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External Sample Management Control Surfaces
Old 18th May 2017
  #1
Gear Head
 

External Sample Management

Hi,

I, as I presume most digital music creators do, have a rather large folder of samples I've collected over the years and I wanted to ask how others manage their sample collections?

I would ideally love to have them all accessible via the Logic loops library under the 'My Loops' tab but it seems that going through and adding each individual sample and tagging its properties would be quite a tedious task and unfortunately sat in their folder they don't get searched through so often. I get a bunch of new samples each month with Computer Magazine too. I did begin attempting to create a folder that separated them into categories e.g. drum loops, drum one-shots, bass loops etc. but even this doesn't quite break down the sheer amount there is. I have the apple loops utility but I just wanted to check how others do it before I really get stuck into something only to find there's a better way I could have taken from the start.

Do people use other software to manage their loops? Are there more intuitive ways to add samples to Apple loops? Any other tips?

Thanks in advance!
Old 18th May 2017
  #2
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Same problem here...
Old 18th May 2017
  #3
Gear Addict
 

If I actually got round to managing my samples properly, I might use either one of the following:

AudioFinder ($69.95)
Samplism (only just released -- $59.99 / $49.99 promo)
TagAFile ($19 -- plugin that lets you tag your audio files)

Not sure about how to add things to the Apple loops library.
Old 18th May 2017
  #4
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Fernand's Avatar
I guess we all have the same problem. Too much stuff that's unsorted. Unfindable.

I don't have much hope for a solution until someone develops a way to group sounds that everybody will more or less subscribe too. The supplied Apple loops derive much of their utility from having been pegged into a scheme with labels and a database to search them. But extending the concept is a big undertaking that nobody has really tackled. Do you want to find all sounds made by a talking-drum, or are you looking for sounds that resemble "Wheee-appp-dum"? Or those that sound a lot like "I'll be back"? A useful system would search from many different criteria and would automatically tag loops and samples from all these directions.

Maybe we're waiting for a brilliant outside-the-box discovery that would simplify all that. But (superficially) looking at all the current third party "media management" tools, it seems Apple's built-in library does it better. It's too bad that adding your own sounds would require tedious one by one tagging of the files, as if we had nothing better to do.

And do we want to search only for things familiar, or do we want to discover new things?

Google is approaching image search in some interesting ways, maybe they'll tackle sounds.
Old 19th May 2017
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onerob View Post
Not sure about how to add things to the Apple loops library.
Look no further: Loop Editor | Audiofile
Old 19th May 2017
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anp27 View Post
Look no further: Loop Editor | Audiofile
Cool, so you can tag an entire folder and batch export? Awesome, thank you!
Old 19th May 2017
  #7
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I have definitely struggled with this in the past. The one thing I can strongly recommend you do is TRIM THE FAT. Delete sounds that you don't like and you don't see yourself ever using... as well as redundant samples. I'm sure you have a lot of similar sounding samples.. keep only the best and delete the rest. Keep only the highest quality, nicest sounding stuff. Of course this involves listening to each and every sample you have. Take a weekend to clean up your sample library, it's going to take a lot of time and it's super tedious but it will help you immensely in the long run.
Old 19th May 2017
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noisewagon View Post
Cool, so you can tag an entire folder and batch export? Awesome, thank you!
I'm sure you can do that, I haven't had the time to fully into what Loop Editor can do.. I think you can find out everything you need to know from the website. Also I think there's demo for you to try out.
Old 21st May 2017
  #9
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Trip Hop Mop's Avatar
I've not too long ago made it my goal to organize all my samples into a nice smaller pack that only has the best from everything. It took a while to get through it all, but was totally worth it. Its always going to be in a state of change as there will be times where i will be wanting a certain kick or snare. What i do for them is if i can't find it in my pack, I will note it down and then add a few of the sounds i was looking for into the pack for future projects. I still have all the unorganized samples backed up onto an external drive for such an occurrence.

