Distributing and sharing small audio files has become a simple task nowadays with the help of the Internet. In the ‘90s, people had to go through vinyl record after vinyl record to find the perfect track to match what their visual presentation needed. The artists of today definitely have it easier and simpler.
This is not something good for music producers who are not ready to share samples for free. When you go online and ask Google, you will end up with numerous entries with each one leading to an amazing number of free samples. It is almost like a paradise of options to run around in gleefully.
However, it can be quite hard to deal with such a vast number of sites to go through. For one, some of them might end up being bogus or not for free. You spend many hours going through each sample to pick the best one for your needs, then you get the surprise of a lifetime when the website asks for payment. With the growing database of the Internet, distributing and sharing audio files has become a more fun activity. Numerous services online offer access to royalty-free samples and tools that can lead you to the music files you need.
In order to free you from that trouble, we have decided to take the responsibility of going through the different sites and we came up with the 10 best free music resources for sound and audio samples.
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Launched by Landr, Samples is a service that provides selected and organized free sound samples for its members. The sounds are of different genres such as funk, pop, and retro, to name a few. They are made and curated by artists such as Marc Houle, Pan-Pot, and the Dirty Projectors, among others. Landr aims to create its own portal for samples submitted by members to be distributed on Samples as well as provide additional services to support artists in creating their samples.
The site currently has a limited library compared to the competition, but all of its samples are completely for free. All you need to access them is by registering to the site using your email or Facebook account. Landr also plans to update the collection on a regular basis with royalty-free samples. It has a pretty simple yet interesting interface where you initially get to a listing of sounds, which you can browse using filter options such as artist, genre, or vibe. When you click on a specific pack, you are brought to a page where all of what you can find within the pack is described further. Inside the pack are the different sounds that can be further filtered by BPM, instrument, or key.
Despite having a limited database, the best thing about Samples is how its sound samples are of high quality. The promise of additional tools for producers makes Landr’s Samples a really supportive outlet for its customer base who is already using its services for both mastering and distribution purposes. These make the service more loved by its continuously-growing fan base.
MusicRadar provides a weekly sound samples list called SampleRadar. It comes with a continuously growing collection of professional quality samples of hits, loops, and multi-samples in a whole selection of genres to pick from. Each and every one of the samples is completely royalty-free. This is guaranteed by SampleRadar as the sounds in its database are uniquely created for their service only through Future Music and Computer Music. Both magazines are sister companies of SampleRadar.
The samples are in an alphabetical list on the site. They are placed in categories according to their themes. Organizing the sound samples this way makes it really easy for anyone to use the site. Regular updates are also taking place, and the latest addition to the samples are placed at the top of the main page. You get fresh content every time you enter the site.
The samples come in 24-bit files that can be easily and quickly imported into any digital audio workstation that you prefer to work with. Since they do not have any royalty rights, you can reuse them as much as you like. However, you should not re-distribute them in any way.
Aiming to supercharge its user’s creativity, SampleFocus comes with a database of audio samples that can be searched through easily. It comes with categories, collections, and tags for hassle-free browsing and an organized search. It has been categorized from the very start as it aims to be a well-curated collection. This makes it really quick to find the exact sound that you need, so you do not have to waste your time in the search when you can use it to create some more. Whether it is a specific timbre, instrument, or mood that you have in mind, you will find it in a jiffy. SampleFocus hopes to help you come up with the greatest audio outputs in your lifetime.
It is currently in its Beta stage, so it is still available for free. We are not yet sure if it will remain free or a fee will be required later on. Currently, the site uses credits, which are used to purchase samples from the site. Every week, users are automatically given five download credits, and anytime a user uploads something on the website, they earn four credits if the upload is approved. In addition to that, you can earn 30 credits for referring someone to the site, and your referral also gets the same amount of credits.
The site is not available for download using mobile phones. The mobile operating systems are presently unable to download files well, so all sample downloads are limited to desktop operating systems such as Windows or MacOS. You can build upon the samples, remix them or even transform them as much as you like for any purpose that you wish. You can even use them commercially, and there is no need for attribution as they are completely royalty-free. This makes the site a favorite of many artists. They can pick out the sounds that they want and just go about getting creative with them, and there is no need to worry about property rights.
BBC Sound Effects allows access to a huge range of sounds, such as historical recordings made during the Blitz in London or any of the 15,000 Natural History Unit archive recordings. You can use sounds originating from specific parts of the world such as the Oxford colleges’ bells ringing or the waterfalls of Patagonia.
With a long-standing authority in the field of audio practices, BBC has created a creative resource for the world to benefit from. Its database includes 33,000 sound clips from across the globe for the last 100 years. It is such an extensive source of sound samples that anyone will surely appreciate.
These include the most boring and monotonous sound effects such as two women approaching and then coming to a complete stop to the rather arcane and obscure ones such as the sound of an Anglo Nubian goat.
The downturn is how the samples are not really categorized. You will have to go through them one by one to find the best sound that you need. It might be a bit of a hassle for most artists who do not have the time for the said process.
The sound samples are all distributed legally under the Reminiscence Archive license. This makes the sample unavailable for commercial use. However, you are free to utilize them for any unreleased project for educational or research uses only.
