Vintage Electric Stapler SFX Library

Vintage Electric Stapler is a royalty-free library of sounds extracted from an old electric stapler. As far as I can tell, it is from the 1950’s, but there isn’t exactly an abundance of specific information on this particular model.

Yet another odd thing I found at a yard sale, this stapler was shoved in the corner with a bunch of junk. It grabbed my attention as a potential source of interesting sounds. While it was obviously electric due to the power cord, I had no clue how exactly it functioned, or if it even worked. Immediately upon picking it up, I was rather taken-aback by the build quality. Like everything from the era, it is build like a tank, weighing in at over five pounds. For a device that is meant to drive standard-sized staples into paper documents, it’s absurdly large, heavy, and sturdy, starkly juxtaposed against the small, lightweight, plastic ones we have now.

It looked like it was in pretty decent condition, other than the base, which is make of some weird, foam-like, rubbery material and is disintegrating with age. I bought it, and took it home. As far as I was concerned, if it didn’t work and I couldn’t get sounds of it functioning, I could always get the sounds of destroying it (my usual mindset when it comes to recording things). I plugged it in, turned it on, and hit the trigger (the little tab that paper hits when you slide it under the stapler head). I was rather surprised at how violent the action is. I assumed it would simply press the stapler down onto the paper, but instead it slams it down with a remarkable amount of force. It actuates so violently that it actually bounces a bit. The designers noticed this, apparently, because on the bottom of the disintegrating foam base is a set of suction cups (which are too geriatric to be useful now). The action cycles so quickly that there really aren’t any individual mechanical sounds to be heard. It’s mostly just a really short metallic smack. Nonetheless, it is an interesting sound, and there are many other sounds it can make.

And thus, this library.

It contains 43 stereo files at 24/96, totaling 26 minutes. It is mostly a small collection of various metallic mechanical sounds. Few of the sounds even sound like a stapler, so they could work as general mechanisms. As usual, I recorded everything in XY stereo, so you can mix down to mono just fine. No EQ, compression, or limiting has been used.


Vintage Electric Stapler $5
43 Stereo Files at 24/96, 26 Minutes, 909MB (599.5MB Download)
Includes PDF, CSV, and XLSX Track Lists

PDF Track List

Note:
Before purchasing, read the EULA. If you do not agree with it, do not purchase this sound library.

All photos by Herschel Matthews

Vintage Electric Stapler Cover

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Post-Surgery Cat Vocals Library

Post-Surgery Cat Vocals is a royalty-free collection of strange sounds made by my cat after he had surgery. The library contains 62 mono files at 24/192, totaling 44 seconds.

Two years ago, one of our cats had surgery (don’t worry, he’s totally fine now). When we got him back home after the surgery, I noticed immediately that his voice sounded a lot different than usual; his voice sounded very strained and raspy and weak.

This particular cat’s voice was unusual to begin with. His meows have always had a strong nasal element that is not typical of other cats. Add to this the fact that he talks more frequently than most cats, and he was odd to start with, but he sounded even weirder after the surgery.

Naturally, my first inclination was to immediately grab a mic and start recording him. I wasn’t sure how long the effect would last (and I was hoping it wasn’t permanent), so I recorded as much as I could for the next two or so days. After just a few days he already sounded normal again (and he has ever since), so I wasn’t able to get a ton out of him, but I did get some cool stuff.

Perhaps the biggest challenge was getting him to vocalize at all. Although he is usually an abnormally talkative for a cat, when I would sit down with a mic and talk to him to coax him into vocalizing, he would maybe vocalize a few times and then just start purring from all the attention. Once he really started purring (which didn’t sound unusual, unfortunately, so it wasn’t worth recording), he would stop vocalizing until I left for a bit and came back later. I repeated this several times over two or three days, and still only ended up with 62 sounds worth keeping.

