Stock Sound Effects

Singhez-Things: Pardon me, sir. There is a European fireman hiding in the waiting room.
Major Bloodnok: Well, tell him to wait in the hiding room while I paste these photographs into my hat. Paste! PASTE! (aside to listeners) Well, there's no sound effect for paste, is there..?
FX: (creaky door)
Seagoon: No, but there is one for doors opening!
The Goon Show, "The Burning Embassy"

There are many different sounds in the world. Though films and television have gotten far better about that over the years, you could easily be forgiven for thinking they hadn't.

Many, many different sounds are used over and over and over... so much so, in fact, that many people can recognize the sound in question. It's not that the sound is similar. It's that the sound is exactly the same (or almost). And unlike Stock Footage, which is usually isolated to one show, these sounds span multiple shows, and even cross into other media, such as video games.

This is because it's cheaper to use Stock Effects, which are copyright-cleared and available for many studios on a collection of recordings, rather than pay a Foley artist to produce every sound effect. Hence, the primary reason for The Coconut Effect.

Contrast with Signature Sound Effect. If it is a melody, it would be a Standard Snippet. See if you can name each and every time you've heard one of these sounds:

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  • Apparently, the British company Carter Gent has a global, temporal, and metaphysical monopoly on making air raid sirens, because, regardless of universe and time period, an air raid of some description will always be prefaced with the sound of a Carter Gents siren from World War II.
  • Air horns.
  • Sometimes, the sound of a Siren Wailing was used for a Police Car, Ambulance or a Fire Truck Siren. It's always the same sound used in:

Anime & Manga

Live-Action TV
  • The Red Alert — All ships have the same red alert klaxon. You'll hear it prominently whenever anyone calls for one on Star Trek.
    • Similarly, there's the siren a submarine sounds when it's about to dive, usually rendered as "Awooga! Awooga!".
    • A somewhat higher-pitched alarm can be found in shows like Bones (usually during Establishing Shots of the lab), and especially Japanese Tokusatsu shows.
    • Another red alert klaxon is the one used in the Star Wars films, notably when the two Star Destroyers are passing each other in The Empire Strikes Back, and when Darth Vader's shuttle is approaching the Death Star II at the beginning of Return of the Jedi. This is based on the steam horn of a WWII Royal Navy destroyer. It also appears in pitched-up form when the Rebels are attacking the Death Star in A New Hope, and in the Rogue One trailer.
    • It should be noted that for decades US Navy warship's use more of a muted beep sound for General Quarters and have since at least the 70s ... but nearly every Navy movie or TV show made still uses the classic klaxon. Granted, the modern version doesn't actually sound as urgent as the classic, so definitely a case of Artistic License.
  • Factory alarms. There's a particular stock sound that is used everywhere.
    • Notably, the sound used in 24 during a CTU Red Alert lockdown.
    • Somewhat irrelevantly, this sound is also a ringtone on the iPhone.
  • Whenever a fire alarm goes off on a movie or TV, whether a building is burning or it's a fire drill or someone pulls a false fire alarm (either to create a diversion or just as a prank), it is almost always a bell that sounds similar to a school bell or a general signaling bell. In America, bells being used as fire alarms was once common but now very scarce, many of them having been replaced by loud electric buzzers or newer electronic horn/strobe units that sound very similar to a common household smoke alarm, but "screechier."
    • Many bigger newer buildings (including newer schools, hospitals, high-rises, etc.) often use "voice-evacuation" fire alarms. A humorous take on this appears in Gremlins 2: The New Batch.
    • In Canadian schools (in some parts of Canada, at least) it's the other way around; the fire alarm is a classic rapidly-clanging bell, while the class "bell" is a loudly buzzing klaxon on the outside of the building and a more pleasant electronic tone on the inside (a setup which is still called "the bell").
    • Sometimes, the aforementioned air-raid siren stock sound is used for a fire alarm or fire truck siren on TV.
  • Some of the sets of Big Win Sirens used on Game Shows, especially those heard on Scrabble.
  • A siren is sometimes used on Game Shows to mark failures. Notable examples are on shows like The Crystal Maze, where alarms mark strikes in games with automatic lock-in conditions, and Fort Boyard, where an alarm is used for the "Burglary" game.
  • Digital alarm clock buzzers. One of these is also used in game shows and video games for a "time up" or "wrong answer" beep.
  • Played with in Fawlty Towers, when Basil argues with the guests over the difference between the fire bell and the burglar alarm during a fire drill.

  • "Winter Born" by The Cruxshadows has the traditional air raid siren sample.
  • Armand van Helden's "Witch Doktor"(no relation to the David Seville/Alvin & The Chipmunks song) features a submarine klaxon.
  • The Crookers remix of Kid Cudi's "Day 'n Nite" uses a factory alarm sample.
  • Apoptygma Berzerk's cover of Peter Schilling's "Major Tom" uses the classic factory alarm sound in its intro and prechorus.

Video Games

Western Animation

    Aliens and monsters 

Films — Live-Action
  • The "krayt dragon call" in Star Wars: A New Hope that Ben Kenobi uses to scare the Sand People is also the sound of Dewbacks and a few other creatures.
    • Chewbacca's growls are a mix of different animal stock sounds, eg lion, walrus, bear, tiger.
      • There's a source somewhere which details his vocalizations as a bastardization of how Malamute dogs sound.
  • The Godzilla Roar — Despite being copyrighted by Toho it is a prerequisite for giant monsters, being more high pitched than what you'd expect from something that big. Even the 1998 film, as far-removed as it was from the franchise spirit, simply remixed the old reliable sound with elephant rumblings.
    • Intriguingly, at least originally, this was played by Akira Ifukube wearing a leather glove and dragging his hand along the strings of a bass guitar from body to neck. The 2014 remake instead uses a complex mix of other sounds, albeit with the same "notation," so to speak, of varying pitches.
    • Godzilla's roar has changed in pitch and timbre throughout his life, but the one most people remember is his late 60's-early 70's roar, which is the most high-pitched version. The Heisei and Millennium series have Godzilla's roar being deeper and more bestial.
    • Anguirus' roar has also become a bit of a stock roar, being heard in the Street Fighter games (Fei Long's stage), Super Metroid (Draygon's screech), and a few non-Godzilla films.
  • Another stock roar is commonly used as well. It was recorded by Frank Welker and first used for Sharptooth in the first The Land Before Time film, and has since been used for Motaro in Mortal Kombat, the Dragonzord in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Obsidius in Godzilla Unleashed,note  the Octavo from the TV adaption of Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic, and dozens of other movies, TV shows, and video games.
    • The sound in question can be heard at 2:36 into this video. The high-pitched squeal/screech made by Obsidius, whose entire vocal library is made up of stock monster roars from classic American films.
    • It can also be heard, alongside other "classic" monster roars, at 54 seconds into this video.
    • Also used in Warcraft's RTS games, more specifically, the second installment, as the Dragon's stock roar sound effect, with edited versions
  • Jurassic Park actually came up with the brilliant idea of taking multiple stock sound effects of various animals and mixing them together to create the roars of dinosaurs. The sounds would be inputted into a keyboard, where the Sound Effects team would "play" for individual scenes. For example, Tyrannosaurus rex's roar is a baby elephant mixed with a tiger and an alligator, and its breath is a whale's blow. No wonder it had won an Award for Best Sound Mixing! Unfortunately, this would cause many to use these sounds for their own dinosaurs...
    • ...or any animal meant to be seen as exotic and powerful. The new Avatar movie uses those exact same Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor screams for the Thanator, a panther-like creature. In fact, it and the above Godzilla roar are often completely interchangeable.
    • Steven Spielberg uses these again for the Skitters in his Falling Skies TV series.
  • The shark's bellow in Jaws: The Revenge was a semi-common stock roar in older movies, famously used for Spot the dragon's roar in The Munsters and in the Tom and Jerry short "The Milky Waif" (one of it's earliest appearances) where Jerry gets so mad at Tom he lets loose the bellow; not heard much today. The roar also appears in the classic giant insect B-movie The Deadly Mantis, where it may have gained notoriety.
    • Spielberg used this roar in the original Jaws: listen carefully and you hear it as the shark sinks. He also used it in Duel when the tanker truck went off the cliff.

