6 sound effects that you hear everywhere

Have you ever watched a movie or series and then heard a sound that sounds very familiar? Maybe you’ve scrolled social media and there it is again, a sound effect that you swear you recognize from somewhere, a sound you must’ve heard before. That is because you probably have heard it before, but somewhere else! Sound effects are more often reused than many people think. Some effects have even been used so much that they have gotten their own name. Here are 6 different sound effects that seemingly “everyone” uses.

Number 1 – The Inception BRRAAMM

Inception is a movie most people have heard of, and even if you haven’t seen the movie or even the trailer for the movie, you probably have heard the sound effect popularized by the initial trailer for the movie.

The famous BRRAAMM has in later time been used over and over again to create dramatic effect – especially in trailers, where it was first introduced.

It’s even become so famous that websites have been created to JUST recreate that sound: Inception Sound Effect

Number 2 – The Eagle Screech

The Eagle Screech is usually associated with matters of seriousness, where you need to be on your guard. You can almost imagine scenes from western movies, where the protagonist is walking into a town with nobody home, it’s a serious and dark vibe over the whole town, and right as conflict arises slowly you hear it: the famous eagle screech.

What is interesting about this sound effect (yes technically movie producers often use different recordings, so it isn’t ONE sound effect), is that it isn’t an Eagle making that kind of sound. Yes, an eagle is often shown in-clip to represent the source of the sound, but an eagle does not sound like that. It sounds more like several rapid whistling noises, almost like a seagull. 

To make the majestic bald eagle sound more appropriate, they often dub their calls over with red tailed hawk-screeches in Hollywood which is a bird with a much more piercing cry, take a listen of the comparisons: 

Red Tailed Hawk vs. Bald Eagle

Number 3 – The Wilhelm Scream

Of course, there would be no “famous sound effect list” without including maybe the most famous of them all: the Wilhelm scream. Introduced in the movie “Distant Drums” in 1951, and popularized by the Character Wilhelm from the 1953 movie “Charge at Feather Rivers”, it has since been a staple sound effect. In the beginning the uses were mainly by Warner Brothers studios as they had the rights to the aforementioned movies, however, later on, Sound designer Ben Burrt picked it up as well. And through him it REALLY rose to fame.

Ben Burrt is the person behind the sound design on movies like Star Wars, Indiana Jones and More American Graffiti, he heard that it was popping up in more and more movies around him, and managed to make it as a staple for him through Star Wars and Indiana Jones. 

Famous uses of the Wilhelm scream include movies like: Poltergeist, Planet of the Apes, Batman Returns, Aladdin (1991), The Fifth Element and the list goes on. The person behind the scream has never been fully confirmed, but it is often attributed to Shelby Fredrick "Sheb" Wooley, who was an actor and singer during the late 20th century.  

If you still don’t know which scream I’m talking about, here it is:

The Wilhelm Scream

Number 4 – “The Laff Box” and the Douglas Laugh track

This is a grey-area to what you can call an effect. Instead of being ONE sound effect, this is the general laughing track we hear everywhere today.  The invention of the Laugh track arose through studio shows that were recorded. In the beginning there was an audience present and the laughing tracks were only used for talk-shows etc in the beginning. However, it slowly transitioned into more and more tv-shows and was used more and more to spark laughter in an audience without the live-audience.

Charles Douglas is the person who is associated with the beginning of laugh tracks. He was asked if he could fix the audio for a tv show to the point where he controlled the audience responses to tailor that to the show as well. 

He created something he called a “laff box” which essentially was a sound effect machine that he used to make the sound effects for various shows. He was so prolific in his field that the “laff box” was known world-wide, yet nobody except people from the Douglas family was allowed to see inside, keeping the secrets of his craft away from the public. In modern times, the “laff box” is in essence retired due to the digital age and virtually any sound effect being available on the internet.

Here's a website to a button that produces that laugh track:

Douglas Laugh Track

Number 5 – The “Swipe Woosh” sound effect

We’re moving into a territory that is less movie oriented, but nonetheless, pop culture has moved this into an everyday sound effect. You know you’ve heard this one in ads from tinder to replicate the swipe sound, which has become one of the most recognizable sound effects which many experience in their day-to-day lives. As with almost all sound effects in this list, this sound effect isn’t just one sound-effect in itself, but several different sounds which all create a similar effect and therefore have gotten this name. It’s very common to find a swipe woosh-sound for anything that’s supposed to move fast through the air.

Here's an example:

"Woosh" Sound Effect

Number 6 – Vine Boom sound

Again, another one not popularized by tv, but through the 2011-16 app Vine. Many consider this a clear inspiration from the Inception BRRAAMM sound, but for a shorter format. Seeing as vines only lasted 6 seconds, it was a very short format video and the effects had to be adjusted to fit this. Now it is an effect that is used to highlight any specific action often tying emotions like suspicion or failure to it, and its being used all over social media. Its use has become more of a comedic thing where people add it to places it doesn’t fit, or simply use the sound as many times as they can in a short time span. 

Vine Boom Sound


All of these are famous sound effects across different mediums. Some of them you might not even have heard before, but we tried covering more platforms and time periods so that most people can recognize maybe one of these effects.