There are certain categories of sound effects that remain elusive. Sometimes this is because they are rare, or difficult to capture. I often hear requests for clean siren sound effects. Just this week sound designer Giel van Geloven of Web shop SoundFuse delivered his European Sirens sound fx collection (320 sounds, 6.06 gigabytes,
€125.00 on sale for €100.00).
Often siren recordings are unavoidably merged with surrounding traffic or city drone. That’s not the case with the European Sirens collection. The sound library is notable in its isolated takes, recorded with six perspectives at 96 kHz/24-bit with Soundminer metadata.
Why SoundFuse Created the “European Sirens” Sound Library
I asked SoundFuse why they decided to create the library. Giel van Geloven kindly explained:
There was always an envious feeling towards American sound designers who have plenty of siren sound effects to choose from. For Europeans it boils down to a few general sound effects series which hold a few European sirens, and mainly your personal siren archive which you’ve built up during your career.
A few years back I came to the conclusion this personal siren archive had stopped growing. It appeared police prop car rentals were not allowed to use live sirens on the set anymore. Authorities had made the regulations more strict. So, no new recordings ended up in post anymore.
Luckily, Giel van Geloven knew people who could help. He teamed up with sound recordist Antoin Cox. After some searching, they found a source for the sirens:
Jan Wijnakker, who owns a prop car rental service was willing to help us out. A friend of his happened to collect siren pre-amps and speakers for years.
SoundFuse researched the sirens to determine their source:
All sirens are confirmed Dutch but each and every pre-amp is or was also used in other European countries in certain periods. It proved impossible to figure out which countries and which years. So, I added the Dutch metadata to the sound files of which I know to be authentic.
Giel van Geloven has turned to the community to add more detail about the sirens, and promises future updates:
I welcome other Europeans to contact me about use of these library sirens in their countries. I will then release meta data updates adding countries.
Contact SoundFuse via email if you’d like to help.
How did SoundFuse record the sounds? Giel van Geloven elaborated:
We rigged up a small quiet car with several speakers and pre-amps inside the car, just to be able to switch configurations quickly. To get the most out of a single car run we used two Aaton recorders positioned a kilometer apart. This way we were able to record for instance an away and arrival in one take.
We decided to record multiple distances to make the library even more useful. I love cutting perspective in sound in the films I do, it gives so much more depth and naturalism to scenes. So, we picked 2, 3, 5, 10 and 20 meters distance. Some static, some panned, some stereo, some mono.
Most sound effects have a very long head and tails. Some drive-by’s last more than 1 minute, where the siren would start at two kilometers away.
The result? The team recorded a large amount of sirens, each labelled by type, tone, and year:
Police siren sound effects
- Police – Bosch Claxon Dual Tone – 1968–1996
- Police – Federal Signal AS250, AS422 – 2008-current
- Police – Honac Dual Tone – 1997–2012
- Police – Honac Dual Tone – 2009-current
- Police – Honac WS2000 Dual Tone – 1985–1996
- Police – Whelen WS2000 Dual Tone – 1985–2002
- Police Motorcycle – Dual Tone
- Police Riot Van – Federal PA200, PA300 Dual Tone – 1990–2007
- Firefighter Truck – Premier Hazard 7004 Dual Tone – 2001 -current
- Firefighter small vehicles – Premier Hazard 7004 Dual Tone – 2001-current
- Firefighter Oldtimer – Manual airhorn – 1935
- Ambulance – Whelen WS2000 Triple Tone – 2005–2013
- Ambulance – Wandel Goltemann Triple Tone – 1987–2013
- Ambulance – Premier Hazard 7004 Triple Tone – 2004–2013
Listen to the SoundCloud audio preview below:
And here’s a YouTube video that shares a glimpse into how the library was created:
The package is currently on sale for €100.00, a savings of €25.00 from the regular price of €125.00.
Check out the European Sirens sound clip library.
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