BBC unveils new and improved sound effects archive

The updated BBC Archive boasts over 33,000 clips of sounds from the past century, all free for public use.

BBC unveils new and improved sound effects archive

Since the founding of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in 1958, a small division of avid sound recordists has been on a ceaseless mission to document the weird and wonderful sounds from around the globe. 

From dramas to documentaries, this ever-growing archive of audio is a cornerstone of sound production at the BBC, and with the newest iteration of the BBC Sound Effects website, we the public are invited to listen and sample the collection. 

Along with the addition of an abundance of new sounds, the website has undergone a complete overhaul. It is now easier than ever to browse the content on offer thanks to the new categorisation system, conveniently sorting both traditional sound effects and the archival sounds from the National History sound collection. 

The website also boasts a sound mixer, which can be used to mix and match sounds to create all manner of soundscapes without having to leave the site. The simple interface allows the cutting and editing of clip duration, as well as control over the volume and looping of each track.

Having a variety of sound effects and field recordings at your fingertips is an invaluable asset for any sound designer or music producer. These sounds are free for use in non-commercial works (i.e. for personal, educational, or research purposes), however, if you want to include the audio in commercial works, sounds can be licensed on a track-by-track basis through the Pro Sound Effects store.

To learn more about the history of the archive, or browse for yourself visit BBC Sound Effects

Header Image Credit: Dids


Cameron Naylor

Cameron Naylor Contributor

I am an artist and composer specialising in sound design, and audio-visual installations. My pieces have been installed in galleries and venues around the UK, and online!

I like all things music, and art. and I am interested in writing about current exhibitions, live events, and the current climate of art.

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