I've been recording on my own for a couple of years now and have accumulated a decent library of sounds. But i decided i should invest in a “smallish” sound library to round out my collection and provide me with quick access to sounds I can't typically record myself.

I've been looking for something on the smaller end (i don't exactly have the budget for soundstorm) while still being relatively inclusive, like blastwave FX’s thousand sound pack: http://www.blastwavefx.com/p128/wavFX%20Mini%20Sound%20Effects%20&%20Production%20Elements%20Suite/product_info.html

The problem i'm running into is that most libraries in this price range are theme specific, while the overview type libraries from other companies (Hollywood Edge) are starting at around $700.

That being said, i was wondering if anyone has suggestions, alternatives, or just general wisdom before i pull the trigger on it.

thanks, Matt

6 Answers 6


What do you work on? I only ask because for every film project I do, I both record as much as possible but also buy as many library sounds as are directly applicable, whether they are themed collections or a whole lot of one-offs from sounddogs etc....

So the only way to think about your question is

  • what do you need the sounds for, specifically? (eg in the next six months what work do you have that you will have specific needs for)

  • what do you already have covered in your library?

Analyse where the biggest gaps are in your existing library AND work out what you will likely need for upcoming work. Also imho some of those older 'general' libraries have some tired/over used sounds in them, so do your homework.... So once you have a list of specific needs, you may discover you could pay yourself to record them and/or augment as specific jobs require... A simple example: anyone who owns a record & mic can build a pretty good library of doors without travelling further than their own home & workplace...

  • @tim Well said, I find myself doing this too - usually buying a boutique library or two as it relates to an incoming show's sound needs. Trying to have everything at once otherwise would leave me broke ;) I agree, most major libraries are like that - still a few good hidden gems in there, but you gotta dig for em. Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 8:25

Visit the companies listed here:


Pick and choose libraries from the various companies, there is a lot of reasonable priced stuff out there.


Use download services and you can pick exactly what you want.

There are too many digital download distributors to list them here.


Thanks for your replies,

As far as work goes, Guns would be an example of sounds that I'm going to be soon in need of and don't necessarily have access too. I could buy a broad sound pack which would include a handful of gun files (17 in the case of the one i linked) or i could buy a specific library for a little less with over a hundred takes of just guns.
The only conflict comes from the fact that the broader sound library also gives me access to a variety of sounds that i could possibly need in the future (plains, boats, vocal takes, ect.). The reason i was leaning towards a little of everything type library is because they seem like a more economic option (as opposed to a handful of more specific libraries).

But I'm inferring that the general consensus seems to be its better to have a lot of sounds that you could use compared to a wide variety of sounds you could need?

Obviously in a perfect world i would get both, but i suppose its not worth getting a wide reaching sound library unless its going to be one of the big ones with plenty of takes to work from, plus its true that i could always use sounddogs type websites for more specific needs.


  • Fact: The most economic option is to only get what you need to do what you need to do. Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 12:26
  • I do not own any of the bigger libraries. I do however own quite a few of the boutique libraries put out. They are amazing. When I need a wider library sound, I usually pay per sound via sounddogs. Usually I avoid the really large libraries like the plague and record my own, but when the time crunch kicks that ideal changes. Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 17:45
  • Franks just released a good gun library... and as for vehicles, its rare that a general library will provide enough coverage to actually cut a scene other than something simplistic.... Vehicles are one thing I always ask for access to when I see them in a script - often 2 hours of recording and you've got yourself a good library of specific material....
    – user49
    Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 19:30
  • re needs vs wants, its good to think long term... if you establish a good approach, over a period of say 5 years you will see the results...
    – user49
    Commented Feb 15, 2013 at 19:32

www.soundsnap.com would be great for what you need. They're roughly a buck a sound and you can grab them as you need them. What @Tim said is ideal though. I've actually been considering/planning to go room by room in my house (when i get my contact mics probably) and just make as much noise as possible just for general stuff, and to manipulate into some weird stuff..


I would go with buying individual sounds or small packs where most of the sounds are relevant to your project. There are lots of sounds in the big libraries that you could record yourself, so buying specifically what you cannot record is more economical. You also get to know the library better as you've hand picked everything in it.

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