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Building a Sound Library

Sound Library Part 1

Sound Library Part 1

Every sound designer, editor, game developer, flash addict, and producer worth his salt needs a good sound library.

There are several trains of thought when it comes to creating one, the first being not to. It’s easy now days, to just get what you want online there are literally hundreds of searchable sites online where you can find what you wan when you want and how you want. Google and Yahoo alone offer neat little hacks, tricks, and options that allow you to search for sounds.

Storing Your Library

External Hard Drive for Library

External Hard Drive for Library

Assuming you want a library on hand because of limitations on bandwidth or lack of internet access due to geo location, we suggest you buy an external hard drive of some sort. Do not use a flash drive. Although you can get these things cheap they fail often, and without warning.

We suggest you go With a Western Digital External USB Hard Drive. Please note that we are not affiliated, nor are we making a profit from this suggestion. Read more at the official page on Western Digital: (read html) (read pdf)

The next step is to start selecting your sounds. You need to ask yourself a few questions.




  • Are you planning to use your library to create products you’ll sell commercially? If so you need “Royalty Free Sounds
  • Are you going to use this library for personal or educational use only? If so you can use just about any sound you can get your hands on. Assuming you are in the United States. Please read the Fair Use Agreement

Those are the 2 main questions you need to ask yourself and are the main “fork in the road” while creating a library. Business or Pleasure as they say. For fun or for finance.

No matter what you are using your sounds for there are several basic rules to follow.

  1. Always rename to a standard convention you can understand. Some people will tell you “Ooh.. no you have to do it this way”, but in the end you are the one using it so you need to rename them in such a way so that you know what they are.
  2. Keep the names short and sweet. Try not to use something like “City sounds from some guy from New York Very Good” maybe do something like “City Sounds 001” or “City Snds 001” or “City 001”
  3. Group like items into folders. That’s pretty self explanatory right?

That’s really all there is to it. Assuming you follow this guide you should have a nice sound library in no time. :)

What’s that you say? You need sounds for your library? Ooh. of course.

Here are a few of our favorite sounds sites

Favorite Sound Sites

Favorite Sound Sites

Another quick tip. If you are running windows its always nice to visually distinguish between MP3 and Wav Files You can do that by showing file extensions.

Be sure to bookmark this page and come back soon. Part 2 of Building a Sound Library will be up soon! Part 2 will look at advance search technics for using Google and Yahoo to comb the web for sounds, and anything else we can think of in the mean time.

Thanks- Mike Koenig

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