Looking for awesome sound effects?
Whether you’re producing audiobooks, radio shows, podcasts, or some other form of speech/spoken word audio, it’s nice to have quality sound effects at the ready.
Even for music production, composing, and sound design, they can come in handy, and are essential in some cases.
“Best” is a little subjective in this case, but here are some excellent sound effect packs for a variety of different uses.
SubElements by PMSFX
Its name might be a little ambiguous, but ZapSplat’s SubElements features various punchy impacts, thuds, risers, and liftoffs often heard in movie trailers. All the effects have a nice echo on them – whether that’s natural, or a high-quality reverb effect, I’m not 100% sure. Probably reverb.
The sound effects in this pack are subtle, but they can nonetheless give your mixes a bit of flare.
ZapSplat says these effects are ideal for movies, trailers, horror, games, and other applications, and in this case, it’s hard to disagree.
So, if you’re looking for effects that “blow” listeners away (sorry, not funny), give this bundle a go.
Just so you know, while ZapSplat effect libraries are free, you must attribute credit to the creators, unless you upgrade to their paid plan, which to be fair, is moderately priced.
Construction Zone Lite by Sound Ex Machina
How many times have you been sitting in your studio thinking to yourself, “gosh, I really need some solid construction zone sounds?” Me either.
But let’s face it. Depending on the film, game, or other media, you might end up requiring hand tool, power tool, truck, bulldozer, and construction site ambience sounds.
The sounds included in this library were all professionally recorded with full metadata embedded in the files themselves. If you like these, apparently Sound Ex Machina has more (a total of 260 sounds) on their own website for a price.
Indeed, these effects are high quality, and can add some serious realism to your projects.
Extreme Drift Lite by Sound Ex Machina
Racing cars… yeah!
Sound Ex Machina’s Extreme Drift Lite features nine high-quality, authentic racing car sounds from their hugely popular Extreme Drift library.
From powerful motor racing cars drifting and maneuvering around a racetrack, to skids, backfires, engine revs, fast passes, and pit lane sounds, there’s a lot to dig into here.
As with all sound effects, you can use them as is, or edit them down to fit your project. The choice is yours!
If you want to get all 360 sounds, you will need to go and purchase them from Sound Ex Machina, but hey, nine handpicked sounds are still quite generous for a tester.
Dive Deep 2 by Lukas Tvrdon
Underwater settings evoke all kinds of atmosphere in video games, films, and other settings. So, who wouldn’t want a sound effects library that delivers the best sounds?
Lukas Tvrdon’s Deep Dive 2 features bubbling, flowing, and trickling water effects, in addition to underwater science fiction and horror ambience effects. Yes, these will add some serious atmosphere and character to your projects.
There are 13 sounds included in this pack, and they are indeed evocative, spanning from relaxing water gurgling sounds to unsettling underwater noises.
Understandably, ZapSplat has posted this one as “Deep Dive 2” on their website, but the accurate name, per the developer, is “Dive Deep 2.”
Drawing And Handwriting by Soundbox Library
The Drawing and Handwriting pack comes with 34 free sounds – drawing, writing, doodling, scratching, chalk, sweeps, and more. Ball pens, pencils, felt tip pens, quill pens, crayons, fountain pens, chalk, markers, and other tools were all used in the creation of this library.
Just in case, there are some other unique sounds like fingers drawing on glass or a metal chisel being used on stone.
These sounds are loud, clear, and articulate. I can’t see them being useful on every project, and in some cases, you will probably need to edit them to fit your mix, but it’s hard to argue with a free pack containing over 30 unique effects.
Space Divers Mini by Lukas Tvrdo, A Free Sound Effect Pack
If you’re doing any kind of recording for Sci-Fi movies, horror films, or even atmospheric video games, you’ll probably enjoy Lukas Tvrdo’s Space Divers Mini.
This collection isn’t limited to so-called “space” sounds, as it includes rusty vibrating submarines, errant space shuttles, space-station reparation, bumps and collisions, exploring sea bottoms, and more.
This pack comes with 49 files, most of which are relatively short, but certainly atmospheric and evocative.
