Hi fellow explorers!!! All of us are thorn by the need to push further and the curiosity to scan single objects, so we look at System Map to see if there's something worth, but we use the wrong sense. In fact we should listen to System Map.
Truth is that every planet type has several different visual rapresentations, but it has a distinctive set of sounds that always reveal its nature.
In many occassion the visuals can create confusions: every explorer has supercruised dozen thousands Ls to scan an HMC with a blue sea and some landmass, not even terraformable. And few know how many valuable planets they have discarded as "Ice Balls".
Sounds are the most reliable way to know what you have on the System Map not moving from landing point, letting you make quick decisions if to stay or to go.

This guide is about sounds that planets make on SYSTEM MAP.
​Open Sytem Map, click on a planet, zoom in and start to listen.

In oreder for this to work you have to:
1: Set Audio Options as follows:
Sound Effect Volume: Max
Sound Effect Mute: Unmute
Music Volume: 0 (if you don't want to hear the game soundtrack)
Music Mute: Unmute (this is very important, if you mute the music you won't hear planet sounds, so if you don't want to listen to the soundtrack set Music Volume to 0 instead)
Sound Effects: All Enabled (particularly Stellar Cartographics Music)
Dynamic Range: Normal (my suggestion)
2: Zoom: on Sytem Map, click a planet and zoom in it. Zooming in, the planet sound volume raises, making all more clear.
3: Wait a couple of seconds listening to the planet souds: initially they all make some notes and noises, very similar, after 1 - 2 seconds they start to make their distinctive noise. So switching instantly between planets won't give you any result.

The aim of this guide is not to analyze in detail every little difference of every planet sound, but to give a quick reference for any Explorer on the go. So I will generalize and make categories, trying to be as simple as possible. I will try to limit words to point out distinguishing features and differences, and let the recordings talk for themselves. Initially can be a little confusing and seems a waste of time, but after you will have understood planet sounds, they will make you SAVE a lot of time out there.
Since I'm recording a lot of sounds, I divided the Sound list into cathegories to make the guide more accesible.

HIGH VALUE PLANETS (Earth Like World, Ammonia World, Water World, Metal Rich, High Metal Content)
This section is the most important: not only there are the records of the most valuable planets out there, but also hints on how to always distinguish them, no matter the visuals they have.

1) Water World:
these are the easiest: a distinctive bubbling sound. They can look like Icy Worlds when they have a thick atmosphere, or they can seem to have landmass and be Earth Likes, but if they bubble, they are Water Worlds.

2) High Metal Content:
this type is the most crucial to understand. In fact, many of them have a big ocean and landmass, completly looking like Earth Likes. And maybe they are 300,000 Ls away from landing point. Their sound varies based on atmosphere surface pressure. Making a generalization I divided them in 3 categories. Type 2 have a very similar sound to Earth Likes, later I will explain how to distinguish them. Unfortunately, sound is not usefull to discern terraformability: many type 1 have 0.01 ATM surface pressure and can be terraformed. Lately I found another kind of sound for HMC, I call them HMC type 4. Unfortunately this HMC have the same sound than Metal Rich, and to Rocky Icy type 2. This means Metal Rich have no unique sounds, and you have to surface scan to get them.

HMC type 1: No Atmosphere/Very Low Surface Pressure (No ATM - 0.04 ATM)

HMC type 2: surface pressure similar to Earth (0.05 - 4 ATM) Most similar sound to ELW

HMC type 3: high surface pressure (>5 ATM)

HMC type 4: identical sound to Metal rich

3) Earth Like Worlds: initially they sound very similar to HMC type 2, but then a groving tune kicks in. And after a while (sometime 15 seconds) you can hear Bird Chirping. Basically if you see a blue world 300,000 Ls away take half a minute before supercruising there. No bird chirping, you can fly by. Another important thing to note is that Earth Likes don't have bubbling sounds, so even if you think you saw some landmass under those clouds, if it bubbles it's not an Earth Like.

