I never know which one I'm looking for. And it's a concern of mine to use common terminology as I tag my own recordings. Is there a universal distinction between these that all libraries use in their metadata?

These in particular were on my mind today. Anyone have other metadata synonyms that we can crack here?

3 Answers 3


Well I find it fairly explicit. A whoosh would be a fairly large object compared to swooshes ans swishes that require thinner objects (for the "s...") that literally cut through the air. A maul makes whooshes, a sword makes swooshes, a foil makes swishes. Does this make it any clearer?

  • Makes perfect sense @Justin. So the "weight" is the distinguishing factor in the whoosh/swoosh/swish search, does that translate to 'hit' & 'impact' as well? Impacts are considered to be large, heavy events while hits are for lighter contact? Aug 5, 2010 at 12:42
  • Think Justin is spot on, exactly how I hear/see it. Not sure same goes for hits/impacts as I have some VERY big hits in my library :)
    – SonicPete
    Aug 5, 2010 at 13:07
  • Well, hits and impacts is a bit more blurry, I'd say that hit is bigger than impact. I'm most certainly influenced by the way the words sound, imPact sounds Precise with a Plosive whereas Hit sounds slower and bigger... maybe I'm just crazy. Maybe it's curable... Aug 5, 2010 at 18:02
  • @Steve, it's rather a matter of shape. The "sss" attack will make your object sound sharp, then the "whoosh" will sound bigger than a "wish", so: "woosh" = big, "sss"+"woosh" = sharp and big, "sss"+"wish" = sharp and thin. This is pure theory, I put it into practice with my mouth only (man I'm glad nobody was around!) Aug 5, 2010 at 18:07
  • When crazy works, I say go with it. Thanks for the rationalization. Aug 5, 2010 at 20:17

Fwiw soundminer uses a thesaurus, meaning you can search "whoosh" and it will retrieve swooshes and swishes etc., even if the word "whoosh" isn't in the metadata or file name.

It's also user editable. Cool stuff!

  • Yeah I know about this feature and it's genius. Unfortunately I'm using the workspace in pro tools. Aug 5, 2010 at 2:43
  • @Steve Oh my god.... Soundminer has literally 10Xed my productivity because of it's usefulness. I type in Woosh and files come up that are named "W37562" that I would NEVER hear or see EVER if I didn't have that thesaurus tool. PLEASE get Soundminer, it will change your life.
    – Utopia
    Aug 7, 2010 at 0:12

The problem with just about all sound effects libraries, is that it's like scouring through the yellow pages (fewer and fewer people are understanding that reference each year, sadly); the yellow pages being the greatest training tool I've ever had for searching sound effect libraries.

I don't think we're ever going to escape the chore of creative searching as long as we turn to library effects, especially when you consider that different brands have their own specific conventions.

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