BBC and BBC Historical Sound Library

BBC and BBC Historical Sound Library

  • - BBC Series CD 1 - 166 - 14'946 Sounds
  • - BBC Historical Sound Library - 776 historic Sounds
  • - 15'722 sounds from all acoustic categories

The BBC Sound Effects Library including the BBC Historical Library

BBC Series 1 - 166 contains 15,722 noise and sound files from the BBC CD series no. 1 - 166, as well as the contents of the so-called BBC Historical Sound Archive. The BBC Series 1 - 166 Sound Archive is a comprehensive archive featuring standard sounds from every acoustic categories. The historical BBC archive contains special recordings (many of them unique) from the early days of sound recording. These include original Second World War recordings made during the Blitz in London.

All files contained in the BBC CD series are part of the legendary BBC sound archive. Specially remastered for use in digital production, they also include comprehensive metadata.

The BBC Sound Effects Library including the BBC Historical Library

166 BBC Audio CDs

BBC Series 1 – 166 features the contents of the BBC Audio CD archives in a cutting-edge digital media package that allows for direct data access. All audio files are clearly labeled and come with metadata, ready to be used in production.

BBC CD Series 1 – 60

Originally released on 60 Audio CDs, the BBC Sound Archive was one of the most comprehensive sound archives of its time. The contents of the 60 Audio CDs were used in sound studios around the globe.

The BBC Sound Library on CD - BBC CD Series 1 - 60
bbc/BBC Audio Demo BBC Series 1 - 60
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Track: BBC Series 1-166 and BBC Historical Sound Effects Library Audio Demo | BBC Series 1-166 and BBC Historical Sound Effects Library | © by BBC

The Expansion: BBC CD Series 61 – 166

The BBC Expansion - CD Series 61 - 166

Much later, 105 additional Audio CDs were added to the BBC CD series. Even more extensive than the original sound archive, this expanded edition includes every imaginable acoustic category. It has become a studio standard and a must-have for sound producers.

bbc/BBC Audio Demo Series 61-160
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Track: BBC Series 1-166 and BBC Historical Sound Effects Library Audio Demo | BBC Series 1-166 and BBC Historical Sound Effects Library | © by BBC

Sound Quality and Contents

Although the BBC sound libraries are clearly of vintage quality, their contents are still very impressive! Just because many recordings were made with analogue rather than digital equipment doesn’t make them any less valuable. The BBC Sound Archive is a comprehensive archive with many noises and sounds that are of interest to modern-day users. Many of these recordings of cars, airplanes and atmospheres are hard to come by in contemporary sound archives (mainly because a lot of the vehicles no longer exist). In addition, the archive features a number of carefully arranged foley sounds made by experienced sound designers. Originally produced for radio plays and feature films, these sounds can be used in modern productions as well. A fitting example would be the horse sounds found in the BBC sound library.

Generous Recordings

Very few sound files in the BBC archives are under 30 seconds in length. Unlike the tracks in most modern archives, the BBC files run between 2 and 4 minutes. This is very generous and also incredibly helpful because many tracks contain variations throughout their duration. Sound editors looking for alternative takes will find this very useful. The longest file in the BBC archive is more than 18 minutes long: it is a recording of an F1 race from 1994 in Silverstone. Wanna find out who won back then?

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Special Features of the BBC Sound Archive

The BBC Sound Archive contains a particularly impressive collection of atmospheres from around the globe. From England to New Zealand and across the desert: the BBC Sound Effects Library contains more than 1,600 atmosphere recordings from all over the world.

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