After that, the hard part was in cleanup and editing. These files were EXTREMELY dirty. There was background noise, the sounds were very quiet, and he was moving around (which makes more noise), so I had to move to keep the mic in front of him (which makes more noise), so at the end of it all, it took quite a lot of work to get these as useable as they are. On top of this, these were recorded with a pretty cheap shotgun microphone, as, two years ago, I didn’t own a good shotgun mic. And since the files are dirty enough already, I didn’t want to switch to my better cardioid mics, because I couldn’t afford to have more extraneous noise. The good news is that although the mic was crappy, the recorder was not. This was recorded with a Sound Devices 702 at 24/192 (which was the first of so far only two times I have used 192kHz), but that only helps so much, of course.

Which brings me to my main point: these sounds are very low quality. This is why they are free and will remain that way. They are so far below my standards for quality that I simply cannot ask money for them. I contemplated not putting them on this site at all, but I decided I would put them up for free, because they are interesting enough sounds that I think somebody could make some cool designed stuff with them (I already have), even if they are filthy and low quality. There are several sounds included that are dirty enough that if they were anything I could repeat, I would instantly throw them away and re-record them. I did not discard them and instead included them, because although they are terrible quality, they are interesting, and it’s impossible to re-record them. Some of the dirtiness of the sounds is mitigated by how quiet they are. I have set them all to peak at -6 dBFS, but this is just for convenience in working with them, and they should really be more like -20 at the loudest. Some were originally around -40 or less.


Post-Surgery Cat Vocals Free
62 Mono Files at 24 bit 192kHz, 44 Seconds, 43.6 MB (35.2 MB Download)
Includes PFD, CSV, and XLSX track lists

PDF Track List

Note:
Before purchasing, read the EULA. If you do not agree with it, do not purchase this sound library.

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Mechanical Typewriter SFX Library

Mechanical Typewriter is a royalty-free collection of recordings of an old mechanical typewriter, specifically a Royal 10. The Royal 10 started production in 1914, but that variant has two glass panels on each side. They later switched to one panel on each side (which is what this has), and no one seems quite sure when this change happened. This Typewriter is likely from roughly the 1920’s-30’s, but that’s a guess. It did not suffer the same fate as the cash register, as I didn’t really want to destroy something this old (and the cash register had the excuse of being beyond repair).

I found the typewriter at a yard sale, and it was in remarkable condition for its age. I’ve always wanted to record an old non-electric typewriter, so I grabbed it.

The recordings include everything that moves on the typewriter. Isolated keystrokes, keystrokes soft enough not to advance the carriage, platen rotations, carriage return lever at various line spacings, bell, continuous typing, spinning ribbon spools, switches etc. Included are 74 files recorded in stereo at 24-bit, 96kHz, totaling 45 minutes.

All the sounds in the library were recorded in XY stereo, as that is how I do about 90% of my recording. Being XY, they can be mixed to mono with no issues, if that better suits your needs. The mics were place about the same distance from the typewriter as one’s head would be when using it, presenting the most natural image. As with my other libraries, the sounds have no processing applied except cleanup. Many of the sounds (particularly the typing “clacks”) have large dynamic range and need limiting or compression, but I left them alone, so you can choose how to do this.

When I was first experimenting with how I would record the thing, I assumed that contact mics would result in really cool sounds. When I actually started experimenting, however, I found that, no matter where I placed them, they resulted in very underwhelming material. In the end, I included no contact mic recordings in this library. That’s the annoying thing about contact mics, they never do quite what you expect…

I almost never have a low-cut filter enabled when I record, as this allows me to keep the bass should I want to, or remove it easily in software when editing. As such, in some of the files, there is noticeable low-end rumble from vibrations traveling up the mic stand (despite the shock mount). While I could have removed this in seconds, I chose not to, as, when working with the sounds, I quite liked having it there when I was doing some design stuff. Outside of weird design usage, if you simply want clean typewriter sounds, these frequencies can be low-cut out very easily.

The following demo does contain limiting in order to keep the loudness of the various recordings somewhat even, but rest assured, this is only for the demo.