Live-Action TV
  • The Gyrosprinters (or is it the Prongheads) in Alien Planet make the same sound as awakening Insane Cancer monsters in Silent Hill 3.
  • The roar for Kraid, as noted below, was also used for the Tyrannosaurus rex in the last section of Walking with Dinosaurs, "Death of a Dynasty", and was one of King Kong's roars in the 1976 remake of King Kong.
  • In Supernatural a fluttering sound is often heard before an angel appears or disappears, which is meant to represent the sound of their wings.

Video Games

Western Animation
  • In My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic's Season 4 finale, Tirek's Mana Drain sound is the Alien Queen's shriek from Aliens.
    • In "Secret of My Excess", Spikezilla appropriately has a Godzilla roar.
    • The hydra from "Feeling Pinkie Keen" has Sharptooth's roars once more. The dragons usually utter the roars hear at the beginning of this video.

  • Ducks are relatively loud animals, and each breed has its own distinctive style of quacking. But not on TV, that is. You can always recognise duck noises on television by the harsh 'MACK MACK' that usually plays whenever they are around, even if they're not making any noise in the footage itself.
  • The BBC had to seriously up its game on agricultural soap opera The Archers, as it was aimed at a very knowledgeable audience. Who tended to write or phone in if the sounds were wrong. An early goof was playing the wrong sort of sheep noises while dramatic scenes played out among the human cast in the lambing sheds. Unfortunately for the BBC, sheep farmers complained that those were not the sounds of ewes giving birth nor were they of new-born lambs, and it had ruined their enjoyment. It was patently obvious those were much older lambs of about four months or so, and the bleating was just generic sheep-in-a-field, you know, sheep grazing in a field on a normal day, as opposed to being driven or rounded up or sheared, all of which are completely distinctive sounds, and not characteristic of birthing ewes at all. Couldn't the BBC get a simple thing right? The producer who'd naively thought any old baa-ing would do in the background got the point, and despatched researchers with tape recorders to get precisely the correct background sounds for any given scene. Some farmers still rang in to complain that the Aldridge family are stated to farm Romney Marsh sheep, yet the ones you hear in the show are quite clearly Bluefaced Leicesters, as anyone should know... The Archers has always striven to be absolutely correct since, and the BBC now boasts one of the best agricultural sounds collections in the world.
  • Owls always hoot the same way, the eagle always screeches that way (It's actually the cry of a Red-tailed Hawk, no matter how often it's used for an eagle or vulture.), the coyote always howls, all dolphins sound like Flipper, and all monkeys go ooh-ooh-ooh-ah-ah-ah. And not just similarly...the exact same way every time.
    • Any wide-open-spaced wilderness scene will have the stock 'loon cry' or the 'hawk screech' mentioned above.
    • The monkey sound is actually a kookaburra, as said below.
      • When the kookaburra's call is not used, the sounds of a chimpanzee are used for monkeys.
  • There is apparently only one recording of a kookaburra, and it's used in every jungle scene ever filmed despite the fact that kookaburras only live in Australian deserts and New Guinea's rainforests.
    • Including the Tarzan pictures, which include their own set of stock jungle animal sounds, including a hyena, an elephant trumpeting, and even the call of the Indian peacock.
  • Geese are very vocal creatures, but in television they all sound like common farmyard geese, and make the stereotypical GAAA! or KWAAA! sound. In Shrek2, they inadvertantly use geese noises to voice a pair of Mute Swans, which - as their name suggests, but doesn't truly apply - should be mostly quiet or making snorting noises.
  • There are a set of "wolf" sounds — cries, howls, and whimpers — which have been used for at least 50 years in various projects.
    • There are a set of dog sounds that similarly pop up everywhere.
  • There is a common sound of a wolf howling, heavily used in Disney cartoons, in Hanna-Barbera cartoons and even in Fun and Fancy Free. Its official name is "Single, Classic Wolf Howl." note . It's still used to this day. There was also that same stock wolf sound effect in other TV Shows, movies and commercials. It's even used in the opening to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Here is a list of more movies and TV Shows that have the same stock wolf howl sound:
  • There is a horse whinny that's been used in many, MANY movies and at least a couple video games.
    • Also keep it mind that this is in spite of the very broad range of noises a horse can make, some of them bordering on Nightmare Fuel! (no pun intended)
      • Horses in media tend to be limited to three sounds, the snort, the whinny and the neigh. (Even the My Little Pony brand made use of them.)
  • Bear growls also get used for all sorts of animals and monsters, sometimes even ones that shouldn't even be able to vocalize.
    • Bonus points for using the stock bear cub cry for small/baby creatures; "Dinosaur Planet" uses it for baby Saltosaurus, "The Future Is Wild" uses it for baby Snowstalkers.
  • If you ask anyone what a frog sounds like they will go ribbit, but only frogs native to Hollywood make that sound. You'll probably never hear a frog meowing/"sirening" or barking in fiction land.
  • That Poor Cat
  • Squeaks for mice/rats/small rodents aren't nearly as vocal as stock sound effects make them out to be. With the notable exception of guinea pigs, which can be very loud and vocal and which have sometimes been used when the actual animal depicted is a chipmunk or prairie dog.
  • The Bat Screech, which sounds more like a hawk than a real bat.
  • Roars, growls, and snarls of big cats have been used for each other and other animals such as bears, gorillas, t-rex, wolves, etc, and monsters.
    • They've also been used for humanoid monsters, especially the leopard snarl.
    • One specific sound-clip of a cougar snarling has been used a lot, for everything from black-and-white Tarzan movies to the opening sequence of Twilight Zone: The Movie.
  • Many species of monkeys and apes tend to use the same 5 vocalizations.
  • Any scene in British countryside will have the same fox's bark/scream played within about 5 seconds of the scene starting.

Anime & Manga
  • Easily 50% of all anime in existence use the same sound effect of buzzing cicadas at some point, either to show how hot it is outside or just a add a touch of melancholy to the scene.