Electromagnetic Fields by Soundbox Library
This small, five-file collection comes with unique buzzes, glitches, hums, whooshes, and interference sounds. These sounds are more abrasive than calming, more direct than atmospheric, so be forewarned.
But for all those times you need vague electronic sounds, this is a good little library to turn to.
If you want more, Soundbox Library has over 600 similar sounds on their website. For a price, of course.
Horror Atmospheres And Accents by Skyclad Sound
Skyclad Sound’s Horror Atmospheres and Accents library comes with 60 files, ideally suited to movies, games, apps, and other horror, Halloween, and abstract sound design applications.
These sounds are perfect for creating moods, building tension, evoking a sense of danger, nightmares, hauntings, ghosts lurking around the corner, and so on.
Though you might expect these sounds to come from synths or other “artificial” sounds, they all started from organic source material – guitars, fireworks, trains, paper tearing, a fart whistle, and so on. That makes this collection more usable and realistic.
This library should prove a nice addition to anyone working heavily in horror.
Glass In Metal Tin Impacts by ZapSplat
The title kind of says it all, doesn’t it?
This ZapSplat original comes with 46 files with glass impacts inside a small metal tin. In their own words, these sounds can be layered to simulate car crashes or other collisions.
Old glass jars and broken glass pieces we used inside a small chocolates tin to create these sounds. These are highly usable for all heavy glass and metal impact effects.
If you’re expecting shrill, high-pitched glass impacts, you might be surprised to find that these sounds lean more heavily to the midrange and low end of the spectrum. But there’s no doubt they’re a lot of fun to play with.
Cartoon Farts by ZapSplat
Let’s face it. Some of the sound design work you’ll be doing probably won’t be scary, moody, or atmospheric. If anything, it might lean a little more towards the comedic.
This library comes with 40 hilarious cartoon fart sound effects, all created using squishy fart putty.
It includes a wide range of fart noises (which is plenty funny unto itself) – airy, loud, raspy, wet, forced, accidental, and more.
Evidently, this was a highly requested library, and we have no doubt ZapSplat had a lot of fun creating it.
For those who need more, ZapSplat has more fart sounds in their main library.
Poker Chips by ZapSplat
Maybe it’s James Bond sitting at the casino, going “all in” on a game of poker while staring down the villain.
Or maybe it’s just Seth Rogen and his friends having a good time in Los Vegas.
No matter. If you need to recreate a game of poker in your sound design efforts, the 102 files inside the Poker Chips library have got you covered.
These work great for games, apps, movies, animations, cartoons, commercials, and more.
The pack includes stacking, shuffling, handing, dropping, knocking chip stacks over, and pretty much everything you can think of.
The library was created by ZapSplat and was recorded using professional gear at their Foley studio.
Swords by ZapSplat
We figured this would be a good one to include, especially for those working on projects that include sword fighting set in an earlier time, or even modern-day sword fighting action.
Swords comes with 15 effects containing sword clangs, a sword leaving its scabbard, swooshes, and more.
These sounds would work great in games, apps, movies, TV shows, commercials, and all other types of battles in different media.
There are certainly some solid effects here, but if you find the included sounds a little limiting, there are more inside the ZapSplat library.
Retro Game Musical Tones by ZapSplat
There are certainly other ways of achieving retro video game sounds, as there are plenty of composing tools, synths, and even free DAWs dedicated to the artform.
That said, Retro Game Musical Tones could still come in handy for all those times you’re not feeling creative, don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, or simply don’t have the time to compose something yourself.
This pack includes 49 files. It contains arcade style video game retro musical tones that work perfectly for games that came before modern-day games with fully developed original soundtracks.
There are sounds that nicely convey success, failure, level completed, leveling up, warnings, alerts, timers, and other common cues.
Best of all, the sounds are basically raw synth style sounds and can be edited to suit your needs, whether it’s for games, apps, or even in-movie sequences.
Top Free Sound Effects Packs, Final Thoughts
So, if you’re looking to get creative with your projects, the above libraries are the perfect starting point. And ZapSplat is an excellent resource all around if you’re looking for additional sound effects packs.
Of course, don’t forget that if you have the right equipment, you can always create your own sound effects. This may be the more time-consuming route, but if there’s something specific you’re going for, it’s often the best way to achieve ideal results.