Suggestions on sample library organization?

I’ve been quite diligent in organizing my sample library in a way that provides me — through the filename — info on sample source (library), sample source (instrument), sample name, key, BPM etc.

However I’ve never been able to resolve the issue of maintaining a centralized sample library PLUS keeping copies of used samples within a project folder (in effect creating a duplicate)…

… versus pointing all uses of samples in a project to the central sample repository (only one version, but also a single point of failure).

I imagine there are advantages and disadvantage of each approach but wonder if you’d have an opinion or guidance to share.


Whaddup MPT5

I use a program called Sync Folders Pro. It essentially allows me to accomplish what I think you are asking for.

Maybe check it out.

I was more thinking of suggestions from forum users regarding best practices about maintaining their sample libraries. There seem to be 2 main approaches/schools of thought in which either you [1] work off a single sample repository versus [2] duplicated sample files into a folder of current project, which is more portable but creates duplicates. If you have any thoughts, let me know!

For me, my ‘sample library’ is just that. It’s a stock resource to pull from. If I modify something specifically for a project, that stays in the project’s folder because it was modified for a particular purpose. In the future should I need it elsewhere, I can go grab it from the project.

Great example are drum breaks I need to ‘warp’ to fit tempo. Im not going to keep 15 copies of the same Amen break at various tempos. I’ll keep the stock 130bpm (or 166 depending on where you got it) as the main sample in the library, and any project that needs it tuned or stretched to fit it, gets its own copy in the project folder. That said, when I do twist something into a completely new sound, I am terrible about remembering to grab it and actually adding a copy to my library.

My actual sample library, which is over 130k samples now, for the most part stays intact as it was when I ‘installed’ it and arranged everything into its folder structure. Project audio is completely separate. Kind of like ‘back in the day’, a studio would have their sample library elsewhere, while the work was stored on reels of tapes separate from everything else.

Storage and duplication isn’t really an issue as the samples live on their own 1TB drive, and my audio projects live on their own 1TB drive (and neither one is even half full yet). Mediabay and any sample managers I use only point at my sample library, not the audio drive.

Thanks for your thoughts @Monotremata
I have the impression there’s no right/wrong way of doing this, but may require consistency in naming and folder structure. Since you library is quite large, do you recommend any specific naming method? Thanks!

So this is what it looks like for SKYFALL.

My samples are on an external drive called…SAMPLES. On that drive I have various folders from various manufacturers.

The Halion Stuff goes into a Halion Folder. That Halion Folder is then Synced automatically to another backup folder of that name, as well that folder on my laptop.

So essentially, I make a change to my Halion Samples. Sync Folder Plus see’s that change and then automatically syncs everything everywhere.

Hope that helps.

Got it—just to confirm then… so when your VSTi triggers a sample, it is being read from the local Halion folder and any local change to sample itself gets propagated to the central repository and backup. That sounds like an interesting setup (assuming the sync is stable/reliable).

Exactly. I set the “master” folder and everting syncs to that. I delete something from that folder, it gets deleted (but backed up) across the folders/network/computers.

It’s actually a clever little program. I’ve never found a program that can do this. It has a weirdo interface though. Terrible. But it’s worth it if you want to “manage” just “one” folder…but the software is doing a lot more in the background.

p.s. :joy:
Whaddup Noise? You ready to take over Steinberg Management bro?

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I borrowed my naming convention from Charlie Clouser actually. There was a big thread on GearSpace a few years back about the same thing, and him coming in was very helpful seeing as how he was in Nine Inch Nails and dealing with a library of millions of things…

Sample library is in a folder called Samples and is further organized into two folders, One-Shots and Loops. Inside each of these is a category, and then individual instrument types. I do also have some folders of sample packs left intact. These are mainly some sound effects libraries and they came in very specific organized folders. I don’t want to blow up my library creating a bunch of specific folders that will only have one or two samples in them, so I leave those big libraries intact.

You can grab a pack of empty folders to start you off with here:

For the sample file names, I use a batch renamer (A Better Finder Rename), and add a two digit code at the beginning that signifies who made the pack (ZG - Zero G, BS - Best Service, LM - Loopmasters, etc)… Then a 3/4 digit code that tells me the name of the pack. So for example, ZG_JW1_808 Bass.wav. That’s the ‘808 Bass’ from Zero-G’s Jungle Warfare 1. If I ever need to look at a sample used in a project and figure out where it came from, that’s how I do it. I haven’t bought one in a few years now, but that is the first thing I do to the entire pack when I get it. Then it gets split up and organized into the appropriate folders above.

Really though, you are correct, there is no correct answer. It’s what works best for you and helps you keep track and find stuff quickly when you need it. Before I sat down and did this about 4-5 years ago, I literally just had everything in one big folder and would dig through each pack or a directory of hundreds of random samples. I started off with the layout above and just got used to it so it works for me. Some folks might find it easier to leave them in the folder structure that comes with it. If you kind of know what feel each sample pack has, if you need a specific flavor of something you know right where to go just the same. If I want dark jungle stuff, I go to this pack, if I want happy hippie DnB stuff I go here, etc, etc…

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This is super helpful, thanks so much! I have a similar file naming scheme but I leave the pack author/lib at the end, so it’s easier to read the actual sample name when inserted into a sampler instrument or drum pad (due to truncation). For single shot tuned stuff, I also put the key in the filename so it can get mapped into Halion with less work. Thanks again!

You got it! Let’s do a rain dance and get this software fixed! Or whatever people do now a days. :innocent: