Free Sound Effects: Where to Find Them Online


The Web offers an astonishingly rich palette of all sorts of audio effects for anyone who might need to use them. Whether you're searching for software that can help you put all your multimedia together into one cohesive project or just the right audio file for that DVD you've been working on, you'll most likely be able to find it with the help of the following websites.

  • SoundDogs: Free sound effects, production loops, vocals, surround sound effects, and more.
  • Absolute Sound Effects Archive: Over 1900 free sound effects available here, anything from aircraft to water sound effects.
  • FindSounds: There are only a handful of dedicated sound search engines out there, and FindSounds is definitely the cream of the crop.
  • Free Human Sound Effects: Tons of great free human sound effects here; most are completely royalty-free but do be sure to check the fine print.
  • A1SoundDownload: A wonderful treasury of free sound effects; includes a ton of free Halloween sound effects.
  • Audacity: Need something to manipulate all these sound effects on your computer? Try Audacity, a free cross-platform sound editor.

There are plenty of sources online for free libraries, databases, and catalogs for music and sound effects of all kinds, from Top 40 pop to classical to music made especially to use in production-type settings. The following sites are great for discovering new styles, new genres, and new artists; all are completely free or ask for something very minor in return, like a link or some kind of credit to the original artist. Note: always check the fine print on every website before downloading any music to make sure that there are no restrictions, and that the sounds you'd like to use are free to use in the public domain (in other words, they are not copyrighted). 

  1. FreeStockMusic: Features everything from Acoustic to Urban, with everything you can possibly think of in between. Need production music for a video you're making? This is a great place to turn something up. A royalty-free music license here means that you can use the music in anything you want, without any fees, forever. Categories range from Cinematic Classical to Rock N Roll and everything in between. The site is easy to use, easy to search, and can be used as a go-to resource for video projects that need the help of a little background music.
  2. Jamendo: Amazing site full of high-quality music from all over the world. Over 400,000 tracks are available here for streaming, downloading, and sharing with friends. This is a great source for discovering the "next big thing" - and if you are an artist looking for an online venue on which to share your music with a large audience, this is a good place to check out. Definitely a good choice if you're looking for music that is off the beaten path.
  1. Audionautix: Pick a genre, pick a mood, pick a tempo, and hit "Find Music" - you're off and running at this site that features an incredible variety of music available for both personal and professional usage. All that is required if you use it somewhere online in a project is a simple link back to where you found it; not bad for the quality and selection of the music you can find here. 
  2. Newgrounds Audio: Known mostly for games, Newgrounds Audio gives artists from all over the world a chance to showcase and share their music, as well as a great resource for users to download and listen to great music - mostly techno and game-related - themselves. Plus, who doesn't love a little game time with their music, right? 
  3. Classical Music Online: From Chopin to Scarlatti to Bach to Mozart, you'll be able to find great works from classical composers here. Search by composer, genre, or concert; there's an alphabetical list of both composers and artists that can help you track down what you're looking for quickly. Click to play music in your browser; you'll see a pop-up window that gives you the option to download the piece of music you're listening to direct to your computer. Many songs also offer a video link of the actual song being performed, which is a nice touch. Search through Collections to see "hubs" of music by orchestra or artist all in one place. 

    You can also sometimes get lucky with free sound effects by searching public domain resources on the Web;check out this article titled Public Domain Music: Seven Free Online Resources to get started.