A bit topic of the past few weeks has been smaller "prosumer" sfx collections. Chuck made one, Tim has two out, I'm working on a few, and I know others are two. Earlier today Nathan called them "Boutique" SFX collections. I like this term better than "prosumer", since most people (including me until Nathan's article) are using the wrong definition of that word.

Having said that, what collections would you like to buy? What sounds do you always need but never have, or at least never have enough of? What types of sounds would you pay $35 - $50 for (assuming you received a decent collection - 1500+ sounds).

  • 1500 sounds for $50? Great for the person purchasing the set, but a ton of work for the poor person planning, recording, editing and mastering those 1500 sounds for a measly $50. I'd suggest something more like 200 sounds for $50. Designers should be compensated for their time, creativity and gear! May 7, 2010 at 4:26
  • Wow, 1500 is a lot of sounds for $35 - $50! I may need to quit.... :) May 7, 2010 at 4:59
  • Well, I was basing that number off of Tim's 2600 sounds for $50. Granted, it's not 2600 files, just a few files, with 2600 hits on them. I was aiming for the size of Chuck's and Tim's in my example...
    – Colin Hart
    May 7, 2010 at 5:44
  • Good point, wow, Tim really does have that many sounds. I own both libraries and never realized just how many sounds there were.... May 7, 2010 at 6:05
  • The old ways used to teach us: 100 sounds for $50...
    – georgi
    May 7, 2010 at 15:11

6 Answers 6


I'm really excited about this type of collaboration between sound designers across the globe, and I applaud you guys for getting it off the groud. (I'm hoping to offer a few sets as well, if you'll all have them!) Although not a new idea (sound folks have been sharing material for years), it seems fresh in that you are using technology in a previously untapped way (96k and 192k fx) as well as cutting out the middleman (CD library companies) and marketing directly to the folks who will be using the material. Plus, the instant download is a no-brainer and super convenient.

That being said, I'm interested in the following "boutique" sounds:

  • plastic manipulation
  • small metal manipulation (stress, taps, tonal)
  • large metal manipulation (creaks, ronks, rubs, tonal)
  • glass friction and rubs
  • wood friction and rubs
  • tiny electronics
  • world nature ambiences
  • world society ambiences
  • hard-to-access area ambiences (deserts, jungles, local factories, etc)

What I'm also interested in but not so much in this area of "boutique" sounds:

  • vehicle sets
  • explosions & gun shoots
  • design elements (whooshes, stingers, etc)

You can tell from my list that I value well-recorded foley at high sample rates that can be infinitely manipulated. It's the kind of stuff that I always want to do myself but either don't have the time or gear.


You know, I've done polls like this too. And the funny thing is that you almost get a different answer from every person (besides the constant guns and explosions requests). People are also going to request stuff that is difficult to pull off on the cheap. I'd love to do a gun library. I have some great ideas for one, and many people have asked for one, but there is no way I can do it at a $50 price point and there is no way I'm putting out a $200+ library. Vehicles is something else that get requested often that would be cool, but would require a lot of legwork and cash.

What I'm doing with my libraries is recording and releasing stuff that I need or find cool. If they don't sell, then at least I have a couple hundred new sounds I can use. That's not to say that everything I'm doing will be done on the cheap. I have some things planned that will change the way people look at Boutique libraries. I just need to figure out how to keep them within my target price point. And that is the hardest part, doing cool stuff that you can sell for

I think a good starting point is to find and record ambiences that are unique. People always need new ambiences. They are relatively easy to record but really difficult to track down. But it is something that will just cost you time and gas.

  • Also, wanted to add; your blog can be a good indicator of what libraries could be popular. Pay attention to which sounds get the biggest/best responses from the readers. The only reason I released Metal FX was that the dry ice and cymbal bow posts that I did always got such a huge responses. I figured that someone would be interested in the library. It's pretty abstract and not what I had planned to release, but I had the source so I figured why not. Plus, Sound Ideas would never release shit like that! May 7, 2010 at 5:39
  • Great points Chuck. I'll take that into consideration. I have a few ideas up my sleeve, just have to take the time to make it happen! Can't wait to hear what you capture on your trip to Mars!
    – Colin Hart
    May 7, 2010 at 5:48
  • re producing expensive libraries, the investment scenario of the group who funded the infamous explosion library is a VERY interesting scenario. Basically they collected enough investors to fund the $70k involved and the investors received multi-mic hi rez copies of all recordings... A stereo CD-quality version was also released via Hollywood Edge...
    – user49
    May 8, 2010 at 8:16
  • Hey Tim, so that's how they got the explo library of the ground! I've been thinking of similar scenarios to fund gun recordings, it may be something I will explore further. May 8, 2010 at 20:22

I am definitely interested in the following:

  • Gun manipulation - I've got plenty of gunshots, not enough unholstering (nylon, leather, out of pocket), moving around in the hand, flipping safety on and off, etc.
  • Ambiance - good outdoors ambiance in various natural settings, airplane ambiance, food and retail store ambiance. Can't say enough about having a large variety of ambiance to choose from.
  • IRs for ambiance environments - I think it would be a great pairing to have an ambiance, and then a reverb library to correspond with each space so you could match up dry foley, SFX, dialog with the space.
  • Clothing foley - jeans, khakis, shoes being taken on and off, adjusting shirts, digging in pockets, general movement without footsteps.
  • About the IRs for ambience environments, foley, dialog etc. Audioeases Altiverb7 will be able to import a small snippet of your ambience sound (or whatever sound you like) and create an IR from that. Will be a really cool feature, I think. May 7, 2010 at 19:01
  • Oh reeeeaaally... that's pretty awesome. Sounds a bit like black magic, but I'll check it out.
    – VCProd
    May 7, 2010 at 19:53

[Shucks, thanks for the article links, Colin!]

