The Freesound Project
I want to share with you an amazing website that I’ve been visiting for a few years now: The Freesound Project. If you’re into audio recording and have some kind of studio at home–be it a laptop with Garage Band loaded or a full-blown ProTools studio–Freesound offers you a huge library of sounds to incorporate into your projects. Anything from bird sounds, mechanical toys, synthesized ambient samples, street sounds, to a variety of sampled instruments.
As the name suggests, the sounds available on the site are free. In fact, the only thing you’re required to give in return is credit where it’s due. The sounds are provided under a Creative Commons license which enables you to use them for any non-commercial purpose as long as you note the name of the sample used and the person who provided it.
Speaking from experience, there is some really good quality stuff on the site. The Freesound community, by and large, takes pride in providing high-quality, low noise recordings. Contributors will often share which equipment was used to capture or create the sound they’ve posted, which can be helpful both from a production standpoint and in terms of learning how to get good recordings yourself. Another interesting thing about that is seeing how some people use really expensive gear to create samples, while others use fairly inexpensive or even improvised gear to yield impressive results.
I’m a member of Freesound myself, so if you happen to visit you can find my humble contributions under the user name last echo.