Whats handy about organizing your samples like that is that when ever I decide to download more samples. I can just take out the best sounds from the downloaded pack and add it to the custom pack. The rest then gets dumped onto the external drive so if there is ever a time i might need a difference sound, I would still have that as a resource.
Old 21st May 2017
  #10
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by onerob View Post
If I actually got round to managing my samples properly, I might use either one of the following:

AudioFinder ($69.95)
Samplism (only just released -- $59.99 / $49.99 promo)
TagAFile ($19 -- plugin that lets you tag your audio files)

Not sure about how to add things to the Apple loops library.
Among them, Samplism looks good to me because of the automatic tag matching feature.
Although I am not sure how well it works, it seems very interesting.
Thanks for the list.
Old 22nd May 2017
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buriburi205 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by onerob View Post
If I actually got round to managing my samples properly, I might use either one of the following:

AudioFinder ($69.95)
Samplism (only just released -- $59.99 / $49.99 promo)
TagAFile ($19 -- plugin that lets you tag your audio files)

Not sure about how to add things to the Apple loops library.
Among them, Samplism looks good to me because of the automatic tag matching feature.
Although I am not sure how well it works, it seems very interesting.
Thanks for the list.
Samplism looks great. I'll check it out. I never even thought about getting an app to sort all that stuff out. I've just been sloggin through all my samples. An app woudl make things so much easier.
Old 19th January 2019
  #12
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junior's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by anp27 View Post
Look no further: Loop Editor | Audiofile
Reviving an old thread because I'm also looking for a way to organize my samples.

Looks like Audiofile is under new ownership and their apps are no longer offered on the website. Have their apps become abandonware?

As for AudioFinder and Samplism, has anyone got any preferences?
Old 19th January 2019
  #13
Gear Addict
 

Since this thread was first started there is now the option of Sample Manager by ADSR, which is free.

ADSR Sample Manager | ADSR | Software | ADSR

For drum samples, Atlas looks extremely handy.

Atlas - Change the way you find samples and make beats
Old 19th January 2019
  #14
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junior's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by onerob View Post
Since this thread was first started there is now the option of Sample Manager by ADSR, which is free.

ADSR Sample Manager | ADSR | Software | ADSR

For drum samples, Atlas looks extremely handy.

Atlas - Change the way you find samples and make beats
Cool. I'll check those out too. Thanks!
Old 19th January 2019
  #15
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charlieclouser's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by junior View Post
Reviving an old thread because I'm also looking for a way to organize my samples.

Looks like Audiofile is under new ownership and their apps are no longer offered on the website. Have their apps become abandonware?

As for AudioFinder and Samplism, has anyone got any preferences?
Yes, AudioFile Engineering has morphed into a company called Aurchitect, which offers newer versions of most of the old AudioFile products.

Aurchitect Audio Software

I don't know if the tagging and metadata features from the old products made it across intact to the newer ones since I never use those features. But the stuff I do use (batch processing and destructive editing) did, and are greatly improved. Myriad is like a new, improved, super-version of Sample Manager and it's great.

There is another excellent (and free!) utility from ADSRsounds, which is (confusingly) also called Sample Manager. It is actually a plugin which runs inside your DAW, and it offers tagging and sorting features for audio files - but most importantly it will preview a selected file in sync and in time with your DAW project, while you trigger the loop from your MIDI keyboard, and allow you to manipulate the pitch and timing of the file, select just a range of the file if you want, and then allow you to drag the result right into an audio track in your DAW. It's sort of like a mini-sampler with auto-match of tempo. It's pretty genius - and FREE! - a must-have. Grab it here:

ADSR Sample Manager | ADSR | Software | ADSR

There is a similar thing called LoopCloud from LoopMasters, which originally started out as a way to browse and purchase individual loops from the LoopMasters website, but is growing to allow you to use it as a sorting / preview tool alongside your DAW, similar to the ADSR Sample Manager plugin. It's a standalone app with a companion plugin, so it's not quite as simple as Sample Manager, but it looks cool. It can preview loops from the LoopMasters website, as well as those stored locally on your system, in time with your DAW project, and allow you to drag the results to your DAW timeline. I do use Sample Manager but haven't tried LoopCloud yet. Both offer tagging and sorting, and work with raw audio files as well as Apple Loops.

