, squelches melee weapon attacks, zombies and more. All effects have been thoughtfully named and crafted into multiple variations making them extremely flexible and easy to use. This library will work well if you need ready to use sounds for your game or if you’re a sound editor needing some extra material for your latest project. Sounds are well rounded and simple enough to fit Sci-Fi, Horror, Fantasy and any other genre where you might need some blood and guts.

    Sound types include:

    • General Gore Attacks
    • Melee Weaponry
    • Basic Smashes, Hits and Slaps (Yeah Slaps).
    • Squishes and Squelches
    • Bonus Zombie Growls and Horror Ambience!
    40 %
    OFF
    Ends 1597010400
    Add to cart
  • The Magic Spells, Buffs and Attacks library contains 507 total spell sounds. Each spell type has been thoughtfully named and crafted into multiple variations making them extremely flexible and easy to use. This library will work great for MMOs, RPGs and other fantasy style games. Of course, it will be great for film or any other form of media also! Many of these sounds are also well suited for Sci-Fi or Futuristic applications.

    Bonus Reaktor Ensemble:

    As if the sounds alone weren’t enough, we’re also including a special bonus in the form of a Native Instruments Reaktor Ensemble. We call it “The Mage”.. it is designed to allow you to take spell types, mash them together and create endless new iterations of material!

    40 %
    OFF
    Ends 1597010400
    Add to cart
  • Metal Metal Hits, Scrapes and Squeaks Play Track 689 sounds included, 22 Minutes mins total $29.99 $17.99

    The Metal Hits, Scrapes and Squeaks library contains a variety of small to medium sized metal props with each material type including multiple performance variations.

    Props include objects such as sheet metal, sledgehammers, paint cans, metal buckets, metal grating, metal marbles, cups, pots and pans, dry ice (contributing squeaks and squeals), metal bars, metal stands, chains and more.

    All recordings were made in a studio or iso booth environment to produce a very clean sounding library.  The library works perfectly as a construction or foley kit.  Files included were recorded at 24bit/96kHz.

    40 %
    OFF
    Ends 1597010400
    Add to cart
  • This library includes a series of cinematic and basic whoosh, movement and transition effects.  It also includes a number of impactful drops.

    What makes this library unique is the varied amount of content and processing techniques used to create the movement effects.  Some effects are created totally organically, others manufactured with analog synths and others creatively processed from nothing other than atonal noise.

    Another great quality of these effects is a natural doppler effect is often incorporated.  This was done by re-recording some source elements and either moving the source or the mic itself.

    A slim library, of 127 sounds – it feels much larger in the amount of varied content that it includes.  This library is one I’ve personally used a lot and I’m very happy to bring it to you now!

    Sound types include:

    • Organic Whooshes
    • Designed Transition Effects
    • Tonal, Atonal and Noise asthetics
    • Drops and Impacts

    Get this in a bundle:This library is also included in the Forge Sound Design Toolkit Bundle

    40 %
    OFF
    Ends 1597010400
    Add to cart
 

Please share this:


 


 
 
THE WORLD’S EASIEST WAY TO GET INDEPENDENT SOUND EFFECTS:
 
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:
 
 
  • Destruction & Impact Metamorphosis Play Track 2328 sounds included $190 $165

    Metamorphosis is a huge collection of recorded source, synthesized material and hybrid sounds. The library was created to cover a wide range of themes, with rich textures, aggressive impacts and a large selection of pass bys, bass drops, pyrotechnics and many more types of material.

    All of the Recorded Section was captured at 384KHz with microphones capable of recording up to 200KHz among with more conventional mics. The resulting assets are sounds that can be stretched to new extremes for greater sound design opportunities.
    In many cases I took the liberty to slow down the assets while editing the sounds to deliver what I thought was the most useful version of a given recording though in most cases I have also included other takes at the original 384KHz sample rate to get the best of both worlds.

    All of the Synthesized Content was created in Serum while the Hybrid Section was created by manipulating the Recorded and Synthesized sounds.

    Techniques such as morphing were used to blur the lines in between the nature of the two sources, making for ambiguous yet extremely versatile material that can be employed on both realistic and abstract designs.

    Bonus: Two extra libraries included for free:
    This library also includes two additional releases from Mattia Cellotto - for free: Crunch Mode delivers 230 crunchy sounds made with a variety of vegetables, fresh bread, pizza crust and a selection of frozen goods. The Borax Experiment gets you 158 squishy, gory, slimy and gooey sounds.
    13 %
    OFF
    Add to cart
  • Animals & Creatures Animal Hyperrealism Vol II Play Track Over 2000 sounds included $170 $140

    Animal Hyperrealism Vol II is a library containing sounds themed animal vocalisations, from real to designed creatures totaling more than 2000 individual sounds in 283 files.

    The sounds were partly recorded with animals trained for media production, partly recorded in zoos and wildlife centers. The asset list includes but is not limited to: amur leopards, bottlenose dolphins, californian sealions, pacific walruses, red ruffed lemurs, owls, parrots, dwarf little fruit bats, hamsters, guinea pigs and many more.

