Last Updated on November 18, 2021.
When it comes to performing a DJ set, nothing helps add color to a set and boost the audience’s energy like some good old sound effects. Whether you choose the classic dub sirens and gunshots found in old school Jamaican music sets or more modern voice acting and LFO samples, they’re always instantly recognizable and help a set sound professional and unique.
However, it isn’t always easy to find DJ samples, especially if you are on a budget. DJ software companies such as Serato and Virtual DJ will usually provide a small handful for free within their license packages, but in order to access the good stuff, you’re going to have to pay for it.
What’s more, an enormous amount of the best sound effects and samples for DJ have licenses that require you to pay every time the sound is used for commercial use. It can become a real minefield, where you are unsure as to where to access the best DJ sound effects without pesky licenses.
I totally understand your pain, I was in this exact same position many years ago. However, these days I have a huge hard drive packed full of royalty free samples that I can use for personal and commercial reasons. It doesn’t matter if I’m recording a DJ set to be performed live or if I’m recording a new album, all of my samples can be used without any repercussions.
Almost every sample I used came from free DJ sound effects libraries, there are tons of them available online but they can be pretty difficult to find. I’ve been retracing my steps to relocate all of the best websites where I found my royalty free samples, and I’ve put together this list of the absolute best. If you’re interested, read on to find out about my ten favourite free DJ sound effects websites. Remember, they’re all free of royalties!
|Soundbible.com||Attribution 3.0 (Royalty Free for Personal and Commercial use)||Wide range of royalty free samples|
|Freesound.org||Creative Commons||Enormous library of Creative Commons licensed sounds (including DJ material), free sign-up required|
|Musicradar.com||Royalty-Free||A massive alphabetized list of royalty-free DJ sample libraries|
|Freesfx.co.uk||Royalty-Free||Sound effects for just about any purpose you could imagine|
|Zapsplat.com||Royalty-Free||Features free DJ samples in addition to sample packs and entire tracks|
|Mixkit.co||MixKit License (Royalty Free for Personal and Commercial Use)||The website also includes lots of other free media such as video, royalty-free.|
|Partnersinrhyme.com||Royalty-Free||Enormous catalog of royalty-free samples|
|Lovereggaemusic.com||Royalty-Free||Classic Dancehall and Reggae DJ Sound Effects|
|Sampleswap.com||Royalty-Free||Huge library of sounds accessible through a free sign-up|
|Samplesfrommars.com||Mixed||A library of analog hardware synthesizers for DJs and audio producers. Many samples and packs cost money, but there are some excellent royalty-free options.|
To start things off, let’s take a look at Soundbible.com. This fantastic site provides a large library of royalty-free sound effects for DJs and music producers, in addition to video footage. The sounds available on the site are 100% free to download and can be used for any purpose – including commercial use. The website claims that its non-profit attitude aims to provide benefits for struggling musicians, teachers, students, and the entire creative industry.
If you’re looking for free sounds, you can’t really go wrong with a website called Freesound.org! This is one of the largest royalty-free sound libraries on the entire internet, reaching a massive 500,000 sounds in May 2021 and rapidly approaching a million.
The site does require you to create a free account in order to download, but downloads are then completely unlimited. However, it does kindly request that you consider uploading your own samples in order to give back to the community. Best of all, it has an excellent search engine – simply search for tags such as “DJ” or “Siren”, and everything you’re looking for will be there.
Whilst MusicRadar is a website providing general software and hardware information for music producers, their list of royalty-free sample libraries truly is a holy grail. The list is alphabetized by theme and is excellent if you are looking for a specific selection of sounds such as ‘drum ‘n’ bass FX’ or ‘guitar and bass samples’ as opposed to one-off samples.
The best way to find what you are looking for is to use the hotkey Ctrl F or Cmd F for Mac users. Simply search for the kind of sounds you’re looking for, and it’s pretty likely that MusicRadar will have a library for what you need. The only downside is that the website does not include a way to preview the sounds within each library, but they can be downloaded for free without having to sign-up.
Next up on this list is FreeSFX.co.uk, and as the name suggests, this website specializes in providing royalty-free sound effects. It’s ideal if you’re looking for some FX to spruce up your DJ sets, and is equally useful if you are looking for instrument samples or field recordings for your latest audio production.
The website is presented in the form of a categorized list of hundreds of different types of sound effects. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, we’re not sure what to say!
Zapsplat is a huge sound effect library consisting of a whopping 96,000 audio files. The website states that it provides these services to help filmmakers, game developers, podcasters, and YouTubers, but due to the Royalty Free licenses, they can literally be used for anything – that includes DJs!
In addition to providing its massive library of one-shot SFX, the website also provides royalty-free sample packs for more specialized requirements, in addition to royalty-free music. The site even gives you the option of whether you would like a high-quality .wav file format or a quick and compact .mp3 format. Ideal!
Next up on this list of the best free DJ sound effect sites is MixKit, a site providing just about anything royalty-free that you could need for a creative project. It’s got a very user-friendly interface that makes it extremely easy to find what you are looking for, with a handy preview feature allowing you to test sounds out before you download them.
The tagging system is also spot on, with each file having at least a couple of meta tags in order to help optimize searches. However, the website isn’t just focused on sound effects – it also has a massive collection of royalty-free music and even video footage, all of which can be used personally or commercially for any project.
As soon as you open up PartnersInRhyme.com you’ll see why it’s on this list. It has a truly enormous selection of royalty-free sound effects and music that can be downloaded completely for free.
The only problem with this site is that the user interface can be a little bit overwhelming and “in your face”, but once you get used to navigating it, you’ll find what you need. It categorizes literally every sound into niche packages making it convenient for specialized searches and even provides royalty-free sources for MIDI files and video.
When you first look at this site, it must be said that it’s nowhere near as large as the other libraries listed. However, it’s an ideal resource for anybody looking for the traditional SFX and samples used in old-school reggae, dub, dancehall, and jungle DJ sets. You’ll likely recognize a lot of the samples available, ranging from air horns to lasers and gunshots. It’s a small and very niche website, but all of the classic samples are available for free download, 100% royalty-free.
SampleSwap.org is one of the oldest websites on this list, curated 19,000 free sound effects and loops across 20 years. The sample library is also hand-picked, which gives it a sense of quality over quantity. Sure, it doesn’t have as many samples as freesound.org, but every sample found is high-quality and approved by the website. It does require users to register a free account in order to download, but samples can then be used without having to pay any royalties, completely for free.
The last website on my list is SamplesFromMars.com – this website stands out from the rest because the vast majority of the samples on the website are not actually free. However, if you check out the ‘free samples’ category or dig deep, you will find some seriously good royalty-free DJ samples.
It’s a particularly good library due to the fact that it focuses on analog hardware sounds, something that is often very hard to come by on regular royalty-free libraries. It may take you a while to find what you are looking for, but it’s certainly not to be ignored.
I hope that this selection of free DJ sound effects and samples will help you get started! There’s a massive amount of websites out there to get stuck into, but the vast majority of them are confusing, inconsistent, and covered in paywalls.
Get stuck into these sites – they’ve got everything you will need from traditional Jamaican DJ samples to cinematic sound effects and modern trap sounds.
Download them liberally, but make sure that you organize them nicely on a hard drive to ensure that you can always find exactly what you are looking for. Remember – quality is always better than quantity, so don’t go too crazy with that download button!