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How to Find Podcast Sound Effects

Why might you use sound effects in your podcast? And if you do, where can you find them?

If you've learned to record and edit audio specifically for the purpose of podcasting, then keeping it simple in the early days is key.

Once you get more comfortable fiddling around with pieces of audio inside your editing software though, you might begin to get a little more adventurous. Would it be worth adding some sound effects and other elements to level up your podcast?

With more and more new shows being launched every day, there's an increasing need to make your own one stand out.

Of course, you'll do this best by building your show on a solid foundation, and creating great content that your listeners will love. But the production values of your show can really make or break it too.

Podcast Sound Effects

So over time, you might want to start adding in those additional sound effects, as well as things known as “stingers”, “sweepers”, and “transitions”.

Or, you might even want to go down the route of creating highly-produced documentary or audio drama-style shows.

Whatever your reason, one big question you'll have is – where can I find good sound effects that I'm allowed to use in my podcast?

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As you'll no doubt be aware by now, that's the entire purpose of this article, so read on and find out…

Can I Just Make My Own?

Absolutely, and many producers do. In fact, if you enjoy it enough you can even try to build a career or business around it.

If you want to go down that route, then there's no better place to start than by getting a copy of The Sound Effects Bible by Ric Viers.

Remember though, that you'll either pay for something with your money or with your time.

Making your own sound effects can be “free” – as well as fun. But it can also be a time-consuming distraction that takes focus away from actually working on your content.

So if your time is already limited, then sourcing sound effects online is going to make much more sense.

Can I Find Free Sound Effects?

You can. The most popular free sound effect resource on the internet is probably The Free Sound Project.

It's a collaborative resource where anyone can upload their own recorded sound effects, and make them available for use on various “Creative Commons” licenses (commercial, non-commercial, etc).

There's some excellent stuff available on Freesound. But there's also plenty of low and poor quality audio on there too.

This means that you can end up spending a lot of time searching for the sort of audio you're after – and that could put you right back to square one.

Paying For Sound Effects

Buying your sound effects is the best way to save time, and to guarantee quality.

The exact way you buy them will vary from site to site. Some work on a subscription basis where you have a monthly download limit. Other sell individual effects, or entire packs or libraries.

So where are some of the places you can get premium quality podcast sound effects?

ASoundEffect.com

One of my favourite resources is ASoundEffect.com. ASE is something of a one-stop shop for browsing sound effects and collections from a multitude of creators.

Here you'll find a library for every scenario, ranging from footsteps and household noises, to sci-fi space battles and cinematic horror.

They have very clear and simple licensing, which means you don't need to constantly be checking where and when you're allowed to use a particular sound.

ASE is ideal if you're making audio drama or fiction podcasts.

Storyblocks

If you're going down the audio documentary route though, then Storyblocks might be more suited to your needs.

Storyblocks have some great musical collections available on top of their sound effect and ambient tracks.

They operate as a subscription service, and you can get unlimited music and sound effects there for as little as $12.41 a month.

Use our link above for a 7-day free trial so you can test them out before jumping in. 

Music Radio Creative

If it's sound effects for radio-style jingles, swooshes, and stingers you're looking for, then check out Music Radio Creative.

They're the medium's audio branding specialists, and will produce custom made effects and transitions for your show.

If you run an unscripted conversational or interview show, and you'd like to add a layer of professionalism to your sound, MRC are the go-to folks!

Organising Your Podcast Sound Effects

As you accumulate more and more audio, it can get harder to manage. With the best will in the world, having clearly-named files in well-organised folders still isn't the best way to search for something.

I recently discovered Soundly, and it's absolutely superb for this sort of thing.

It's basically a desktop app that acts as a search engine for all your audio. You can use this to search through your own sound effects, as well as access their huge cloud library of royalty free material.

Podcast sound Effects - Soundly

You can start using Soundly for free. The only caveat is that it'll limit the amount of audio you can work with in there. Upgrade to a pro account costs $14.99 a month, which is well worth it in my opinion.

Soundly works in a ‘drag & drop' manner. You can drag files into it so that they're listed in your library. Then you can search through and drag out the audio you want into your editing software.

On top of that, you can also see a preview of each file's waveform along the bottom.  In fact, you can even drag out small sections sections a clip, which is just one of Soundly's many intuitive features.

More Help With Podcast Sound Effects

Hopefully this article has given you a few options for finding the perfect sound effects for your show.

If you plan on working with multiple audio elements in your episodes, then I'd recommend checking out a couple of resources too.

And, if you'd like some more tailored help with your podcast, please check out The Podcast Host Academy. That's where you'll have access to our live Q&A sessions, our community, and all of our helpful courses and downloadable resources. In fact, we've just added a brand new feature in there where we'll actually review your podcast for you too.

You'll find everything you need in there to create the best sounding content for your audience!

Discussion:

6 Comments

  1. Martina on 22nd December 2017 at 1:39 am

    Great article – thank you! You should also check out Pro Sound Effects – they offer the largest collections and stuff from famous Hollywood sound designers.

  2. debra cook on 27th November 2018 at 3:48 pm

    I like freesound.org

  3. jack on 5th January 2019 at 11:15 am

    Thank you for sharing this information, Its has help me to know more about Free Equalizer For Mac

  4. Joseph Sardin on 24th January 2019 at 10:13 pm
  5. Dan on 21st May 2019 at 12:19 pm

    Neat list. I also got to recommend https://soundsnap.com. Huge online SFX library (over 250,000 sounds) you can listen, pick and choose before your download. Pricing is flexible and they offer unlimited downloads plan.

  6. Only in Lapland on 29th May 2019 at 1:33 pm

    Hi, I just wanted to mention the Lapland Sound Collection by Only in Lapland, a sound effects library that includes various sounds recorded in northern Finland. The collection has a few dozen sounds at the moment, spanning a range of topics like animal noises, forest ambience, mountain biking, snowshoes, etc.

    Check it out!

    https://soundcloud.com/onlyinlapland/sets/the-lapland-sound-collection

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Written by:

Matthew McLean

Matthew is an audio drama writer and producer who enjoys talking about podcasts. He makes the tea at The Podcast Host, and is a loyal servant of adopted house rabbits.

July 25th 2019