Sound libraries aren’t talked about in great lengths as much as other things in music production. However, you might be surprised just how much this plays a role in your tracks.
In this article, we will talk about how a comprehensive sound library can take your creative flow to new heights.
Sound Libraries, Explained
A sound library is a collection of sounds and audio you can add to your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).
Remember the different sound effects you hear in a song? Think of transitions, ambient sounds, and any other sound that isn’t a guitar, bass, or keyboard, or maybe the background music that plays in many YouTube videos that aren’t copyrighted songs.
Most of those come from sound libraries. They are great tools for adding diverse sounds to your tracks as well as providing great sound design.
Many DAWs come with a sound library with their own stock sounds. However, just like with plugins, you can also use third-party sound libraries and add them to your DAW.
There are websites dedicated to providing you with different sound effects for different genres. There are also sound libraries you can download, both for free and with a price.
You can also create one yourself tailor-made to your music.
So now that you have a basic description of what it is, here are some reasons why it is beneficial.
Benefits of Having a Sound Library
Having a sound library can help make your tracks have some excitement.
While you can achieve quality with simple structures (vocals, guitar, etc), having more sounds at your disposal will make things much more creative.
If you make pop and hip-hop music, adding sound effects to your tracks can add some flavor to your songs.
They don’t have to be loud, but their presence makes for an exciting track.
Sound libraries tailored to music production come with different sounding instrument sounds of different instruments.
You might want the sound of your keys or synths to sound a certain way. However, the sound you’re looking for might not be found in the stock plugins of your DAW.
Another option apart from third-party plugins is to use a sound library.
If you want to add a whole string section to your track, you can. That’s right, you don’t need to book a super expensive recording section with an orchestra, you can have the experience in your own bedroom.
As for quality, you don’t need to worry about that. The majority of the samples are recordings of actual instruments. So you can expect an actual orchestra sound with those samples.
Sound effects make for great transitions. Make the flow of a verse to chorus more exciting and smooth with a transition sound effect.
A common example of a transition is the reverse cymbal. Usually paired with a cymbal sound at the end of a section, this doesn’t just add character to the section, but also creates an atmospheric build-up to the next section.
That’s what makes transitions great. For genres like pop and EDM, building up to the next section is crucial to keep the listener engaged in the music.
Apart from creativity, efficiency is another thing producers value.
The less tedious a production is the better the flow of the artist’s process. So how does having a sound library enable that?
It could take hours to look for the perfect sound to add to a track. And sometimes, you might end up not liking it, so you spend some more hours looking online. This can occur but can be avoided.
Having a sound library with you is very efficient and saves much time in your recording process.
No need to scour the internet when a library is right there. Need a transition or an ambient sound to fill in the gap? A sound library has got you covered.
You might run into the same issue with an extensive library as is the case when you keep adding to a collection. But having one right there can be beneficial in cutting down time.
The other thing you can do with a sound library is categorization.
Categorizing in a way that will help you segregate and remember which sound to use is a time-efficient technique.
Examples of Sound Libraries
There are many sound libraries to choose from. Here are some of the most popular sound libraries you can get.
Spitfire Audio is the leading sound library for many producers. They have a plethora of sounds and samples you can add to your music production arsenal.
Remember that bit about having a string section in your tracks? Well, you can get the BBC Symphony Orchestra to be a part of your track since they have a sample pack.
You can start out with their free sample pack called LABS. Even as a free pack, it’s extensive in its choices, so you won’t feel like you’re going to run out of sounds.
IK Multimedia Sample Tank
IK Multimedia is a staple when it comes to plugins. You might have heard of them from Amplitube. But guitars aren’t their only specialty. They too offer other plugins, like sound libraries.
SampleTank is their venture in sound libraries and it too is extensive in variety.
SampleTank comes with a midi piano roll. This lets you assign sounds and perform them with a midi controller.
Like Amplitube, it has a free version also called Custom Shop.
Native Instruments also has its share of sound libraries.
The Kontakt series comes with a sound library that you can add to your workflow. Kontakt offers third-party inclusion and sound design tweaking.
This definitely suits more for advanced or experienced music producers as supposed to beginners.
The Power of Sound Libraries
Sound libraries empower artists, musicians, filmmakers, and game developers to enrich their projects with immersive soundscapes. The accessibility of diverse sound effects and music allows for greater experimentation and innovation, making the birth of unique creations possible.
As technology advances and sound libraries become more accessible, the possibilities for creative expression expand, inspiring creators to push the boundaries of their imagination and bring their visions to life with unprecedented depth and richness.