How do you keep track of / rank all of your sounds?

My collection is probably tiny compared to most. I have the stock Cubase instruments (e.g. Halion, Pad Shop, etc.), FM8 and a couple of others. Even so, that’s thousands of sounds. And of course, that’s not taking into account any physical hardware. I also have a Roland JV-2080 and a Korg Kronos. Without a good browsing / searching / tagging system it’s hard to find what you want when inspiration strikes, made more difficult by having to look in different places for different things. For example, I can’t do a global search for Cello and find cello presets across all my instruments.

I thought Media Bay might be the universal place to do this, but if I understand correctly it only includes Steinberg instruments, e.g. it doesn’t know about FM8 unless I save each preset one at a time. With thousands of sounds, that’s unlikely to happen. Media Bay also has no integration with the external instruments you create.

VST instruments, each with tons of presets, are such a huge part of music production today I’m sure many of you have strategies for browsing / searching / auditioning sounds as you work. I’d love to learn from your approach if you wouldn’t mind sharing how you do things.

For all VST/VSTI its Kore which of course is no longer available. The Kore sound browser is 2nd to none, and all the browsers in the Maschine series and KK were taken from the Kore browser and then dumbed down a bit.

For hardware, I use SoundQuest MidiQuest. It’s expensive, but well worth it to me since its the editor/librarian for 12 synths in my studio plus other hardware. You need a general knowledge of your midi interface and midi in general and how each of your synths communicate with your PC and MidiQuest. A lot of the complaints in forums are users who expect it to work 100% out of the box and then give up. The developer gives excellent support, usually the same day.

When I used MOTU Unisyn, I spent many hours and days tagging. My advice is only tag the important patches. MOTU dropped Unisyn. All that tagging went to waste. So when Kore came along 15 years ago I had learned my lesson by not tagging too many patches. With MidiQuest, you get some tagging advantages with other users who have done the work for you, but again…my advice is to not spend too much time tagging.

I think that’s one thing that appeals to so many people about Omnisphere. The browser makes it so easy manage a large library of sounds that it’s natural to turn to that when you’re trying to find a needle sound in a haystack library. I’ll use other instruments if I know exactly which sound I want, but if I want to browse, I’ll use Omnisphere.

Most of my vsts are kontakt based so can be managed within komplete konteol fairly well thankfully. And then for others that I come across that I like I will save them as presets but I only do this for the absolute best.

I appreciate the suggestions about Omnisphere & Kontakt, but I was hoping for a solution that spanned manufacturers.

I own MidiQuest 10, and Michael is a great guy. I’ve had experiences in the past where I reported a bug to him and he had a new version with the fix for me within a day. Hard to find that level of support.

However, the only two hardware devices I have are the Kronos and the JV-2080. I have the dedicated Kronos editor he did with Korg, but version 10 of the full product doesn’t recognize it because it was built on a newer version. To get the 2080 and Korg patches in a single app would require an upgrade, and musical expenditures are currently not in the budget.

I’ve also seen YouTube videos that the data stored by Halion doesn’t always sync to the full Media Bay, meaning what you rate, etc. in Halion doesn’t necessarily show up in Media Bay.

I was thinking I could use Media Bay for Steinberg and my additional Vst instruments, e.g. FM8, so I’d have one stop shopping at least in the vst side of the house, but apparently there is no comprehensive solution in that regard.

On the other hand, if I go through my external vst instruments and create vstpresets for just the ones I’m interested in, then they’d show up in Media Bay. Pretty clumsy solution but I haven’t found a better way yet. And of course, that doesn’t include the sounds in my hardware.

I keep an in-house website I’ve developed that does a lot of different things for me, including some Sql Server stuff. I’m tempted to add some tables and dump all the patch names & sources from all the hardware and software so I would at least have a centralized place to find all patches that, for instance, contain Bass in the name, across all of my hardware and software instruments. Of course, I’m looking for a solution I don’t have to code myself.

Some VST’s do have their own patch management, some better than others but it’s probably very hard to implement it within Cubase, for a start, categories are not universal, I would think the tagging also isn’t universal.

Maybe for VST4 or even 3.1, developers can implement tagging of individual patches from a set list, and each patch is an individual file, much like you see it on Sylenth, Massive, Diva etc, then it should be feasible to implement it with ease.

Right now, I just try to remember some of my fav patches, if I can rate them, I’ll do that, else for some VST’s like Spire (with a rubbish patch management) I simply save that individual preset to a particular folder.