4) Ammonia Worlds: many of them look like High Metal Contents, but their sound is quite different and UNIQUE. They start off almost silent, but after few seconds the gorging begins!

5) Metal Rich Worlds: unfortunately this sound is used for: Metal Rich, High Metal Content (type 4) and Rocky Icy (type 2). So Metal Rich, that are valuable, are findable only with surface scans. It's the only case where I have to admit sounds aren't unique and usefull.

FREQUENT SOLID PLANETS (Rocky World, Rocky Icy World, Icy World)
These planets are very frequent, give low payout, and are geerally though not interesting. Nevertheless they can be beautifull, and they come with a huge pletora of sounds. Usually they are visually distinctive, so in order to focus on practical things I have divided them in a different cathegory, mainly to avoid a too lengthy list of sounds. All their sounds are here tough, and reckognizing them on the spot gives you the ability to exclude more exotic planet with a white thick atmosphere.
1) Icy Worlds: like HMC they can come with different sounds, and I have still to understand to what value the difference is linked too. Knowing them can be helpfull to exclude more exotic planets hidden a white thick atmosphere.

Icy World type 1

Icy World type 2

2) Rocky Icy Worlds: this is how they sound. Type 2 is identical to Metal Rich Worlds and High Metal Content type 2.
Rocky Icy World type 1

Rocky Icy World type 2 (Identical Sound to Metal Rich)

3) Rocky Worlds: not much to say, visually distinctive and with a quite unique set of sounds.

Rocky World type 1

Rocky World type 2

EXOTIC GAS GIANTS (Gas Giants bearing Life, Water Giants, Helium Rich Gas Giants)
These gas giants are not very valuable, but many explorers like to collect them for scientific interest or rarity. Listen to them in this section, and you'll never miss one anymore if you look for them.

1) Gas Giant with Water Based Life: high pitch water streaming, a clear sound difficult to miss. Some regular Gas Giants have a bubbling sound, but it has a very low pitch and they don't bear life. You want to look for high pitch water streaming. Also after a few seconds a growing tune clearly audible kicks in.

2) Water Giants: very similar sound to Gas Giants with Water Based Life. The water streaming is similar, the difference is in the growing tune, that here is completly missing. Where Gas Giants Bearing Water Life can be small or big, Water Giants are always small.

3) Gas Giant with Ammonia based Life: they are almost silent. After a couple of seconds they become silent with really faint noises almost non-audible.

4) Helium Rich Gas Giants: like Ammonia Life Gas Giants they are silent after a couple of seconds.

It has never been the porpuse of this guide to discern their sounds, but now that I made the cathgories I will add them to complete the planet sounds list

1) Class I Gas Giants:

2) Class II Gas Giants:

3) Class III Gas Giants:

4) Classs IV Gas Giant:

5) Class V Gas Giant:

Well, in every occasion visual are not clear:
1) HMC false friends: many HMC have visuals very similar to ELW, but if you understood the difference, you won't have doubts
2) Water World false friends: sometimes these planets look like they have landmass, other times they are hidden under whitish thick clouds that makes them look like Ice Balls, or even HMC. Their sound is very distinct and quick to get tough.
3) Ammonia Worlds: they come in a variaty of visuals and sizes. They can look like high metals or Ice Balls. But again, their sound leaves no doubt.
4) Gas Giant Bearing Life/Water Giants/Helium Rich Giants: these objects don't have high payouts, but are popular amongst explorers for lore and rarity. If you want to collect them, their sounds are the only clue to easily distinguish them between millions of other gas giants.

How to use this guide
The following video shows you how to use this guide.
In the System Map I find a planet that looks like an Earth Like, but it is 50,000LS away. Listening to his sound I'm undecided of it's nature, so I alt-tab to this guide and listen to the sound of a real ELW. In doing so, I realize that my planet has a different sound, it's an High Metal Content, and given its position probably not even a Terraforming Candidate. I make up my mind and decide that it's not worth Supercruising 50,000LS for an HMC, and with a light hearth I jump away. In less than 2 minutes I could be sure I was not leaving anything meaningfull behind.

