affordable sound effects creation Asbjoern Andersen


Creating sound effects libraries doesn’t necessarily require a big budget – here, Glitchedtones founder Stuart Keenan shares his approaches to creating excellent SFX libraries without breaking the bank:
 

Hi Stuart, please introduce yourself and Glitchedtones:

Hi Asbjoern, I’m an indie sound designer based in the northeast of England. I release sound effects and atmosphere libraries through my label Glitchedtones. My libraries are primarily aimed towards film, game and music productions but are suitable for a diverse range of projects, such as art installations, theatre and audio dramas. What really draws me to sound design is having the freedom to experiment with a wide range of sound sources and having little in the way of creative boundaries.

I’ve learned to use whatever I have at my disposal to its full capability and maintain a relatively simple setup which I know well

Glitchedtones is a less-than-part-time venture as I have a day job in an office four days a week. After time constraints, budget is a factor as there’s little left in the pot for nice gear and software after the bills are paid. However, I’ve learned to use whatever I have at my disposal to its full capability and maintain a relatively simple setup which I know well.

 

For great-sounding results, using affordable means, what sort of equipment would you recommend?

I’d recommend as little as a basic laptop, some decent studio headphones and a copy of Audacity! For more options and some luxury, an audio interface, microphone, monitors, a MIDI controller and a portable recorder are invaluable. There are many budget gear options available these days, one drawback is cheap preamps on recording devices though. It’s difficult to produce high-quality professional field recordings with cheap gear, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the recordings as source material for your own designs. You may not be able to release a pristine urban ambiances library from a Zoom handheld, but you could have an incredibly unique, high-quality library of planetary environments on your hands once you start processing.

What are your go-to tools and plugins?

Granular seems to work particularly well for creating Industrial, Dystopian, Sci-Fi or Abstract ambiances out of everyday recordings

For source material, I often use feedback loops, lo-fi field recordings and computer generated noise. I love granular samplers and processors, so these are a mainstay and something I always go for when it comes to shaping the sounds. There are lots of great free granular tools available online which are all worth exploring. Granular seems to work particularly well for creating Industrial, Dystopian, Sci-Fi or Abstract ambiances out of everyday recordings, with loads of room for creating variations of a single piece of audio. I also go for buffer and glitch plugins a lot and love anything with a random function as it’s great for inspiring ideas and building up source material to mangle later.

Fruits of the labor: Sound libraries from Glitchedtones:

Here are some of the sound effects libraries created by Stuart Keenan and released under the Glitchedtones label (more here):

  • Abstract Sound Design is a budget-friendly collection of unique audio material sourced from digital feedback loop experiments and granular processing sessions. Featuring 25 abstract atmospheres and 35 abstract FX, this library is perfect for those moments when creativity may be running dry, serving as an inspiring starting point for some serious sound sculpting. Of course, they may just fit your needs as they are, too!

    25 %
    OFF
    Ends 1551308400
    Add to cart
  • Horror Atmosfear Play Track 50 sounds included, 31 mins total $10 $7.50

    Featuring sounds taken from lo-fi instrumental recordings, harsh noise experiments and granular synthesis explorations, Atmosfear is a gritty soundscape collection geared towards the horror genre. With a distinctly unpolished production style to bring a rough edge to your scenario, these sounds can be used to invoke feelings of suspense, dread, tension, fear and doom into your characters and environments.

    What does an industrial scale torture chamber in an abandoned asylum sound like? What about a high-voltage electrical possession? Find the answer to these questions and more with Atmosfear. Enter if you dare.

    25 %
    OFF
    Ends 1551308400
    Add to cart
  • Whooshes Whooshes & Transitions Play Track 150 sounds included $10 $7.50

    Whether you work in film, game or music production, it's a standard requirement to have a wide range of whoosh and transition sounds at your disposal. With raw, organic textures alongside heavily processed Doppler FX, the sounds in this library can be mixed together to create a multitude of variations which will give your projects a real edge. Featuring power ups and downs, spacecraft passbys, robotic movement, machine failure, future technology sounds and more, Whooshes & Transitions features 150 unique audio files ready to process to your liking or drop straight into your production.

    25 %
    OFF
    Ends 1551308400
    Add to cart

For those with a limited budget, what are some particularly helpful approaches for generating useful material? Any surprising sources of great material?

I’ve created lots of varied sounds just from jamming out on effects and it’s great for unique glitch and UI sounds

It may seem obvious but record everything! For example, if you are trying out a new plugin on one of your recordings (this is especially good with a synth or effect with random or generative functions), simply record while you play and then edit out the highlights. I’ve created lots of varied sounds just from jamming out on effects and it’s great for unique glitch and UI sounds. You can then use these edits to shape into something new again. By time-stretching or pitch-shifting and layering on some more effects, you can then start crafting drones and ambient atmospheres. Also, don’t get rid of any ‘bad bits’ such as preamps hiss, mic pops and cable crackles until you’ve fully explored their potential!

