General question about how to organize files

Hey everyone, well I’ve recorded a couple small projects, and I want to start working on more things, but I noticed just from the things I’ve worked on, I have a ton of files in my “Music” section on my imac. I have over 1200 in there, named various things like “Audio05_3, audio05_4…etc…” and its basically every clip i’ve ever hit record and stop on in those projects. I’m not sure whats in there that I need or dont need, but where do you guys store all that stuff? and do you have any tips on where to organize the project files, the audio clips, the effects and all that? i dont want to get too overwhelmed and messy :slight_smile:

Here’s how I do it on a windows PC…

I start new projects usually using one of the several templates I prepared. I have CB prompt me where to save the project then I create a new folder named the song title. Once the project opens I immediately save the project with the same name as the project folder. CB will create several folders in the project folder (like audio & video) to store the files for that project there.

After recording everything and I am totally satisfied with my final project mixdown, I go to the project pool and right click on the audio folder and remove unused media. This leaves only the audio/video files currently used in the project. Then I right click on the trash and delete those files that I am sure I don’t want (usually all of them). That leaves only the files associated with that project in the pool. All others are gone. Forever! Be careful because once you delete files from the pool trash they are gone forever as CB does not use the system recycle bin to give you one more chance to change your mind.

Files that I may want to use in a different project I export them from the pool trash to a folder named “shared audio”. I import files into a different project’s pool from this folder. But remember, you need to export the files you want to keep before deleting the pool trash.

That’s how I keep my PC and audio projects/files organized. All the little snippets are trashed along with the others that you don’t want to ever use again. Please be careful and be sure you don’t want/need any files deleted from the pool trash. I can’t say this enough. Trash at you own risk. Happy trashing…

Regards. :sunglasses:

Thanks a lot! I’ll probably adopt your system. So when you right click, there’s an option to get rid of unused media? Or do you listen to all the little clips individually and decide what you used on your own?

Be careful about deleting your original takes/files. A safer route might be to do a “back up project”. You can choose to remove unused files, leaving you with a new, clean project to molest as you please. Your original project will remain intact. I’ve been making a “Backups” folder within my main (original) project folder where I’ll create a new sub-folder for each new “backed up project”. I’ll continue working from each new backup. Then, I can easily revert to a previous version if the need arises.

My method does work well for me but I’m sure others probably do it differently and better. But they would need to chime in here to give you their opinion.

When you open the “pool” from the Project>Pool menu (ctrl +p) you will see all of the audio & video files in the pool. When you right click on the audio folder you will be presented with an option to remove unused media. If you choose that option CB will automatically remove the files that are not currently used in that project. It will then ask you where to move the files to. I always choose trash at this point because I want to review the unused media to make sure none of the files are used in other projects. No… I am not listening to each file. I am just looking at the file names and date/time information for something that would clue me that a file might not be from this project. That could happen if you… created your master template by saving an old project as a template. If you did that then the template would contain those files from that old project and if you delete them they are gone and will not be available for the old project. NOT GOOD! Once you are convinced that the files in the trash are not necessary for this project or other projects then right click on the trash folder and choose empty trash. CB will then give you a warning that you are about to delete the files forever. It doesn’t send these files to the computer recycle bin. It just deletes them. So once you hit that button they are gone.

Again, this system works well for me but I am very step-process (workflow) aware when I delete files from the pool. Just make sure your template(s) do not contain files used in other projects and always start a new project from one of the empty templates. When I first started using CB I never used a template to start a new project. I always opened a similar project then just saved it with a different name. After a while of doing this the pool kept getting massive amounts of audio files in it. Files from many different projects were in it. If I were to remove unused media then delete the trash from that pool I would have deleted many shared files and those project would not work correctly.

So start each new project from a fresh template (containing no audio/video files) the just do your pool cleanup after you do your final editing and mixdown for that project and you should be fine.

Scab Pickens suggests to do a back up project… Might be a good idea and hard drive space is very cheap nowadays but, we were discussing how to organize files. My method gets rid of unused files not create more. The “back up project” does back up everything in your project which is different than the auto save function found in the preferences>general menu. This auto save is just saving the .cpr file at whatever interval you have it set to. Mine is set to every 15 minutes, 5 files max. I’m not sure but that might be the default.

Just be careful. Especially when you are doing the pool cleanup for the first time.

Regards :sunglasses:

It sounds like you’ve fallen prey the beginners sloppy management syndrome! :unamused:

Most pro’s use a separate drive for their audio (a third for sample libraries). The first thing to do is make a folder on your hard-drive (internal or external) where you’ll keep all your Cubase projects. It’s preferable to not use the “Music” folder in the Users folder, as this is used by other programs aswell. Make a folder called “Cubase projects” in a convenient location, so you know where it is.

