Company: Pro Sound Effects Product: Hybrid Library 2018
Price: $995 for Freelancers - Ends Dec 17th
$3,995 for Companies. Our Rating: 4.9/5
The seminal general sound effects library for a new wave of Sound Designers and Audio Post Production Studios. The Hybrid Library is the best way to get a head start building your sound library now to compete with larger studios. We listened through over 65,000 effects to bring you our most comprehensive review ever.
The Hybrid Library by Pro Sound Effects (PSE) is an extensive general sound effects library aimed at freelancers and post sound studios. The package is mailed out to you, and you are provided with an online account to take an advantage of the included extras.
When our review copy arrived at 344 HQ from New York, it was quite an exciting moment. Knowing the quality of some of the other products, it was a nice feeling to load the drive in and start browsing the wide range of effects.
The library contains 65,000+ sounds totalling 400GB provided on a 1TB hard drive formatted for Windows and Mac, which is included in the price (covered by a 3 year failure warranty). Files are provided in a variety of formats ranging from 16Bit 44.1kHz to 24Bit 96kHz Broadcast WAV. There are mono, stereo and 5.1 effects included in many categories. The library includes extensive metadata and is organised into folders for your convenience.
Other benefits include access to a web based version of the Hybrid Library, which contains most of the sound effects, so that if you are working from another studio, you can open it up and get started downloading right away. This web store search allows an easy to use, 'download all selected' feature for grabbing effects in bulk and at speed. This leaves much to be desired from competitors.
There is an included $100 voucher, which can be spent as part of a purchase, it can be spread across multiple purchases, or it can be used to add to your library over time through their online web store which contains over 250,000 sound effects. We recommend investing this into their The Odyssey Collection: Vehicles Basic to help bolster the vehicle workups available to you.
You also have access to a 90 day trial of Basehead, a useful sound effects search software which allows you to organise and navigate your offline libraries, with metadata search functions. It’s likely you’ll already own a search software if you are making this purchase, but our go-to option is Soundly.
Freelancers are offered special pricing for the library (usually $1,995) with studios paying ($3995). The most exciting thing to discuss in this review is that you can currently purchase PSE Hybrid Library for $995 as a Freelancer (ends Dec 16th) - the lowest price EVER, which is frankly a no brainer. The best value for money ever in a general library of this size, and a great tool for increasing productivity.
Quality vs. Quantity
We promised an extensive review, and we delivered. We listened through every category of sounds in this library and almost covered the entire file selection over a number of days. The result of this can be found in our Categories of Irresistible Effects section at the bottom of the page, where we logged our initial thoughts (unedited) so that you can get a genuine feel for what is included and it’s quality from a professional user. As a general note, this library surprised us in some ways. It has a lot of content and the quality of each sound effect is great. Even though sounds are pulled from a variety of sources and recordists, there is a good cross section of perspectives and frequency responses in the effects, to make them as usable as possible in multiple scenarios. For example, the Guns section includes realistic, transient like effects, as well as covering larger than life distorted sounds for that Hollywood vibe. The coverage is more than enough to get you started, and if you had to, this library could be the last thing you ever purchased, which could be accented with personal recordings and design. All general libraries have their weaknesses, But thankfully PSE update the library from time to time to help alleviate any of these.
The inclusion of 5.1 effects is really a winner too, with mature choices made instead of recording in 5.1 to tick boxes. PSE recorded 5.1 effects that will really benefit your tracklay, demonstrating their knowledge and experience in sound effects editing. Something which is also important to mention, is the overall look and feel of this product strikes us as the start of a new age of general effects libraries, which help the independent sound designers and studios by offering affordable ways to compete with industry giants. There is a quality to a lot of the effects here (particularly those recorded by Blastwave) that inspire further design, and ignite those audio brainwaves that inspire us day by day in our pursuits of flawless sound. Furthermore, there is an attention to detail, things like aircraft turbulence add that professional edge to otherwise empty scenes. There are included sounds that are hard to find even in independent boutique libraries.
PSE Hybrid Library just screams 'hollywood' as you listen through, and it sounds so good that each effect feels designed and destined for it's intended use. Using this library stills make a film sound unique, unlike general libraries of the past, which are recognisable even to the general public. It will ignite the inner sound designer within you, and give you creative starting points for custom design. Quality AND quantity.
Some nice inclusions for the future would be to have a complete offline search software included. With PSE's development of so many new libraries and a huge online database, perhaps they could create an offline version of their website's search engine for all purchasers.
There were also a couple of categories that needed more variety in the library. No doubt with upcoming additions that PSE provide these will be fleshed out. Make sure you read below to get our first impression of every section.
