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The Web's Best Audio Search Engines

written by: Chris Carson•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 12/4/2010

Are you looking for audio files, but getting frustrated having to sift through all of the non-audio search results that traditional search engines return? Read on for a list of the best audio-specific search engines on the web.

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    Audio Search Engines

    Google is definitely the most popular search engine on the internet, but it's not the only option; there are many other search engines on the internet. Google is designed to search through everything the web has to offern, and someimes, when your needs are more specific, you might want to use a more specific search engine. For instance, what if you're searching for audio files? If it's the audio you're looking for, why sort through all of the text-based pages and everything else that's going to be relevant to your search term when you can use a search engine that only searches audio files? Today, I'm going to guide you through some of the best audio search engine websites on the internet. If you find yourself looking for specific audio often, you're going to want to be ready to bookmark a couple of these.

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    Melody Tubes

    Melody Tubes Search Engine Melody Tubes is a great way to find and listen to some of your favorite song files. At the top of the page is a search bar. First, type in text from song lyrics, the name of a song or an artist, or even text from a mix, and then search. Melody Tubes will return everything it can find that fits your criteria, sorted in order of relevance, just like with any standard search engine. These search results will appear with down the right-hand sidebar with thumbnail images and two options for you to click. The first option, play, loads a video in the center of the page, powered by youtube, of the song you've selected. The second option, view lyrics, loads the lyrics of the song without starting the video, displaying them in the description area underneath the video window in the center. Finally, above both of these options, there will be a "plus sign" icon, which brings us to one of the best features of this engine.

    Clicking on this adds the video to a playlist. Your playlist, which will update as you change it, will be displayed along the bottom of the page, and can be edited fully. Videos can be deleted or moved around, and once you've created a playlist you like, it can be saved and loaded at any time later.

    Overall, Melody Tubes is a good, albeit basic search engine for music files, but because it's powered exclusively by youtube, your results are limited to what's available there. Sometimes what you're looking for may not be on youtube at all, or the video that is there might not be very good quality, and sometimes, with uploads being deleted from youtube or embedding being disabled on a video, things that you may have been able to find and add to a favorite playlist in the past might go missing later on, but if what you're looking for is music videos, this is still a great way to find them.

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    This page of the article will detail more search engines are tailored to searching for audio, as well as the best places to find sound effects on the internet, for when that is your precise need.
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    Melody Catcher

    Melody Catcher Search Engine Some other search engines might be a great way to listen to your favorite songs, but what about when you have a song stuck in your head but you don't know what it is? Melody Catcher is the answer. If you think you might know a few words of the song, there's a text search box. The results page will come up with a play button next to each of the results. Pressing the button will play back the result on a keyboard so that you can narrow down what you were looking for. That's not what makes this engine unique, though.

    On the main page is a keyboard. By clicking on the keys, you can play the melody that you think is stuck in your head and enter that as your search term. You don't have to know how to play the piano to use this. Even if you have no idea what the different notes are, you can listen for the sounds each of them make through trial and error, and it lets you edit the melody by deleting notes or moving them higher or lower as you create it.

    The search results play back in a keyboard rendition of the melody, which can be hard to pick out sometimes if what's stuck in your head is kind of vague. This is also not the search engine for you if you know what song you want to listen to and you actually want to listen to it, but otherwise, this a great tool when you're driving yourself (and others) crazy trying to remember what "the song that goes like __" is.

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    Sound Effect Search Engines

    Find Sounds Search Engine Searching for audio doesn't always mean you're searching for music, though. What if you're looking for sound effects? Find Sounds is your best free option, in that case. The site is a very simple search engine page, with a text search box at the top. First, type in the sound effect or a related term that you're searching for. Then, underneath the text box, there are a number of checkboxes relating to filetypes. By default, they'll all be checked, but you can choose to search for only certain extensions that suit your needs. Next to that you can choose to search for mono or stereo sounds, or both, and finally, there are drag-down options for resolution, sample rate, and file size. This gives you a lot of freedom to customize your search results, but if you're not sure what some of the options mean, you'll get by just fine by leaving everything set to its defaults.

    Sound Dogs Search Engine While that may be the best free option, the best overall sound effects search engine is definitely Sound Dogs. They have an incredible library of a huge number of sound effects. They can be searched by various categories, or through simple text-based searches. There are plenty of advanced search options as well to allow you to narrow down your search as much as necessary, and the results are provided in all kinds of file extensions to suit whatever use you may need them for. However, Sound Dogs provides their download links with a price.

    The results provided by Find Sounds are free, but they are somewhat limited. Sound Dogs will provide you with a better and more complete list of results, but they won't be free. Sound Dogs has a massive list of Hollywood-quality production sound effects, and has actually had their sounds used in a number of Hollywood films. It's easy to search and well-organized, but if you don't need professional quality sound effects, the cost may not be necessary, and Find Sounds may be a better option for you.

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    Sometimes, audio might not be the entirety of what you're looking for, and this final page of the article will detail the best search engine on the web for all kinds of multimedia files, audio and otherwise.
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    Play Audio Video

    Play Audio Video Search Engine Play Audio Video is one of the most comprehensive multimedia search engines on the web, and it doesn't confine itself to any one type of audio. It doesn't actually even confine itself to audio alone. The main page will have a collage of images relating to some of the most popular search terms. Click on an image, and that will be entered as your search term. If none of the images satisfy what you're searching for, type your search into the text box in the center, and search that. Either way, you'll be taken to a results page of various multimedia. There are three categories: Audio, Video, and Images. There is also a button above each of the three categories with the name of the category. Clicking on this button will open just those search results, so that you can choose to search for only one type of multimedia if you prefer.

    First, there will be a list of relevant audio files that you with options to play. Next will be a list of relevant videos with thumbnail images and options to play those as well. Third will be a list of images. Next to every result in all three categories will be a few buttons that you can click on. First the info icon will tell you the website the result was found on, and the date it was indexed. Next, you can click the homepage icon to view the website in question. Third, you can view the cached website to view it as it was on the date it was indexed, in case the file has been removed since. Finally, there is a preview option, to preview the file without viewing it in its full form.

    Play Audio Video is a very complete search engine. It indexes the web just like any standard search engine, so it has a lot of results to choose from. It also finds any kind of multimedia, which gives it an edge over many of the other multimedia search engines on the web. It is a somewhat generic search engine and does not provide a lot of advanced search options, so sometimes you may need to sift through the results a little to find what you want, but the size of the library means that what you're looking for probably will be in there.

    If you're looking for audio files on the web, one of these audio search engines or a combination of a lot of them should be more than enough to satisfy your needs.