So as time as gone by, I've been thinking more about getting a real solid set of sounds together for my sound design experiments. I'm thinking strictly from the view of an artist with their colours with this...

...what sounds should I be sourcing to ensure I have a rock solid quality base of sounds as a palette to build others. I know I should be using my imagination with this, and of course I am here, but I'm still looking for a decent starting point to go from. Versatile, quality, useful sounds that are tried and tested to make up many other sounds. I suppose the main areas of this is for films really. What are useful things to cover the basics for most film features. (sorry, I know this is vague)

So can I ask, what material should I be trying to source? Is there any places that do these sort of 'beginner sound design' libraries? ...I don't have a lot of money at all, but I'm willing to shell out for something if it's truly worth the cash and is fully useful.

My sound library feels like it has many many holes in it, and I could do with a push from the pros. Thank you.

2 Answers 2


Well if you're looking for the Crayola 64 color set with the built-in sharpener, I'd suggest the Hollywood Edge Premiere Edition or the Sound Ideas 6000 Series. The problem with these libraries is that since they're such a basic building block set, every Tom, Dick, and Harry in post has them. Most Film and TV picture editors know these libraries inside and out and use them day to day in their rough cuts just to fill out some of the sound.

The current price of the Sound Ideas 6000 General is $1046. At that price you could purchase an entry level field recording set-up and get more sophisticated, Dutch-Master colors like burnt sienna or cerulean. All joking aside, I continue to learn so much about sound effects editing and design simply by going out in the world, listening critically, and capturing unique fx for my library. It takes longer, but it's worth it.


Hmmm... the Sound Ideas Libraries are pretty much a staple in the industry. However, if you feel you have holes in an already existing library, then the best suggestion might be to spend the dollars you'd spend there on some good gear and go out and start recording. There comes a point where ANY 3rd party library is going to have holes in it, just because it was done by someone else who probably has a slightly different set of priorities than you. That's the time to grab a recorder and start getting some sounds! What sounds? Spend a day and just go for a LONG walk. Hear a neat sound? Grab it!

Oh and I'd be totally remiss if I didn't mention Tim Pebble's excellent Hiss and a Roar libraries. Inexpensive and REALLY good! And they tend to fill those spaces left by things like the Sound Ideas/Hollywood Edge libraries


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