Hi guys,

I have about £500 to spend on sound effect libraries. I'm not entirely sure what type of sounds I want just yet, but I am looking around on the internet and there are SO many DVD's/sets/downloads, I'm not really sure of the good names/brands. With my budget in mind, would somone mind pushing me towards a name that supplies decent sounds?

Apologies if this sounds vague - it is!

While I'm here, what is the opinion on Ric Viers' Sound Effects Bible amongst you pros? I've really enjoyed his videos by Rode but realise he is in a deal there.

Many thanks.

6 Answers 6


"I'm not entirely sure what type of sounds I want just yet" <- this says it all. Wait until you need sounds for a project before you spend money on them. You'd be much better off spending the 500 quid on a recorder so you can start building your own library.


That is the $64,000 question :)

The flagship commercial library providers are Sound Ideas, Hollywood Edge, Soundstorm, and Blastwave FX. Sound Idea's primary library is the 6000 Series, and for Hollywood Edge it's the Premiere Edition. These are well-rounded, diverse libraries which can be a great place to start. From there you have a variety of boutique libraries put out by individuals such as Tim prebble, Frank Bry, Chuck Russom, Colin Hart, and many more. These are more geared toward specific topics and scenarios, so they won't have widely-diverse categories in each licensed set.

As far as affordability goes, that's the tricky part. The 6000 Series discs 1-40 costs about $1,200 and the Premiere Edition about $800 I believe from the first 20 discs. Soundstorm is $6000. What may be advisable then, given your budget, is to grab a decent recorder like the H4n and do your own recordings - this of course is considering that you wouldn't need to use the FX immediately and have time to build up the ranks so-to-speak with sounds that you want. If carefully watch the Sound Ideas deals, you may get lucky and be able to grab the 6000 discs 1-40 for about half price and that alone would be a good jump-start to a workable library. My feeling on this is many of these libraries are expensive, but a necessary 'evil' in the end.

Regarding the book, I think it's good but I have a few reservations about it. Overall he makes some good, valid points about the entire process of sound effects recording and preparation and he does know what he's doing. I respect his take on the process, and I personally choose to take and adapt to only the parts I like about what he offers and leave the rest.

This is all of course just my personal opinion

  • @Stavrosound Thanks very much. I'm quite well equipped for recording my own sounds so will do that when I can. I was thinking of things I can't easily record - machines/guns etc. I'll look at those names. Thanks!
    – Julian
    Sep 1, 2011 at 20:27

I started writing a post in the vein of Tim's and Steve's, but then I saw your comment saying that you've got some reasonable recording gear. In that case, I'll point you towards this list here: http://designingsound.org/sfx-independence/

And this one here: http://ianpalmersound.com/2011/07/24/sound-effect-libraries/

All of the purveyors listed on these two pages are very good and worth your money.

Also, don't forget that you can also negotiate trades with people if you need something for a specific project...even on this site. If you find you need something, there's a good chance you'll be able to find someone who would be willing to trade some of their original recordings for yours. Keep in mind that what identifies a recording as unique or difficult is all in the eye of the beholder. You might have access to things that others have trouble collecting, no matter how mundane they may seem.

  • @Shaun Didn't know about quite a few of those, thanks! Sep 2, 2011 at 0:42

I would start with the BBC sound effects library. That's the one I bought first and I still like it. 60 discs for £395 + VAT.



I agree with Tim Prebble on this; don't waste money on buying SFX libraries. It's better spent on field recording gear; you can then record anything you want. It will also be 'original' and individually tailored to your own requirements. In addition, you then have the ability to record and sample anything which takes your fancy - there's no limit to what can be done and you'll also gain useful audio experience by taking the recording route. Best of luck.


I would go with a bunch of independent libraries like this one http://chuckrussomfx.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=8

The major libraries ARE pretty great for a wide variety of sounds but if you really want quality recordings, many Independent libraries are the way to go IMHO. Plus grabbing your own mics and recorder can be an even better way to grab sounds and learn about the sonic world.

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