    The content has been recorded at 192KHz with a Sanken CO100K plus a Sennheiser 8050 for center image and a couple of Sennheiser MKH8040 for stereo image.
    A special section of the library features samples recorded at 384KHz. For these sounds an additional microphone was employed, specifically the CMPA by Avisoft-Bioacoustics which records up to 200 KHz. This microphone was actually used to record most of the library but the 384KHz format was preserved only where energy was found beyond 96KHz not to occupy unnecessary disk space.
    All files are delivered as stereo bounce of these for mics, though in some instances an additional couple of CO100K was added to the sides.
    The resulting ultrasonic spectrum is rich and allows for truly extreme manipulation of the content.

    Bonus: Two extra libraries included for free:
    This library also includes two additional releases from Mattia Cellotto - for free: Crunch Mode delivers 230 crunchy sounds made with a variety of vegetables, fresh bread, pizza crust and a selection of frozen goods. The Borax Experiment gets you 158 squishy, gory, slimy and gooey sounds.
    18 %
    OFF
    Add to cart
  • Animals & Creatures Animal Hyperrealism Vol I Play Track Over 1300 sounds included $170 $140

    Animal Hyperrealism Vol I is a library containing sounds themed animal vocalisations, from real to designed creatures totaling more than 1300 individual sounds in 290 files.

    The sounds were partly recorded with animals trained for media production, partly recorded in zoos and wildlife centers. The asset list includes but is not limited to: african lions, bengal tigers, horses, donkeys, cows, exotic birds, owls, bobcats, pumas, dromedaries, wolves, dogs, geese, lemurs, gibbons and many more.

    All the content has been recorded at 192KHz with a Sanken CO100K plus a Sennheiser 8050 for center image and a couple of Sennheiser MKH8040 for stereo image. All files are delivered as stereo bounce of these four mics, though in some instances an additional couple of CO100K was added to the sides.

    The resulting ultrasonic spectrum is rich and allows for truly extreme manipulation of the content.

    Bonus: Two extra libraries included for free:
    This library also includes two additional releases from Mattia Cellotto - for free: Crunch Mode delivers 230 crunchy sounds made with a variety of vegetables, fresh bread, pizza crust and a selection of frozen goods. The Borax Experiment gets you 158 squishy, gory, slimy and gooey sounds.
    18 %
    OFF
    Add to cart
 
Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
 
  • Sci-Fi Beams Play Track 1139 sounds included $149 $99

    BEAMS is a comprehensive toolkit for beam sound design. Sounds are separated into activation oneshot, activation/deactivation mechanism, and active loop categories. Each category contains subcategories for small, medium, and large beams. You can design anything from the smallest spy-watch laser cutter to a planet destroying column of chaos. As a bonus, you’ll also get a diverse collection of burning ignition sounds as source for beam environmental destruction.

    34 %
    OFF
    Ends 1597442399
  • Metal Smash – What do you get when you go to the junkyard with the best Schoeps Microphones money can buy.

    Every effect is also recorded with a sub sonic microphone to add depth to the smashes. Great complicated crashes with extra metallic details.

    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1597355999
  • The sounds presented in this pack were recorded during the shooting of a short film taking place by the ocean. We shot in different places, in the marina, on a boat, in an industrial harbor area, in a wharehouse of boat maintenance.

    Even if some sounds of the pack are not fully in the theme, I voluntarily left them because they were recorded at the same time and in order to serve the film.

    The most represented sounds in this pack are those recorded in the marina, the wind blowing in the masts of the boats, at the seaside, as well as a detailed recording of the zodiac boat.

    Sounds were recorded using Sound Devices 633, in 24bits 96Khz, Schoeps CCM 21 mic in ORTF, with an extra CCM 41 for the center (LCR), and using an extra contact mic to record the motor of the zodiac boat.

    All the sounds are raw (No EQ, No Compression, No Fx).

    This pack contains 40 sounds, 80 files, for the ambiences.

    It also contains 15 sounds, 39 files for the zodiac boat.

    All embedded with detailed metadata on Soundminer.

  • Welcome to “MOTION MODE”, an intense collection of sounds to induce movement and evoke excitement in your production.

    You will find whooshes, transitions, noises, granular textures, movements, stutters and hits with a powerful Sci-fi feel.

    Special attention was put in the dynamics of the sounds to ensure the creation of an energetic pack aimed to enhance atmospheres, add movement and enrich musical compositions.

    If you liked some of my previous libraries like “Dodge this” and “The Transition” you are gonna love this one.

    29 %
    OFF
    Ends 1597183199
  • Huge deep and textural organic whoosh by’s. These are un-altered but a total blast. Want more fun, just (again) compress and pitch to fit, and hell, maybe add a little distortion.

    A great collection of organic sliding whooshes. They sound great, have lots of movement and are almost always complicated movements not just simple whoosh by’s.

    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1597183199
 
FOLLOW OR SUBSCRIBE FOR THE LATEST IN FANTASTIC SOUND:
 
                              
 
GET THE MUCH-LOVED A SOUND EFFECT NEWSLETTER:
 
The A Sound Effect newsletter gets you a wealth of exclusive stories and insights
+ free sounds with every issue:
 
Subscribe here for free SFX with every issue

One thought on “How to create a sound effects library from scratch – an in-depth video from Chase Steele (includes 60 free sound effects!)

  1. Good and very informative content , thank you Chase Steele !
    I’m actually impressed by the level of organization you have.

    I guess in the end you have to find your own system, the one that works for you :) But this video is definitely a cool ressource for anyone wanting to improve their process or just learn from scratch.

    Good luck with your future libraries.

    aXL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.