Loopcloud by Loopmasters, Cloud Sample Storage

I also use AudioFinder quite a bit, and have for years. It is fast, lean, and mean and is definitely a bad mother. A must-have for anyone with a serious sample collection. It offers batch processing and batch-renaming tools as well as super-quick previewing and drag-n-drop of audio to your DAW.

Samplism seems to really focus on the "tagging" aspect more than other features that AudioFinder excels at - but, again, since I don't use tagging or metadata I can't speak to that. I haven't tried Samplism yet.

But after years of using first-generation products that used their own internal system of tagging and metadata to organize sample files, and then having that system become useless when I stopped using the product due to compatibility issues etc., I am gun-shy about going down that road ever again - all that time spent tagging and organizing becomes wasted time if the engine used to sort and access the files can no longer be used.

So what I do these days is make sure that the file names and the way they are organized into folders in the computer's file system contains all of the information I need to find and sort the files. That way, even if I move from Mac to PC the sorting remains intact, and I can use any common search utilities - not just those oriented at audio use. So, I have folders into which I drop all files that meet certain criteria - Hi-Hat Loops, Shaker Loops, BroStep Loops, etc. - and I use file renaming utilities to give every file a compact and informative name. So typical loop file names in my system would be things like:

BO-122-Hat Wobble-1a
BO-122-Hat Wobble-1b
CD-099+6-Taikos Thump Dry
CD-099+6-Taikos Thump Wet

... where the first two-letter bit denotes the source of the sample ("BO" for "Black Octopus Samples" and "CD" for "CineDrums" for example); the three-digit number denotes the BPM (the "+6" indicates that the loop is in 6/4 and not 4/4); and what follows is the category ("Hat" or "Taikos" for instance) and a descriptive term. Then I put every file in its appropriate folder so that I can browse inside the "Hat Loops" folder and when viewed as a list all of the samples are sorted by manufacturer, then BPM, then category, then descriptor. It works brilliantly. The time spent manipulating the names is much less than the time I would spend dealing with Apple Loops meta data, and there are so many utilities for batch-manipulating file names - many more than there are for batch-processing Apple Loops metadata, that's for sure!

As to the Apple Loops issue - wanting to use audio files with embedded Apple Loops metadata within Logic - this is still a bit problematic. I haven't found a reliable, accurate, and fast utility that can batch-tag / batch-convert raw audio files into Apple Loops without it guessing wrong at tempo, bar length, etc. Apple's own Apple Loop Utility is fine when dealing with 2 or 10 files, but if you sit down with a few hundred gigabytes of samples you bought on Black Friday sales you'll lose your mind trying to run them all through it. I wish there was a super-batch-processing version of Apple Loop Utility but I haven't found one yet.

So I use Ableton Live as my engine for manipulating looped audio material. Running as a ReWire slave behind Logic, it's a much better version of what Logic tries to do. Here's a couple of reasons why:

- It deals with raw AIFF and WAV files as if they already had metadata embedded. It guesses the tempo and length of any raw audio file much more accurately than any other engine I've tried. It assumes that the tempo is between 80 and 160 bpm and that the time signature is 4/4, and using the sample rate and length (in samples) of the file, which are always readable as metadata even in a raw audio file, it does a little simple math and guesses the tempo so that the file will play in time. This works brilliantly. If the file is at a tempo outside that range, or Live somehow gets it wrong, there are buttons for "tempo x2" and "tempo x 1/2" which fix things right up. For non-4/4 loops it can take a couple more clicks, but only a couple.