 

What are some of your favorite sound design techniques?

A great amount of my work has been built on recording and manipulating feedback loops using the No-Input Mixer technique, so this was a go-to for a lot of my early libraries and still something I really enjoy. It can be so random that you can’t recreate the same sound twice using the same settings but it is a lot of fun to explore! I use a Behringer 4 Channel Mixer and a bunch of guitar effects for this. It doesn’t matter much which pedals you use but I find having a delay pedal in there really gets things going. I’ve created many drones, glitches and electrical sounds using this technique.

 

Popular on A Sound Effect right now - article continues below:

 

Latest releases:  
  • Environments Head West Play Track 57+ sounds included, 133 mins total $29.99

    Nature and ambiance recordings across Ohio, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming.

    Including the Great Lakes, meadows, the Dakota Badlands (Both North and South) Wyoming mountains, Yellowstone geysers and mud pots, Bison, Prairie dogs, and birds.

    Take a 2000 mile aural road trip across the Midwest and west.

    Gear Used: Recorded with a Sound Devices 702, Tascam DR680, and Zoom H1, using Sennheiser MKH 30/40 Mid Side, Sennheiser MKH 20 spaced omnis, Sennheiser MKH8040 ORTF and XY, Sanken CSS5.

    Add to cart
  • Environments Singapore City Soundscapes Play Track 122 sounds included, 327 mins total $50 $39

    Welcome to A Sound Effect first ever Singapore Sound Effects library!

    Explore Singapore as you've never heard it before! This massive library includes ambisonic sounds recorded with the new Zoom H3 VR, binaural recordings with the Soundman OKM II Rock Studio and stereo soundscapes recorded with the Zoom F8n, DPA 4060 and several LOM microphones.

    The diversity of Singapore makes this library unique with lush sounds from busy highways, crowded food markets/ hawker centers in many different languages, neighborhood basketball games at night, skateparks, horse races, city rain sounds, the countries super efficient underground train station (MRT), and even loud military fighter jets and helicopters.

    Perhaps you're wanting nature sounds? No problem! This library features sounds from a variety of cicadas recorded at night and birds from the famous Javan Mynah near Mount Faber.

    With nearly six hours of recordings throughout Singapore, we suggest reviewing the metadata and discovering sounds you may not have expected!

    22 %
    OFF
    Ends 1551308400
    Add to cart
  • The first in a series of WW Audio SFX Sample Packs. This is Volume 1 – General SFX and contains 90 high quality, professional random, sometimes eclectic sound effects for your theatre or film projects.

    Sounds include, Airbus A380 flying overhead, ancient well handle, audience applause, bar bell, bbq, fireworks, spooky walking with chains, various sound design elements, footsteps, various birds, wind and rain, motor bike starting and driving off, metal door unlocking and opening, police helicopter, radio interference, sledging, comedy farts and burps, various domestic foley sounds, footsteps and much more.

    All files include Soundminer, ID3v2.3.0 and Riff Info metadata embedded into the files to make for easy searching in your database of choice.

    Add to cart
  • Foley Realistic Snow Footsteps Play Track 347 sounds included, 4 mins total $30

    Mini pack of natural snow foley! Frozen type, individual sounds. Cleaned and gated, ready for fast usage.

    Few useful sound effects sets of realistic snow footsteps. Non-classic sounding, frozen type snow of ski slopes and paths. Included bonus walking on the snowy wooden bridge. Individual, cleaned and gated footsteps with clarity. Sounds are fully without clothing noises, usage with people moving foley is recomended, so it is pretty universal and elastic.

    Recorded with Sennheiser MKH 416 from 40cm distance. Great usage for foley sampling, midi, game audio and more.

    Add to cart
  • Red Libraries teamed up with the sound designers Frederic Devanlay and Thibault Csukonyi to create the new “Mutant Insects” collection

    The library gathers a wide range of oversized wings for equally-oversized designed flying insects, along with an extremely rich toolbox. It allows you to quickly and easily create every flying creatures and mutants you have in mind, but also sweeten or emphasize details with natural layers for real-life documentaries, games or feature films.

    These insects are more impressive than in real life by their size and the noise made when flying.
    So we called them “MUTANT Insects”.
    And why not also use it for bird wings…

    8 different species are featured : Fly, Hornet, Grasshopper, Beetle, Moth, Gnat, Rhino Beetle, Dragonfly.

