I think sound is one of the things which often gets overlooked in SL. Too many builds around the grid are smothered in those freebie sounds and therefore sound the same... it's the equivalent aurally of covering somewhere in Linden trees: they do the job but are a bit samey, there's no variety or texture to them.
Hastur has worked hard to provide variety and to provide them in a form which is usable for even the most novice of builders. Now he's releasing a whole collection of sounds which he has garnered from a trip to Germany. The press release tells me: "Hastur Pierterson and Velma Aldwych recently traveled to Germany to attend the Facets of Virtual Environments conference in Berlin. During the twelve day stay, Hastur took the opportunity to record as much audio as possible in Berlin and the surrounding areas. The resulting ninety-five Atmosphere Orbs are an amazing mix of both urban and natural backgrounds.
“This was a great opportunity to bring more sound recordings into virtual environments from real world locations. Soundscapes are a very critical and often overlooked element when developing a unique and memorable venue in Second Life.”, said Hastur Pierterson. “In the last year we have made over one hundred recordings up and down the California coast, Nevada, and Arizona. Germany is a perfect destination for our latest expansion of field recordings.
“We coordinated with Jan Northoff (aka January Lightfoot in SL) and Tobias Neisecke, the founders of YOUin3D.com and creators of the famous BERLINin3D sims, to identify specific locations around Berlin that were mirrored in the virtual world and then bring those soundscapes into Second Life.
“It did not matter which direction we walked or which building we entered. Every place we went had a wonderfully unique audible background. Train stations, subways, museums, markets, cathedrals, restaurants, city parks, and busy street corners. I had to empty the digital recorders every evening to keep enough free space available for the next day.”
You can see a list of the sounds available here. If you've never thought about the sounds in your builds, why not check out Acoustic Alchemy? They have sea sounds, distant church bell sounds, natural forest sounds... you may be surprised at what a well-chosen sound can add to your building.