- When previewing audio files from Live's browser while a song is playing (or looping one section), Live lets you use the arrow keys to quickly navigate through your sample folders, and the selected file can either play instantly, or wait until the next beat, downbeat, or 16th note before triggering. (This interval is user-selectable). This means that previewed loops always play "in time" with the music. Logic does not do this, and its browser is so much slower and clunkier. It's also much more flexible and fast to manipulate pitch, quantize audio, and do other prep work on the imported audio files inside Live than in Logic. When I've got the audio files I want in the Session View in Live, I do a bounce inside Logic as a means of capturing what I'm hearing in Live and importing it into a track in Logic.

Hopefully Logic will borrow / inherit some of these features from Live in order to make working with raw audio files quicker and better within Logic.
Old 20th January 2019
  #16
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junior's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser View Post
Yes, AudioFile Engineering has morphed into a company called Aurchitect, which offers newer versions of most of the old AudioFile products.

Aurchitect Audio Software

I don't know if the tagging and metadata features from the old products made it across intact to the newer ones since I never use those features. But the stuff I do use (batch processing and destructive editing) did, and are greatly improved. Myriad is like a new, improved, super-version of Sample Manager and it's great.
Wow, that is a wealth of info. Thank you!

I’m glad the AudioFile apps are still being developed by Aurchitect. I think I’m gonna’ have to pick up a copy of Myriad. Pretty cool that it’s AppleScript-able, too. Would be nice to come up with some automated workflows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser View Post
There is another excellent (and free!) utility from ADSRsounds, which is (confusingly) also called Sample Manager. It is actually a plugin which runs inside your DAW, and it offers tagging and sorting features for audio files - but most importantly it will preview a selected file in sync and in time with your DAW project, while you trigger the loop from your MIDI keyboard, and allow you to manipulate the pitch and timing of the file, select just a range of the file if you want, and then allow you to drag the result right into an audio track in your DAW. It's sort of like a mini-sampler with auto-match of tempo. It's pretty genius - and FREE! - a must-have. Grab it here:

ADSR Sample Manager | ADSR | Software | ADSR
Just downloaded it but still need to fire it up. The demo videos look really good, though. Kinda’ hard to believe that they’re giving it away for free. Thanks for the tip!

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser View Post
I also use AudioFinder quite a bit, and have for years. It is fast, lean, and mean and is definitely a bad mother. A must-have for anyone with a serious sample collection. It offers batch processing and batch-renaming tools as well as super-quick previewing and drag-n-drop of audio to your DAW.
AudioFinder is what I was initially leaning toward. But, with all the other cool stuff that’s been mentioned in this thread, it’s gonna’ be a little harder to choose, haha.

Another one that looks interesting is Sononym. Have you tried it? Apparently, it’s heavy on analysis and sorts things automatically by grouping similar sounds together in their file browser. Not sure about it’s accuracy, but it’s seems like an interesting take on sample management.

Sononym - Searchable Sound

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser View Post
But after years of using first-generation products that used their own internal system of tagging and metadata to organize sample files, and then having that system become useless when I stopped using the product due to compatibility issues etc., I am gun-shy about going down that road ever again - all that time spent tagging and organizing becomes wasted time if the engine used to sort and access the files can no longer be used.

So what I do these days is make sure that the file names and the way they are organized into folders in the computer's file system contains all of the information I need to find and sort the files. That way, even if I move from Mac to PC the sorting remains intact, and I can use any common search utilities - not just those oriented at audio use. So, I have folders into which I drop all files that meet certain criteria - Hi-Hat Loops, Shaker Loops, BroStep Loops, etc. - and I use file renaming utilities to give every file a compact and informative name. So typical loop file names in my system would be things like:

BO-122-Hat Wobble-1a
BO-122-Hat Wobble-1b
CD-099+6-Taikos Thump Dry
CD-099+6-Taikos Thump Wet

... where the first two-letter bit denotes the source of the sample ("BO" for "Black Octopus Samples" and "CD" for "CineDrums" for example); the three-digit number denotes the BPM (the "+6" indicates that the loop is in 6/4 and not 4/4); and what follows is the category ("Hat" or "Taikos" for instance) and a descriptive term. Then I put every file in its appropriate folder so that I can browse inside the "Hat Loops" folder and when viewed as a list all of the samples are sorted by manufacturer, then BPM, then category, then descriptor. It works brilliantly. The time spent manipulating the names is much less than the time I would spend dealing with Apple Loops meta data, and there are so many utilities for batch-manipulating file names - many more than there are for batch-processing Apple Loops metadata, that's for sure!
That’s a -terrific- idea. The fact that it’s platform agnostic is really appealing to me. I’m interested in doing something similar with the samples I’ve collected over the years.

In a system like this, do you rely much on meta tagging? Also, when converting your samples, do you normalize your files to a specific level or pre-process them in any other ways?

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser View Post
As to the Apple Loops issue - wanting to use audio files with embedded Apple Loops metadata within Logic - this is still a bit problematic. I haven't found a reliable, accurate, and fast utility that can batch-tag / batch-convert raw audio files into Apple Loops without it guessing wrong at tempo, bar length, etc. Apple's own Apple Loop Utility is fine when dealing with 2 or 10 files, but if you sit down with a few hundred gigabytes of samples you bought on Black Friday sales you'll lose your mind trying to run them all through it. I wish there was a super-batch-processing version of Apple Loop Utility but I haven't found one yet.

So I use Ableton Live as my engine for manipulating looped audio material. Running as a ReWire slave behind Logic, it's a much better version of what Logic tries to do. Here's a couple of reasons why:

- It deals with raw AIFF and WAV files as if they already had metadata embedded. It guesses the tempo and length of any raw audio file much more accurately than any other engine I've tried. It assumes that the tempo is between 80 and 160 bpm and that the time signature is 4/4, and using the sample rate and length (in samples) of the file, which are always readable as metadata even in a raw audio file, it does a little simple math and guesses the tempo so that the file will play in time. This works brilliantly. If the file is at a tempo outside that range, or Live somehow gets it wrong, there are buttons for "tempo x2" and "tempo x 1/2" which fix things right up. For non-4/4 loops it can take a couple more clicks, but only a couple.

- When previewing audio files from Live's browser while a song is playing (or looping one section), Live lets you use the arrow keys to quickly navigate through your sample folders, and the selected file can either play instantly, or wait until the next beat, downbeat, or 16th note before triggering. (This interval is user-selectable). This means that previewed loops always play "in time" with the music. Logic does not do this, and its browser is so much slower and clunkier. It's also much more flexible and fast to manipulate pitch, quantize audio, and do other prep work on the imported audio files inside Live than in Logic. When I've got the audio files I want in the Session View in Live, I do a bounce inside Logic as a means of capturing what I'm hearing in Live and importing it into a track in Logic.

Hopefully Logic will borrow / inherit some of these features from Live in order to make working with raw audio files quicker and better within Logic.
I haven’t Rewired apps in ages but I like the idea of using Live on the backend like that. Thanks again for all the food for thought! So many things I want to try, now…
Old 21st January 2019
  #17
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charlieclouser's Avatar
 

I've been using Live ReWired behind Logic since Live version 1.0. It's freaking fantastic - BUT - when ReWired behind Logic, you lose some aspects of Live's functionality:

- No third-party AU or VST plugins in Live. This isn't really a problem for me, since those plugins exist inside Logic, and I can just treat the audio once it's been moved over to Logic. But some users will gripe at this. However, you can still use the built-in plugins in Live, so that's enough for me.

- No control surface or external MIDI support in Live. So, no Mackie control, no Push, none of that. Not even a keyboard controller. Well, you can do a workaround by routing MIDI from Logic to Live via ReWire, and then any keyboard or pad controllers that can trigger sounds in Logic will trigger things in Live, but that only works for simple, dumb controllers - nothing that requires two-way communication will work. So no true control surface support in Live when ReWired. This is kind of a bummer.

