The 10 Best Places to Find Great Sound Effect Libraries

Latest Blog
March 26, 2024
JJ Lyon
Krotos Studio

There is a huge quantity of sounds available on the internet, but quality is harder to find. Here are ten highly recommended sites for getting royalty-free SFX. 

If you’re involved in sound design in any way, you’ve probably found yourself sifting through endless sources online at some point, hunting for the perfect audio file to fit your project. Once you start looking, it can feel like you’re awash in a sea of sonic debris at times, with a seemingly infinite number of SFX libraries trying to catch you in their nets and reel you into a subscription.

It’s a distinctly modern paradox; with so much choice available, how are you supposed to choose? Well, today, we’re here to provide you with some no-nonsense online sources that you can always rely on when in times of need. Hopefully, by bookmarking these specialist audio sources, you’ll save a bit of time in the future and have a filterable catalogue to narrow down your searches.

THE SITES: A soundeffect, Penguin Grenade, SoundMorph, Mattia Cellotto, SoundBits, Boom Library, Krotos, A Sound Effect, FreeSound, Artlist

1. Krotos

Without being too braggadocious, there really is no better place to start than with our very own library of easily-accessible, royalty-free sounds, plugins and effects. On a tabletop already bristling with goodies, you’ll also find our all-in-one sound design powerhouse Krotos Studio, featuring 200+ modifiable presets to allow for completely original SFX in your media productions.

One feature we think you’ll appreciate is that our sample packs are available as a one-time purchase, compared to other providers who offer a price-per-sample or subscription-based credit system. With our pack deals you’ll make savings overall and can dip in and out of our sound pool when the need arises, rather than having to pay-per-sound or being tied into a plan that will gradually erode your bank balance over time.

Our libraries are carefully curated to provide specifically-themed cinematic audio elements you might find useful in niche genres and styles. For example, our Ammo and Reloads Sound Effect Library does exactly what it says on the tin and comes locked and loaded with high-calibre 24bit, 192/96kHz bullet and reloading SFX WAV audio files. With our commitment to quality, diversity and usability, you’re sure to find a Krotos sound library to fit your needs.

2. A Sound Effect

With one of the largest ranges on this list, A Sound Effect makes for a nice home to all in the audio sphere as they feature large complete FX packs, bundles and music libraries, as well as a whole host of VST plugins that might spark your interest. If you’re passionate about supporting indie developers and want to purchase from a trusted source, this is your chance.

The A Sound Effect website makes for a nice royalty-free audio internet hub, as a lot of sound designers have their creations featured here through affiliation. As an example, remember Mattias Cellotto from earlier in the list? Well, all of his sound packs are also featured here. 

Who knows, maybe one day you’ll get your own sound design assets featured on A Sound Effect and leave a lasting mark on the SFX ecosystem.

3. Boom Library

Next up, we have Boom Library, who’ve had their stellar samples featured in some legendary productions from Blizzard, Ubisoft, Nintendo, and many more. If you’re like most people and you like to retain as much of your hard-earned cash as possible, you’ll find plenty of bang for your buck with their fine-tuned sample packs.

Boom features a number of ambient packs, including their Quiet Planet range, and these entries come in standard stereo, or surround sound, making them great choices for advanced sound designers. However, one of Boom’s limitations is that they strictly specialise in sound packs. So, if you’re looking for plugins to sculpt your own sounds, you’ll need to go elsewhere.

Boom have a number of free packs available if you want to extend a tentative toe into the sonic waters. For example, their Processed Impacts pack is ready to be added to your collection now, containing 348 high-grade impact samples.

4. Penguin Grenade

Penguin Grenade, run by indie sound designer and artist Paul Stoughton, specialises in experimental sound design using a combination of field recording, sound synthesis, and digital processing. 

Their packs are cutting-edge when it comes to sci-fi, with most of the sounds having a Halo/Dead Space vibe to them – which isn’t surprising as titles from both gaming series have featured sounds from the Penguin Grenade arsenal. Paul has also released an Essential Magic and Dark Magic pack which carry more Skyrim or World of WarCraft magicka characteristics.

The packs are niche, but they excel at their intended purpose. If you’re looking for sci-fi/magic sound assets for video game production, Penguin Grenade will provide ripe fruit ready for the picking.

5. SoundMorph

Now, let’s move on to the second entry in this list that stocks plugins on their virtual sound design shelving. SoundMorph primarily focuses on providing top-notch audio for video game design across a range of genres (primarily horror and sci-fi), however, they also have some musical packs available, with a dedicated page of advanced drum libraries made by professional musicians.