The Bottom Line
The ultimate sound effects library for the 21st century sound designer/sound effects editor. It will get you out of a lot of tight spots, and cover you when those unrealistic deadlines hit on the most demanding of projects.
Categories of Irresistible Effects
Check out our verdict of each category in the library, so that you know what to expect:
Acid - Burning melting acid.
Air - Those tasty, cinematic air bursts.
Helicopters - A very good variety of movements and vehicles.
Jets - Very good for distant airplane pass by effects.
Misc - The turbulence in this section screams 'Snakes on a Plane'.
Prop Planes - A little less of an extreme speed than the jets.
Alarms - All of the common alarms you would expect/need for a film.
Battle - These really put you into the space, including a 5.1 effect.
Exotic - Needs more content, but this is fleshed out in the 'birds’ section.
Industrial - Think Star Wars Episode II Geonosis factory in 5.1!
Jungle - Some useful effects, more would be nice.
Misc - Mostly designed/abstract effects.
Nautical - Quite useful.
Public Places - Good filler for many scenes.
Roomtone - A nice selection, with some in 5.1, very good.
Rural - Some very unique moments have been captured here.
Suburban - Lacking some general residential FX like those from BBC library.
Technical - Useful sounds of auto repair shops, factories and computer rooms.
Urban - Great city backdrops.
Walla - Lacks a little substance, although the included sound very natural.
Animals - Has some very well isolated sounds of frogs, the bullfrogs sound very interesting and exotic - definitely some of the best frog sounds we've heard. But why are these the only animals? Perhaps this section should be Amphibians, as there is also a Birds and Mammals section.
Arrows - Has some excellent pass bys that could be use for magic or sci fi design elements.
Beeps - Excellent UI sounds, pretty much everything beep related you'll need.
Bells - Same note as previous, very extensive.
Exotic - Has a nice variety or creepy/abstract bird sounds perfect for alien planets or unknown island jungles.
Land - Whip bird, excellent moments captured.
Misc - Excellent bird squawks and UK bird sounds.
Water - Sound design elements galore with geese and gulls.
Wingflaps - More natural wing flaps needed - we use these sounds all the time for off screen cues in scary scenes.
Boats - This section is excellent, a variety of boat sounds, and very nice touches with stepping onto boat effects.
Breathing - Gas masks great, as well as general effects, also zombie effects and drawn out breaths great for horror.
Buzzers - More than extensive enough for this subject.
Camera - Surprisingly extensive - the servo sounds are great for robotic movements - missing classic camera noises.
Cartoon - Full of little gems, and very fulfilling to listen through. More than enough content for an entire cartoon.
Chains - Good section with variations.
Chairs - Metal section is the best with some interesting creaks.
Clicks - Some nice elements, more ratchet movements would have been nice.
Clocks - Small selection, quality over quantity, it's nice to see that both close and distant clocks were recorded, as worldising these with reverb and eq can prove difficult in many mixes.
Cloth - Some useful cloth sounds for those fast turnaround short form projects that cannot justify foley.
Computer - A good perspective to the sounds, not too close, not too far.
Cooking - A nice section of cutting, slicing sounds and water sizzles, perfect for the next series of Hell's Kitchen. Perhaps more sounds of cookware being handled could be useful.
Debris - F*** these are larger than life.
Glass - A variety of weights, sizes and speed of shattering on different surfaces.
Metal - Some beautiful car crashes (more would be nice - but cars are expensive!), as well as a variety of objects.
Misc - Building collapses provide simply excellent layers for those huge explosions that can start to build up into a wall of incoherent noise in your tracklay. There are also some great 'aftermath' sounds here too.
Pottery - great layers for those interior shootouts, where youve already used metal, dirt and glass ricochets!
Rock - Often, rock debris and landslide effects are too short, this section fills those gaps.
Wood - Similar notes to previous section, you have a variety of extended debris crashes here.
Creaks - This category really evokes some mental pictures of scenes. The creaky ambiences are perfect for a haunted house or any location within a horror. The specific creaks are nice also, and often in other libraries the tone of these isn't quite right - well done PSE!
Applause - Kick those cheesy 90's crowd effects from your library, these are much more natural.
Misc - 5.1 Audience murmurs are a much needed tool, nice inclusion. This section is very useful as a lot of the sounds are not coherently American, so could be used in other countries such as the UK.
Movement - This section is useful for adding that extra little layer to a scene, especially if you don't have background foley tracks recorded.
Walla - Some nice inclusions here for a variety of spaces, including cafes/bars. Use of french, british and american crowds.
Crunches - Useful in some scenarios where a single crunch may be needed, most likely in ice/snow design.