Films — Live-Action
  • The Afrikaans dub of a dramatization of the Gospel According to Matthew uses stock sounds of morning and evening birdsong, from birds that only live in South Africa. Arguably justified because it helps to establish the time of day in the absence of other clues .
  • The MGM lion.
    • The lion actually had two distinct roars: a ferocious one from the classic days and a digitally-recorded roar that's used to this day. The former was also heard in several MGM cartoons (including Lonesome Lenny and King Size Canary), while the latter was used for in Poltergeist (which, coincidentally, was the first MGM film to use it on the logo), The Lion King, Power Rangers Samurai and in The Simpsons episode "Homer Alone" (when a stressed-out Marge roars at a driver after stopping her car on the bridge).

Live-Action TV
  • If there are ever any ducks quacking, especially in British media, it is usually the same soundclip. It's particularly jarring as if they used single quacks, nobody would notice that it's a stock sample... however, they instead use a sample which sounds like "Quack quack quack quock quock quack quack quock quock", which is downright unmistakable. Amongst other media, it has been used in Simon the Sorcerer, Teletubbies, and The Legend of Dick and Dom.

Video Games
  • The common loon call is used in many wilderness settings, even on other planets, as in the Marathon games.
    • The Marathon games actually have a vast array of sounds that either came from or eventually became stock sound effects, including the Magnum Pistol shot and the electric short circuit sound.
  • The "cougar/panther roar" stock sound is used as the death sound for the dogs in Silent Hill 3 and 4. The ones in 4 also have a "lion grunt" sound when they attack.
  • Warcraft has the stock pig grunt they used in several movies and TV shows.
    • Warcraft 3 has the death screech of the kobolds, which is also sometimes associated with pigs in other media.
  • This seems to apply to ravens as well—the same caw can be heard in Diablo and Geneforge.
  • Camels always make the same annoyed groan in every single film and TV show ever seen. All the more noticeable, since this was the sound effect used — completely unmodified — for the demons in Doom. More recently, the same sound has been used for deer in World of Warcraft.
  • The Pinky Demons in Doom 3 use a lion roar sound. The same sound was used for the Purr-Lin War Clubs in Turok 2.
  • The horse whinny mentioned above is used in the Age of Empires games whenever you click on the stables. Play the game enough times and the sound effect will stick out like a sore thumb in other places.
  • The Ancient Vampires in The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall uses a bobcat stock growl.
  • In Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim, a hawk screech is used at the beginning of Ernst's boss battle theme.

Western Animation
  • The bear sound made famous by The Bear from Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law can also be heard in the El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera episode "Oso Solo Mio".
  • Mel Blanc's animal sound effects have been used other media such as his monster growls most notably used for Gossamer the red hairy monster, his bird screeches, as well as Dino's scream from The Flintstones.
  • If animal sounds are heard in any cartoon made in the last 30 years, chances are Frank Welker provided them.
  • The standard "horse whinny" is heard when Twilight is trying to drag Fluttershy out of her house during "Luna Eclipsed". Justified; this is an episode of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, so the whinny is likely Fluttershy herself as she's being forced out of her hiding place.
    • The Ursa Minor's roar in "Boast Busters".
    • In "Griffon the Brush Off", Gilda can be heard uttering a generic red-tailed hawk's scream as she flies away at the end of the episode.
    • There are two distinct frightened chicken clucks used in various cartoons, one of which was originated by Mel Blanc. An example of the first one is in Mulan when Mushu burns off Shanyu's falcon's feathers, the other is commonly heard in Disney cartoons after a feather has been plucked, an example is from the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode Luna Eclipsed after Twilight asks Pinkie Pie if she's a little old to be trick or treating while she's wearing a chicken costume.
    • For reference, it's the one that goes, "BU-KAAAAAAWWWWW!!!!!!"

    Background Music 
Not audible to the characters. See also Standard Snippet.

  • The Sparklies — A sort of light tinkling noise heard whenever sparkles are present.
  • The foghorn — Inexplicably used for stinky objects.
    • Possibly because it is a way to refer to flatus sounds without running afoul of censors.
    • Another possibility is the fact that sea ports can stink of rotting fish among other things, and the foghorn is meant to evoke that smell.
    • Originated in 1930s radio ads for Lifebuoy soap; they prominently featured a stentorian cry of "B.O.!", in the tone of a foghorn, to evoke the soap's protection ("B.O." was a euphemistic abbreviation for "body odor").
  • The Trombone of Failure: Mwah, mwah, mwahwahwah! Usually used in old cartoons to indicate that a character has comically failed to complete a relatively simple task.
    • There's also the "trumpet of failure" death chime on some early PowerPC Macintosh computers, is that also a stock sound? It was followed a "rim shot" sound similar to above.
    • A similar failure indicator, the "Crash and Burn" sound effect: squealing tires, followed by something metallic crashing into something solid.
  • The classic rim shot that you hear after a bad joke, which is actually called a "sting".
  • The Record Needle Scratch. A scene is going along normally then something shocking and unusual is seen and the background music will come to a screeching halt. At the moment the music stops, the record scratch is played.
    • The DJ scratch.
    • Letting the Air Out of the Band
    • There's also the pop and hiss of a record needle in a record groove. Especially noticeable when the record comes to the end and the needle slides over to the spindle.
  • Loud thumps, clanks and whooshes in non-comedy film trailers, especially just before a sentence is said.
  • That very strange buzzing sound after an explosion or something bright and large taking up the entire screen.
    • The one that goes Ooo Oee Ooo Oee Ooo Oee
  • The "magical shimmer". Used at the beginning of the appropriately named song "Majick" by DJ Keoki. A different stock magical sound is used in the extended version.
  • The Industrial hammer. It is used in The Matrix right before the lobby shootout.
  • A rattling sound that sounds like a drumstick hitting the inside of a can or pipe. Used in The Art of Trance's Octopus, Covenant's Theremin, and Bad Water from the FEAR soundtrack.
  • The Vibraphone chord, essential element of any spy movie.

Live-Action TV

  • A metallic grinding noise sample is used in many electronic music tracks, eg. BT - Flaming June, Veracocha - Carte Blanche, and Signum - First Strike. Also used in the I-70 Mountain Bridge music in Syphon Filter 2, and on Deadliest Catch.
    • Another common sound in electronic/trance music, taken from the Distorted Realities sound libraries, is that noise at the beginning of "Exhale" by System F, which is also used in "Gargoyle" by Sanxion 7(producer of "EternuS-", featured in Dance Dance Revolution Supernova 2).
  • The sound of a shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) in Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" is a standard sample on E-MU synthesizers. It was used a year prior to Peter Gabriel's single in songs by Tangerine Dream ("Yellowstone Park") and Wang Chung ("Wake Up, Stop Dreaming").

Video Games

Western Animation
  • Parodied/Lampshaded in Spongebob. In an attempt to appease Spongebob, Plankton offers him a brand new Spatula. Rather than playing the stock 'shiny' sound effects, he literally says the words "Ching! Sparkle, sparkle" as it shines.
  • The bullhorn of failure (uuuuuuuh uaaaaah) in The Ren & Stimpy Show.
  • The "Yabbity Yabbity" sound originating in an early 1930's Looney Tunes short was used many times in later shorts and other cartoons throughout the years, the sound usually occurs after a characters hits his head and shakes it to regain consciousness or if a character is preparing to charge into something. The sound was made by blowing a certain tune on a trombone and speeding up the sound.
  • The sound whenever a character in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon is preparing to run away (usually with a Wheel o' Feet) is bongo drums played very fast. It is sometimes used in other cartoons one example is in the John Kricfalusi cartoon "Boo Runs Wild" in which during the fight scene between Yogi and Ranger Smith as they are exchanging punches the sound can be heard as the punches connect.