Here’s a demo showing some random sounds I made while playing with sounds from this typewriter library. These sounds are not included with the library itself, but they are a decent example of turning mundane sounds into something else entirely. While some include sounds that are not part of this library, they all involve something from this library on some level.

Add to Cart
Mechanical Typewriter $10
74 stereo files at 24/96, 45 minutes, 1.55GB (1.017GB download)
Includes PDF, CSV, and XLSX track lists

PDF Track List

Note:
Before purchasing, read the EULA. If you do not agree with it, do not purchase this sound library.

All photos by Herschel Matthews

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Empty House Impulse Responses Library

This library is a very small collection of impulse responses of an empty house that I made for myself, but decided to put here anyway. I have always liked the extreme reverb of an empty house, and recently got access to one. Some friends of mine began some work on their house, which involved removing everything to paint and re-do carpet and electricity, etc. So, while it was empty, I made impulse responses of each room, the hallways, and some of the ventilation system (which mostly didn’t work; more on that later). The final product is very small, consisting of 23 stereo impulse responses, recorded at 24/48, as that’s the highest I could go with the setup I was using. These are made from full-frequency sine sweeps, not claps or anything like that. See the track list below for a list of rooms and descriptions.

Aside from the rooms and hallways, I took several impulse responses of the ventilation, with interesting results. What I did was place the speaker playing the sine sweep over one vent, then the mic in a different vent somewhere else in the house. This did not actually work all that well, as the frequency response was incredibly mangled by the time it reached the mic, which resulted in the sine sweeps deconvolving strangely or incorrectly. There are three that actually worked to some degree, and when applied to a sound, they make it sound very low-fidelity, as if it were coming out of a low quality speaker. The reason being that the vent absorbed a good chunk of the frequencies, leaving a crappy frequency response, similar to what small, cheap speakers have. These three also have weird tonal anomalies in them, which I left in. You can hear this in the fifth sound (counting the dry one at the start) in the demo below, where you can hear a wispy upward pitch sweep after the main sound. I left them in because they can result in interesting things, but you could remove them if you prefer.

The other three I made of the vents failed completely. You can hear an example of each of the three at the end of the demo below. In these cases, it would seem the vent mangled the frequency response so badly, that the little that reached the mic was so incomplete that the sweep could not deconvolve into an impulse correctly. This resulted in a short, piercing pitch sweep followed by a wall of noise. This would be considered garbage, as it sucks as an impulse response of a vent, since it sound nothing like a vent, but they mangle sounds in a very interesting fashion, so I included them.

The sound in this demo is from my “Countdown to the Apocalypse” entry, (not included with the library, of course). I selected it because it has a good range of frequencies. The first sound is 100% dry, just so you know what it sounds like, then each after it is 100% wet with impulse responses from this library; there is no other processing. The fifth sound (counting the dry one) is of one of the vents that worked, and the last three are the ventilation mistakes I mentioned above.

Add to Cart
Empty House Impulse Responses $5
23 Stereo Files at 24-bit, 48kHz, 10.7MB Download
Includes PDF, CSV, and XLSX Track Lists

Note:
Before purchasing, read the EULA . If you do not agree with it, do not purchase this sound library.

Note that these photos below were taken a couple weeks after the recordings were made, and the rooms have a lot of stuff in them. When the recordings were made earlier, the majority of that stuff was not present.

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Death of a Cash Register Library

Death of a Cash Register is a royalty free sound library cataloguing an old cash register’s journey into transcendence. Though he dies, he is now immortal, and shall outlive all his cash register peers…

I found it at a junk shop a while ago, and the entire thing was obviously rusted solid and clearly beyond repair. It was fully mechanical, but driven or assisted by an electric motor in some manner. I’m not sure entirely how it worked, since I never got it to run (in other words, if you want sounds of a register actually functioning, this is not the library for you). It could not possibly have been of any use to anyone else, but I saw a lot of potential for sounds. I planned to record everything I could of it, from the buttons to utterly destroying it. The plan was to make a fairly small library between larger ones, but it ended up being a much larger undertaking than I had anticipated. After three months, I was pretty tired of that register.

