While editing a video for this site, I stumbled across Soundly, a cloud-connected sound effects software for Mac and Windows that lets you search for, preview, and then drag-and-drop sound effects into DAWs, audio editors and video editing programs. Depending on your membership level, from free to multi-user, Soundly lets you search from its own curated 24-bit/96kHz WAV sound library, your own imported local files and your collections that you’ve uploaded to Soundly’s cloud servers.
While Soundly launched in late 2015, it’s been updating its been steadily updating its software features and has doubled its sound effect library in the last year, with more sounds on the way.
With a completely free membership, you get the Soundly software, more than 300 high-quality sound beds, and the ability to import 2,500 of your locally stored files.
Soundly organizes its own collection by more than 32 main categories, such as Ambience, Crowd, Fight, Foley, Machinery, Animal, Vehicles, Warfare, Weather, etc.—many of them with sub-categories. For every quick one-shot sample, there are also extended soundbeds of more than a minute each. Soundly also read the metadata of your imported files, and you can create Favorites, Playlists, and sort everything by Name, Time, Format, Favorite, etc.
Once you choose a sound effect, Soundly’s preview area lets you play the entire file or only a selected portion. You can edit the selected portion with reverse, normalize, stereo invert or by pitching it down or up as much as 200%. You can then drop your selected audio into any software that supports drag-and-drop—DAWs, audio and video editors, etc. The audio then imports into the media software with the same pitch, reverse, and other settings you made in Soundly. This worked perfectly for me when I tried it in the Screenflow 6 video editor.
The software window has either a full-size view or a single-screen view meant to take up a thin strip of your monitor space with your media software fitting either above or below it. Soundly is also ReWire compatible with an optional plug-in.
At the level of $14.99 a month, Soundly gives you full access to its own sound effect library of 7,500+ files and unlimited importation of locally stored sounds. You also have the ability to add both free and paid add-on collections from the Soundly shop. The free add-ons include the massive Freesound.org collection of more than 100,000 sounds, as well as free firearms and medieval weapons libraries. Many paid libraries available include high-quality and highly specific sound effect collections. (All of the features at this level are also available for a 24 hour period for $9.99.)
Finally, if you want to upload your own collection to Soundly’s cloud servers and access those files from Soundly, you can get a Multi-User account, which includes cloud storage for a fee depending on the amount of storage. One Soundly reviewer has mentioned purchasing Soundly with about 1TB of online storage for $500 a year.
Even at the free level, Soundly can be a handy organizational resource for quickly finding and importing sound effects into music producers’, sound designers and video editors’ software. I particularly the ability to drag sounds into projects that you’ve already trimmed, pitched shifted or reversed in Soundly.
The small start-up company has promised to continue to upgrade its own Soundly sound effects collection and eventually to add support for AIFF, MP3 and Ogg Vorbis audio formats.