Dirt - Excellent filler for short foley cues if you don't want to cause a huge mess in a grave digging scene!
Misc - This section will defeinitely get some use, smaller or more abstract items being dropped is something missing from other libraries.
Rocks - Great for subtle landslide/earthquake moments when you need the movement and texture.
Distortion - Some of these sounds may not be that useful to a seasoned Designer/Synth Nut. But the 'PEDesign Elements' sound huge and are perfect for those complex CGI scenes, where you need to flick through a variety of noises to find your voice. Perhaps some shorter and harsher glitch effects would have been nice.
Door - A variety of door creaks from different recordists, very useful in basically every film.
Exotic - Two effects only (air pressure releases), maybe should be left in the Misc section?
Glass - It's nice to have the detail of glass doors as an option.
Hardware - Very useful for those door layers - handles, knockers, latches, locks etc.
Metal - Not only doors to rooms, but also objects such as filing cabinets, some effects have excellent natural verb.
Misc - Fridge, microwave, servo doors and more.
Sliding - Does what it says on the tin, slides with style.
Stone - Evokes a huge Egyptian pyramid stone door. It would have been nice to have a few more variations.
Wood - This section is so simple but so effective. Don't you just hate when you have to scroll through hundreds of door effects to find the right one? A lot of these sound like they'll do the trick.
Metal - These recordings retain their natural metallic resonance, which will help them fit into scenes amongst foley and effects.
Misc - Some more low frequency content in the cash drawers would be nice, but a useful inclusion.
Wood - Natural sounds that will fit into the mix well.
Drone - Dark and mysterious alien planets. A brief section that is complimented by various designed sounds in other sections.
Earthquake - Very brief section, mostly focusing on low frequency sounds that will layer with rock movements. It would be nice to hear some sounds of plates falling and other items during the quakes.
Eating - Very useful section, not those overly close and processed chewing sounds usually found. They feel natural, and will blend will location dialogue well. Also there are cats eating!
Arcs and Zaps - this section is a little weak, it doesn't have that hollywood zap/weight that you would expect, such as that found in Polarity by Mattia Cellotto.
Hum - This section also needs some padding out, with lighting hums, and more natural electronic hums.
Misc - This section could have more variety - strong areas are the Guitar Plug in / feedback noises.
Relays - Some useful power up sounds.
Sparks - Quite useful for diegetic, real electricity, not so much for heavy design work.
Tonalities - Some very nice design work here, the 5.1 force fields are excellent!
Elevators - Very nice section, softer more natural sounds all the way up to Jigsaw's Lair-esque creepiness.
Energy - Brilliant. The explosions here are very well worldised and will blend with more ambitious design. The pixie movements are cool and will definitely be getting some use in a fantasy/sci-fi environment.
Explosions - Same notes as previous section, except some of these are more heavily designed so that you have options.
Fans & Air Conditioning - Very nice section, that contains more than enough variation, very useful effects for hiding low frequency noise within interior dialogue.
Farts - What can you say - did someone step on a whoopie cushion?
Feedback - Perfect section for Sci-Fi, musical design, or to place over idents.
We're very picky with our fight sounds, so it will be nice to hear these.
Bodyfalls Good balance between low and mid frequency content.
Punches - Very nice. Every range from Hollywood to Fight Club. Sub / dramatic reverb layers also supplied, excellent attention to detail.
Misc - Decent category. Fallen characters movement effects, as well as zombies tapping on walls - very useful.
Swishes - There is a focus on subtle, more natural whooshes here. Although these are great, sometimes you need that dramatic kung fu swoosh too.
Another category that is crucial and can waste a lot of time when searching through inferior effects in other libraries.
Burning - A good mixture for different scenarios.
Ignite - This section is our new go to, very well considered.
Misc - Some softer flames here, will be useful somewhere.
Whooshes - A must have. When you have that classic scene with the fire torch in a cave or tomb.
Fireworks - Very, very good close fireworks, and fireworks with crowds. It would be nice to hear some more characterful recordings of distant fireworks too.
Footsteps - Useful if you don't have time to jump into the foley pits for a small cue. The apartment footsteps are perfect for BG foley to give some life to a scene.
Misc - VERY USEFUL. When you are missing a particular foley prop, these can be a life saver. Especially the cigarette smoking effects.
Props - Same note as previous.
Foliage - Great for branch and bush movements.
Games - Excellent sounds for Casinos / Gambling / Arcade scenes.
Ghosts - Not cheesy at all. Beautiful design that hearkens back to the Dementors from Harry Potter.
Breaking - Nice section, goes well with the glass crashes from earlier.