The library contains recordings of various impacts, drops, rattles, squeaks, scrapes, springs, and mechanical movements. It includes 246 files, all recorded at 24/96 (except 5 internal impulse responses [mentioned below] which are 24/48), totaling 2 hours, 28 minutes of audio. There is a large range of sounds, from meaty clanks of thick metal, to tiny spring twangs, to armfuls of metal chunks being slammed on the ground, to small mechanical clicks, to dropping the entire thing 20ft onto asphalt. The sounds have no processing applied aside from cleanup, so there is no EQ, compression, limiting, or effects processing of any kind. All the files are stereo, as that is my preference, even when recording small things, as I feel pretty much everything benefits from the spatiality. If you want to mix them down to mono, you should have no trouble doing that, as all of the files were recorded in XY (except for the “B” files, and the internal impulse responses [mentioned below], which were done with contact mics as a spaced pair; with these you may get some phase issues mixing to mono).

Please note there are NO recordings of the register running, as it was completely non-functional, so all the mechanisms in this library are manually actuated. This does mean that the mechanisms are very clean and isolated, so they can be used for many different things. In general, none of these sounds are even identifiable as coming from a cash register (except the bell-like disk), so they would fill many different roles with ease.

I started by recording everything I could with it still intact. This includes the key being inserted and taken out, keypad buttons, the lid for changing the receipt paper, hitting it with bare hands and a crowbar, scraping it with a crowbar and a wire brush, and short-distance drops onto both carpet and hard flooring. Many of the recordings made while the register was intact have two versions: the first, called “A” in the filename is of a normal stereo mic, and the other, named “B” is a pair of contact mics attached directly to the sides of the register. The reason for this is that the thing was fairly hollow and resonant, so impacts and button presses resonated internally in an interesting fashion. The “A” and “B” files are already synchronized. They work together rather strangely, as the “A” file is a normal sounding recording with a realistic image, while the “B” file sounds aggressively close and huge and is an extremely wide image.

Once I had everything I wanted of the register intact, destruction began. It was at this point that attaching contact mics was no longer possible. It was dropped from shoulder height numerous times, then dropped from 20ft numerous times as well. I could not believe how well it held up to this. Even after THREE 20ft drops onto asphalt, it still took several hits from a heavy-duty pry bar to break the shell away from the main system. Once the main mechanism was separated from the outer shell, it was dropped from 20ft twice onto the outer shell components, and STILL it remained almost entirely intact. At the risk of sounding immensely platitudinous, they don’t make them like they used to.

Later recording sessions involved doing multiple drops of each outer shell component that had been separated, then the whole lot of them together. In the recordings of things being dropped, the object being picked up is included between drops, as this often sounded interesting. If the pick-up is not included between drops, it’s because I deemed it too boring to be useful (and I find nearly anything useful). I then went on to record manual actuation of any moveable parts I could find. Many parts were bent or broken, but this either made the sound more interesting, or freed up nearby components for actuation. I plucked and stretched any springs I could reach (you would not believe how many are in there, particularly in the mechanism that lift the plastic numbers for the readout display), and rattled everything the least bit loose. I piled all the components on top of one another, and shook them around, resulting in some meaty clanks and horrible squeaks.

Another thing I did pre-destruction was take impulse responses of the internal resonance of the register. I mentioned earlier how it was rather hollow-sounding, and I wanted to be able to apply that to other stuff. There are 5 internal impulse responses, each a little different. These were done at 24-bit, 48kHz, as that’s the highest I could go in that circumstance, unfortunately. Everything else, however, was recorded at 24/96.

There is also a sixth impulse response, which was made from an editing mistake. Although it was a mistake, I found it can make extremely cool things when used as an impulse response.