A collection of short videos that shows you the usefulness of planet sounds.

Fake Earth Like World: the visual of this planet are identical to an Erath Like World (excuse for the poor resolution, enlarge the video and you'll see). But there were no bird chirping, so we know already it's an HMC and decide what to do. It's out the goldilock zone, and as predicted it turns out to be an HMC non-terraformable.

Hidden Water Worlds: In these two videos there are Water Worlds that look like Ice Balls, but with sounds you cannot miss them!

Hidden Ammonia World: in this short video I show how to spot an Hidden Ammonia World. They look like Icy Planets, are usually big and frequently ringed and with moons. But the sound is quite unique, you cannot miss the initial silence and subsequent gorging.

How to distinguish a Water Giant from a Gas Giants bearing Water Life: in the tutorial I show you a system that has both types of planets. You will notice that the Gas Giant Bearing Water Life has groowing tune that kicks in beneath the streaming sound, while Water Giants completly lack that tune.


Most Important One: HMC false friend

Strange looking Ammonia Worlds

This Earth Like doesn't have many visible lands, especially if zoomed out and you are in a rush.

Strange Water Worlds

Strange High Metal Content

Gas Giants Bearing Life can be small.

Water Giants are always small.

CMDR ZENITH: I have discovered bits of planet sounds by myself, but this commander made these discoveries before me and in a more extensive ways, so with his permission I merged our data and I could publish this.
CMDR MURISHANI helped me tweaking Audio Settings, and he is making a super interesting thread about Planet Sounds from normal cruise (out of Framshift) when you approach them:
CMDR CERTHAS: first sound recorder, before him it was only criptic descriptions.
CMDR ASC: he made additional recording to compare planet sounds and clarify the sound of Ammonia World.
CMDR EISEN: helped with sound recording and planet sound understand in general.
CMDR DOGNOSH: supported the project in his sticky list and gave a lot of visibility.
CMDR ANDYMJ: recorded the super rare Helium Rich Gas Giant
CMDR STULLI: recorded the missing Class V gas giant to complete the guide.
CMDR RYMDMANNEN: sound recorder



Edit: clarified the difference between Water Worlds, Water Life Gas Giants and Water Giants.
Edit: added bird chirping description to Earth Like Worlds.
Edit: added new pics
Edit: added Helium Rich Gas Giants sound description
Edit: added Audio Settings
Edit: added planet sound recordings
Edit: ammonia big clarification
Edit: removed holo icon explanation since it's no more usefull to identify planets.
Edit: Patch 1.4 changes
Edit: rewritten from scratch and rerecorded many planet types. Updated visual examples too.
Edit: further clarification of HMC and atmospehre pressure
Edit: updated Gas Giants bearing Water Life recording, added Water Giants recordings and rewrote their description
Edit: updated Icy Worlds recording and changed the description
Edit: added Icy world type 2 and tweaked HMC surface pressure value
Edit: divided into cathegories.
Edit: added rocky world type 1 recording
Edit: added rocky world type 2 recording
Edit: changed some text colour to make it more clear for black background/white text users
Edit: spoileraised this category that was becfoming too invasive in the thread
Edit: added Helium Rich Gas Giant
Edit: added Rocky Icy World Type 2
Edit: added HMC type 4
Edit: further spoilerized for more visual clarity
Edit: added update recording of Metal Rich Planets
Edit: added updated recording of Rocky Icy World type 1
Edit: added the Video Tutorial section with a fake Earth Like
Edit: added recording of Gas Giant With Ammonia Life
Edit: added 2 tutorials
Edit: added Class I gas giant
Edit: added Class II gas giant
Edit: added class III gas giants
Edit: added class IV gas giants
Edit: added class V gas giants
Edit: added tutorial on how to spot water giants
Edit: added a tutorial on how to use this guide
Edit: added a tutorial on how to spot hidden ammonia