SampleSwap has been around for more than a decade now and boasts of top-quality sounds that are free for everyone. It was initially started as a public folder available on a hotline server in a computer in the basement of the home of Canton Becker, who owned the said file folder. He uploaded the collection to the Internet in 2003, and he has been manually curating all the sounds that are added to the database. The sounds are presented and arranged in categories for users to search through more easily. Users are able to submit their own creations to the site, which are evaluated, organized, and added to the master file by Canton. The sounds submitted by users are assessed by Canton, and he decides whether the sound gets added to the masterfile.
Whether it is a drum hit or a full kit, acapella vocals, or breaks and loops, you can find them on SampleSwap. Every type of ambiance, noises, or sounds from multi-sampled instruments are available with SampleSwap.
The site runs on donations. Since a lot of the samples are from the users themselves, the site cannot assure the property rights of every sample available. However, the majority of the samples have royalty-free rights.
Founded sometime around 2010, Bedroom Producers Blog serves as an aggregator instead of as an actual distributor. It is, however, one of the really reliable and trusted sites for Kontakt instruments and sample collections online. It currently has an archive, which houses all the free samples that have been added to the service. It also gives you access to the different categories of audio samples to pick and download from for free.
There are old entries on the site that are non-existent already as well as some offers that have expired. However, the database is quite extensive, so you will never be short of options to pick from.
With LooperMan, you get access to a massive amount of hits and loops for your tunes, beats, and samples that work with the majority of the music software out there. A separate category for acapella has 8,000 vocal samples. You can search through the samples with the help of filter options for category, date, genre, key, and tempo. There are also tags to every entry in the collection, which is quite helpful when dealing with thousands of samples from the ’90s, for example.
Looking at LooperMan’s database, you can see its focus on the quantity rather than quality. This is something that works for the benefit of many users though. They end up with more sound samples to choose from.
LooperMan aims to be a place for musicians, film and video producers, DJs, and multimedia designers as well as other artists to share stuff with each other, learn from each other and develop together. It encourages not to be considered as a track hosting site nor as a host for your personal collections. It even has its discussion form that is exclusive for members only. Standard users are on read-only mode to avoid spamming, but everyone has the option to request for additional access if they wish to participate more. Anyone who has downloaded free loops from the site has the ability to upload their own tracks for other members to review and give feedback about. This promotes collaboration among users of the site in addition to simply sample downloads.
Being more of a cave of treasures for sound effects and real-world audio files, Freesound is a database of collaborative output aiming to provide a new method of accessing samples. To search through Freesound, you have to use the tags that have been assigned to every sound. Each sound also has a waveform displayed beside it in the search result, so you have a good idea of the characteristic of the sound before you actually listen to it.
The goal of Freesound.org is to have a massive selection of audio snippets, samples, recordings, and bleeps under the Creative Commons license. This allows for the samples to be re-used legally. It also aims to have a database that is free for everyone to be used for research reasons as well as for any third-party integrations. Developers and researchers alike can use Freesound’s content and take relevant information for analysis or to serve as metadata.
There is no uniformity in the sound’s format and quality. Some WAVs are not the best quality throughout. More so, because the website is an upload platform, there is no guarantee on the copyright status of each sound on the site. This can prove to be a limitation for Freesound.org.
The site was started in 2005 in the Universitat Pompeu Fabra’s Music Technology Group in Barcelona, Spain, and is currently maintained by the Freesound team, which is made up of the research group’s current and former students and researchers.
On SoundPacks, you will see an aggregate of free samples that have been given for free online. It provides you with selected and organized audio entries including drums and vocals that have been released recently. There are a good number of the packs that are actually still labeled as taster samples, but there is an ample supply of audio files for you to use. Even after taking out the taster ones, you still have a good number of samples to go through.
Presets are also benefiting from SoundPacks as Absynth users as well as Massive and Serum users, among others, have acquired the latest addition to their favorite sounds. The site is constantly updated with the latest content, which makes it a really good resource for fresh sounds. There might be some issues when downloading the samples on the site, but we cannot really complain a lot because it is after all free for download.
When it comes to sounds from space, there is no better place to go than NASA Audio Collection. You will find a sounds playlist when you click on any of the entries on the site’s main page through archive.org. You will find sounds from the time when Apollo 11 landed on the moon, bloopers, and bleeps during Voyager 1’s trip and even from the numerous press conferences that NASA has organized for every project.
It is pretty easy to download the sound samples, and the same thing can be said about working with the copyright part. This is because NASA has the obligation to get its materials classified as public domain and free from any copyrights. It is almost like NASA’s sound samples are public property.
The only issue with NASA’s sounds is the large file size and low resolution. You might end up feeling like you are not getting the value for your download effort and time. Older sounds, however, are generally and originally grainy due to time and natural degradation, so it is not really something that bothers a lot of users.
Finding the right sound samples for your project
Sounds, be it music, noise, or anything in between, are very powerful tools for stirring emotions in your audience. Whether you wish to attract sympathy, create excitement, or express joy, there is something no better tool to do so than using sounds. They can sometimes serve as the unspoken words in conveying your message or story.
Because of this, it is crucial that you know the sounds that you wish to add to your story. It cannot be just any sound that you come across. It has to be perfect for supporting the message that you wish to share. It has to be clear and of good quality to add value to your audience’s experience. Otherwise, it might end up ruining your whole audiovisual presentation instead. More so, your sound should be relevant to the rest of your story. It should also be consistent yet interesting and not boring.
With the 10 best free music resources for sound and audio samples we have shared above, you should not have a hard time in finding the very sound that you need.
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