Signature Sound Effect
Unlike Stock Sound Effect
, some sounds are iconic to a specific character, they might almost be considered a non-verbal Catch Phrase
(and can be used almost as a Shout-Out
on their own) can be connected to a series, or a particular character, leading to that character being Recognizable by Sound
Compare Signature Roar
Anime and Manga
- The Beam Rifle sound effect from Mobile Suit Gundam.
- The various energy sound effects used in Dragon Ball Z are all strongly associated with it. Of particular note:
- The charge-up sound of the Kamehameha
- The pulsing aura of a Super Saiyan.
- The whooshing sound of a character flying at high speeds.
- The beeping sounds made by scouters.
- Ultimate Teacher: Ganpachi's bug-like rustling sound when he moves fast or close to a wall.
- The sound of losing or gaining Life Points in Yu-Gi-Oh hasn't changed much in the course of its 10 year run.
- The sounds made by Tamagotchis moving.
- Many of the sound effects heard in various anime over the decades are very familiar to viewers, Japanese, American, and elsewhere. One of many examples is the "choom" sound that an explosion makes, and the various "slice" sounds made by swords. Some of these have even cropped up in Western Animation from the 1980s, and have even appeared in video games (fourth generation onwards).
- The sound of a Poké Ball opening. Or making the capture.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is famous for its liberal use of written sound effects. The "DODODODO" and "GOGOGOGO" Japanese sound effects are highly associated with the series even though they aren't exclusive to it. Sometimes the manga also uses nonsensical sound effects such as "MEMETAH" for the sound of a frog being punched, which became iconic within the Japanese fanbase.
- In comics, the "snikt" and "bamf!" sound effects are connected to Wolverine and Nightcrawler respectively. Using "snikt" in comic books is actually trademarked.
- Thwip, the sound of Spider-Man's web shooters.
- The Pum-SPAK sound effect was consistently used whenever Captain America villain Scourge took out another bit of C-List Fodder, as was his schtick.
- Depending on the Writer, PLIP! may be used for Venom's "webs."
- For a long time SHRAK! was standard for Cyclops' eye beams. There's also Zakt! and Zapt!
- BUDDA BUDDA is oft associated with Marvel and machine guns, but especially when Nick Fury is concerned.
- POOT! for Stephanie Brown's grappling gun in the third Batgirl series.
- Empowered has "VORPP" for her energy blasts.
- *ping* (sometimes *Ping* or *PING!*)
Live Action TV
- Star Wars
- The "Zzzzmmm" sound from a lightsaber. The books also describe the "snap-hiss" of lightsaber activation fully expecting the reader to know exactly what it sounds like.
- From the same series, Darth Vader's breathing.
- Chewbacca's growls. a mashup of animal voices (a major component being from a baby brown bear named 'Pooh').
- R2-D2's beeps.
- A TIE Fighter's engines as it zooms past. Perhaps a little less iconic to the general public, but any Star Wars fan will recognize it instantly.
- Jumping to light speed.
- Godzilla's trademarked Signature Roar certainly counts.
- Johnny Weissmuller's trademarked Tarzan yell, which was always the same sound effect.
- The distinctive sound of the heat ray from the 1950's The War Of The Worlds movie has been used anywhere and everywhere over the years. Filmation was particularly fond of it.
- The Mighty Roar of the Tyrannosaurus rex from Jurassic Park. As well as the unique "barking" sound of the Velociraptor.
- The sound of Jason Voorhees' rattling breath.
- The distinctive vorrrp/ka-chunk sounds used in the Predator films, during POV shots when the hunter-aliens target their ranged weaponry or shift the range/mode of their vision-enhancing masks.
- Star Trek
- The "chika-chika" from opening a communicator.
- The quiet hissing sound a door makes on Star Trek when it opens.
- The bleeps and bloops of the NCC-1701's many gizmos.
- The polyphonic whirr of the transporters.
- Photon torpedoes being fired.
- Phasers being fired, both handheld units and ship-mounted banks.
- The humming sounds on the bridge when not much is going on. Especially the twangy sound reminiscent of a submarine's sonar ping.
- The 'VROOP... VROOP...' for red alerts.
- The Next Generation added a whole slew of new sound effects, many of them being for new versions of the 'older' items. Lots of louder beeps were replaced by quieter, rapid-fire beep sequences.
- The "warp drive" sound effect was also standardized.
- Doctor Who
- The sound the TARDIS makes materialising and dematerialising. Which is rendered in comics as "Vworp Vworp" and often described as a "wheezing, groaning" noise. Lampshaded in The Time of Angels.
