Before I answer the question to “what does a bad starter sound like?” it is important to discern the difference between a dead battery and a bad starter.
Why? Because the symptoms of a bad or faulty starter are pretty similar to the symptoms of a bad/dead battery or an alternator problem.
Remember that your battery will need to be fully charged (or sufficiently charged) in order to operate the starter motor. This is the reason why a dead battery can sometimes be mistaken for a starter problem.