Sound Effects Libraries | What is the Difference Between Them?

When looking at sound effects libraries, there are a few key differentiators. You will especially want to know the difference between sound effects libraries if you want to ensure a high quality production. Not all sound FX libraries come in the same style or quality! Here are a few of the most critical things you should look for in sound FX libraries.

Firstly, the recording quality in sound FX libraries are probably one of the most critical deciphering factors. Traditional sound FX libraries will come with 16 bit / 44.1 kHz recorded sound effects. If you have a half decent audio card on your workstation you will want to go with the 16 bit version. If you are serious about your sound design, there are many sound FX libraries that today are being offered in 24 bit / 48 kHz with some being offered in a high definition 24 bit / 96 kHz format. Cutting edge sound effects libraries are being pushed to be delivered in 24 bit  / 96 kHz format, while at the same time providing other compatible versions of the sound effects on the same library (such as 16 bit) which allow you to choose whatever format you might need.

Another deciphering item is the actual saved file format the sound effects are saved in. When sound effects libraries are offered in MP3 format they diminish the quality of the original recording (few are). Most sound effects libraries are offered in a WAV format and are of much higher quality then MP3s (and therefore much larger files). This is still a large reason why sound effects libraries still take up multiple CDs or whole hard drives when you purchase them.

Next, if you want to seriously consider the full effect of sound effects libraries, one should consider surround sound. Surround sound FX libraries are created in true 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, the audio standard for surround sound productions.  Surround sound adds realism and depth to your production, placing the viewer or listener and making them feel like they are in the middle of your production. Surround sound FX can be especially effective when creating ambiences and background sound effects.

Finally, it’s important to consider the search tools for indexing your sound FX libraries. Often search tools are provided and come along with sound effects libraries. Common search tools people use that they might already have are Pro Tools, AVID, Sound miner, Net mix and others. While all of these are great tools, one of the easiest tools you already have is ITunes. You already likely use it to index a lot of your music, why not your sound effects? Whatever you use, just make sure you’ve thought this through ahead of time and make sure the indexing of your sound FX library is compatible with your search tool.

In summary, when picking sound FX libraries, make sure they are the quality you want, the appropriate file format, decide on whether you want surround sound effects, and finally make sure you can index them and find them when you need them!

The Sound Effects Shop is one of the largest Sound Effects Libraries which have a collection of professional sound effects and royalty free music for post production, broadcast and motion picture industries. Sound FX Libraries are the ultimate resource of podcasting and sound design for commercial use.