This demo should illustrate the kind of things you can expect from the library:

Add to Cart
Death of a Cash Register $30
241 stereo files at 24/96, 5 stereo files at 24/48, 2 hours 28 minutes, 5.17GB (3.2GB Download)
Includes PDF, CSV, and XLSX track lists

PDF Track List

Note:
Before purchasing, read the EULA. If you do not agree with it, do not purchase this sound library.

The cover photo (the black and white one of the register in the street), the photo at the top of this post, and the first photo below by Herschel Photography; the other ones below (the crappy ones) are by me.

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Electric Noise Library

Electric Noise is a royalty-free collection of strange recordings of noise generated by electrical devices, such as old CRT TVs, laptops, AC adapters, lights, etc. There is a variety of unnatural whines, moans, buzzes, and shrieks of various textures. Everything was recorded and mastered at 24/96, and I have processed the sounds very little, so that they retained the greatest versatility possible. There are 89 files, totaling 1 hour, 27 minutes of audio. I did my best to make the metadata as descriptive as possible, which was quite the challenge with sounds this abstract.

There are several things worth noting about the sounds:

–All the recordings are mono, which isn’t my preference, but is the nature of how they were captured. The sounds are highly unnatural already, so theoretically they would take on artificial stereo fairly well, but I have not experimented with this much, due to my distaste for it. Your mileage may vary, depending on your plug-ins and tolerance for artificial stereo.
–The recordings are pretty low-fidelity (you can hear this in the demo), despite the 24/96 resolution. This is the unavoidable nature of how the recordings were made, and is not due to a failing on my part.
–Many of the files have information up to 48kHz (see spectrograms below), meaning they pitch down well. The frequencies DO generally roll off in amplitude as they get higher, but you can compensate for this by boosting them with EQ prior to pitching, if necessary. In some cases, the opposite is true, where there are very loud things above 20kHz, that will need to be reduced when pitching them into audible range. This is all made easy by spectrograms.
–Many of the sounds are very aggressively shrill and ear-piercing. This, of course, can be changed with EQ and other processing, especially if you are using spectrograms, which allow you to pinpoint the offending frequencies instantly. I chose not to do this myself in order to leave you the creative freedom to do what you want with the sounds.
–Many of the files have several different textures or sounds in them. For example, one file that is of a particular buzz made by a particular TV, may have multiple variants of that buzz in it. The reason I did not separate each texture into its own file is that I wanted to keep the original transitions. Some of the things I recorded (particularly the CRT TVs) produced many different variations of a sound, but did not always switch directly from one to another. Instead, they would often smoothly transition between them. Separating each into its own file would ruin these natural transitions, and so I left the recordings as long suites of an entire event or type of sound, with transitions intact. I did this to leave you the creative freedom to chop them up in the way that best suits what you want to do with them.

The sounds are best understood by hearing them:

Add to Cart
Electric Noise $30
24bit/96kHz, 89 Files (92 with track lists), 1 hour 27 minutes, 1.51GB (1.41GB download)
Includes PDF, CSV, and XLSX track lists.

PDF Track List

Note:
Before purchasing, read the EULA. If you do not agree with it, do not purchase this sound library.

 

Here are some spectrograms from Izotope RX3 Advanced, showing the bizarre web-like tonal elements some of them have.
These images are taken with a linear frequency scale, rather than RX’s default “Mel” scale, to more accurately show the separation of these elements.
Noise Electric 1981 CRT TV On:Off x18 Various H-Hold

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Noise Electric 1975 CRT TV Under Screen Motor-Like Pulsing

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Noise Electric 1975 CRT TV Touching Antenna 02

Noise Electric 1975 CRT TV Piercing Tone Modulated 02 Meaty

Noise Electric 1978 CRT TV Jagged Buzz Turned Off

Noise Electric 1988 CRT TV On UHF V-HI Tuning Sweep Off

Noise Electric 1978 CRT TV H-Hold Sweep 04

Noise Electric 1981 CRT TV On H-Hold Sweep Off 02

Noise Electric 1975 CRT TV Channel Flipping 02