- No Max4Live. This is kind of a big deal for lots of folks who rely on the many amazing third-party Max4Live devices in Live. But... I don't, so....

Actually, I only use a small subset of Live's features when it's a ReWire slave behind Logic. I never use the Clips view - like, absolutely never. All I do is drag audio from Live's browser into the timeline of the Session View, manipulate pitch and time, do audio edits to rearrange beats, and then bounce it over to Logic.

One thing that is fantastic when the two programs are linked is that the Cycle Range in Logic is displayed in Live's timeline, and if you have Markers established in your Logic song, and are using any kind of control surface for Logic that allows you to use its FF and RW buttons to jump to previous / next Marker, you can have Live in the foreground and still use those buttons on your Logic control surface, and jump around between markers, and SEE them in Live's timeline. This makes it very quick to build an arrangement in Live with various loops coming in at various Markers in your Logic song. I do love this aspect.

When it comes to my platform-agnostic sample-naming scheme, this is a scheme I developed about 15 or 20 years ago when the amount of poorly-named loops in my collection got out of hand - and since then my collection has ballooned significantly, so if I weren't adhering to this scheme I would be in deep doo-doo when it comes to trying to find anything. I don't rely on any form of meta-tagging at all. The only thing I can count on as my sample collection is migrated from platform to platform, and from OS version to OS version, is the file name itself, and the crucial embedded data inside every WAV or AIFF file: the sample rate, bit depth, and file size (in absolute number of samples). Any other info, whether it's deep metadata in BWAV files, other data that can be embedded in AIFF, AIFC, Apple Loops, or even comments in the "Get Info" in MacOS, is in danger of going away / not being read by some future file format or app. So I just... ignore the possibility entirely. I pretend there is no such thing as tags or metadata - and life is simple! Seriously though, I realize I'm missing out on a lot of potential functionality and workflow enhancements - but I've been working this way for so long and my sample collection is so huge that it would be impossible to go back now and start tagging everything. I'm kind of stuck with my system at this point.

Good thing it's a robust system for my needs.

My folder structure is no more than three levels deep, so I'll have top-level folders with names like: Drum Single Hits, Drum Loops, Percussion Single Hits, Percussion Loops, etc. The second level, inside Drum Loops for instance, will have subfolders called: Live-Played Loops, Rock Loops, HipHop Loops, Techno Loops, Film-Tech Loops, etc. Then at the third and last level, inside HipHop Loops for instance, there will be anywhere from 20 to 50 sub-folders, each named with a descriptive category, inside which will be loops from a wide variety of sources but all of them fall into a common category, like: BoomBap Loops, G-Funk Loops, Rare Groove Loops, etc.

Since each sample file has that two-letter abbreviation at the start of the name that denotes the source of the sample, I can usually remember where they came from. So I might have files in Rare Groove Loops with the abbreviation DD at the start of the name; this stands for Drum Drops. If the abbreviation is XG, that stands for X-Static Goldmine, and so on. After a while you recognize the files, so even a short two-character abbreviation is enough; when I hear a file with XG at the start I can recognize that it's one of those ancient loops from the old X-Static Goldmine sample CD from the 1990's, and so forth.