The Doctor: But... it didn't make the noise.
River: What noise?
The Doctor: You know, the... [wheezes three times to imitate]
River: It's not supposed to make that noise. You leave the brakes on.
The Doctor: Yeah, well, it's a brilliant noise. I love that noise.
- The sound of the sonic screwdriver.
- The Master's drumming, inspired by the iconic theme tune. Revealed to be that exact rhythm because it's the sound of a Time Lord's double heartbeat.
- The quiet hum of a stationary TARDIS, and its Evil Counterpart, the pulsing electronic "heartbeat" sound of Dalek technology.
- The distant clanging of the Cloister Bell.
- The Stargate-verse has the sound made by a Zat gun, and the sound of the ring transporters. (It has a lot of sounds, but these are the ones that pop up in other shows most.
- Can't forget the all-important KA-WOOSH of an opening gate.
- The "screeching poof" of a dying vampire in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.
- The "Phoof" sound in every NCIS episode (except the first season and the first couple episodes of season 2).
- For Babylon 5, the inclining and declining electronic whine of the Earther's plasma pistols powering up or down.
- The DUN-DUN noise that marks scene transitions in the Law & Order franchise. Even The Love Guru lampshades it when greeting Mariska Hargitay.
- Ultraman's Henshin and Color Timer.
- Intel's five-note theme.
- Bwup! Bwup! Bwup! BWUPBWUPBWUPBWUPBWUP!
- Xena's "Aiyiyiyiyiyiyi" battle cry.
- Samantha's "tinka tinka tee" when she wiggles her nose in Bewitched, along with Endora dis/appearing, the latter of which has also been used for other magic related events.
- Jeannie's "wish granting,etc" sound effect in I Dream of Jeannie.
- An unusual one: the sound of a red light sweeping back and forth across a horizontal forward facing bar. Occurs in both Battlestar Galacticas, in the first on the eyelines of the Cylon centurions, and in the reboot there AND on their Raider spacecraft. Oddly, the exact same effect crops up, sweeping red light and all, on Knight Rider.
- The "shot" sound effects from the original series (both the ones for the Cylons, and the ones for the Colonial vipers),
- The vipers' engine sounds (all variations including the "TURBO" one).
- The Cylon shot sound effects were later used for the Joes' shots in the original G.I. Joe series.
- 24's CTU ringtone. Not to mention the clock going into and out of commercials, and ending most episodes.
- Spartacus: Blood and Sand: Every time Lucretia and Ilithyia share a kiss, you can hear a hissing snake. This is very fitting, considering the passive-aggressive and backstabbing nature of their relationship.
- Game show examples:
- The Press Your Luck board.
- The clicking and whirring sound on the Concentration game board was from the actual trilon motors operating each of the thirty squares. On Classic Concentration, a four-note effect was used for each called number as the board was now computer generated.
- The Price Is Right had numerous signature sound effects for its myriad of games, most notably for the Range Game, Magic Number, and the "beep" noises of the Showcase Showdown wheel.
- The classic Doom games have several examples, including the Cacodemon death and Arch-Vile alert sound effects. Perhaps the most notable is the "alien speech" that is spoken by the end boss of Doom 2, which was actually a recording of John Romero's voice reading the line "To win the game, you must defeat me, John Romero" played backwards and with extra effects added.
- Super Mario Bros.
- Mario's jumping noise, the "ping!" of coins, and Yoshi's tongue and mounting noises.
- The Super Mushroom and 1UP Mushroom jingles.
- The familiar "glug glug glug" sound doubles as both the "power down" sound as well as traveling through pipes.
- From the New Super Mario Bros. series: "BAH-BAH!"
- Yoshi's Island has, unfortunately, Baby Mario's crying.
- The Legend of Zelda
- Beedle's exclamation of "Thank you!": the first fully voiced sentence in a Zelda game.
- The "boodle-loodle" sound of Link's spin attack charging.
- The "DA-NA-NA-NAAA!" sound of finding an item.
- As of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, there's a secondary Item Get! fanfare: "DAH-NANANA-NAAA!"
- The puzzle-solved jingle.
- Monster Hunter
- The sudden, Jaws-esque beat, inspired by Metal Gear, that plays whenever a monster sees you qualifies.
- "So tasty!" every time you correctly cook a steak. Coincidentally, much like Beedle's "Thank you," these are the only two words ever actually spoken in the entire franchise.
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Sonic's jumping and spindashing noises.
- The Rings' SFX, both the collecting and the sound you hear when you lose them are easily recognized.
- The gasping sound made when picking up an air bubble, indicating that you've managed to stave off drowning...for now.
