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The University of Southampton

Sound Effects

A list of sound effects to play for fun or learning

Jet noise
Jet noise

Sounds database

The list below links to some examples of interesting sounds and audio effects on acoustic illusions, musical instruments, animal sounds, doppler and other sound effects.

Please note that some are free to use while some other are commercial.
Links provided for information only. ISVR are not able to endorse content and the University cannot take responsibility for the content of external sites.

Acoustic Illusions
Title Description
The Shepard Effect A scale that gives the listener the impression of an endlessly rising melody - but in fact the pitch of the tones does not rise
Build your own “Sound Sucker” An experiment to try at home.
Diana Deutsch’s Octave Illusion Two tones that are spaced an octave apart are alternated repeatedly at a rate of four per second. The identical sequence is played over headphones to both ears simultaneously, except that when the right ear receives the high tone the left ear receives the low tone, and vice versa.
Diana Deutsch’s Scale Illusion The scale is played simultaneously in both ascending and descending form; however when a tone from the ascending scale is in the right ear a tone from the descending scale is in the left ear, and vice versa
Diana Deutsch’s Chromatic Illusion When the pattern is played in stereo, many people hear a higher line that moves down an octave and up again, together with a lower line that moves up an octave and down again, with the two meeting in the middle.
Diana Deutsch’s Glissando Illusion The pattern produces a number of different illusions. The oboe tone is heard correctly as jumping back and forth from ear to ear, whereas the segments of the glissando appear to be joined together quite seamlessly.
Diana Deutsch’s Tritone Illusion When one tone of a pair is played, followed by the second, some people hear an ascending pattern. But other people, on listening to the identical pair of tones, hear a descending  pattern instead.
Diana Deutsch’s Mysterious Melody This musical brain teaser shows how our of a piece of music can strongly influence how we hear it. Example 1 (on Track 20) consists of a well-known tune. All the names (C, D, E and so on) are correct, but the tones are distributed haphazardly among three different octaves.
Illusory Continuity of Tones The illusory continuity of tones is the auditory illusion caused when a tone is interrupted for a short time (approximately 50ms or less), during which a narrow band of noise is played. 
Holophonics (3D Sound) Video demonstrating the effects of 3D Sound. VERY EFFECTIVE!


Musical Instruments
Title Description  
Find sounds Online database of sound clips for all categories.  
Partners in Rhyme Online database of sound clips for all categories (Low quality for many)  
Various Sound Effects Online database with ability to download files in .wav format  
Traditional Band Instruments Online database of sound clips of instruments found in a traditional band.  


Title Description  
Find sounds Online database of sound clips for all categories.  
Free sound effects Online database of animal-related sound clips.  
Stonewashed Online database of animal-related sound clips.  


Doppler Effect
Title Description  
Doppler Shift Song A cappella-based song to teach principle of doppler effect.  
Doppler Madness Explanation of Doppler Shift  
Doppler Physlet Shows animation of wave formation during doppler shift as velocity varies  
WFU Physics Various physics experiments including demonstration of Doppler Shift  


Sound Effects
Title Description  
Partners in Rhyme Assortment of various air vehicle sounds.  
The recordist Assortment of various air vehicle sounds.  
Media colleges Assortment of various air vehicle sounds.  
Sound rangers Assortment of various air vehicle sounds.  




If you have suggestions for other relevant sites and sounds on the internet, which we might add to this list, please contact David Simpson.

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