Today, inspiration comes from @JessicaGraceW who asked for some free places to find audio samples.
The internet is our most valuable resource when finding samples, audio clips and loops etc. There are a vast number of aspiring producers, engineers and amateur music-makers who create their own audio libraries. Depending on exactly what it is that you’re after, there are a few different places where you can look to get these for free or at the most in exchange for an email address. You may sacrifice some audio quality from mp3 format at some of these websites, but difficult to complain when they’re free!
Unfortunately while there are loads of free resources out there, a quick google search will bring up heaps of websites promising Gigabytes of downloads ‘for free’ if you pay to subscribe. Explain to me how that’s free. Anyway, to get you started here are a few of the different websites that tend to be my first port of call when I’m in need of some effects, or drum/synth sounds etc.
Sound design / environmental effects
For getting hold of some background noise, or a specific effect like a car door slam or cows mooing have a look here.
FreeSFX is one of the few websites that I would suggest signing up to. The catalogue here isn’t huge but is quite diverse and the site is dead simple to use, nicely split into categories etc, which means you can see if they have what you’re looking for in a few seconds. Failing that, I would then try PacDV.com which while not as instantaneously usable as FreeSFX, the library does have a lot of really useful stuff in it especially the Ambience category which is perfect for finding background noise to fit video shots of inside a plane, or cafe for example. Also, try FreeSound, more info below
Drum sounds / samples
Now there really does seem to be an endless supply of free samples and drum loops on the web, which aren’t hard to find for free so I won’t take up too much webspace listing them. Instead here are a couple that I use myself when I’m looking for something that I can’t create myself, or can hybridise with something I do have to get what I want.
FreeSound is an excellent resource for creative commons licensed material and well worth signing up for. There are plenty of people putting stuff up on this site, which means that the library of sounds is huge. Unfortunately this can make it a bit hit-or-miss when trying to find something specific like an orchestral bass drum, but with some searching and cobbling together of various bits and pieces (for example the specific bass drum sound I made was a few kick sounds, two reverbs and some creative eq/compression) I can usually get something interesting and usable. PLUS a lot of the samples are .wavs rather than mp3 which is good.
For complete drum sounds, I usually can usually get fairly close with the existing drum banks and synths I already use, but when I feel I need something new I visitrhythm-lab.com where there are plenty of different drum packs/loops and sampled synths etc to inspire and get the creative juices going again.
[image via altemark]