SoundMorph have released six VST plugins; five of which are synths, and the final one is a processing unit. They have even gone so far as to list their retro-style Dr01d synth for free, describing it as “our homage to retro sci-fi robots”. 

Whichever niche of sound design you find yourself in, there’s a good chance that you’ll probably hear something calling out to you in SoundMorph’s extensive catalogue of SFX samples.

6. Mattia Cellotto

Another indie designer with some undeniably impressive accolades, Mattia Cellotto’s audio works have had the privilege of being featured on AAA titles such as Battlefield V, Star Wars Battlefront II, and Jedi: Fallen Order, amongst others.

Mattia’s sound libraries are all recorded using foley techniques, then edited and exported at high-quality, stereo output, ready to be utilised in your next audio adventure. If you’re looking for tip-top fidelity captured by a truly veteran audiophile, Mattias Cellotto’s sound design store could be the right place for you.

The Metamorphosis library is just one example of many that demonstrates the level of professionalism that goes into orchestrating such a pack. Take a look at the accompanying trailer below to get an insight into some of the intricacies involved in the process. Additionally, some of Mattia’s packs are now available free of charge when you purchase any of the more recent additions.

7. SoundBits

The SoundBits catalogue includes a plentiful supply of sample libraries that reach far and wide across the web. Some of their samples are listed individually on third-party associate sites, such as Pro Sound Effects, Pond5, AudioJungle, and DepositPhotos and they also have releases distributed exclusively across their partnered stores, including on our very own Krotos webpage.

The packs available on their dedicated website are diverse and plentiful, with a heap of ambient packs; whooshes and impacts; foley and field recording packs; and genre-specific asset packs. You’re never short of options with SoundBits, so it makes for a great hunting ground for the eager sound designer.

All of the packs here are reasonably priced and welcoming to new audio workers looking to build a foundational library of their own. Feel free to take a look, safe in the knowledge that you’re surrounded by quality sounds.

8. Silverplatter Audio

Last but not least, we have Silverplatter Audio. With a tidy website and concise catalogue of well-presented sound packs, they’re clearly attempting to make it as easy as possible for you when it comes to locating and downloading premium sound effects. You could almost say they’re serving it up to you on a…nevermind. 

All the packs here have affordable price points, especially when compared to some other entries on this list, so this could be a great place to start building up your library. They even have a SWAG store, featuring a small range of branded clothing–a pretty unique feature that shows their personality.

Overall, Silverplatter Audio is a good example of “less is more”, as their range might not be as galactic in scale as some of the other sources mentioned, but they sure pack a punch. Check out their sounds and try one on for size – if it doesn’t fit then you can always pick up one of their organic ribbed beanies instead!

9. Artlist

The only entry on this list that focuses more on video assets compared to audio, Artlist has an abundance of royalty-free stock footage, image templates, and video editing plugins available. They’ve even released some of their very own complete video editing programs, demonstrating an impressive commitment to providing their customers with everything they need.

However, this is a list about sound libraries, so let’s take a look at their sound selection. Artlist features a Music and Sound Effects page on their website and the samples can be accessed through one of their various subscription tiers. They have a wide range of assets at high quality, and you can choose a subscription tier that best suits your needs. For example, if you plan to only use their audio services, you can choose one of the Music and SFX-only tiers.

The choice is yours and it really depends on what your preference is when it comes to acquiring sound files. If you prefer to go for a one-by-one approach and download singular files, a provider like Artlist could be for you, however, if you’re searching for entire packs, you might want to stick to one of the other entries.

10. Freesound

Another collaborative collection of sounds from across the globe, Freesound also functions as a hub where sound designers can share their work. A neat, unique feature on the Freesound website is their random sound of the day, whereby they post a random sound from their pool of 625,000+ samples.

One of the limitations of Freesound as an SFX depot is that just about anyone and everyone can upload their audio files on the site, resulting in some samples being low resolution and sub-optimal for high-grade design. Such is life when you commit to being a community-minded outlet though, and the collective spirit on the site is encouraging. They have a dedicated forum page with conversations occurring all day, every day, which makes for a useful information archive.

And there you have it; a collection of ten of the best, specialised, niche sound asset sources available online. It’s worth noting that the Krotos Sound Effects Library store features packs from most of the mentioned providers in this list, and we love to share, so any purchases of the partnered designer’s samples will result in an affiliate compensation. 

If you want to show your support to any of the highly talented sound designers mentioned and keep the world of sonic artistry spinning then we highly recommend browsing the Krotos universe. That sound you’ve been looking for is just around the corner.