• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

Unlike Stock Sound Effect, some sounds are iconic to a specific characters, they might almost be considered a non-verbal Catch Phrase (and can be used almost as a Shout-Out on their own) can be connected to a series, or a particular character.

No fanfares.

Examples of Signature Sound Effect include:
  • The classic Doom games have several examples, including the Cacodemon death and Arch-Vile alert sound effects. Perhaps the most notable is the "alien speech" that is spoken by the end boss of Doom 2, which was actually a recording of John Romero's voice reading the line "To win the game, you must defeat me, John Romero" played backwards and with extra effects added.
  • In comics, the "snikt" and "bamf!" sound effects are connected to Wolverine and Nightcrawler respectively. Using "snikt" in comic books is actually copyrighted.
  • The sound when Transformers transform, albeit not in every series.
  • In Transformers Generation 1, the shot sound effects used for the two enemy factions, but also Megatron's fusion cannon.
  • Star Wars
    • The "Zzzzmmm" sound from a lightsaber.
    • From the same series, Darth Vader's breathing.
    • Chewbacca's growls. a mashup of animal voices (a major component being from a baby brown bear named 'Pooh').
    • R2-D2's beeps.
    • A TIE Fighter's engines as it zooms past. Perhaps a little less iconic to the general public, but any Star Wars fan will recognize it instantly.
  • Star Trek
    • The "chika-chika" from opening a communicator.
    • The quiet hissing sound a door makes on Star Trek when it opens.
    • The bleeps and bloops of the NCC-1701's many gizmos.
    • The polyphonic whirr of the transporters.
    • Photon torpedoes being fired.
    • The humming sounds on the bridge when not much is going on. Especially the twangy sound reminiscent of a submarine's sonar ping, but it's not sonar because while Space Is Noisy in the series, one would assume outright implying sound waves are used would still sound silly IN SPACE for more than one reason.
    • The 'VROOP... VROOP...' for red alerts.
  • Those are all from The Original Series, too. The Next Generation added a whole slew of new sound effects, many of them being for new versions of the 'older' items. Lots of louder beeps were replaced by quieter, rapid-fire beep sequences.
  • Super Mario Bros.
    • Mario]]'s jumping noise, the "ping!" of coins, and Yoshi's tongue and mounting noises.
    • The Super Mushroom and 1UP Mushroom jingles.
    • The familiar "glug glug glug" sound doubles as both the "power down" sound as well as traveling through pipes.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
    • Sonic's jumping and spindashing noises.
    • Don't forget the Rings' SFX, both the collecting and the sound you hear when you lose them are easily recognized.
  • The sound the TARDIS makes materialising and dematerialising in Doctor Who. Which is rendered in comics as "Vworp Vworp." Lampshaded in The Time of Angels.

 The Doctor: But... it didn't make the noise.

River: What noise?

The Doctor: You know, the... [wheezes three times to imitate]

River: It's not supposed to make that noise. You leave the brakes on.

The Doctor: Yeah, well, it's a brilliant noise. I love that noise.

