Here’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.