When you start a new project, navigate to this “Cubase projects” folder (of cause you can make sub-folders if you wish) and make a new folder with the name of your project. Make sure that you save your actual project, the first thing you do, when the project window opens. Just to be on the safe side. Unfortunately, there’s no way of making Cubase do this automatically when the project is created. Now all recorded audio files will, by default, be saved in the audio folder inside your named project folder.

The next thing you need to keep in mind is…always name the tracks before you start recording!!! If you do this you won’t get “Audio05_3, audio05_4…etc…”, you’ll get “Bass05_3, Bass05_4…etc…”. Which is a lot easier to keep track of.

A little pre-planning goes a long way to avoid serious problems later.

As for sorting out the mess you’ve already made… If I understand you correctly, you’ve got all the audio files, belonging to several projects, in one “Audio” folder. There a couple of ways to do this. You could do as Prock suggests, however do not select Empty Trash, as this will erase the files from your hard-drive and you won’t be able to sort out the next project.

Another option is to rename all the files in the Pool. You could for example add some letters to the beginning of all the files (ex ABC_audio05_4, etc) Just use the same letters to all the files. Now you can make a new project folder (you remember where, don’t you) for your project.

Now copy all the renamed files, in Finder, to the Audio folder in the new Project folder. Then restore the file names, again in finder, in the original “Audio” folder. This is just in case any of the audio files are used in another project.

Now, go through the same procedure with the other projects, one by one.

The next step is to delete the audio files (you might want to make a backup first, though) from the hard-drive, using Finder. Yes, there is a rule that you should never delete or rename files outside Cubase, always use the pool. Hoever, every rule has it’s exception and this is one.

Now open your first project (fron the new Project Folder). Cubase will then give you a missing files error, with a reconnect button. Click on this and navigate to your new project folder. Then save your project. Now do the same for the rest of your projects.

If something goes wrong, you did remember to make a back-up of your original Project Folder, didn’t you? If everything works properly, you can throw this (and the back-up) away. Just test all your sorted out projects first.

The third, and probably the easiest way to to make a backup of the first project, and then the second a.s.o. from with Cubase. This is described on page 60 in the User Manual PDF.

There you have it, Three ways of sorting out you mess. Just remember that a little pre-planning will save you from making a new one. :slight_smile: Good luck.

Just logged back in after all my fourth of July weekend, stuff, but thanks for all the replies! You’re right…as a beginner my projects are completely unorganized…haha its a mess, but I’ll definitely use your tips, thanks again.

ok, i’m finally getting around to taking Svennes advice. I just renamed all the files in the pool, and I created a new folder under “cubase projects” with the name of my project inside that folder. Next Svenne said I should copy all the files from finder, and put them in the audio folder in the new project folder. I dont see an “audio” folder in there. I even went to “save as” and saved my project into the new folder I created, but i dont see a folder that says audio. So where exactly do i paste the files? thanks!

Oh and one more thing. He mentioned restoring the orginal file names… how do i do that once I change the name in the pool?


You should create the project folder from within Cubase. Not in Finder/Windows Explorer!

  1. When you see the Steinberg Hub, make sure that “Prompt for project location” is selected.
  2. Select the More pane and then “Empty”
  3. Click on “Create Empty…”
  4. Navigate to your Project Folder (or any subfolder you wish to use), click on “New Folder”, name your project folder in, click “Create” and click “Open”.

Cubase will now create a correctly formatted Project Folder (containing an “Audio” subfolder) in your selected location. This is how you should begin every new project, from now on. It’s also recommended that you save your newly created project, the first thing you do. Just as a safety measure. Unfortunately, Cubase doesn’t do this automatically.

However, since this exercise was only for creating a project folder, you can close the new project window. You don’t need it, as you will save your “original” project to this project folder.

The rule is that you should always change file-names and delete files from within Cubase, as it otherwise will loose it connection with the file(s). However, in this specific case, you want to “break” the link!

When you save the Project to the new Project Folder, it’s still connected to the audio files in the old Project Folder. We don’t want that. We obviously want it to be connected to the audio files in the new Project Folder (where your Project (.cpr) file resides).

By restoring the file names (changing them names back, from ABC_audio05_4 back to audio05_4, etc) in the Finder/Windows Explorer (Not in the Pool), the links will “break” and Cubase will request that you relocate the Project Folder. This time the new one, and the Project will be connected to the correct copies of the audio file. You can, now, resore the names of the “new” copies of the audio files aswell, it you wish. Note however that this time it must be done in the Pool.

The benefit, for you, in restoring the names of the file names to break the links, opposed to erasing them, is that if they are used in another project, they will still work with that project.

Please, add your equipment list to your signature. It’s must easier for us to help you if we know what OS, Cubase version, etc. you are using. Click on “User Control Panel” in the header. Select Profile/Edit Signature and enter your equipment specifications. The more specific you are, the greater the chance of getting adequate help.

