I don't think I've seen this asked yet - apologies if so! [cringe]

Short version: For those times you can't record your own material, what are your best go-to sources for libraries that don't cramp your style, assuming one might be starting a library of commercial effects from scratch?

Long version: Tim and Chuck have released small libraries at high sample rates that are specifically not over-designed, adding up to a lot of processing and mixing latitude. This is a great approach.

Given that, who's putting out the most USABLE big libraries these days? There's so many, but without naming names, some are so old and overused that they're utterly hackneyed, some are so pre-mixed/processed that they don't sit well in a mix or are too recognizable, some just aren't high-def enough for significant processing.

5 Answers 5


I have the BLASTDRIVE by Blastwave FX, it serves me pretty well when I don't have time to get my own sounds. One cool aspect is that they update the content of their library every three months, which you can then download for free. They call it Comprehensive Lifetime Sound Design Solutions

  • Cool, Andrew - I've been waiting to hear from someone who has heard the BWFX stuff in action. It's attractive less for its price but more for its resolution and latitude. Thanks! May 2, 2010 at 17:27

I find the Soundstorm library the most useful these days. But it is no where near cheap (around $6K). If I was building a library from scratch, that is where I would start. It won't cover everything, but it is a good foundation to build from.

  • Thanks, Chuck! I wasn't aware of this one, although certainly I'm aware of SoundDogs and Rob Nokes. One question: What's the resolution of the samples? The .xls file of the library doesn't specify. :-( May 2, 2010 at 17:31
  • I'm pretty sure everything is 16/48 May 2, 2010 at 18:01
  • +1 for the Soundstorm library - there are some real gems in there, plus some comprehensive vehicle material which definitely comes in handy. You're not likely to find that sort of thing with most of the commerical libraries. May 3, 2010 at 5:46
  • +1 for Soundstorm. Incredible library with a very wide breadth of content. I agree with Jay, lot of $$$ gems in there. If there's any catch I've found to this library, it's that it takes a lot of time to learn the ins and outs of searching it effectively and knowing your favorite go-to's - the metadata wording choices and descriptor inconsistencies can make for a precarious experience for the first few months of working with the library. Aug 9, 2011 at 7:17

I have the Hollywood Edge Premiere Edition. Probably about 20gb worth (48k 16b). It's pretty decent. It covers pretty much everything you can think of. It just doesn't have a whole lot of each thing. It's been good to me for the past 6 years. Time to upgrade though.

I'm looking into Blastwave's stuff, making my own stuff, and I'll be buying some of your guys' stuff (Tim and Chuck, etc..). IMHO, Hollywood Edge, Sound Ideas, Soundstorm, etc... are too expensive.

I'm more inline with buying my sfx in the manner your most prosumerism article covered. Cheaper, and often better and more unique.

  • Should I pay ya for the article plug, Colin? :-) I likewise would prefer to buy from those indie designers who release high-resolution, minimally-processed collections. [Hear that, all? Get crackin'! :-p ] May 2, 2010 at 17:33
  • I'll link that (for free even!) noisejockey.net/blog/2010/04/30/prosumerism
    – MtL
    May 4, 2010 at 13:10

I have been thinking about upgrading my stock SFX library for a little bit now and I am not sure which way to go. Blastwave sets you up for a long future between the high bit and sample rates (as well as the free updates) but the sound storm library is bigger so you get more for your money.

Sound Storm - $6000 for 50870SFX = 12cents per Blastwave Blastdrive - $5999 for 31900SFX = 19 cents per

Anyone out there have them both that can give a head to head opinion?

On another note quickly: I recently bought a Library called Cinematic Metal Construction Kit from a new company called Boom. They have amazing costumer service. I had a small problem with my download of the library and they answered my email within about 5 minutes and helped me out right away. What I did not realize is that they are in Germany and were helping me out so quickly at midnight local time. I have only had it a day or two but it sounds like it will be a lot of fun have in the arsenal to make things big and terrifying. Used it to bulk up a trucks bouncing suspension as it raced over potholes to great effect.


I was never in a position to afford a library when I was freelancing and relied on recording my own sounds or used http://sound-effects-library.com at the time.

Where I work now we (over) use the Sound Ideas 6000 and 8000 libraries and DigiEffects. They do seem wide ranging and are very useful. They must be popular as I am forever spotting them in films and TV (just this evening the new Sherlock tv show on BBC had the metal footsteps from 6000).

I have to say I've become a big fan of the prosumer libraries, really good recordings, cheap and a great basis for manipulating to create your own required sounds. Also they appear to be scarily well timed for when I need those sounds.

  • The curse of recognizing Sound Ideas and Hollywood Edge FX cannot be undone once one sews it upon themselves ;). It's dreadful how often I recognize them. What's absolutely hilarious though is that some of the ambience are comp'd down and then put into the HE and SI sets... because in Soundstorm, you can hear ambience tracks which are actually discrete recordings which are recognizable from a sound ideas ambience comp. Aug 9, 2011 at 7:21

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