  • The Creaky Metal Door — Every metal door, no matter the size, no matter how fast they're opened, makes the exact same sound: A high-pitched squeak followed by a slightly lower-pitched whine.
  • Doom Doors: the entire subtrope of them.
  • Doctor Who has its own set of door noises, most of which debuted in the first Dalek story. Oddly enough, they were only really used from Hartnell to Troughton; after that, the SFX seemed to fall out of favor.
  • Any commercial or radio play by Creator Dick Orkin is recognizable by, among other things, its door sound.

Films — Live-Action
  • Star Wars door sounds are occasionally used, particularly in games set in that universe.

Live-Action TV

Video Games
  • There's an equally widespread sample used for wooden doors. Appears in Diablo and around 1000 movies.
  • There's also the rusty metal trapdoor sound. Heard as a scare sound in the Halo series on Flood-infested levels. It, or something similar, is also used in the Tomb Raider series.
  • Many doors and elevators use the "Big Door", "Platform", and "Heavy Platform"(also heard in the Quake series starting with II) sounds from the Marathon series. The ambient sounds in those games are also mostly stock sounds, eg the wind, the loon sound, water dripping, water sloshing, and the Pfhor ship ambience.
  • Prison door slamming and locking. Heard in Wolfenstein 3D and the Sim games.
  • The sound when the Icon of Sin spits out an enemy in Doom 2 is also used for airlocks in some sci-fi, and the Fusion Pistol shot impact sound in Marathon 2: Durandal.
  • The Beamos statues in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess rotate with the same sound as the elevators in the original Quake.
  • The "creaky hanging object" sound heard in Silent Hill 2 during the Historical Society Abyss descent.
  • Though not a door, the sound of a 'Mech falling over and getting up in MechWarrior 3 is the Doom Door sound but shortened slightly.
  • The aforementioned Star Wars door sound appears in Perfect Dark.
  • A slightly shorter version of Marathon's Heavy Platform Stop sound is used in Fallout 3 for Liberty Prime's footsteps.
  • The "Spaceship Door" sound effect used for platforms in Doom was also in the obscure PS 1 game Hybrid, but it's only the "chung" platform stopping sound.

Western Animation
  • Futurama uses the Star Trek door opening "zwoosh" sound effect for pretty much every door, even some where it might not make sense, but extends it by adding a pitched-up version after the original. This variant was actually introduced in Star Trek: The Animated Series.

    Geiger counter crackling 
  • "Clicking noise = Radiation" is very common, especially in video games — whether the character should have a detector of some sort or not. In Real Life, modern radiometers don't click at each particle, but can sound an alarm, with three exceptions: consumer models clicking for The Coconut Effect, models used for demonstrating in schools, and pro models that can be set to click, ensuring moderate values aren't shown due to frying ICs.
    • True for most stuff that only measures gamma (where solid state detectors are "good enough"), but the classic clicking is very much still in use - especially with hand-held alpha and beta instruments. In a radiological triage situation involving α/β emitters, for example, an operator will sweep each potentially affected person with a sensitive hand-held probe and check them for contamination (α and β radiation travels only a short distance in air). The operator will go mostly by sound, as this provides immediate feedback, and will only check any other kind of readout if a contaminated spot is detected.

Films — Animation
  • The Simpsons, on a nuclear powerplant.
  • Monsters, Inc.: The devices used to measure contamination from human children by the CDA.

Films — Live-Action
  • The War of the Worlds (1953 adaptation) — the first fallen "meteor" is sort of "warm".
  • The Incredible Hulk:
    Rick Jones: The whole world's going batty! Even this kookie radio — it won't play! All it gives out is static!
    Banner: That's no radio! It's a Geiger Counter! It measures radiation! Listen to it! It's going wild! It's getting louder and louder! Faster and faster! What's happening??
  • James Bond:
    • Occurs in Dr. No when James Bond uses a Geiger counter on the part of Quarrel's boat where Strangways placed the samples from Crab Key. Averted later on when Dr. No's technicians check Bond and Honey Rider for radioactive contamination and there is no static at all.
    • Thunderball — in Bond's gadget camera.
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. When the title character is in Dr. Totenkopf's uranium mine, he finds a Geiger counter and turns it on.
  • Used in the fourth season of Battlestar Galactica.
  • The M.U.T.O. Research Viral Marketing website for Godzilla (2014) uses this as one of its background sounds.

  • In Stern Pinball's Harley Davidson, the end-of-ball bonus summary is accompanied by the cry of a red-tailed hawk when tallying up the Eagle Bonus.


Video Games
  • Half-Life though the compression at the time made it come off as more of a bubbly, popping noise. Black Mesa gave the geiger counter a more defined ticking noise that helps make it more crackly when close to dangerous areas along with the player's vision becoming noisy.
  • Psychonauts (around green bubbling goo).
  • Fallout 3 actually calls this one out by name over one of Galaxy News Radio's PSA's. "Tick-tick-tickity means run yo' ass outta there!"
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare — goes off around Chernobyl if you try to leave.
  • System Shock 2 when Player Character enters a radioactive area. Justified in that the hacker got an implant that feeds him a lot of audiovisual indication.
  • Deus Ex, in an unfinished building in Paris.
  • World in Conflict produces clicking noise in the speakers when zooming on a recent nuclear explosion site.
  • Metroid Prime, on Samus' power suit.
  • Command & Conquer: Renegade has clicking when near Tiberium, though this may be the Tiberium itself making the noise rather than radiation being picked up.
  • Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light use this sound effect to indicate when you are in a radioactive area, which will kill you if you stick around too long, mostly on the surface of post-apocalyptic Moscow.

    The environment 
  • There are several commonly used thunder sounds. It is also because of the difficulty to record a pure thunder sound without rain in the background. While thunder caused by a lightning strike can last up to and over 40 seconds in Real Life, stock thunder sounds usually last only 1-5 seconds.
    • Castle Thunder (as in Universal's Frankenstein) is the most well-known of them all. Used in many Disney movies made from the 1930s to the late-1980s and on many pre-1991 Hanna-Barbera cartoons, which often had their own distinct stock sound effects anyway. Scooby-Doo often featured the Castle Thunder, but beginning in the early 2000s they began phasing it out for newly-recorded lightning strikes and thunderclaps that were often recorded specifically for them, and do not have the campiness or charm level as the old thunder did. (More info on the sound effect.)
    • Generic Horror Thunder; that 'Tchik-ak-ak-ak-ak!' sound that the thunder and lightning always make in horror movies. Did you ever hear that sound in a real storm?
      • Those type of sounds occur when lightning strikes close to the viewer. It's not actually thunder, but the sound of the lightning arcing.
    • The "CHTAOW!" thunder sample featured in the Pet Shop Boys song "It's a Sin".
  • Then there are stock sound loops of wind howling and most of them sound like they're passing some kind of wind corridor. Wind rarely does those kind of sounds in Real Life where most of the sound is usually generated by foliage which the wind passes through.
    • One of these is used in Marathon 2: Durandal, alongside a stock thunder sound, which is also used in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault's Sniper's Last Stand level.
  • The underwater SCUBA bubbling sound. Heard in Duke Nukem 3D.


