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

    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!
    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!

    Add to cart
  • Metal Metal Hits, Scrapes and Squeaks Play Track 689 sounds included, 22 Minutes mins total $29.99

    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.

    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

    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:
 
 
  • 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 %
    OFF
    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 %
    OFF
    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: https://www.reptilien-auffangstation.de/

    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.

    21 %
    OFF
    Ends 1591135199
  • 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.

    30 %
    OFF
    Ends 1591135199
  • 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.

    33 %
    OFF
    Ends 1591135199
 
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.