- Fire Emblem: The stinging crack of a Critical Hit.
- Super Smash Bros.: The "Ping", a loud crack that plays whenever someone lands certain types of super-powerful attacks.
- The sound effects for flipping through menus has not changed since melee. They're instantly recognizable to any Smash fan.
- There is a distinct crashing sound effect for any attack that sends an opponent straight down, signifying a Meteor Smash.
- Even in advertising for games, there is the Xbox "whoosh" and Sony's Playstation commercials featuring the "chung" at the beginning and the "Puraystason" at the end.
- The Konami pause sound.
- The "Paseli!" clip that plays when paying to play a Konami arcade game using PASELI.
- Halo: Wort wort wort!, because Elites Are More Glamorous.
- In the same videogame, the "Thwunk-Whoosh" of the rocket launcher is instantly recognisable before you get blown to bits by a rocket.
- The hyperspace jump sound from Homeworld
- In Touhou, Utsuho's warning klaxon she declares her spellcards with.
- Clank, clank, thunk, scrape. Pyramid Head has come to rape!
- The standard "whoosh" of a boss being defeated in most RPG Maker games.
- The intense sound of piano slamming combined with tall men in business suits is sure to bring back haunting memories of ruined chairs.
- After hearing most video game consoles boot up enough times, you will always remember the sound (but not all of them are sound effects; some of them are outright music, like the Sega chorus (mostly in the Sonic the Hedgehog games), the GameCube... cube thing for which you could change the "instrument" used, or the Neo Geo chimes). The PlayStation line gets bonus points for using a separate sound effect for advertisements (these days, it's just the final syllable with a background sound, but in the past it has been the whole word accompanied by some background sounds).
- The "clash" sound effect heard in various Capcom games. One example is in the Mega Man Zero series when the "MISSION COMPLETED" appears after successfully clearing a mission.
- Speaking of Mega Man:
- That extremely grating "reeeeeeee" sound every time MM's energy is recharged.
- The "pow pow pow pow pow..." sound that plays whenever Mega Man or a Robot Master is destroyed, which is even integrated into Mega Man's appearance in Super Smash Bros. whenever he's KO'd.
- The sound of Pac-Man eating pellets, that familiar "waka waka...".
- Also, "Eeeeeeeeeeeee—bwop-bwop."
- Quake III: Arena's railgun shots.
- Metal Gears CODEC calls. And the ! sound effect when you're spotted by an enemy.
- Each Pokémon has its own distinct entry soundbite, although the level to which they are distinct varies.
- The slight whoosh of a Poke Ball being thrown and the 'ch' of the Ball opening (note that the practiced ear can tell the difference between the 'opening sound' used in the anime and in the games).
- De-doop. De-doop. De-doop. Pshh. You caught a Pokemon!
- The healing sound effect of be-do-be-do-be-do-beep is sufficiently iconic of the action that even if it plays out of context, the player knows that their team has just been healed regardless.
- Crimzon Clover's BREAK MODE activation sound.
- Myst has the voooooooi-ch-ch-ch-ch of linking books.
- Duck Hunt: The dog's Annoying Laugh.
- Kirby has the sound the titular character makes when he's inhaling an enemy, the Copy Ability sound effect, the sound that plays when Kirby enters a door, and, to a lesser extent, the jumping sound effect.
- SNK Playmore fighting games tend to have a distinct KOOWAAAAAAAAH sound when certain special moves hit, particularly any of the Sakazaki family (And Robert and King's) specials. Why? Because that sound first popped up in Art of Fighting.
- The roar of Lavos in Chrono Trigger. If "Eldritch Abomination" can be summed up with a sound, this is definitely it.
- The "psssh-tik" sound of entering and exiting VATS and the in Fallout series.
- Flowey's Evil Laugh in Undertale.
- The low-pitched continuous scream-like noise that plays whenever the player triggers Uboa's appearance in Yume Nikki.
- The throbbing noise that the power of Flux and the Black Chronicle make in Radiant Historia.
- Final Fantasy VI: Kefka's laugh. You just know something bad is about to happen any time you hear it.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune: The "DING DING DING DING DING..." chimes that play on sharp turn alerts and structure collision hazard alerts.
- In Homestuck, Gamzee makes honking noises constantly.
- In Schlock Mercenary the title character's plasma cannon makes an, and we quote, OMINOUS HUMMMMM when Schlock powers it up to announce his presence.
- In Mountain Time, liruses make a distinct SPLURP! noise when popping out of the host bodies that incubate them.