    The movements offered are Idles (loop), Passes by, Swirling Evolutions (loop), Swarms (loop), Abrupt Movements (take flights, attacks, spasms…)

    These evolutions have been created with the help of the Traveler plugin by Tonsturm, and the Sound Particles software by Sound Particles.

    Presets for Sound Particles and Traveler are included in the pack. Many thanks to Tilman Hahn and Nuno Fonseca.

    The toolbox will allow to imagine your own mutants or to just simply create real insects, With natural layers such as hummings or different appearances to made wing strokes.

    40 %
    OFF
    Add to cart

Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:
 

What’s your approach for coming up with library ideas?

I tend to find themes for libraries while freely experimenting, I’m always playing around and recording the results, just for fun and to see what happens, checking things out. Anything goes. There’s a lot of randomness and chance in my work, which I find incredibly inspiring. It’s these experiments and encounters which really inspire me to then shape the results into more tailored collections.

 

In terms of gear or tools, what’s been the one upgrade you’ve made that’s the biggest difference?

I’ve recently got Serum on a rent-to-buy deal, which is a bit of a luxury for me as it’s the first commercial VST synth I have bought. It’s all I use now for synthesized sound design, I find it really intuitive and almost anything you do with it sounds great. As much as I love noise, glitches and granular processing, I’m excited to get started creating some new libraries using Serum as a main sound source.

 

When it comes to indie SFX, what’s been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned?

I’ve learned not to be dissuaded by a lack of expensive gear and to simply go with getting the most out of what is readily available

I’ve learned not to be dissuaded by a lack of expensive gear and to simply go with getting the most out of what is readily available. It’s easy to think that without a Sound Devices rig or a Native Instrument’s Komplete setup your chances of being successful or being taken seriously in the sound design industry may be limited. However, this needn’t be the case!

 

Any essential tips for people starting out in indie SFX?

Embrace your limitations, as this is where you may find you are at your most creative and unique.
 

A big thanks to Stuart Keenan for sharing the story behind his sound design approach! Do you have any tips for affordable ways of creating sound effects? If so, please share them in the comments

 

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:
 
 
  • Game Audio Packs & Bundles Gamemaster Pro Sound Collection Play Track 8076 sounds included, 189 mins total
    Rated 5.00 out of 5
    $49

    Pro Sound Collection is the highest quality and most affordable sound library you will find. The ultimate collection of 8076 ready to use sound effects!!!

    This is the perfect collection of sounds for all types of sound designers, game developers and video editors who need a large range of high quality sound effects ready to use. Designed specifically for games, film and other media by award winning sound designers.

    What’s included? EVERY sound Gamemaster Audio ever made! ALL our other other sound libraries (plus other sounds) have been packed into in this amazing sound collection.

    Pro Sound Collection Includes:
    Animal Sounds $25
    Explosion Sound Pack $10
    Footstep and Foley Sounds $10
    Fun Casual Sounds $15
    Fun Character Voices $10
    Gun Sound Pack $19
    Guns, Bullets and Explosions $35
    Human Vocalizations $25
    Magic and Spell Sounds $25
    Punch and Combat Sounds $29
    Retro 8 Bit Sounds $15
    Sci-Fi Sounds and Sci-Fi Weapons $25
    Silenced Gun Sounds $25
    Troll Monster Vocalizations $10

    Total value $278!!!

    Sound Categories:

    • Alarms • Ambience • Animals • Beeps • Bullets • Buttons • Cartoon • Cinematic • Collectibles • Comedy • Doors • Electricity • Explosions • Fire • Foley • Footsteps • Guns • Hums • Items • Levers • Magic • Misc. • Nature • Powerups • Punches • Retro/8Bit • Sci-Fi • Snow / Ice • Switches • User Interface • Voice • Water • Weapons • Whooshes + MANY MORE!

    Add to cart
  • Destruction & Impact Grit Play Track 400+ sounds included $23

    An onslaught of movement and force using various granularities of dirt-like substances. It's all in the name. Dirty, gravelly, and ragged.

    In this library you will find a myriad of gritty movement sounds derived from 4 different granularities: Course, Medium, Fine, and Ultrafine. There are sweeps, smears, crushes, scatterings, drops, scrapes, rubs, and more, with multiple variations of each. The assets chain together particularly well so that you can use them to make long continuous runs.

    The timbre and dynamics of these sounds lend them to be used for many different designs than just scrapes and scratches, such as movement in snow or sand, powerful bursts, high energy flames, shifting heavy objects, large beast vocalizations (dragons, anyone?), and more. As well, their metadata is organized conveniently to allow you to grab chunks of variations on similar movements and drop them into your favorite audio implementation software for quick assignment to random containers or sequences for an asset or call.

    This library will almost always find itself being thrown into a creative media project one way or another. Its full of a particular cornerstone sound that is essential to any sounds designer's toolbox.  And with such a variety and versatility to explore, we promise it will serve you well.