Boutique effects collections are indeed the Right Way given where things are going.

Chuck's right: People ask for what's hard to do themselves. That's what I'd ask for!

  • Deep, thorough, varied recordings of large animals (one or two per collection)
  • Sure, guns, what the heck. I never get to record 'em.
  • Foreign ambiences are indeed rare and nice to have.
  • Hits and impacts are always useful, esp. if it's a collection of just one kind* *Yes, I'd even be excited by 1000+ samples of dirt impacts.

What I would not expect is that the collections that are harder to coordinate, create, and edit would cost the same as those that are easier (not that any recording session is ever easy). Guns, animals, and those sorts of things should carry a premium cost. It's only fair, and it does reflect the relative market value of those effects.

Boutique = awesome, and right now it means inexpensive, but those three terms needn't be synonymous all the time, based on what the actual content is. My prediction is that everyone's sound collections will vary in price, the market (that's us, people) will help drive what price points we'll accept, and standards for certain types of sounds will probably start to solidify.

But for the indie SFX artists releasing their collections: Please, keep them coming, keep them reasonably priced, and keep the quality high...just don't sell yourself short if and when you do make big investments in effects collections.

  • Premium libraries are definitely on tap for the future. And yes, this libraries will carry a higher price, but will still be priced much lower than comparable libraries from the bigger companies. May 8, 2010 at 20:26

Ive got to say, im loving these "Boutique" libraries you guys are doing, being a poor student i havnt got round to buying them all yet, but i definitely will be! The pricing is very reasonable and the quality is top notch with some really unique sounds.

VC Prod - i like the idea IRs to go with ambiance collections, i think they could be really cool.

Im also with Birdhousesound on "boutique" libraries with -

* plastic manipulation
* small metal manipulation (stress, taps, tonal)
* large metal manipulation (creaks, ronks, rubs, tonal)
* glass friction and rubs
* wood friction and rubs
* tiny electronics

Would anyone be interested in a library of Lamborghini sounds? Im quite lucky in having access to their workshop after-hours to record as much as i want, im thinking all the usual interior/exterior sounds and a bunch of tools and stuff i can find around the workshop.

What would be important to you guys in a "boutique" vehicles set? I want to make sure i get everything covered.

  • "Would anyone be interested in a library of Lamborghini sounds? Im quite lucky in having access to their workshop after-hours to record as much as i want, im thinking all the usual interior/exterior sounds and a bunch of tools and stuff i can find around the workshop." ----umm, YES. May 7, 2010 at 17:36
  • Actually, a really great track would be an ambient recording of people manipulating tools, toolboxes, equipment, car doors/hoods, etc. in that workshop. Just beware of light buzzes/hums and AC rumbles that would be difficult to extract later on - much easier to find those sources and turn them off before you record. May 7, 2010 at 17:40
  • Lamborghini? Nah.. what I'm really looking for is Ford Focus sounds. Of course I'd be interested! Get some nice sounds of the doors shutting and opening.
    – VCProd
    May 7, 2010 at 19:54
  • Ahh cool that's a good idea, hadn't actually thought of recording all the noises of people working, all i could think before was to make sure i avoided it haha. But yeah i'll definitely do that, and i'll keep that in mind about the lights etc. I will report back here if a few weeks with some sounds :D
    – deleted
    May 7, 2010 at 20:06
  • Haha. Yeh man, i'll make sure i get plenty of those door sounds for ya. Might try and get an IR of the workshop aswell if i get round to it.
    – deleted
    May 7, 2010 at 20:24

the things that I need to buy are the things that are too difficult or costly to record myself on a whim. That said, I do own both of Tim's libraries. :)

as such:

  • explosions
  • fire
  • big cats
  • other unique sounding animals
  • vintage vehicles
  • remote ambiances

Also, I don't mind borrowing from the creativity of others so I'd be very interested in designed and stylized versions of:

  • hits and impacts
  • whooshes
  • computer UI
  • communication noises
  • servos
  • horror screeches
  • etc

Also, having the stylized stuff broken out into layers would be pretty cool.


  • Thanks for the support Rene - while anyone can go record eg Vegetable Violence, it will cost them a lot more than the purchase price eg it involved $200 worth of vegetables, many hours spent recording in a quiet studio plus cleaning up the mess afterwards plus 50+ hours of editing, output & metadata entry etc... It is only the scale of economy of distribution through the internet that makes it viable....
    – user49
    May 8, 2010 at 8:02
  • +1 to that Tim! I have done vegetable recording in the past, and yes, I spent $200, a day of recording, and had a studio that smelled like a salad for days! I'd much rather pay $50 for someone to do the heavy lifting for me. May 8, 2010 at 20:28
  • FWIW we've done our own custom veg violence styled library internally in the last few months as well (bell peppers ended up being the coolest out of ours) We also had a pig head and some raw chicken :) There were parts of your library that overlapped with ours (the celery et al), and there were parts that didn't (the egg stuff was awesome), but at the price point it was worth it IMO. I added a fair amount of soundminer metadata after the fact btw. email me and I can show you how I've customized your stuff for our library.
    – Rene
    May 10, 2010 at 14:22
  • As an aside, I've got a few custom libraries of stuff (west texas ambiances, big stylized hits, horses and camels, etc) that I keep internal in our own library, although that's mainly because I haven't made the effort to deal with distribution, payment, hosting, etc. Given that, I really do appreciate the effort that you put into creating and making the libraries available.
    – Rene
    May 10, 2010 at 14:22

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