How to Download Free Sound Effects

By Contributor ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • A computer
  • Some free time
  • An internet connection
  • Enough free space on your computer for the files you download

Want to download some free sound effects to use in your music, movies or games? There are tons of sites offering sfx and noises -many royalty free. So, this is what you do....

First thing you gotta do is look around for sound effects. Do a search on your favorite search engine for phrases like, "download free sound effects" or "get sfx for free" and see what you can find and what is being offered.

I've listed some sites below to help you get started, although I haven't checked them all yet and not all of them are free -or royalty free -so read everything carefully before using.

Next step, obtain sound effects that suit your specific needs, keeping your use and media in mind for the sfx can make a dynamic world of difference.

For example: Let's pretend I am looking for a thunder storm sound for a movie I'm making. An important thing to keep in mind in this case is sound positioning.

The sound positioning in this case is a storm in the background; west of the focus characters. So, I would want to get a variety of storm sounds to accomodate the camera angles.

For a close up shot, I may want a low-subtle rumble and no rain at one point. Which, of course means that I may need the following files:

two or three low rumbling sound one or two different medium to strong rumblings one or two lightning strike fx gentle rain and heavy rain

This way in a shot close to my characters with the storm strong in the west but overhead I could have two rumbling sounds: A light rumble with pan set at 70%-80% left at a volume about 40% higher than a separate rumble set at a pan to the right of 30% to 50%. together they create the atmosphere of the shot and add to the realism when switching to the next shot when the sounds and positioning are changed.

Look for .wav file format sounds rather than effects in a .mp3 format. While the .mp3 format may be smaller and quicker to download, there is a lot of quality loss in the compression that can make a big difference later on. .wav files tend to have higher to near perfect quality and are more compatible with most sound editing software.

Next, when you find the sounds you want to use: make sure that you are allowed to use them as you want. Many are royalty-free, but make sure and for that matter make certain you are allowed to use them in a commercial manner if you intend to.

Take note and make sure you follow the sound effect license giving credit for the source of the sound if required to do so on use.

Take proper precautions when downloading from or using any sites to protect your computer from viruses and spyware!

Finally, keep your files organized for your future convenience -it can make a big difference in your efficiency later on. For instance, since most of your sound files will automatically be arranged alphabetically, save them with the first word of the filename being the theme they would be most associated with.

For example: The thunderstorm example above could be easily organized by saving the file names like this:

WeatherStormRumbleLow.wav WeatherStormRumbleMed.wav WeatherStormRainLight.wav WeatherStormRainMed.wav WeatherStormLightning1.wav

You get the idea. And when you have to go back and look through your sound effects it can save you a lot of time in the long run.

Keep looking around and good luck! Thanks for reading!

Tip

think ahead at how you plan to use your sound effects use .wav files

Warning

protect your computer and take precaution against malicious files when using any sites or downloading anything online. read all terms of use before using any sound effects or websites pay attention to the licensing of the sound files -make sure they are royalty free and allow you to use them commercially if necessary.