Sample Library Organization – Making Workflow Efficient


Thanks for stopping by. Some of you may have read a three part series I did recently on Sampling and Music Compostion. Over the last two days (Thanksgiving morning and evening, and this evening), I decided to gather up all the downloaded sample libraries, construction kits and various samples spread out over two Macs to add and categorize them onto a 250 GB portable HD I use for music production. While there are many software apps (Redmatica, etc) out there to do just this, I needed a solution that would work best for the way I intend to work. One solution I thought (and still do think) will work great is using iTunes to categorize samples. It has smart folder capability and search and can be used across Windows and Mac. While multiple playlists can be set up, I’d have have the app installed on my computers (which it is) as well as the external drive. I decided I wanted to be app independent.

I read and viewed a very good video by my man St. Joe over at Sounds and Gear entitled Organizing your samples and sound libraries for better workflow. I like his thought process, but since I am not primarily a sample based musician, I really don’t care about the manufacturer connection to the samples I use (unless of course they really suck, which none I have come across do), instead, it’s more important to me that I choose my samples by sound category, genre and bpm (if they are loops). So I set out to categorize them in that fashion. While I prefer to program my drum tracks from scratch, I do find loops useful for quick and dirty tunes or for something fast I may need for a client. I most likely would use an audio drum loop for something backing, though there are a few songs I’ve used straight loops for. In any event, being able to choose loops of any sort by bpm first is easiest for me because the tempo of a song is one of my first considerations, along with genre. I keep my genre list basic because frankly, the industry is out of control with genres, sub-genres and the like…I just can’t keep up.

That being said, here is a screen shot of what my sample organization looks like. There are a number of sample loops aside from drum loops with bpms so having that as the primary search criteria makes composing, from a sample standpoint, very easy.

I still have a ton of sample CDs that I haven’t categorized yet, but at least I’ve got all the ones from the various hard drives done. Aside from adding the sample CDs over time, the next project is to burn all of these current ones….to CD, then incorporate the iTunes solution into the mix. Between the CDs, my portable drive and Logic Studio, I shouldnt ever want to see another sample or sample loop ever …lol. (I know that it itself, is unrealistic…ha!) I’ll continue to look out for the info I get from Primeloops, Loopmasters, Platinumloops, Siliconbeats, P5 Audio, and a host of other fantastic vendors that grace the music production community with free demos and samples…but at least now, I can categorize them in an order fashion.

Sample users (this means you especially Big La ha!), I’d be interested to read about how you categorize your samples, if at all.

Thanks for the read…

::: oceans of rhythm :::


About Fresh

Mac Fan/Sys. Engr - NASA planetary missions. guitarist/producer/AFOL/fitness fan/film+TV+sndtrk composer/podcast host/Python newbie coder. Music by me: Mellowly Cool. Find me on X and Bluesky
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3 Responses to Sample Library Organization – Making Workflow Efficient

  1. Interesting man, thanks for checking out my video. I like to organize by company as I usually use that as sort of a category in itself. For instance, I know each company usually has a typical “sound”.

    I also organize my sample cds different than my “sample packs” so the sample cds/libraries are organized into genre/styles, then into collection titles, then into sound type.

    Where my sample packs (the smaller, downloadable stuff) I usually go first by company, then, depending on how much stuff I have from them, I’ll do it by series, product, or sound type 🙂

    And I must add, I’m always changing to better organize my samples, I just have entirely too many sounds to organize all my kicks in the same folders, etc 🙂

  2. Fresh says:

    Hey man. Thanks for the comment. I can see why you categorize in the way you do, as it makes it easy to do the reviews per company/construction kit….that makes sense. I religiously read “Future Music” and occasionally “Computer Music”. Both mags come with sample CDs every issue…and I haven’t even started to pull samples from them yet. On the other end of the spectrum, there is the opposing part – having way too much to choose from. I downloaded a .rar file packed with 1600 snares…1600?? That is insane!! haha!

  3. MsTrisBeats says:

    I have a lot of sample and loops etc also. I have them organized similar to St.Joe…Main Folder= where I got them or company name. Sub Folders may have type or the name the company gave the kit etc. and last folders in the tree would be as you have yours..Kicks snares

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