BBC SFX Library
April 17, 2018 12:23 PM   Subscribe

BBC Sound Effects is a collection of over sixteen thousand sound effects that the British Broadcating Corporation has collected and made through the years. The archive is fully searchable, and you can listen to it all on the site or download them as wav-files. The breadth of the material is too extensive to give any kind of overview, but as examples you can listen to a beggar singing on Portobello Road, a conversation in a restaurant in France, lions roaring while crickets chirp and the sounds made when dialing a phone in China in the 1960s. [all example links are to wav-files]
posted by Kattullus (20 comments total) 124 users marked this as a favorite
The BBC sound effects library is legendary. This version is impossible to navigate as a historical collection, but hopefully it gets improved to be more browseable.
posted by rhizome at 12:29 PM on April 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Cool! It's tempting to think about how I'd organize this.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:39 PM on April 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is loads of fun, thanks! (And for people who are fans of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop's work with electronic sound, searching for "specially created electronic sound" will provide lots of neat examples of their work.)
posted by orthicon halo at 12:54 PM on April 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

So who's going to be/do the Adam Curtis here?
posted by progosk at 1:03 PM on April 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Oh wow. Search for "Specially created electronic sound." New ringtones ahoy.
posted by adamrice at 1:14 PM on April 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

I can only imagine what wild boars having tea was created for, in 1972.
posted by me3dia at 1:17 PM on April 17, 2018 [5 favorites]

This is great: many thanks for the post, Katullus! I've been checking out such classics as Telex machine (Transtel) - receiving; Mainframe computer control room (DEC Datasystems rec. 1983) and Motorola car phone - 4 rings, pick up.
posted by misteraitch at 1:40 PM on April 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

Super cool! I'm a sound FX junkie, and this is a slice of heaven.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 1:44 PM on April 17, 2018

This is indeed splendid, and I particularly admire the surely unparalleled collection of 1985 Apricot portable micro computer operational sounds.

However, do I detect Rainbow In Curved Air burbling away behind Martian Computer? I think I do.
posted by Devonian at 2:47 PM on April 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Fantastic. I can use this immediately for a project I'm working on. Thank you for the post.
posted by uraniumwilly at 2:53 PM on April 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Is there anything with vikings making a ruckus in a restaurant?
posted by yhbc at 2:54 PM on April 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Once upon a time, the BBC Sound Effects library made it to my public library. All 60 CDs or so, way back in the 1990s. Went looking to see if it was still available like that today, and found a store with track lists for the then 2400 sounds in the collection, as well as the track list for the current 24900 track version.
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:05 PM on April 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

Site's not working for me on iPad (neither Safari nor Chrome), but I’ll hop onto my Mac later, especially keen to find the crickets chirping on the lead-in to Sun King on Abbey Road. I think the Beatles mined the Beeb's sound effects library a few other times, too. Hoping it’s searchable that way ... George Martin was a sound effects maestro when he produced comedy albums in the pre-Fab day’s.
posted by young_simba at 3:06 PM on April 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Working now on iPad, but very slowly. Very cool! Thanks.
posted by young_simba at 3:13 PM on April 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Conserve The Sound is a German online archive of obsolete and vanishing sounds, like old typewriters. They welcome audio contributions, too.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:53 PM on April 17, 2018 [7 favorites]

You know what's fun? Clicking on all the "Clap of Thunders" at once. Makes a hell of a racket.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:03 PM on April 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

This is a marvelous resource!

For starters I went with 'Trade winds', a Clipper sailing with wind and sea. It was everything I hoped it would be. Thanks, Kattullus!
posted by rmmcclay at 10:45 PM on April 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

My favourite thing about this archive is that it draws a distinction between "Orgy" and "Standard Orgy".
posted by metaBugs at 5:15 AM on April 18, 2018 [4 favorites]

this is amazing, and only gets better when you start playing them simultaneously
posted by criticalbill at 10:02 AM on April 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

So cool, but by god it could do with some categorisation or tagging (or both).
posted by Happy Dave at 11:40 AM on April 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

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