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!

    Add to cart
  • Horror Atmosfear Play Track 50 sounds included, 31 mins total $10

    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.

    Add to cart
  • 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.

    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:  
  • This is a unique bicycle library that captures this characteristic bike in clean, quiet, nicely performed true exterior rides. Including multiple perspectives, speeds and actions. From fast passbys on asphalt to slow onboard recordings and smooth stops.

    The UglyBike is a typical old bicycle that’s working fine, but needs some TLC. It is a bicycle that’s just average, a little rattle a gentle scrape, a bike that everyone has had but got traded in for a newer one. A story of unrequited love.. :)

    Speeds and actions:
    Three speeds. Departures from slow, medium to fast getaways. Arrivals from slow stops with gently squeaking handbrakes to heavy stuttering skids.

    Five perspectives:
    1. Onboard Front: captures the whirring tire and surface sound.
    2. Onboard Pedal: nice overall combination of pedaling, crank creaks, chain rattle, tire and surface sounds.
    3. Onboard Rear: close up sound of the rear axle, with chain, sprocket and switching of gear.
    4. Tracking shot: mono recording of the passby, keeping the bike in focus while passing by.
    5. Static XY shot: stereo recording of the passby that emphasizes speed.

    Overview of perspectives and mic placement:

    Onboard recordings are 2-3 minutes long depending on speed. Higher speeds > shorter duration.
    All 3 onboard mics are edited in sync with one another to make layering easy.
    All Passbys, Arrivals and Departures move from Left to Right.

    Metadata & Markers:
    Because we know how important metadata is for your sound libraries we have created a consistent and intuitive description method. This allows you to find the sound you need easily, whether you work in a database like Soundminer/Basehead/PT Workspace work, or a Exporer/Finder window.

    However, we are aware that some people have different needs for different purposes, so we’ve created a Metadata Reference Guide that explains the structure. And because we’ve automated the metadata proces, you can be confident that a ‘find & replace’ command will always replace all instances.

    Download our Metadata Reference Guide

    Download complete metadata PDF

    If you have any questions about this, contact us!

    Additionally, we added Markers to some wave files, so specific sound events are easy to spot in Soundminer or other database apps.

    Need more?
    The UglyBike library is part of the complete ‘City Bicycles’ library package available at www.frickandtraa.com. It consists of all 4 bicycles and includes additional surfaces and extras ranging from one-off  bicycle passes captured in the city and bounces and rattles. The extra bicycles surfaces and additional effects are also available seperately here on ‘a Sound Effect’. If you’ve bought a single library and want to upgrade to the full package, contact us for a reduced price on the complete City Bicycles library. Every part of City Bicycles that you paid for will get you an extra reduction on the full package.

    Video Thumbnail
    Responses:

    344 AUDIO:City Bicycles has a plethora of content, for a great price. The perfect balance between a great concept, great presentation and outstanding execution, lands them an almost perfect score of 4.9..

    The Audio Spotlight: City Bicycles is worth getting if you are in need of great sounding and well edited bicycle sounds.

    Watch a video created by Zdravko Djordjevic.

    Video Thumbnail

     

    Add to cart
  • Environments Museums & Galleries Play Track 272 sounds included, 800 mins total $100 $80

    This library features a wide range of recordings from various museums and galleries, each differentiated by the nuances of their size and space. All recordings feature pristine echos, walla and movement. The library includes stereo & 5.0 recordings from:

    • War Museums
    • History Museums
    • State Museums
    • Science Museums
    • Art Galleries
    • Photography Galleries
    • State Galleries

    All sounds were recorded using a stereo pair of DPA 4060s, DPA 5100, Sound Devices Mix-Pre 6 and Sound Devices 788T.

    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1556056800
    Add to cart
  • The American M5 High Speed Tractor includes over 20 gigabytes of recordings of a WWII US military vehicle with a Continental 6572 six-cylinder petrol engine with 207 horsepower. 188 sound fx document a full suite of performances from M5, also known as versions M5A1, M5A2, M5A3 and M5A4.

    The performances include starting, idling, departing, arriving, and passing by from 6 exterior perspectives at slow, medium, and fast speeds. 10 additional perspectives feature motor, interior, exhaust, tracks, and other locations that capture idles, driving, and steady RPMs from onboard the tractor.

    Includes extensive Soundminer metadata.

    Add to cart
  • Cars Volvo 242 DL 1975 Play Track 364 sounds included $249

    The Volvo 242 sound fx collection includes 271 sounds in 13.51 gigabytes of audio. The 242 is a DL 1975 version of the car, also known as models 240, 244, and 245. It features 25 takes of recordings from the Swedish vehicle and its 4-cylinder B20 A, 82 horsepower engine.