  • The sound of a cooing baby is the same in many TV shows, movies and commercials. It's similar to the sound heard at the end of the Prince song "Delirious."
    • Also heard in the chorus of Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody?", and the intro of Regina's "Baby Love".
  • "Dr. Davis, telephone please" and "Dr. Blair, Dr. Blair, Dr. J. Hamilton, Dr. J. Hamilton" being paged in any hospital scene.
  • Many songs by the Pizzicato Five have a re-ocurring sound of someone saying "The new stereophonic sounds spectacular"
  • There are several stock Ominous Latin Chanting samples.
  • The high-pitched voice screaming "Wooh! Yeah!" is a sample of James Brown's voice taken from the song "Think (About It)" by Lyn Collins. It was most frequently found in 80s and 90s dance and hip hop tracks, as well as the Bill Nye the Science Guy theme.
  • "Look, now I'll start the melody on the organ", usually used in remixes during intros and interludes.
    • Hideki Naganuma's "Oldies But Happies", from the JSRF soundtrack.
    • "Abba Gabba" by Riot Nation
    • A remix of Santana's "Oye Como Va"
    • "It's Spare the Rock" by They Might Be Giants
  • "Digital storm going to rock your brain". Used in the 1996 rave tune "Typhiko" by Welcome, and DJ Taka's "Leading Cyber" from beatmania IIDX and Dance Dance Revolution.

Video Games

Western Animation
  • Also the sound of children cheering in any cartoon featuring a little league baseball game, also heard in Recess many times.
  • A very common sound of children playing is used rather prolifically in Codename: Kids Next Door. You'll know the one when you hear someone yell "oh no!" Also heard during the Idiosyncratic Wipes.
  • Shapey's scream from Moral Orel.
  • Mel Blanc's hiccups have been used in several later cartoons and sometimes in live action films such as Film/Gremlins and Film/Innerspace.
  • Wakko's distinctive belch from Animaniacs provided by Maurice LaMarche has been used several times in other productions La Marche has been involved in, including the Will Ferrell comedy Film/Elf.

  • Virtually EVERY time someone offscreen (or with their back to the viewer) is typing, they use the sound of the SAME computer keyboard, the IBM Model M, largely because it's the only widely known keyboard on which typing is audible across an entire room
    • Alps-based keyboards are also quite common since they make very loud clacks.
  • The Electric Sound — Whenever one sees electricity, they always hear the electric buzzing it might make, if real electricity made much sound at all. Alternating current will make a low 50 or 60 Hz (depending on which country's grid it is) hum because magnetic materials change their shape as the current flowing through them changes, which can be heard at electric substations and faintly if a fluorescent striplight is on in an otherwise silent room, and also create a faint mains hum on any nearby speaker because of the changing magnetic field.
    • Heard in Marathon, along with the "electric spark" stock sound effect.
  • The Sonar Ping — A constant in low grade submarine movies (or not so). Almost always heard when the boat is submerged even when there are no other ships in the area. Military submarines very rarely use their active sonar because it loudly broadcasts their presence to any other ships (or entities) in the area.
    • And it's always, always the same sound — the distinctive "pling" of the British WWII ASDIC sonar.
    • This file is even included in the sound database of some versions of Propellerhead's Reason Digital Audio Workstation — as a snare sample, oddly enough.
    • So pervasive, this sound was even used in Shriek if You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth to ensure audiences would recognize that the object the killer uses to spy on someone in the school bathroom is a periscope.
    • This is actually The Coconut Effect in action. German WWII submariners said the ASDIC sounded as if someone was throwing sand to the submarine's hull.
  • The Universal Studios telephone ring — Used in many older works. Sound engineers don't use it anymore because of a noticeable warble in the recording.
    • Also phone-related, the "ding-ding" sound of someone putting a dime into an old three-slot pay phone. Those phones used mechanical bells to tell the operator how much money was being put into the phone: "ding" for a nickel, "ding ding" for a dime, and "gong" for a quarter. It's heard even when a character is using a modern pay phone that produces electronic coin sounds (which are short beeps: one beep for a nickel, two beeps for a dime, five beeps for a quarter), or even when pay phones cost more than 10 cents.
    • The "squark!" sound after every transmission (called MDC-1200 and actually used by some police radio systems)
  • Used in an incredible amount of media is the toilet flush from the chron 'o' johns in Day of the Tentacle. The same sound can be heard on television, films and other games.
  • Momentary Feedback on a PA system — Amazingly this usually fixes itself after a second or so. Or there's some guy who turns a dial back and forth a couple of times.
    • Hollywood PA systems appear to be equipped with intelligent microphones which can sense how nervous the person approaching the mike is and feedback accordingly. Thus, a generally nervous character who is dragged onto the stage will say "Hell—[WHHEEOOOOOO]—er ... um ... hello." Whereas a cocksure, confident character will never cause feedback, no matter how unexpectedly loudly he booms into the mike. There's an element of Truth in Television at work here. The standard Feedback Squeal isn't caused by the volume of the person talking into the mike, it's caused when the mike is pointed at a speaker that it's attached to. A confident person is less likely to wave the mike around aimlessly.
      • Subverted in King of the Hill's "Now Who's The Dummy" episode where, playing to a nursing home, the awkward 'mic' feedback is revealed to be coming from a resident's hearing-aid.
  • "Beep beep boop beeb beep beep beep!" The sound a Hollywood cellphone makes when a character makes a call using the internal phonebook, as though it was actually dialling the number. When sliding through the numbers in the phonebook if and only if the keyboard sound is activated, many phones will make a constant and very faint beep-beep sound.
  • Whenever Anything is being built offscreen, you can any combination of Hammers pounding in nails, Jackhammers breaking up rocks and saws of all types cutting wood.
  • The distinctive "sssschhiiing!" of scissor blades parting.
  • The 'Tron' footstep 'pnnk-pnnk' sounds that appear repeatedly in anime from the eighties onward; notable Fight! Iczer-1 and the original Bubblegum Crisis/Crash.
  • Any time police cars are included in media (particularly Video Games) and the radio is heard, it most often has the same stock (unintelligeible) radio message.
  • Some cash registers and other electronic devices use familiar video game sounds, such as the "get ring" sound from Sonic the Hedgehog, the "secret found" sound from The Legend of Zelda, and the "Konami pause" sound.
  • Anytime a freeze frame is taken to show that a photograph is taken, this transition will be accompanied with the sound of a chemical flashbulb.
  • The "message being displayed in capital letters at the bottom of the screen" sound. JAG used it all the time, as well as any number of military- or police-based movies and TV series.
  • Whenever a digital single-lens reflex camera is used the sound is invariably that click-whirr of a film reflex with an automatic electric winder, despite the fact that digital ones obviously don't wind anything, and so only do a simple click when the mirror flips.
    • Electronic flashes are almost always depicted making a huge noise, first when charging, and then when fired, both clearly audible even in an agitated crowd of people. Sometimes even the ridiculously exagerrated explosion sound of a turn-of-last-century flash lamp stuffed with magnesium powder is used. Electronic flashes only make an almost inaudible click when fired, and charging is completely silent.
  • That little musical sequence modems make. Kriiiii-doooo-bedoobedoobe-doooo...
  • Whenever a tape or piece of dialog is heard heavily sped-up, it's not uncommon to hear the following after slowing it back down:
    "As one of Canada's leading ethical pharmaceutical companies, we have researched and developed products of the finest quality, to the well-being of Canadians since 1954. Today, is no different. The success of Astra depends upon our ability to make the right moves at the right time."
    • It's been used in Red Dwarf, Steven Universe note , Adam Sandler's comedy records note , Virtual Springfield note , a BlazeNet Internet radio commercial note , and more.