Glassware - Place your orders, and grab your glass.
Hits - Pings and dings of glass.
Misc - Lightbulb screwing and ornament handling.
Scrapes & Squeaks - Tonal elements of glass interaction.
Blood - Good sounds here, the blood vomiting is very useful.
Misc - Quite an extensive selection of bends, squeezes and head rolling.
Rips and Tears - If you didn't know this was a SFX library, the neighbours would be worried.
Artillery - Canon sounds are nice, the cannon blasts ship is very convincing and sounds great.
Bullet Hits - Useful.
Bullet Whiz - More sounds are needed here, but this is a good start.
Bullets - Dropping on multiple surfaces.
Handling - A much needed category in a library like this.
Machine - Very nice balance between a natural and designed sound on each gun. Wide variety of weapons.
Misc - Some non-lethal and Sci-Fi guns, nice inclusion.
Pistols - Excellent range, between distant transient shots, to close up distorted hollywood bangs.
Ricochets - This section needs more, the current sounds feel synthesised and are not what you may be looking for.
Rifles - Excellent section, even muskets are featured.
Shotgun - Needs more 'larger than life' sounds, but these could be layered with other sections.
Heartbeat - Exactly as described.
Horns - Quite a useful section for boat horns and air horns.
Flying - 5.1 Bee Hive and Insect Colony - whats not to like? More typical flies needed.
Land - All the cool land insects that we don't have in the UK to record, nice! Also meal worms in 5.1!!!
Misc - So many usable sound sin this section, strange cicadas and bug infestations.
Guns - Pretty useful for basic work, but enough room to layer further design elements.
Impacts - Very analogue synthesis driven.
Misc - Scanners etc.
Sword - Lightsabers, pretty useful for a fan film.
Liquid FX - Useful for a variety of elemetns such as mud suction and spitting.
Electric - Useful effects for everyday electronics - toothbrushes, razors. The Steampunk effects in 5.1 are VERY nice.
Heavy - Beautiful sounding industrial machines etc, some in 5.1!
Light - Great, everyday sounds that could also be used to accent more experimental design.
Misc - Printers, projectors, sewing machines and more.
Cats - A very nice variety of vocalisations - close, reverberant, aggressive, soft, sad.
Dogs - A good mixture of common dogs, and most importantly, a selection of distant dogs for BG tracks. Zombie dogs are a nice extra.
Farm - A nice selection of pigs, goats and cows.
Horses - Very usable section, pass bys, vocals, wagons.
Marine - One of our favourite sections, a treasure trove for creature design - manatees, seals and dolphins.
Misc - Alpacas, squirrels and rats - useful.
Rodents - Another treasure trove of animal sounds, a variety of rodents.
Wild - Big cats, elephants etc - varying quality and recording distance as to be expected.
Gears - Lots of useful steampunk sounds, these will get used a lot.
Misc - Windmills, toasters, cash counters and more.
Ratchets - These help fill gaps from previous sections.
Rollers - A very useful section for when metal is bending or warping within a scene!
Hits - Useful sounds for metal ricochets, as well as designed metal hits to enhance punctual moments.
Misc - Mostly sounds of metal items/tools being handled.
Scrapes & Squeaks - Very nice sword drawing, the sounds of pipe drops and more.
Warps - Not quite as specific as the other sections, contains a random assortment of metal movements/tension.
Feedback - Needs more variety for this common effect.
Handling - Pretty useful.
Combustion - Ship engines in 5.1, generators - nice category.
Electric - Some great servo noises in here.
Hydraulic - The medical facility door effect is perfect for Sci-Fi.
Misc - Generators.
Steam - There are sounds that help complement this weaker section in the earlier machines category.
Chimes - Great little melodic effects for fairy magic.
Instruments - everything from bagpipes to didgeridoos performed like lightsabers.
Misc - Very useful busker sounds in here to liven up a city scene.
Tonalities - Now we're talking. A very extensive list of drone/tonal elements (many in 5.1) to fill in your scenes.
Misc - This section is so small, it should be part of tonalities.
Paper - Needed in any general effects library, a great time saver.
Phonographs - Let the needle drop.
Plastic - Plastic bags, legos, wobbling plastic.
Pops - Cork pops, speaker pop.
Pumps - Great section.
Radio FX - Useful for layering with those FUTZ dialogues in your session.
Rain - A good variety of textures for different rain types.
Rattles - Boings and vibrations. The carousel metal resonances sound like a gigantic metal spaceship passing over!
Reptiles - Snakes, alligators, crocodiles and even dinosaurs!
Rips - Some very nice textile tears here, as well as paper ripping - very usable.