Attention, podcasters and youtubers

The BBC has released 16,000 of their sound-effect files for download for non-commercial use. There’s some weird stuff in here: I stumbled across “Standard orgy with smashing glass, screams, footsteps and whipping sounds“, for instance, so now I finally know what an orgy sounds like.

It’s not quite what I expected.


  1. auraboy says

    I used to work at the Beeb and remember various attempts to find the weirdest files in the Sound Library.
    I believe ‘man imitating fox (various)’ was a weekly winner, though prize for specificity goes to ‘man dressed as Father Christmas tripping on stairs with fall, presents breaking’
    Seasons Greetings for all those fake Santa pratfalls…

  2. Rich Woods says

    Damn. I suppose there’s no longer any need to keep the BBC sound effects LP I bought secondhand forty years ago, now that anyone will be able to source the sound of ‘one beheading’ and ‘two beheadings*’ upon demand.

    *Made by chopping cabbages in half with a fire axe, I believe.

  3. Sean Boyd says

    @2 whheydt,

    The archive is searchable…the search tool is a little wonky, as it reindexes while you’re typing, so you get searches for ‘t’, ‘ta’, ‘tar’, and so on when typing in ‘tardis’. I didn’t find anything under ‘doctor’ or ‘tardis’. It’s the possible the effect is in there under a less obvious name…they do have ‘Martian Computer’. I suspect, though, given that Doctor Who is an ongoing series, that any of those effects would be held back.

  4. Owlmirror says

    Also, no Daleks.

    If you search for “Whoosh”, it brings up a few hits. With a couple of those, the whoosh does sound a little like the TARDIS sound, probably before the sound engineers played with it some more, although for some reason it’s combined with the sound of ripping fabric.

    Searching for “alien” brings up a couple of “alien pods land”.

  5. auraboy says

    Sadly, for you Whovians, all audio post production is done by independent studio out of BBC Cardiff. Not so much central library any more. The older stuff is in there but I presume it’s under new copyright with the producers.

  6. laurian says

    That didn’t sound like any orgy I was ever at.

    Neat feature is you can play several sound clips simultaneously.

  7. llyris says

    Well it wasn’t quite what I expected either, but I don’t think you have learned what an orgy sounds like.
    And neither have I.

    I don’t think I want to go to an orgy that sounds like that, because I can hear some serious health and safety risks happening and I’m not that kind of masochist.

  8. wzrd1 says

    @5, the sound of the TARDIS was crafted from a sample of keys ran against piano strings, of an obviously surviving operational piano, so the soundbox was protected, then ran through the usual analog circuitry of the era.
    Analog delay lines, ring modulators used at times for some effects.
    Very dodgy code, it’s largely client side and currently, I have download limitations, due to a 10 gig data plan and my data exchange is rather low, usually, but interpretation of data flow to include client side requests and and acknowledgement and TCI/IP housekeeping are included.
    Annoying, but legal and actually, close to commercial in contractual specifications.

    @PZ, heard a very real orgy. No, nothing at all like the sound sample.
    The spectrum of human normality is quite wide, the sounds, equally wide.
    So, you might hear some of the sounds in the clip, but there are a lot of other sounds that sound more like a pornographic film, some from any emergency department and in general, babble.
    So, what does an orgy of eating sound like? ;)