Films — Live-Action
  • There's a "Charging" sound, heard in Ghostbusters (1984) and a ton of Anime.
  • All stadium-type lights in TV and Movies make a loud "du-chunk" sound when turned on or off, despite them not making this or any sound IRL (at least in modern times).

Live-Action TV

  • There seem to be only a few stock sounds used for the static heard when tuning through a radio dial. For one example, the radio static at the beginning of Justice's "D.A.N.C.E." is identical to the "Radio Tuning 01" stock sound included with Apple's GarageBand. Another clip, from Simon Harris' sample CD, is used in both Bomb The Bass' "Megablast" and Eiffel 65's "Europop".
  • "Chchzooom!", used in most songs by Eiffel 65, including Blue.

Video Games
  • Starcraft by Blizzard Entertainment has many stock sounds used, notably sound which is made when something is clicked, many of the electrical-sounding construction sounds when the protoss build a building
    • And the "zappedi-zap" sound of Lockdown. That one appears in movies and games all over the place.
    • The terran building liftoff sound also used all over the place, often used as futuristic door sound as well.
  • The magic or technology sound "schwep-schwep" sound, heard in Doom II's final level when the big-bad creates a new baddie.
    • Sometimes used as a door opening sound. Also used in the Marathon series for the fusion pistol's projectile impact sound.
  • Command & Conquer: The Tesla Coil and Chronosphere sound in Red Alert.
  • The many "Alien Electronics" stock sounds: The holo-switches in the Halo games and the Alien Corridors music use such a sound.
  • Stock Arcade Sounds usually based on Atari 2600 Pac-Man.
    • And sometimes Atari 2600 Donkey Kong.
    • The song "Movement in Still Life" by BT uses sound effects from Defender, Ms. Pac Man, Galaga, and other 80s arcade games during its "break" section .
    • "Love Missile F1-11" by Sigue Sigue Sputnik uses the Ms. Pac Man death sound at one point.
    • Crystal Castles' "Air War" samples Mario's walking sound from Donkey Kong.
    • Supertramp's "The Logical Song" uses a sound effect from a Mattel Electronic Football game.
  • The sound of the fan in Silent Hill's alternate school has been used in many other places, including the wind tunnel in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, and the ventilation fan in the alternate mall in Silent Hill 3. BTW, it's the "Machine Room 1" sample from the Altered States sound archive.
  • The security camera rotation sound, e.g. the indestructible cameras in Splinter Cell. Sometimes this sound is used for other electronic devices too.
  • The teleportation sound used in Second Life shows up in several other contexts as well, such as the poisonous mushrooms in Star Fox Adventures.
  • The shimmering sound heard at many points in Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 (first heard at the beginning of Truth & Reconciliation Suite on the OST), as well as parts of the FEAR series, such as the "Docks Ambient" BGM.
  • The "Breaking Up" radio static sample from Spectrasonics' Distorted Reality 2 library is used for the ambiance in Silent Hill 2's otherworld hotel basement, and also in Twisted Metal: Black, particularly in the Prison Passage level.
  • The teleportation sound in/from Quake I.
  • The "Drone Preparing to Fire" sound from Marathon 2 is also used as the Cypher drone activation sound in Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter.
  • Euclid's C-Finder in Fallout: New Vegas uses the aforementioned dial-up modem sound.
  • The electronic flash charging sound is used in Splinter Cell and a few other series when the player activates night or thermal vision.

Western Animation
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic has the "schwing!" teleportation sound, and the spacey sound when Twilight accidentally switches her friends' cutie marks in "Magical Mystery Cure".

  • The two-honk doppler-effect truck pass.
  • The railroad crossing. Whenever there is a railroad crossing, you know well in advance the car will stop for whatever reason right in the middle of it, and you know exactly the stock crossing bells and train horn you will hear. In fact, you even know the sound the car will make while the hapless driver tries to start it again instead of doing something sensible like open the door and run away.
  • The Squealing Tyre Turn — Regardless of things like the differential which exist to prevent it, and regardless of the speed of the vehicle, all cars going around corners have squealing tyres. Even on dirt roads.
    • Which is basically what 'World's Scariest Police Chases' or virtually any police chase show John Bunnell hosts runs off. The shows 'Most Shocking' and 'Most Daring' are sometimes guilty of this, also. The same tire screeching sounds that are available in most Powerpoint applications are found in the shows, constantly re-used in the form of slowing it down, speeding it up, clipping it, or just simply changing the pitch of it. They do that with horns, crashes, people screaming, etc., and if you'll notice, one screech sound effect will be used when the assailant makes a risky move, but when they replay it in slow motion, they use a different one! For some reason, you can hear people scream, and hear clear, crisp car sound effects when they show footage from a helicopter... and you'll notice that every single chase sequence shot from the air involving any more than one police vehicle will have a collaboration of sirens consisting of two "wail" tones and one "yelp" tone going off incessantly until the clip ends.
  • Speaking of skidding tires, this skid while braking, often used in The Simpsons when a car stops. It's even used to this day.
  • The "clank" sound, used for car crashes, which can also be heard in some racing games such as San Francisco Rush.
  • The "cough-whirr-cough-whirr" noise of a malfunctioning engine. It's all over the place; some works that have it are Knight Rider 2000 (whenever Kitt uses the EMP to make an engine stop) and Sim Copter (when the helicopter is very damaged). Also the movie Universal Soldier, when the offroader runs out of gas, and in Hard Drivin' / Race Drivin. It's even in Half-Life 2: Episode 2 if you exit the muscle car.
  • The "choo choo" train whistle. Even steam locomotives don't sound like that, and it's just plain wrong with a modern train. Also, the "chug chug chug" sound of the pistons. Conversely, the diesel locomotive horn sometimes gets used for steam trains.
  • The accelerating motorcycle, as heard in The Tom and Jerry Show opening sequence and many other cartoons.
  • The jet plane flyby/landing sound.
  • The chirp-chirp-chirp sound made by a helicopter's drive belts as they slow down and disengage. The only helicopter that actually makes this sound is the Bell 47-G. It's the one you see on Mash.
  • The siren-like sound of an airplane going down. This particular sound is applied to a number of films (both contemporary to the war and after the fact) set in World War II and up until around the time of the Vietnamese War, to show airplanes in a dive or after being shot down. This is almost always the Stuka Ju 87 "Jericho Trumpet" being heard, a propeller-driven siren designed for that particular dive bomber as a psychological weapon by the Luftwaffe.
  • Hanna-Barbera used to use a standard sound effect for vehicular crashes that sounded like two nearly identical collisions in succession followed by tinkling glass. It also got used on The Price Is Right during the "Cliffhangers" game whenever the "yodely guy" falls off the cliff.
  • Most police and fire department vehicles, including ambulances will be given an electronic siren sound, either wail, or yelp, even if the vehicle is shown with an electromechanical siren. Sometimes it's the reverse, where the emergency vehicle will make the distinctive "Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr" sound of a mechanical siren, when the vehicle clearly has an electronic siren speaker mounted. Many large fire trucks in real life use a very distinctive sounding mechanical siren made by the Federal Sign and Signal Company, model Q 2 B. This siren has heavy power needs, so it usually is only used on large trucks. In films and TV you will often hear this sound made by police or ambulances which were unlikely to have such a large siren.
  • The whining jet flyby sound from 28 Days Later was later used in Sonic X which it's commonly used for the X-Tornado.