    Add to cart
  • Animals & Creatures Dogs. Play Track 300+ sounds included $65

    Dogs is a collection of dog barks, squeals, whines, yawns, growls, drinking, shaking and more.

    Features 4 dogs – from small to huge dogs:

    • Cairn Terrier
    • Entlebucher Sennen
    • Labrador
    • New Foundlander

    Add to cart
 
Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
 
  • Environments Head West Play Track 57+ sounds included, 133 mins total $29.99

    Nature and ambiance recordings across Ohio, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming.

    Including the Great Lakes, meadows, the Dakota Badlands (Both North and South) Wyoming mountains, Yellowstone geysers and mud pots, Bison, Prairie dogs, and birds.

    Take a 2000 mile aural road trip across the Midwest and west.

    Gear Used: Recorded with a Sound Devices 702, Tascam DR680, and Zoom H1, using Sennheiser MKH 30/40 Mid Side, Sennheiser MKH 20 spaced omnis, Sennheiser MKH8040 ORTF and XY, Sanken CSS5.

  • Environments Singapore City Soundscapes Play Track 122 sounds included, 327 mins total $50 $39

    Welcome to A Sound Effect first ever Singapore Sound Effects library!

    Explore Singapore as you've never heard it before! This massive library includes ambisonic sounds recorded with the new Zoom H3 VR, binaural recordings with the Soundman OKM II Rock Studio and stereo soundscapes recorded with the Zoom F8n, DPA 4060 and several LOM microphones.

    The diversity of Singapore makes this library unique with lush sounds from busy highways, crowded food markets/ hawker centers in many different languages, neighborhood basketball games at night, skateparks, horse races, city rain sounds, the countries super efficient underground train station (MRT), and even loud military fighter jets and helicopters.

    Perhaps you're wanting nature sounds? No problem! This library features sounds from a variety of cicadas recorded at night and birds from the famous Javan Mynah near Mount Faber.

    With nearly six hours of recordings throughout Singapore, we suggest reviewing the metadata and discovering sounds you may not have expected!

    22 %
    OFF
    Ends 1551308400
  • The first in a series of WW Audio SFX Sample Packs. This is Volume 1 – General SFX and contains 90 high quality, professional random, sometimes eclectic sound effects for your theatre or film projects.

    Sounds include, Airbus A380 flying overhead, ancient well handle, audience applause, bar bell, bbq, fireworks, spooky walking with chains, various sound design elements, footsteps, various birds, wind and rain, motor bike starting and driving off, metal door unlocking and opening, police helicopter, radio interference, sledging, comedy farts and burps, various domestic foley sounds, footsteps and much more.

    All files include Soundminer, ID3v2.3.0 and Riff Info metadata embedded into the files to make for easy searching in your database of choice.

  • Foley Realistic Snow Footsteps Play Track 347 sounds included, 4 mins total $30

    Mini pack of natural snow foley! Frozen type, individual sounds. Cleaned and gated, ready for fast usage.

    Few useful sound effects sets of realistic snow footsteps. Non-classic sounding, frozen type snow of ski slopes and paths. Included bonus walking on the snowy wooden bridge. Individual, cleaned and gated footsteps with clarity. Sounds are fully without clothing noises, usage with people moving foley is recomended, so it is pretty universal and elastic.

    Recorded with Sennheiser MKH 416 from 40cm distance. Great usage for foley sampling, midi, game audio and more.

  • Red Libraries teamed up with the sound designers Frederic Devanlay and Thibault Csukonyi to create the new “Mutant Insects” collection

    The library gathers a wide range of oversized wings for equally-oversized designed flying insects, along with an extremely rich toolbox. It allows you to quickly and easily create every flying creatures and mutants you have in mind, but also sweeten or emphasize details with natural layers for real-life documentaries, games or feature films.

    These insects are more impressive than in real life by their size and the noise made when flying.
    So we called them “MUTANT Insects”.
    And why not also use it for bird wings…

    8 different species are featured : Fly, Hornet, Grasshopper, Beetle, Moth, Gnat, Rhino Beetle, Dragonfly.

    The movements offered are Idles (loop), Passes by, Swirling Evolutions (loop), Swarms (loop), Abrupt Movements (take flights, attacks, spasms…)

    These evolutions have been created with the help of the Traveler plugin by Tonsturm, and the Sound Particles software by Sound Particles.

    Presets for Sound Particles and Traveler are included in the pack. Many thanks to Tilman Hahn and Nuno Fonseca.

    The toolbox will allow to imagine your own mutants or to just simply create real insects, With natural layers such as hummings or different appearances to made wing strokes.

    40 %
    OFF
 
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

Leave a Reply

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