Where does one get started looking for a sound designer?


I'm looking to have some sound effects and sound tracks made for a few games my company has created. I have no idea where to start or what kind of cost to expect. Thus, my question is twofold:

  1. Where do I find free-lance sound designers?
  2. How much should I expect things to cost?
    1. A basic sound effect like like a ding or pop or something
    2. A 1 or 2 minute sound track that can loop seamlessly

I know answers will range widely based on the location of the designer and his/her experience level, but I just need a ballpark mean.

Thanks, Patrick


Posted 2012-02-23T17:36:20.297

Reputation: 41



If you don't mind working distanced-based with this person, you are able to choose from a wider range. There are dozens of videos on youtube and vimeo that you can find easily searching for gameplay sound replacement or sound designer reels. You are looking specifically for effects and music so you may wider your search among composers too, although a lot of sound designers can compose music too. Then, there are platforms like AudioDraft.com which launch this kind of thing as contents so the contest holder has a lot to choose from.

Melissa Pons

Posted 2012-02-23T17:36:20.297

Reputation: 614

I don't really care where the sound designer works so off-shore is fine by me. I looked into AudioDraft.com and that was very helpful. I haven't selected your answer as the best answer because it's not quite complete. I think you covered some good options for trying to find a sound designer but not an approximate price range for the two things I mentioned. I'm OK with that, but I'd like to see if anyone else does have feelings on the topic. Thanks Melissa. – user3477 – 2012-02-27T16:51:11.893

Ah! Well, you see it will depend on where the sound designer is located, how much experienced he / she is and the complexity and maybe length of the music. Let's say it is a somewhat simple game for a platform as a mobile phone or so, with - imagine - 3 levels. I would risk (and I hope someone correct me and help me in this) you shouldn't expect less then $500-750 for both things. And this is very general and probably $500 would be absurd for more developed countries. – Melissa Pons – 2012-02-27T17:29:28.733

And I'm taking a lot of AudioDraft's contests as examples. – Melissa Pons – 2012-02-27T17:30:24.737


You just see e.g. here: http://forums.indiegamer.com/forumdisplay.php?13-Music-amp-Sound-Portfolios

Given this much choice, the price is very negotiable (i.e. what you agree on).

The AudioDraft platform is also rather excellent, if the project is rather small.

Internet Human

Posted 2012-02-23T17:36:20.297

Reputation: 3 091


"I just need a ballpark mean."

I seriously hate this question. Let's pile up a few ideas on how to address the race to the bottom and not turn sound design into the next vfx industry.


Posted 2012-02-23T17:36:20.297

Reputation: 5 521

Not gonna happen, you cannot prevent people from trying to push their aspirations. Which is precisely what's happening. The industry/field is wrong for trying to work out "price policies", because people have nothing to compete with (the product is not a very useful or practical one). Well except price of course. Sure you can set up professional bodies and such, but those are definitely things that kill the industry (look at the music industry). – Internet Human – 2013-08-21T11:37:13.477

See, if the OP can get his/her sound from e.g. AudioDraft (and get many submission for one price) or the IndieGamer forum (and get many potential producers form one place), then where do you think there's something negotiable? – Internet Human – 2013-08-21T11:45:16.530

depends what need you think needs addressing. i don't find professional bodies useful. i think it's wrong to approach projects with "i need a ballpark mean", and i find offering or accepting work for low or no pay (seen everywhere on "forums") to be demoralising for everyone in the long run. don't mistake this for pro-status-quo thinking, i really think we need to address this in a better way than "not gonna happen". – georgi – 2013-08-21T11:47:27.790

I have no problems with anything, you were concerned about prices. It's true that if someone works for free, everyone loses. But the fundamental problem is that the field is very easy to enter and there are loads of people in it or trying to "get in". That's a bad situation to try to negotiate, because those who work for free/low pay can actually win in the process of doing so. Therefore "not going to happen", because I don't think one can or should control the system. – Internet Human – 2013-08-21T11:56:47.930

This is basic free market system behavior. More producers -> prices go down, less producers -> prices are up. But as there's no method for controlling who can offer to work and there are no ways to develop new products, and there's also no and never can be scarcity, then one cannot compete with much else than price. – Internet Human – 2013-08-21T12:05:18.207

this is missing a fine detail, namely that the quality inevitably goes down, in a magic circle with expectations of quality from the producers, and from the audience. i think we're smarter than that, and can avoid the mistake of the music industry in that regard. i'm not talking about controlling the system, but we need some cause<>effect understanding in place. a system can control itself just fine, provided there is any negative feedback in the loop? – georgi – 2013-08-21T12:29:54.367

Quality is a concern only if your clients identify a "quality" or care about "quality". "Quality" in this field is very subjective, it's not like comparing pixels or horse powers. Take for example TV/film/game composing: the quality is in some ways fixed, because most people use the same sample libraries. The drawback is that the prices have went really low and "in-house" composers are a rarity, because "anyone can just get those sample libraries for $500 and start to compose". Again, there's not much to negotiate about (from the sound producer's perspective). – Internet Human – 2013-08-21T16:22:33.347

Also, that quality goes down in the sound industry is not like the quality goes down in e.g. the automobile industry. The first is non-material, but the second can kill people, if the quality of the product is compromised too much. Also, the audience does not necessarily recognize this quality either. So what's quality? Do you buy food that's high-quality or that's cheap? What's this "cause<>effect" you're speaking of and can it be shared by clients as well? – Internet Human – 2013-08-21T17:25:52.070

If by "negative feedback" you mean that there are people that stick to a lowest wage that they work for, then that may compensate only in the case that the compensating group is large enough to compensate for everyone else that doesn't belong to the group (e.g. people that are just starting out). That's the problem in trying to control the system, either you have to get everyone or most people to follow some rules (e.g. agree on a minimum wage), or you play by the rules that are in place. Otherwise someone will always work for cheaper, work longer hours etc., because that's an advantage. – Internet Human – 2013-08-21T17:31:49.383

expectations of lower quality lead to work cheaper. expectations of lower budgets lead to shorter time frames lead to work longer hours. this is positive feedback in the system.

raising a voice about it, unlike defending it, is a kind of negative feedback.

working longer hours for cheaper is not an advantage, unless you're only looking at the client's budgets. and we need to stop identifying it as a broad advantage too.

are we not going to agree on any of these points? – georgi – 2013-08-21T21:56:26.287

I agree on changes that can be seen. Not just nice ideas or concepts. I still think that the major problems are a) competition (for which nothing can be done), b) too many people and c) competition that naturally drives prices down (it results from the free market system). See, I think what were seeing is just the free market system and its normal behavior. To escape the normal behavior may require professional bodies with trustees (common in e.g. the manufacturing industry), laws or regulations, but those are rather non-existent or don't make sense in the sound field. – Internet Human – 2013-08-21T22:33:43.980


Hi Patrick,

I can design/provide an array of sound fx and designs for your gaming needs

TaRkHeM Productions

Creating Music for all Dark Media Projects Film/Video/Game Scores - Dark Themed Sound Projects Background Music - Musiq for Ritual - Meditation Sound Alchemy - Occult Musiq Consultation

Can work within your budget - All projects big & small welcome

Please contact me at





Posted 2012-02-23T17:36:20.297

Reputation: 1