Car horn sound effects

Written by joanne robitaille
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Car horn sound effects
Car horns haven't always been high-tech. (antique horn image by Xavier MARCHANT from

A car's voice is its horn. Most cars seem to sound exactly the same, but there are in fact many distinct horn sounds and effects. Using electronic car horns and aftermarket horn systems, people can alter their car so it has the sound effects produced by a horn from a different company. Sounds from different eras, cars with their own special personalities and almost musical effects give cars their own distinct characters.

Distinct Brand Horn Sound Effects

Certain car brands have their own distinct horn sounds. A Volvo horn is short and high-pitched. A Volkswagen has a lower-toned horn. Coming from a large, full-bodied truck, the Volvo horn sound would be quite out of place. The same truck could believably employ a Volkswagen horn effect without drawing attention. A Miata car horn is even higher-pitched than a Volvo, creating an almost beeping sound when the horn is activated. More distinct is the horn effects of a Rolls Royce. A Rolls Royce has an almost musical horn that varies in tone while going through its sound cycle. While entirely distinct to that company, its use on other car models adds a more playful character to the vehicle.

Vintage Car Horn Sound Effects

The horns belonging to old cars from the 1920s and 1930s often sound more bicycle-like than any sound effect produced by a modern vehicle. Horns used 80 and 90 years ago were very much like a bicycle horn. Rather than installing an old-fashioned car horn to achieve this effect on a modern car, it's much easier to program an electronic car horn to produce the sound. Mp3 files downloaded onto an electric car horn give car owners the effect they want without sacrificing the convenience and efficiency of a modern car horn.

The Dixie & Aoogah Car Horn Sound Effects

Some car horn sound effects are distinct to individual cars. Anyone who has watched "The Dukes of Hazzard" has seen the famous General Lee car and heard its unmistakable car horn. The original horn sound was produced by a Dixie horn (5 separate trumpets), but those who don't want to install a new horn system can easily upload the sound effect into an electric car horn. While not distinct to any one car, another well-known horn sound effect is the "aoogah" horn. This horn effect sounds exactly like it's spelt. There are both long and short aoogah horn sound effects because the second syllable can be stretched out or shortened to taste.

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