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Published on August 30th, 2010 | by PSE

The 20 Most Popular Types of Sound Effects

If there’s a sound you need, any sound, chances are you’ll find it online. Heck, there are sound effects available for the obscurest of the obscure, like Olympic curling and yogurt curdling. But what are some of the most popular sound effects online? What sounds do filmmakers and game developers want most of all? Here on the PSE blog, we’ve compiled a list of these sound effects – without further ado, The 20 Most Popular Types of Sound Effects:

20. Crowd Sound Effects
Unless you’re able to get a room full of people to chatter under a microphone for you, you’ll need some walla. Don’t try and decipher the murmurs- they’re usually gibberish anyway.

19. War Sound Effects
Considering how many productions, (film, game or otherwise) are war-based, it’s no surprise war sound effects are on our list. The ambient noises of war (machine gun fire, background explosions) add an essential layer to any war scene.

18. Game Show Sound Effects
Game shows are full of interesting sounds, usually either congratulating or penalizing the contestants. Either way, they’re usually production elements (abstract, digital sounds).

17. Train Sound Effects
The distinct rattle of rails and the toot of a steam engine is integral in any Western. Train sounds can not only add to platform scenes but also provide a perfect transition from one setting to another.

16. Hanna Barbera Sound Effects
Hanna-Barbera has some of the wackiest, zaniest sounds out there, perfect for many comedies and animated pieces. Their extensive libraries have every splat and wham you could possibly imagine.

15. Scary Sound Effects
When trying to create an eerie atmosphere, it’s all in the sound. Doorknob rattles, floorboard creaks and wind sounds create a mood that no picture could possibly manage on its own.

14. Funny Sound Effects
Ever notice the over-the-top sound effects in all those Will Farrell movies, or the more obvious ones in Warner Brothers cartoons?  Plops, dings, squeaks, even punches and body falls can have personality to them, and many sound effects editors seem to want the funny-tinged versions.

13. Doorbell Sound Effect
A tried and true sound effects used even in the earliest radio shows is the doorbell.  It immediately signifies another person is about to enter the scene.

12. Star Trek Sound Effect
People look for sounds from Star Trek even more often than sounds from Star Wars!  Well, that one was surprising, but maybe that’s because we are more Star Wars people over here.  No offense to all the Trekkies out there.

11. Animal Sound Effects
This one wasn’t surprising, but did you know that we have sounds from hundreds of animals, not just the typical dog bark or cow moo?  We’ve got baboon hisses, blue-footed boobies honking, even piranhas eating.  Seriously.

10. Video Game Sound Effects
These sounds will take you back to the early 80s. Think Asteroids from Atari, Mouse Trap from Colecovision. Narrow band, synthesized  melodies, pings and speech with an R2-D2 accent.

9. Static Sound Effect
Ever wonder what sonic fuzz sounds like?  Static sound effects are often made from white, pink, or even brown noise that’s then chopped up and subjected to ASDR envelopes. Google that one if you’re new to sound synthesis.

8. Cartoon Sound Effects
Cartoon tends to be synonymous with funny when it comes to the sound effects world.  If you need ingredients for a laughter cake, look no farther.  Mmmm. Cake.

7. Movie Sound Effects
All the people searching for sounds from famous movies will be thrilled to know that they not only can find and use sounds from Academy-Award winning films, there are thousands to choose from.

6. Thunder Sound Effect
Whether created with a large, metal sheet then pitch shifted down, or synthesized with C-Sound, or recorded in nature, you’ll feel the unmistakable rumble of thunder with these sounds.

5. Record Scratch Sound Effect
We dare someone to create a Concerto with a virtuosic, record-scartching androgynous robot as the soloist, and then have it performed at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.

4. Explosion Sound Effect
One of the most fun sound effects to work with: explosions.  You can build your own with individual elements (wood snap, glass debris, low frequency boom) or use pre-made effects that already contain multiple sound layers.  Boooooom.

3. Siren Sound Effect
What effect would it have to use an LA police siren when designing a chase scene shot in Shanghai, China?

2. DJ Sound Effects
DJs often cross from traditional musical borders into the more abstract sound art territory.  Often spicing mixes up with sound effects, these libraries offer many sounds to choose from.

1. Gun Sound Effects
Like explosions, gun sound effects are made from multiple elements, and each type of gun sounds drastically different from the next.  Pro Sound Effects’ customers are often searching for gun sounds. We’ve got thousands to offer.



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