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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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