  • The *ting-ting* sound when something explodes which sounds like metal pieces tinking off each other. Commonly used used when tanks, cars, and some buildings are blown up.
  • Anytime a group (usually people) gets smashed by a large object, the noise is likely to be a Bowling Pin Smash.
  • The Half-Life 2's RPG launch sound effect is often used as a generic explosion sound effect, even in music videos.
  • Similar to the above, the sound of the AT-Stabber cannon firing in Battlezone is from the sound of an explosion far away.
  • Extended sound of glass breaking. You know the one. It goes on and on and finishes on a slightly quieter echo of the first crash. Shows up everywhere, especially in cartoon Overly Long Gags where falling through a window is played for laughs.
    • Not to mention that pottery will sometimes break among glass and seems to break with the same sound over and over. Video games are particularly heavy offenders.
    • Afterward, a single circular object may be heard wobbling to a stop, especially when it's following a variety of crashing noises.
  • The Mean Right Hook — When fist meets jaw, for some reason it resembles a drum beat.
  • The "Arm Swing and Punch Face, Jaw Sock" — When a fist or a foot meets the head, for some reason it sounds like a person being hit in the body. Commonly used in anime and quite a few videogames from the early 90's.
  • The muffled "Pshht!" fire sound which is often heard when someone's breathing fire of during some fireball explosions.
  • This is more common in anime, but any Laser Blade will do the 'snap-hiss' of a lightsabre igniting, and the 'vooooom' when it's swung through the air.
    • Particularly Zeta Gundam - the original Japanese version used several lightsabre sounds for the beam sabers, but these were replaced by standard Gundam sound effects for foreign releases, presumably to avoid crossing Lucas's lawyers. This also holds true for video games featuring Zeta-era machines.
  • Most swords seem to make the same sound when drawn or when sheathed.
  • The "deafened" tone - a sudden cessation of previous background noise and dialogue, accompanied by a rising pitch like radio feedback - used to signify that a preceding sound was powerful enough to overwhelm the characters' hearing.
  • Many of the gunshots, ricochets, car crashes, and glass breaks from Lethal Weapon and it's sequels (except 4) were later used in late 1980's and 1990's Warner Bros. films. Such as Above the Law, The Last Boy Scout, Demolition Man, Hard to Kill, True Romance, and even in Bad Boys which it's distributed by Columbia Pictures.
  • The glass shatter sound from Die Hard is common in many movies and some TV shows, such as:

Films — Live-Action
  • Nunchaku (and sometimes Chinese swords and polearms) all make the same swishing noise. Bruce Lee's Chinese Connection is a good example.

Video Games
  • The Doom explosion sound, and the Imp fireball throwing sound, which is used for certain BLEVE explosions on TV, as is the aformentioned Icon of Sin sound. See also Doom Doors.
  • The Dynamite Explosion, which is also used as a random ambient noise in Marathon 2: Durandal's volcanic levels, and for grenade/rocket explosions in the Tomb Raider series and Soldier of Fortune: Payback. The same explosion is heard in ' 'Video Game/Vigilance' '.
    • The Marathon "cyborg exploding" sound also appears in Tomb Raider when you kill an enemy with explosives.
  • The stock "arrow shot" sound also appears in Marathon, as the S'pht'Kr's projectile impact sound.
  • Most Pangea Software games recycle their sound fx. I dare you to play Nanosaur, Bugdom, or Otto Matic without hearing a lot of the same noises.
  • A bit common "rumble leading to explosion" sound (listen in here) can be heard if the player activates the Chronosphere in Command & Conquer: Red Alert. It's even featured in the PlayStation version of Doom when the BFG 9000 is fired.

Western Animation
  • The loud chink heard in several Disney and later 1960s Looney Tunes shorts when a character hits his head on metal, one of the most notable examples is in Peter Pan when Captain Hook hits his head on a cave wall after he tells Smee to row away from the crocodile, this sound has been used several times since, one of the most unusual uses of it occurs in Freddy vs. Jason when Freddy Krueger uses his powers to slam Jason Voorhees into a ceiling.
  • The loud chomping sound used most notably in The Flintstones whenever Dino bit Fred's finger has been used in several cartoons since, also present in some live action films especially comedies.

  • Gun sounds have their own page
  • There's that one gun sound which appears pretty much everywhere, whether clear or in some variation (most gun sound websites list it as ".357 magnum" or similar). Just to name very few examples, multiple rail-shooters, the magnum in The Godfather video game, the Red 9 in Resident Evil 4 uses a variation, the .357 Magnum in Half-Life 2, Desert Eagle and Steyr AUG in Counter-Strike, and so on.
  • The Universal Studios Big Gun Sound and Universal Studios Small Gun Sound. The former was also used for the explosion in Body Heat.
  • Several stock explosion sound effects are in widespread use.
  • The high-pitched whistle which gets higher and precedes a powerful explosion. Usually indicates an explosive which has been activated.
  • In the definitive TV-documentary history of WW2, The World At War, it becomes patently obvious after a while that original 1940's filmstock and newsreel have been tarted up with modern sound effects. (well, modern for 1975). Exactly the same bullet-ricochet sound appears in places as far apart as Stalingrad and Okinawa, for instance, often with no obvious reason for it being there; old WW2 vets are on record as saying that is not the sound of a BREN machine-gun or a Jerry MG, somebody's spliced the wrong sound on; and quite often, an artillery shell-burst is out of synch with what you see on screen, or you can actually hear the "ghost" of the original un-enhanced sound in the background to the post production...
    • An American remake of The World At War has since been made; it screens on the History Channel in the UK and appears to suffer from the same post-production issues. (As well as an unhealthy dose of America Won World War II, with practically no mention of Britain and the USSR...)

Video Games
  • Civilization 2 has quite a few of these. Including the "swordfight" and "cannon" sounds that tends to show up a lot. Also the "bugle call" sound that dragoons and cavalry make. ("Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-raaaaa"
  • A common shotgun sound is used in Syphon Filter and Perfect Dark. It's even featured in 24 and Doom 3.
  • The "reloading" sound effect from GoldenEye (1997) pops up in numerous other FPS games, though the most recent examples would be Metro2033 and Metro: Last Light, where it's used when cycling the toggle-lock on the Uboinik/Shambler shotgun.
  • Doom and Doom II's pistol sound is used in Marathon 2: Durandal and in the Operation Overlord battle ambience in Unreal Tournament. An variation is heard in Die Hard Trilogy and Fox Hunt.