    • The Master's drumming.
  • Strong Bad's Chair Scoot.
  • Also from comics, Thwip, the sound of Spider-Man's web shooters.
  • The Beam Rifle sound effect from Mobile Suit Gundam.
  • An unusual one: the sound of a red light sweeping back and forth across a horizontal forward facing bar. Occurs in both Battlestar Galacticas, in the first on the eyelines of the Cylon centurions, and in the reboot there AND on their Raider spacecraft. Oddly, the exact same effect crops up, sweeping red light and all, on Knight Rider. Why?
    • Rule of cool? Don't forget the "shot" sound effects from the original series (both the ones for the Cylons, and the ones for the Colonial vipers), not to mention the vipers' engine sounds (all variations including the "TURBO" one).
      • The Cyclon shot sound effects were later used for the Joes' shots in the original G.I. Joe series.
    • Glen A. Larson produced and created both the original Battlestar Galactica and Knight Rider. There's your answer.
  • That four-note ringtone that instantly tells you it's Kim Possible.
  • Metal Gear's CODEC calls.
  • 24's CTU ringtone. Not to mention the clock going into and out of commercials, and ending most episodes.
  • Looney Tunes Meep-meep!" And many other sound effects as well.
  • Godzilla's trademark roar certainly counts.
  • The sound of Jason Vorhees' rattling breath.
  • Tarzan's yell. So much so, it's even been legally copyrighted.
  • Quake III Arena's railgun shots.
  • The roar of the T-Rex from Jurassic Park.
  • Various boot-up, error, and menu sounds from various computing systems have often showed up in productions, even movies and TV shows. It may be for an authentic flavor, or just cheapness.
    • Much technology in WALL-E (including the eponymous robot) uses Apple sound effects.
    • After hearing most video game consoles boot up enough times, you will always remember the sound (but not all of them are sound effects; some of them are outright music, like the Sega chorus (mostly in the Sonic the Hedgehog games), the Game Cube... cube thing for which you could change the "instrument" used, or the Neo Geo chimes). The Play Station line gets bonus points for using a separate sound effect for advertisements (these days, it's just the final syllable with a background sound, but in the past it has been the whole word accompanied by some background sounds).
  • The "clash" sound effect heard in various Capcom games. One example is in the Mega Man Zero series when the "MISSION COMPLETED" appears after successfully clearing a mission.
  • There's also the familiar "waka waka..." from Pac-Man.
  • Many of the sound effects heard in various anime over the decades are very familiar to viewers, Japanese, American, and elsewhere. One of many examples is the "choom" sound that an explosion makes, and the various "slice" sounds made by swords. Some of these have even cropped up in Western Animation from the 1980s, and have even appeared in video games (fourth generation onwards).
  • Any of Hanna-Barbera's sound effects. Some even date back to when they were making Tom and Jerry for MGM.
    • Filmation used some of these among sounds from other sources creating a library of "signature" sound effects in their own right.
  • Fleischer Studios' sound effect library, which later carried over to their successor Famous Studios is also very recognizable. It was also used by the Terry Toons studio.
  • The "poof" sound effect from The Fairly Odd Parents (with occasionally accompanying orchestra hits).
  • Samantha's "tinka tinka tee" when she wiggles her nose in Bewitched, along with Endora dis/appearing, the latter of which has also been used for other magic related events.
  • Jeannie's "wish granting,etc" sound effect in I Dream of Jeannie.
  • While Ruby-Spears used many of (eventual) sister company Hanna-Barbera's sound effects (and some of their own which themselves are "signature"), one very noticible series of sound effects comes from Thundarr the Barbarian, namely the "Sun Sword" sound effects, which include activating it, deactivating it, and swinging it (the latter was occasionally used for Dirk the Daring swinging his sword in the Dragon's Lair TV series).
  • T-Mobile's signature 4 note ringtone.
    • the Nokia jingle (adapted from a little known classical guitar composition).
  • Bidibidibidibidibidi.
  • Or So I Heard, any game made by Square Enix uses the same tones for its menu selection (the metallic sounding tic when scrolling, and the poik when you select something).
  • The sound of losing or gaining Life Points hasn't changed much in the course of its 10 year run.
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob: When a spaceship or other large object crashes into Bob's roof, the result is almost always the word "BOOM" in a particular block lettering, usually with the letters arranged vertically. Voluptua's transformations get a "FLASH!" in a swoopy serif lettering, and borfomite beams get a "KWA-BOOM!" in the same serif style. When a borfomite beam strikes Bob's roof, the letters KWA are in the serif lettering, and the BOOM is in the block lettering.
  • In Touhou, Utsuho's warning klaxon she declares her spellcards with.
  • Xena's "Aiyiyiyiyiyiyi" battle cry.
  • Clank, clank, thunk, scrape. Pyramid Head has come to rape!
  • The standard "whoosh" of a boss being defeated in most RPG Maker games.
  • For Babylon 5, the inclining and declining electronic whine of the Earther's plasma pistols powering up or down.
  • The Law & Order franchise sound. Even The Love Guru lampshades it when greeting Mariska Hargitay.
  • Ultraman's Henshin and Color Timer.
  • Intel's five-note theme.
  • *ping* (sometimes *Ping* or *PING!*)
  • Depending on the Writer, PLIP! may be used for Venom's "webs."
  • For a long time SHRAK! was standard for Cyclop's eye beams.
  • BUDDA BUDDA is oft associated with Marvel and machine guns, but especially when Nick Fury is concerned.
  • POOT! for Stephanie Brown's grappling gun in the third Batgirl series.
  • In Skull Kickers, Baldy's gun always goes KRAKOW!
  • In Goblins, Kore's crossbows always make a sinister KATHUNK.
  • In Red vs. Blue, there's "Hrrngh...BLAAAH." whenever someone dies and "HEEGAGURGURK" when they get possessed.
  • PFFT whenever a boss dies in Hiimdaisy's Metal Gear Solid comics.
  • The "screeching poof" [1] of a dying vampire in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.
  • The KA-CLICK! of Bun-Bun's switchblade.
  • The "Phoof" sound in every NCIS episode (except the first season and the first couple episodes of season 2).
  • VORPP for Empowered's energy blasts. Sometimes gets used as a verb.
  • Ganpachi's bug-like rustling sound when he moves fast or close to a wall.
  • Wort wort wort!, because Elites Are More Glamorous.
  • The hyperspace jump sound from Homeworld
  1. okay, YOU come up with a better description.