SoundBank Configuration

soundbank.pngHere’s my current soundbank configuration. When I do tracks, I will always sooner or later save the original stems such as drum loops, bass lines, pads, and so on, as 24-bit 44.1kHz AIFF or WAV files that I could use later for various other configurations, remixes, new tracks, and so on.

The soundbank has the following main sections. atmos is atmospheric loops such as pads and abstract sounds. bass is of course bass lines. drhihats are all kinds of hihats, open and closed in separate folders. drkicks are the kicks, and drsnares are snares, claps, and abstract snares. drum-hits are all kinds of strong percussion, of which a large part are cymbal hits. effects are of course effects, loops all kinds of drum and sound loops in different folders — I do have the full drum loops and percussion drum loops (usually no kick in those) in separate sub-folders. melodies are some kind of melodic content. patterns are rhytmic loops. voices are of course voice material.

The first New folder is a special case where I drop in fresh loops with the same sections as the ones mentioned before. The reason is that I like to go through new material and I could quickly find them. After use they will end up in the normal folders.

Why this configuration? In my case I’ve learned over the years, that these are the most common musical elements I work with in my tracks. When I do something fresh, just for fun, I could quickly drag in drum loops, a bass line, some atmospheric stuff, patterns, and hey, something is happening where I could then add new content and extend the material.

As for the actual audio files themselves, they also have a special code. In the beginning I try to put in the major or minor key (for example A is A major, and a is a minor), and somewhere in the name I also repeat the sub-name, such as atm (atmospheric sounds) or pat (pattern). The first is obvious, it’s good to get a rough idea what the key is for the loop. The second is for possible quick searches of all loops of a certain kind inside Ableton Live’s browser.

Yes, it takes some house keeping from time to time, but it’s then nice to have everything organized. If I do a DJ mix or something similar, I could quickly find elements I could mix into the track just by going through the specific folder content, same even in a live setup.

I’ve been toying with converting these to Apple Loops as well, but usually I could get by with just dragging in specific loops and converting them on demand. But they all do have the Ableton Live .asd files available with the proper warp mode and possible warp markings in place.

7 Comments:

  1. Kent,
    This is an interesting and useful post. I started using samplers back in ’95 when I purchased a second hand Roland S-550 (which I grew quite fond of). After joining a mailing list, and collecting all kinds of small Mac sound conversion apps, I learned to extract/or convert .aiff files from other formats. As more and more .wav and .aiff (as well as other formats) appeared on the web for free download, I found myself having to catergorize my samples (converted and raw) in some sort of organized fashion. Friends and onlookers usually first comment about how neat my studio is and secondly how organized it is, etc. I digress, anyway…between the S-5550, Yamaha TX16W, free A3000/A4000 samples etc, and tons of .aiff and .wav samples, AS WELL as EXS24 and Apple Loops, your article is helpful and yet another way of me looking at organization. Much thanks and kudos!

  2. Thanks for the feedback. Organization is very personal, and it takes effort, but when certain patterns are in place, then there’s less effort to find what someone really needs, and then there’s more time for making music. A lot of the creative effort is usually spontaneous, so anything stopping that is a problem.

  3. what is this SoundBank thing?

  4. It’s my own directory of sound material, collected over a longer time period. I recommend anyone starting with something similar, your own loops are always more interesting than commercial ones.

  5. i was just asking because the folder icons don’t look like anything i’ve seen from live or osx, what’s with those?

    and i do intend on having a similar configuration…

  6. Oh, those are custom icons I found on Internet. I like to use in some sections of my file system custom icons. You could do a net search on macosx icons. To change the icons for folders (and files), do a command-i (get info) on both the file with the custom file, and the original file. You then select the custom icon in the top left-corner, command-C (copy), and then select the target icon (the old one), and do command-v (paste). There’s som trickery when selecting the icons, but you get the hang of it when trying it out.

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