- In Girl Genius and Buck Godot Zapgun For Hire, death rays and rayguns make a distinctive "ZOWNT!" sound.
- In Goblins, Kore's crossbows always make a sinister KATHUNK.
- The KA-CLICK! of Bun-Bun's switchblade.
- PFFT whenever a boss dies in Hiimdaisy's Metal Gear Solid comics.
- When a spaceship or other large object in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! crashes into Bob's roof, the result is almost always the word "BOOM" in a particular block lettering, usually with the letters arranged vertically. Voluptua's transformations get a "FLASH!" in a swoopy serif lettering, and borfomite beams get a "KWA-BOOM!" in the same serif style. When a borfomite beam strikes Bob's roof, the letters KWA are in the serif lettering, and the BOOM is in the block lettering.
- More recently, the strip introduced an official Unsound Effect, the word "Ninj!" - as in, the absence of sound produced by a ninja. Hence, a spaceship exploding in vacuum goes "NINJ!"
- In Skull Kickers, Baldy's gun always goes KRAKOW!
- The sound when the Transformers transform, albeit not in every series. (Basically: G1, RID, and Animated use it for every transformation. Energon and Prime homage it by having their own versions, though the Prime version sounds very much like moving machinery and happens amidst other noises.)
- In Transformers Generation One, the shot sound effects used for the two enemy factions, but also Megatron's fusion cannon, which gets its own deeper, boomier noise. In Transformers Animated, it returns, and is definitely the only thing in the series that makes the sound.
- Looney Tunes: The Meep! Meep! sound of the Road Runner.
- The "Beeeeyoooup!" sound that usually accompanied the Iris Out.
- The slide guitar sound that always played over the WB Vanity Plate before shorts.
- Woody Woodpecker: Woody's annoying laugh.
- Tom and Jerry: Tom's incredibly painful scream, which had two variations ("AAAAAAAAAA" and "Aw-a-ho-hoo-aaw!")
- Goofy: His trademarked Goofy holler, whenever he falls of a cliff or building offscreen.
- Any of Hanna-Barbera's sound effects. Some even date back to when they were making Tom and Jerry for MGM.
- Filmation used some of these among sounds from other sources creating a library of "signature" sound effects in their own right.
- Fleischer Studios' sound effect library, which later carried over to their successor Famous Studios is also very recognizable. It was also used by the Terrytoons studio.
- The "poof" sound effect from The Fairly Oddparents (with occasionally accompanying orchestra hits).
- While Ruby-Spears used many of (eventual) sister company Hanna-Barbera's sound effects (and some of their own which themselves are "signature"), one very noticable series of sound effects comes from Thundarr the Barbarian, namely the "Sun Sword" sound effects, which include activating it, deactivating it, and swinging it (the latter was occasionally used for Dirk the Daring swinging his sword in the Dragon's Lair TV series).
- That four-note ringtone that instantly tells you it's Kim Possible.
- In Family Guy, Stewie's feet always make a distinctive pitter-patter when he runs.
- Spongebob Squarepants' shoes make a distinctive squeak with each step.
- Enforced Johnny Test's infamous "WHIPCRACK!" sound effect, which appears to be the only sound effect that show can afford.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has a small collection of whickering sounds that are used when ponies are startled or confused. There's also a handful of variations on a squeaky chew-toy sound the ponies make when giving sheepish grins.
- Each Gem in Steven Universe has a distinctive sound effect that plays when they summon their weapon or shapeshift.
- Additionally, there's the sound that plays when a Warp Pad is activated.
- Captain Caveman's yell.
- The Simpsons: Barney Gumble's belch, which soon turned into the standard belching sound effect in the Simpsons universe.
- Dexter's Laboratory: Dexter's shoes make a distinctive shuffling sound when he walks. Livewise, Dee-Dee's make a sort of squishing sound when she walks.
- T-Mobile's signature 4 note ringtone.
- the Nokia jingle (adapted from a little known classical guitar composition).
- Various boot-up, error, and menu sounds from various computing systems have often showed up in productions, even movies and TV shows. It may be for an authentic flavor, or just cheapness.
- Much technology in Wall E (including the eponymous robot) uses Apple sound effects.
- Several sound effects from The Real Ghostbusters ended up in other shows. For example, one episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion depicted the Evas' targeting-computer as making the sound of Egon's PKE Meter (a steady "chk-chk-chk-chk-chk" sound).
- Warhammer 40K's boltguns are said to make a distinct hiss-crack sound (bolt rounds use solid propellants and then their own fuel), but they don't really sound alike through various adaptations (or even like particularly hissy-cracky) except that they're loud.