Sound archive

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A noise archive (also: sound archive , English: sound library ) is a collection of stored noises and sounds, which can be audio books, computer games and sound installations, also used for the further processing into films, also in music. For example, all ARD broadcasters have had their own sound archives since the 1950s, which are part of the sound archive .

In an electronic musical instrument or music program , noises and sounds can belong to the integrated components, the so-called “ presets ”. In these cases one also speaks of a sound library .


The English terms sound library ( sound = noise, sound; library = library) or sample library (see: sample ) are also common in German-speaking countries. In addition, there are also English-German combinations: sound archive , sound library , sample library .


In electronic music, a distinction is made between sound effects and sounds.

Sound effects

Source of sound effects

  • electronic (or digital) generation ( sound design ),
  • Noisemaker ,
  • Recordings from real environments (e.g. nature, airport, etc.).

The noises are used to set music and background music for films and video recordings or as effects in music production (especially electronic music ). The characteristic of the noises is usually that they have no recognizable fundamental tone and also no harmonic overtones . They are therefore not sounds in the musical sense .

Occasionally, noises are grouped into so-called banks . A bank is a collection of sounds or noises that can in principle be called up at the same time via a corresponding MIDI keyboard . However, since the noises do not have a clear keynote and usually do not go together musically, they cannot be played like a musical instrument. The grouping to a bank only has the purpose of quickly calling up the different noises (e.g. when dubbing). With a standard 6- octave keyboard (73 keys), 73 noises are available at the touch of a button.


Source for sounds are

As a rule, several sounds are recorded for one instrument ("multi-sample"). The higher the quality (and thus the price) of a sound library, the more samples are recorded per instrument. The spectrum ranges from one sample per instrument (rarely) to one sample per octave to one sample per semitone and several samples per semitone at different volumes. The more complex an instrument is in terms of sound, the more samples should be recorded. Otherwise sound z. B. played string instruments outside the recorded tone range unnatural. In addition, different articulations are taken into account. Especially when recording drums , an instrument (e.g. snare drum ) is recorded in many variations (impact strength, damping, etc.). Most of the time, all sounds are tuned based on the concert pitch , which makes it easier to integrate them into your own music productions. The individual samples are also grouped into banks here so that the musician does not have to worry about the assignment of the individual samples to the keyboard.


Like every archive , the sound archive should have a directory with metadata from which it contains the length, the recording date and the appropriate keywords. There are sound archives on the Internet with corresponding built-in search functions, as well as collections on CDs, records or even tapes, if they are historical recordings.

Typical categories for recordings in archives are:

  • Human body noises, especially footsteps on different materials
  • Animal voices and noises
  • Background noises / atmospheres
  • Wind and weather noises
  • Vehicle driving noises
  • Sounds of machines of all kinds
  • Sound effects
  • Historical recordings, for example speeches by politicians

Those who regularly work with sound will usually create and manage a sound archive themselves in order to be able to access their own sounds that are not intended for publication.

Sound archives on the Internet

In addition to commercial archives such as Soundarchiv , YourSounds , Sound Ideas , Soundsnap and the Vienna Symphonic Library, there are also some archives with free access on the Internet , such as the Hoerspielbox , AUDIYOU , Conserve the sound (everyday objects) and the Freesound Project .

See also

Museum of Endangered Tones

Individual evidence

  1. Yoursounds, searching for and finding tones at Yoursounds. Retrieved May 20, 2017 .
  2. audio box. Retrieved May 20, 2017 .
  3. AUDIYOU: Home. Retrieved May 20, 2017 .
  4. ^ CTS - conserve the sound. Retrieved May 20, 2017 .
  5. - Retrieved May 20, 2017 .