When you're a live streamer or creator whose bread and butter is video content, you quickly learn how the right sound effects can enhance your work. It's why your favorite psychological thriller has eerie, mysterious sounds playing when the next plot twist is moments away, or your favorite childhood cartoon may use wacky sounds to emphasize the humor behind your favs getting into mischief. Sounds intensify the immersive nature of video, so you shouldn't skip on them for your content.
One thing to note about using sounds in your content is that you have to ensure they don't infringe on copyrighted material, as your content may be pulled from the platform it's posted on or demonetized, among other things. If you're on the hunt for free sound effects, check out some of our favorite sources below.
Streamlabs Sound Library
Here at Streamlabs, we're always working to give creators all the tools and resources they need to create compelling, engaging content without spending a ton of money to make it happen. That's why we created a Sound Library featuring royalty free sounds that you can use for anything from intro/outros to intermissions. Best of all, there's no registration required, and all of the sounds in the library are 100% free. Just visit the sound library, download the files you need, and use them in your content wherever you see fit.
You may know Pixabay for their impressive library of stock imagery, but news flash—they also have a collection of free sound effects for you to peruse. Simply search for sound effects by inputting keywords into the search bar or filter by duration or category from the left navigation panel. Whether you're looking for sounds that are a few seconds or a few minutes long, Pixabay is a great place to find effects that align with your needs.
If there's one thing to note about 99 Sounds, it's that all the effects on the site are royalty-free, however, you can't download them individually or preview them on the site. Instead, you have to download them as themed packs (such as this Halloween-themed one) and sort through them once the files are saved. Additionally, there is no way to search by keyword on the website. To some, the aforementioned may be a pain point. However, if you're up for it, you may find some gems that are worth the hassle (if you even want to call it that).
While the site may be no-frills, the platform is genuinely focused on the user experience and includes some pretty cool features such as reviews, random sounds of the day, and forums to chat with other creators using the platform. Not to mention that thousands of new sounds are added daily. So, if you need options (and lots of them), this may be the site you want to bump to the top of your list. Remember that you must create an account to download any sound effects.
MixKit is another excellent option that doesn't require you to sign up to use. This site makes it super simple to search by simply typing in a keyword or exploring by category. One thing we'll call out is though most of the sound effects available on the site are free, some require an Envato Elements subscription to download. Generally, if the file appears on the site in blue, it's free, but if it's green, you need the subscription to download it.
If you need free sound effects in addition to sound packs and royalty-free music, look no further because Zapsplat has it all in one place. At the time of writing this blog post, Zapsplat has over 110,000 sound effects and 450 royalty-free music tracks available for commercial and non-commercial use. One standout feature of this platform is that you can make free requests for sound effects just in case you're not finding exactly what you're looking for.
P.S. Check out our article about DMCA-safe music and why it's crucial for your Twitch channel (or other platforms).
Sound effects are a great way to enhance your content but just make sure you're doing it in a way that doesn't put you at risk of your content being muted, taken down, or worse. Happy creating and don’t forget to share this blog post with a fellow creator who may find it helpful!