Ok, I’m really sorry for getting so confused. I know this is probably a simple task and I’m making it complicated but its still not working for me. So i’ll explain in detail what I did:

  1. opened up my project, and I went to the pool, and i renamed every file, there in the pool.
  2. I created a folder on my desktop called “cubase projects”
  3. Inside the “cubase projects” folder, I created a new folder with the Title of my project.
  4. I went to “file>save as” in my project, and I saved my project into the folder I created.

Now when I go to the folder, I see the project file, and one other file with a .csh extension. But still no audio folder in there. what did i miss?

And thanks again i really appreciate the help. once I get this all sorted out I’m staying organized from now on.

I see, from your description, that you you’ve not set up a correctly formatted project folder. There are two ways to do this. Either from within Cubase, by designating a Project Folder, when you create the project. I suggested that you set up a dummy project, just to get a properly format folder for the “fixed” project files. If you set up the folder structure in Finder (as you appear to have done), you need to add the Audio folder yourself.

Note, however, that saving the “fixed” project to the new project folder does not designate it as the Project Folder. The new Project file still refers to the audio files in the old Project Folder (the messy one). This is why you need restore the names, in the Finder, after you’ve copied them to the Audio folder in the new project folder, in order to beak the “links” to the old Project Folder. When Cubase tells you to re-link the connections (in the “Missing Files”) dialog, the links will change to the new project folder and it will be designated as the Project Folder" for this project.

This means that any new recordings will end up in this Audio folder. If you omit this step the new recordings will end up in the old (messy) Audio folder.

By the way, I’ve figured out a faster way then renaming all the files.

  1. Open the Pool and see which files are used in the project.
  2. Copy these files to the new project folder. Note that files may belong to the project you want to fix and still be denoted as unused. For example it you’ve recorded several takes of, say the bass, and removed all but one from the Project window. It may therefore be a good idea to listen to any unused files that look as they belong to the project being fixed and copy those you want to keep aswell.
  3. Copy the old Project file to the new project folder.
  4. Drag the Audio folder, from the old Project folder, to the Desktop. This will also “break” the links.
  5. Open the Project file in the new project folder.
  6. When you get the missing link dialog click “Folder” and navigate to the Audio Folder in the new project folder. Cubase will now relink to all the used files that are found. If the missing files dialog returns, you may have missed copying one or more file(s). If this happens you can either copy the missing files (you may need to repeat step 6) or, if you don’t want to keep them, click “Close” and then go to the Pool and delete them there.
  7. Save the new project. You now have a “fixed” project.

Move the old “Audio” folder back to the original folder, and repeat the procedure for any other project you want to “fix”.

Ok, thank you! i think i finally got everything set up correctly. I started restoring all the renamed files in finder, but I realized, i’ve only done two total projects, so I dont need to go through and re do all of that, I’m sure I didn’t use the files in more than one project! haha.

Just one more quick question before I start deleting though. Every file I copied, has a corresponding “.peak” file. Do i need these? I’m not sure what they are. For example, I have a file named “ABC_audio 01_02.wav” and there will be another file next to it named “ABC_audio 01_02.peak” … all of them have this.

The .peak files are only the “graphic” files for the waveform display in the Project window. Their sole purpose is to speed up the waveform display. They can be safely ignored. Cubase will just recreate them when you open the project again.

Dont know if you’re still following this thread but I guess i didn’t do it correctly as I originally thought. I never moved the orginal files to “break” the connection, thats why it was still opening! So i moved it, and there’s still a ton of missing stuff.

Like i said, i renamed everything in the pool, but apparently thats not all the files that cubase is using? Once again I’ll outline my steps and then tell you what it said:

1)Went to the project pool, and renamed every file there.
2) Went to finder>all my files>audio> and copied every file I renamed. I then pasted it into the new audio folder that I created for the project.
3) moved the orignal audio folder to a different location to break the connect there.
4) Located several of the missing files in cubase, and directed them to the new audio folder.
5) apparently there’s still missing files. The files that it says are missing are not renamed with my prefixes, so that means I never saw them in the pool. I dont know where to find them or how to rename those. Most of them do say “edits” by them. Do i find those somewhere besides the project pool?

“There’s your problem”. To quote one of Jaimie Hyneman’s favorite phrases.

Cubase employes non-destructive editing (for the most part). That means that, in some cases, when you do an edit, for example normalizing, the original audio files are left untouched and Cubase generates a separate audio file for the edited section. These “edit-files” are stored in a folder called “Edits” in the project folder.

You can make an “Edits” folder in your new Projects folder and move the files designated “edits” there


Here’s a neat trick. Cubase has the capability to recreate missing edits files.
a) Open the pool
b) Look in the “Status” column for files with the word “Reconstructible”. Select these, right-click and choose “Reconstruct” from the context menu.
c) Problem solved.