    16 synchronized perspectives capture both onboard and exterior performances. Eight onboard perspectives (12 channels, including 4 in AMBEO) recorded driving at steady RPMs, with gearshifts, and ramps using microphones mounted in the engine, interior, and exhaust. Eight other exterior perspectives (18 channels) showcase driving at fast, medium, and slow speeds approaching, departing, and passing by. There are also steadies in neutral, blips, and performed effects, as well as an Altiverb impulse response.

    All clips have 18 fields of Soundminer, BWAV, and MacOS Finder metadata.

    Add to cart
  • Sports Downhill Skiing Play Track 37 sounds included, 13 minutes 08 seconds mins total $35 $30

    Get ready to hit the slopes with this wintery gem of a sound library!

    Taken from many trips up and down the slopes in Upstate New York, this library gives you in your face gliding swishes, crunching carves, turns, stops, passbys from the left and right, falls, jumps, landings, poles poking and scraping the snow, chairlift machine sounds, bindings, and more!

    If you need authentic skiing sounds this library has you covered. Whether you need to create loops and insert carves in a video game or film project or if you need lengthy recordings of full trips from the top of the mountain to the bottom this library will give you it all. Enjoy Downhill Skiing!

    14 %
    OFF
    Ends 1555970400
    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

 

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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:
 
 
  • Foley Squeaks & Creaks (MS) Play Track 313 sounds included, 19 minutes 29 seconds mins total $25 $22

    The squeakiest of the squeaks and the creakiest of the creaks! Halloween came early!

    In this library you will find everything from deep, wrenching creaks to high piercing squeaks; quiet door knobs and twisting, turning plastics. Many of these sounds were recorded in a turn of the century old victorian home with decades of wear and tear to give the most authentic, creepy sounds that your heart desires.

    Here you'll find drippy, squeaky faucets, loose boards on stairwells, creaking door hinges, squealing old door coils, metal scraping on metal, rending wood and plastic, quiet, airy floorboards, bone crushing twist and turns, gripping leather and rubber and so much more! With 300+ sounds you're sure to maximize your imagination's spookiest or maybe just that perfect sound design element you needed!

    The sounds were recorded in stereo at 96 kHz 24 bit. The equipment used was a Sony PCM-M10 and the files were processed, edited, and mastered in Reaper.

    12 %
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    Ends 1555970400
    Add to cart
  • User Interface (UI) War UI Play Track 1764 sounds included, 63 MB mins total $79 $59

    The War UI Sound Effects Library enables you to quickly outfit your characters with pre-built military classes, gear, inventory, notifications, unlocks and alerts. From natural and organic SFX to highly designed and processed epic war style electronic and digital SFX, all assembled into a value-packed comprehensive collection of 1750+ sounds and effects.

    Library highlights:

    • Military User Interface Sound Effects Library
    • Class specific sounds like engineer, infantry, medic, recon, tech/communications specialist
    • War-themed drum cues, cadences, and alerts
    • Gear, equipment, health, painkillers, loot crates, and unlocks
    • Game starts, navigations, menu transitions, latches, turns, buttons
    • Designed notifications, killstreaks, skill, upgrades,
    • Achievements, unlocks, purchases,
    • Backpacks, Metals, Liquid, Matches, Hinges
    25 %
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  • Game Audio Packs & Bundles Ancient Game Play Track 1508 sounds included, 72 mins total
    Rated 5.00 out of 5
    $79

    Get ready for adventure: Ancient Game gets you 1500+ designed and source MMO / game-ready audio assets. Step into a world of fantasy with Ancient Game – The Legendary RPG Adventure Game Sound Library by Epic Stock Media! Includes Magic, Warfare, Gore, Treasures, Mechanisms, Monsters, Loop-able ambiences and more! All in 96k / 24 Bit for optimum clarity and supernatural sound.

    Add to cart
 
Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
 
  • This is a unique bicycle library that captures this characteristic bike in clean, quiet, nicely performed true exterior rides. Including multiple perspectives, speeds and actions. From fast passbys on asphalt to slow onboard recordings and smooth stops.

    The UglyBike is a typical old bicycle that’s working fine, but needs some TLC. It is a bicycle that’s just average, a little rattle a gentle scrape, a bike that everyone has had but got traded in for a newer one. A story of unrequited love.. :)

    Speeds and actions:
    Three speeds. Departures from slow, medium to fast getaways. Arrivals from slow stops with gently squeaking handbrakes to heavy stuttering skids.

    Five perspectives:
    1. Onboard Front: captures the whirring tire and surface sound.
    2. Onboard Pedal: nice overall combination of pedaling, crank creaks, chain rattle, tire and surface sounds.
    3. Onboard Rear: close up sound of the rear axle, with chain, sprocket and switching of gear.
    4. Tracking shot: mono recording of the passby, keeping the bike in focus while passing by.
    5. Static XY shot: stereo recording of the passby that emphasizes speed.

