Announcing a New Community Sound FX Search Tool


Sound Effects Search Hero Tablet

Last year, I created a new “Community” tab on the website’s menu bar. The first page I announced was a list of field recording blogs. The second listed community Web shops.

My hope for those pages was to spread field recording knowledge and share all the excellent sound libraries you’ve created. I believe that all of our work improves when more audio knowledge and better sound surrounds us. I had hoped to contribute a small resource that would give back to the field recording community I’ve enjoyed being a part of.

Many of you wrote to tell me you found those pages useful. So, inspired by that, I’ve released a small, new tool which I also hope will help the sound design and field recording communities: Sound Effects Search.

What is Sound Effects Search?

Sound Effects Search - search results

Sound Effects Search is a search engine for indie sound libraries.

It has two goals:

  • To help sound pros discover indie sound fx bundles quickly and simply.
  • To help indie library creators share their work with the community.

The tool is a free community service for sound pros and library creators.

The website lists over 800 collections on 80 Web shops. It displays the hard stats of field recording and sound design libraries. The list is organized by name, amount, size, category, metadata-enabled packs, and price.

The collections are presented in a “no muss, no fuss” minimalist list that lets you compare essential stats side by side, pick a collection, and get out and back to work. The idea is to give you the info you need and return to your Pro Tools session quickly.

Now, the website doesn’t host the audio previews or the packages themselves. Instead, it links to each library’s home page. That helps field recordists get exposure with an SEO-friendly boost. It helps us find little-known indie library gems, or classic packs established publishers have released in the past.

So, the site is a no-strings-attached text-based portal with links back to each library’s native website. Think of it as a searchable version of the earlier community website list.

Sound Effects Search - advanced search

I designed the site to be like a dictionary of sound fx: use it to look up what you want, find what you need, and get back to work.

Sound Effects Search is a simple, pared-down tool designed for efficiency and speed. I’ve found it helpful to track down and compare all the exceptional indie collections you’ve been releasing. I hope it will be helpful to you, and to the rest of the sound effects community.

Why Create Sound Effects Search?

Why create this website? After all, you can simply visit the home websites of Sonic Salute, The Soundcatcher, BOOM Library, and others. However, it’s a bit of a pain to visit each one in turn. That often requires clicking and reloading dozens of pages. So, why not collect them all in one place? That would provide a global overview of what collections are available so you can compare stats.

Interesting idea, but aren’t there already websites that list indie sound libraries, though? That’s true. A Sound Effect, Sonniss, and Wild Track Sound Library do this well. They sell collections on commission from indie recordists worldwide.

Sound Effects Distribution Websites

I’m a big fan of spreading good sound amongst the community. That helps improve our projects and inspire us as well. These sites do the job. I encourage you to use those sites to find indie sound clip collections.

However, I found myself wanting something leaner than those sites, though. When I’m trying to meet a deadline, I need to find info, make a decision, and drop clips in my session as efficiently as possible so I can make the mix on time. In that scenario, wandering amongst multiple pages with ample text and extensive graphics didn’t fit. Also, for various reasons, those three sites don’t list every indie sound pack on the Web.

So, I created Sound Effects Search as a supplemental tool to those sites. There are no graphics, promotion, newsletter prompts, or marketing. It’s just a quick list that lets you browse every indie sound bundle available on the Internet today.

A Better Way to Find Indie Audio

There’s another reason, too. There was an enthusiastic response to the original community sound shop list (thank you!). However, the list was getting long. It was difficult to read. Also, it listed just the shops themselves. Individual libraries were absent. Wouldn’t it be better if the list was searchable, and tallied the stats for every indie bundle on the Internet?

In truth, I had wanted to create a searchable list of indie sound libraries for years. I’ve been distracted by releasing sound libraries and writing field recording books. I also didn’t know how. I recently discovered a few tricks to make this possible, so I dug into the code and banged out a fresh version of the site over the holidays.

Sharing Sound Online iPad Air Black

Finally, something struck me as I wrote Sharing Sound Online in the summer of 2014. That book explains how to create your own indie sound library and launch it from a Web shop you control. I reflected: Was that enough? I couldn’t explain how to create a sound pack and then leave readers wondering what to do next. I wanted to provide a way for new sound library creators to share their collections with the community. So, I originally designed Sound Effects Search as a way for Sharing Sound Online readers to get exposure. I mentioned the new website in that book. A raw version existed until I completed the revisions during the holiday. Now, it’s available to everyone.

Helping Sound Pros Get Exposure

And that brings me to the other goal of Sound Effects Search. I mentioned it’s a search engine. It has another purpose, too.

Sound Effect Search also allows you to list your own websites and sound libraries on the site. I know how hard it is for new people to get their hard work noticed amongst the torrent of info on the Web. So, the site is a way for new sound shops to generate an inbound link to their work, raise their Google ranking, and give their collections exposure to the community. It’s completely automated, impartial, and free of charge.

Just visit the submission pages and add your library yourself. It will appear in the sound lists shortly thereafter.

How Sound Effect Search Helps You

I like the new website because it helps you find indie sound libraries by sound fx keyword, category, publisher, or metadata availability. You can display just free libraries, too.

It presents a trim, minimalist list of sounds. You can compare their size, amount of sounds, whether it has metadata, and its price. You can sort libraries by name, find all collections by a single publisher, all metadata-enhanced packs, or all indie libraries in one category.

View the introductory video tour.

Now, you’ll notice that the list doesn’t include audio previews. Why? Well, while listing the libraries is no different than what any other search engine does, the previews are content owned by the designers. If they consent to include it, I can easily add it. In the meantime, just click through to the home page to hear the previews.

I also have much more information hidden on the back end: sampling rate, bit depth, channels, description, takes, and so on. They’re just not displayed right now. The first version aimed for simplicity. It presents just the basics. If you think it would be cool to include other info, drop me a line with your suggestions.

A Community Resource

Now, I want to be absolutely clear: the site will never promote advertising, marketing, data collection, or commercialism. I’ll never distribute the libraries myself. The site will always be unbiased and non-commercial with an emphasis on anonymity. I’m not interested in any recognition or compensation whatsoever. Why?

Well, I’d rather be recording sound. I spent six years operating a distribution website at I am grateful for that experience. However, I prefer to be out in the wild capturing sound effects instead.

So, the site will always function as a community resource intended to help others. I will never change that format.

If you do want to help, please follow the website’s Twitter account, join its free newsletter, or share the site with others. This doesn’t benefit me. Instead, it supports the broad goal of pro audio: it will help share the exceptional, inspiring sound we all love with those around us.

I designed Sound Effects Search as a service to the community. Your feedback will determine its direction. Let me know your thoughts and ideas.

In the meantime, please feel free to to take the website for a spin. I hope it will assist you with your creations.

Visit Sound Effects Search.

And here’s a Sound Effects Search blog post about the recent changes.

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