ElevenLab's AI sound effect generator has finally launched. Listen for yourself

I tested the new tool and, as someone who often edits and creates videos, I was impressed.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
ElevenLabs AI sound effects
Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

ElevenLabs is a leader in AI audio. Its tools, such as AI voice cloning, have achieved worldwide recognition. Today, the startup launched its AI Sound Effects tool to help creatives find the perfect sound effects for their projects. 

Initially announced in February, the tool lets you generate sound effects, unique character voices, and music snippets from text prompts, according to ElevenLabs. You can hear sound effects created by the tool for OpenAI's Sora demo video below:

ElevenLabs says the tools are meant to help people, including content creators, film and television studio staff, and video game developers, generate the sounds they need to bring their projects to life "affordably and at scale."

"Over the last year, we've revolutionized AI Voices by producing the first truly emotive, human-like text-to-speech platform," ElevenLabs co-founder and CEO Mati Staniszewski said in a statement. "With the launch of text-to-sound effects, we're marking another major step forward, one that will equip creators with more audio tools to help them produce high-quality content."

To make AI effects possible, ElevenLabs partnered with Shutterstock to fine-tune its model using content from the Shutterstock audio library of licensed tracks, addressing ethical concerns about using a generative AI model.

The AI Sound Effects tool is live on the ElevenLabs site, with different tiered plans to accommodate user needs. You can try the tool for free, although it does count towards your monthly 10,000-character limit.

Also: OpenAI's Voice Engine can clone a voice from a 15-second clip

As someone who enjoys editing videos in my spare time and as part of my job, I was excited about the possibility of finding sound effects more easily. I gave the tool a try to see how it worked.

To start, visit the ElevenLabs website, click on sound effects on the right-hand panel, and type in what you want to hear. The first prompt I typed in was "small dog barking." The tool generated five different versions, as seen below:

ElevenLabs Ai Sound Effects
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

As a proud Yorkie owner, I can attest that the generated sound effects were close to the real thing. The tool was intuitive, and the process was essentially the same as using most AI image or music generators.

When I used a more complex prompt, "women cheering," the generator took longer to output a result and the quality was not as accurate or useable as the first test. When I returned to simpler prompts, however, such as "kitchen alarm bell ringing," I had great results. The five outputs sounded like the prompt but varied slightly, offering different options. 

Also: 5 reasons why I prefer Perplexity over every other AI chatbot

The AI Sound Effects tool can also generate music. When prompted to create a "lo-fi beat with a jazzy groove," the tool produced five high-quality options.

Ultimately, I was impressed with the tool and encourage you to test it. AI Sound Effects is a fun and free experience. That said, I would recommend not asking the tool to make human sounds. Instead, if you want to generate speech, look at ElevenLab's text-to-speech tool.

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