    Overview of perspectives and mic placement:

    Onboard recordings are 2-3 minutes long depending on speed. Higher speeds > shorter duration.
    All 3 onboard mics are edited in sync with one another to make layering easy.
    All Passbys, Arrivals and Departures move from Left to Right.

    Metadata & Markers:
    Because we know how important metadata is for your sound libraries we have created a consistent and intuitive description method. This allows you to find the sound you need easily, whether you work in a database like Soundminer/Basehead/PT Workspace work, or a Exporer/Finder window.

    However, we are aware that some people have different needs for different purposes, so we’ve created a Metadata Reference Guide that explains the structure. And because we’ve automated the metadata proces, you can be confident that a ‘find & replace’ command will always replace all instances.

    Download our Metadata Reference Guide

    Download complete metadata PDF

    If you have any questions about this, contact us!

    Additionally, we added Markers to some wave files, so specific sound events are easy to spot in Soundminer or other database apps.

    Need more?
    The UglyBike library is part of the complete ‘City Bicycles’ library package available at www.frickandtraa.com. It consists of all 4 bicycles and includes additional surfaces and extras ranging from one-off  bicycle passes captured in the city and bounces and rattles. The extra bicycles surfaces and additional effects are also available seperately here on ‘a Sound Effect’. If you’ve bought a single library and want to upgrade to the full package, contact us for a reduced price on the complete City Bicycles library. Every part of City Bicycles that you paid for will get you an extra reduction on the full package.

    Video Thumbnail
    Responses:

    344 AUDIO:City Bicycles has a plethora of content, for a great price. The perfect balance between a great concept, great presentation and outstanding execution, lands them an almost perfect score of 4.9..

    The Audio Spotlight: City Bicycles is worth getting if you are in need of great sounding and well edited bicycle sounds.

    Watch a video created by Zdravko Djordjevic.

    Video Thumbnail

     

  • Environments Museums & Galleries Play Track 272 sounds included, 800 mins total $100 $80

    This library features a wide range of recordings from various museums and galleries, each differentiated by the nuances of their size and space. All recordings feature pristine echos, walla and movement. The library includes stereo & 5.0 recordings from:

    • War Museums
    • History Museums
    • State Museums
    • Science Museums
    • Art Galleries
    • Photography Galleries
    • State Galleries

    All sounds were recorded using a stereo pair of DPA 4060s, DPA 5100, Sound Devices Mix-Pre 6 and Sound Devices 788T.

    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1556056800
  • The American M5 High Speed Tractor includes over 20 gigabytes of recordings of a WWII US military vehicle with a Continental 6572 six-cylinder petrol engine with 207 horsepower. 188 sound fx document a full suite of performances from M5, also known as versions M5A1, M5A2, M5A3 and M5A4.

    The performances include starting, idling, departing, arriving, and passing by from 6 exterior perspectives at slow, medium, and fast speeds. 10 additional perspectives feature motor, interior, exhaust, tracks, and other locations that capture idles, driving, and steady RPMs from onboard the tractor.

    Includes extensive Soundminer metadata.

  • Cars Volvo 242 DL 1975 Play Track 364 sounds included $249

    The Volvo 242 sound fx collection includes 271 sounds in 13.51 gigabytes of audio. The 242 is a DL 1975 version of the car, also known as models 240, 244, and 245. It features 25 takes of recordings from the Swedish vehicle and its 4-cylinder B20 A, 82 horsepower engine.

    16 synchronized perspectives capture both onboard and exterior performances. Eight onboard perspectives (12 channels, including 4 in AMBEO) recorded driving at steady RPMs, with gearshifts, and ramps using microphones mounted in the engine, interior, and exhaust. Eight other exterior perspectives (18 channels) showcase driving at fast, medium, and slow speeds approaching, departing, and passing by. There are also steadies in neutral, blips, and performed effects, as well as an Altiverb impulse response.

    All clips have 18 fields of Soundminer, BWAV, and MacOS Finder metadata.

  • Sports Downhill Skiing Play Track 37 sounds included, 13 minutes 08 seconds mins total $35 $30

    Get ready to hit the slopes with this wintery gem of a sound library!

    Taken from many trips up and down the slopes in Upstate New York, this library gives you in your face gliding swishes, crunching carves, turns, stops, passbys from the left and right, falls, jumps, landings, poles poking and scraping the snow, chairlift machine sounds, bindings, and more!

    If you need authentic skiing sounds this library has you covered. Whether you need to create loops and insert carves in a video game or film project or if you need lengthy recordings of full trips from the top of the mountain to the bottom this library will give you it all. Enjoy Downhill Skiing!

    14 %
    OFF
    Ends 1555970400
 
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