  • Stock fireworks whistle.
  • The aluminum bat hitting a ball. Common in high-school anime.
  • The "fly away" whistle-like sound effect. Find it in any clip of Osaka's dream sequence with Chiyo or Tomoyo kicking Sunohara into the air, among many others.
  • The 70's Rule of Cool guidelines dictated that EVERY Mecha or superhero anime should feature the "metallic flash" sound (you know it, sounds a lot like Audible Sharpness).
  • Jew's harp and string pluck for springs going off, whether it's from broken devices and furniture, springboards or spring boots. Or a Sound-Effect Bleep.
  • The "cha-ching!" of a cash register opening is closely associated with money.
    • Parodied in the I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue {{Mockument*ary}} In Search of Mornington Crescent, when BBC journalist Andrew Marr asks Humphrey Lyttelton if he'd like to talk about the game's history.
    Humph: I suppose so. For the usual fee.
    FX: Cha-ching!
    Marr: Not having any money about my person, it was lucky that Humph was prepared to accept the gift of an antique cash register.
  • In the Marsupilami episode 5 ("Someone's in the Kitchen with Mars"") from Raw Toonage, The kitchen alarm sound is the "Red Alert" alarm sound from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  • The sound people and objects make when falling from somewhere really high up. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
  • It's hard to describe, being so short and easy-to-miss, but there's a very peculiar sound of a man grunting, "UH!" that's been used numerous times. MAD uses it a lot, especially in their parody of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
  • In general, Hanna-Barbera's sound effect library is arguably the most well known in the world. In addition to the "bongo run" and "chomp" sounds mentioned above, the company made such classic sounds as "tromboing" and "kabong".
  • Speaking of Disney, they have had their own memorable library of sound effects that was used in many of their cartoons and their older movies, many of them created by talents like Jimmy MacDonald. Disney began phasing out these sound effects during the 80s, though they'd occasionally pop up in some of their newer productions. Some of Disney's sound effects have also shown up on other companies' productions since the 90s, including various Nickelodeon shows.
  • Anime seems to love borrowing sound effects from each other.
    • G Gundam, Dragon Ball, and Slayers all share a large amount of sound effects for powering up and energy blasts. Specifically, the sound made by Broly charging his energy waves is often used for when Domon uses hyper mode, and the whooshing noise made by the super saiyan aura in Dragon Ball is heard in both Mobile Fighter G Gundam and Slayers.
      • The sound effects heard in most anime, including the 3 mentioned above are courtesy of Fizz Sound Creation, they're pretty much responsible for the majority of the stock sound effects that you hear in many, many anime (especially mecha) and early tokusatsu to the point where their sound effects have (and still are) been used in shows they or their employees didn't provide sound effects for note 
  • Averted in the regrettable The Wacky World of Tex Avery, which uses a clip of Bowser roaring from Mario Kart 64 in one episode. Apparently, the guy in charge of the foley thought it was stock.
  • Anyone who uses a Macintosh is almost garanteed to use iLife sound effects.
  • The highly cliched Dun dun dunnnnn gets played in Dusk's Dawn when the heroes first encounter the villain.
  • A stock wet sound indicating that the Healing Factor kicked in and wounds are closing.
  • The two-tone whistle or flute used by tofu sellers to indicate to the neighbourhood they are in the area. See here. It can be heard in various animes about daily life, such as Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru or The Devil Is a Part-Timer!.
  • The "ni-ni-ni-ni-ni-ni-ni" of the Martian Heat Rays from George Pal's The War of the Worlds, used commonly as a "laser" sound effect, doubly possible to hear it if the effect of being hit by the ray is being disintegrated, as a Shout-Out.
  • The weird electronic "Ping! Pong!" sound that shows up sometimes in anime, such as Pichu Bros. in Party Panic! or the first episode of K-On!.
  • The cuckoo clock chime that usually indicates a Cloud Cuckoolander. (BONG! Coo-Coo!)
  • The classic "zipping" sound also made its way into an episode of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. Specifically, "The Cutie Mark Chronicles," when Fluttershy was knocking on the hollow trunk of the squirrels' tree.
  • The "Premiere Edition 1" sound effects library from the now-defunct Hollywood Edge was used and overused so many times since it was first used in 1990, that some effects on the library have now become cliched, such as the aforementioned two-honk doppler truck horn and child laughter, a certain crowd gasp, and more.
  • Sound Ideas and The Hollywood Edge are two popular sound effects companies and many film and television studios use these libraries.
    • Sound Ideas
      • Series 1000 (1985) copyrighted in 1983
      • Series 2000 (1987)
      • Series 4000 Hollywood (1989)
      • The General Series 6000 (1992) which is the largest digital sound effects library and the most popular along with The Hollywood Edge's Premiere Edition 1.
      • Hanna-Barbera Sound Effects Library (1993)
      • Series 6000 Extension (1997)
      • Series 6000 Extension II (1999)
    • The Hollywood Edge
      • The Premiere Edition (1990). The first volume and the most used along with The General Series 6000
      • The Edge Edition (1991). Copyrighted in 1990 and it features some effects from Premiere Edition 1.
      • Cititrax (1991)
      • Cartoon Trax (1992)
      • Background Trax (1994) It features the seagull sound effects heard in the SpongeBob Square Pants theme song.
      • The Super Single Volume 1-2 (1994)
      • The Premiere Edition Volume 2 (1995)
      • Animal Trax (1998)
  • Spike Milligan was a perfectionist concerning sound effects to be used for The Goon Show. One day around 1953, he was so frustrated at not being able to get the exact sound he wanted for an effect - that of Neddy Seagoon being hit round the head with a sock full of custard - that he took off a sock during lunch and persuaded an assistant in the BBC canteen to fill it with custard. He then hit Harry Secombe around the head with it. Dissappointingly, this still wasn't the right sort of squelching thud that he wanted. Apparently, in the last year of post-war rationing, this was viewed by the BBC Catering Department as an actionable waste of good custard and a complaint was made.
  • Douglas Adams was meticuluous in his desired sound-effects for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He wanted the soundscape, in then-new stereo radio, to be as carefully constructed as the music on any concept album. His notes in the scripts, as to the exact sounds he wanted to hear, tend to be longer than the actual dialogue. The BBC Radiophonic workshop relished the challenge after years of work on Doctor Who. note 
  • Many brand-new sound effects originated by Milligan and Adams for their respective shows were in fact added to the BBC stock library as useful concepts to guide producers who followed them.
  • The sound of a Kirby brand vacuum cleaner is often the sound heard when someone is using a vacuum cleaner.
  • There's a certain sound that's used mostly in a non-diegetic form, that can be reasonably reproduced by going "T'hhhhhhhhh!" with your mouth. Among other things, it's the Sound of No Damage in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) when a robot has its shield up, and accompanied Pinkie Pie's gasp of shock in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic upon first meeting Twilight.
  • The "pop" sound effect that is commonly used in anime, most commonly in Anime/Pokemon for when a Poké Ball is opened. Despite being an anime sound effect, is has also appeared in some American animated shows such as Inspector Gadget and The Fairly OddParents!. A few video games feature this sound effect too, mainly in Super Smash Bros.

Alternative Title(s): Stock Sound Effect