I don't pre-process my sample files generally, except to normalize them to -1db. That way there's no danger of inter-sample peaks or accidental clipping. I use a batch processor for this - Myriad in recent years. If a group of files have relative levels that should be maintained, like various mic positions, or a hi-hat loop that should remain quieter than the full-kit loops it's related to, then I do not do any gain processing, or if I do I make sure to use Myriad's "Normalize As A Group" feature which will scan an entire group of selected audio files, find how much the loudest one needs to be boosted in order for it to hit -1db, and then it changes the gain of ALL of the selected files by that same amount. This preserves any relative levels between the selected files. So I do this if there are any "family gain relationships" that should be preserved.
Old 21st January 2019
  #18
Here for the gear
Excellent input, Charlie! I don't own Live, but I do have Reason and use it ReWired behind Logic (which I believe you've mentioned using in other threads). Could Reason be used for similar purposes as you've described? Or are there limitations with the Reason engine or how Reason handles loops/samples?
Old 21st January 2019
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck.dallas View Post
Excellent input, Charlie! I don't own Live, but I do have Reason and use it ReWired behind Logic (which I believe you've mentioned using in other threads). Could Reason be used for similar purposes as you've described? Or are there limitations with the Reason engine or how Reason handles loops/samples?
I used to be way into Reason (I even did one of the demo songs for an early version called "One Note" that you can find out there somewhere) but I haven't really used it since it added audio capabilities. I did recently upgrade and install v10 but I have to admit that I've only tested it to make sure it works, but I haven't even browsed audio within the program, so I can't speak to it's auto-tempo-matching features (if they even exist).

Back when I used it, without any audio capabilities, in order to work with loops you had to use REX files within Dr Rex, so it was a very different workflow. This is unbeatable if you want to be in that ReCycle-style work mode, where you're zoomed into a single loop and snipping it apart into single hits, rearranging them into new beats - but that way of working requires that your loops are converted to REX files using ReCycle or other utilities. So I tended to only do this when I had a loop whose single hits I absolutely needed to micro-manage into new beats.

Once I got Ableton Live and could just scroll through folders of raw loops and hear them automatically preview in time, with quantized start positions, right in Live's browser, I was hooked. So over time I stopped using Reason so much. Now that I have it all updated and installed I need to get back into it.

Both Live and Reason can act as ReWire slaves behind Logic, and you can even use Reason behind Live without Logic.
Old 22nd January 2019
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser View Post
I've been using Live ReWired behind Logic since Live version 1.0. It's freaking fantastic
As luck would have it, I found a copy of Live lite today in a stack of odd discs and I just fired it up for the first time. I can see what you mean. The Lite version is limited to only 8 tracks, but not bad for something I didn’t even know I had laying around collecting dust

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser View Post
- No third-party AU or VST plugins in Live. This isn't really a problem for me, since those plugins exist inside Logic, and I can just treat the audio once it's been moved over to Logic. But some users will gripe at this. However, you can still use the built-in plugins in Live, so that's enough for me.

- No control surface or external MIDI support in Live. So, no Mackie control, no Push, none of that. Not even a keyboard controller. Well, you can do a workaround by routing MIDI from Logic to Live via ReWire, and then any keyboard or pad controllers that can trigger sounds in Logic will trigger things in Live, but that only works for simple, dumb controllers - nothing that requires two-way communication will work. So no true control surface support in Live when ReWired. This is kind of a bummer.

- No Max4Live. This is kind of a big deal for lots of folks who rely on the many amazing third-party Max4Live devices in Live. But... I don't, so....
I’m good without the plugins or Max, too. As long as I can send MIDI to Live via ReWire, I think I’ll be OK with a simple pad controller.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser View Post
Actually, I only use a small subset of Live's features when it's a ReWire slave behind Logic. I never use the Clips view - like, absolutely never. All I do is drag audio from Live's browser into the timeline of the Session View, manipulate pitch and time, do audio edits to rearrange beats, and then bounce it over to Logic.
It’s been ages since I’ve used Live so I’ll have to get reacquainted with it. I basically stared at it like a dummy and fired off a few clips, LOL. I’ll have to read up on the session view, ReWire settings, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser View Post
When it comes to my platform-agnostic sample-naming scheme, this is a scheme I developed about 15 or 20 years ago when the amount of poorly-named loops in my collection got out of hand - and since then my collection has ballooned significantly, so if I weren't adhering to this scheme I would be in deep doo-doo when it comes to trying to find anything. I don't rely on any form of meta-tagging at all. The only thing I can count on as my sample collection is migrated from platform to platform, and from OS version to OS version, is the file name itself, and the crucial embedded data inside every WAV or AIFF file: the sample rate, bit depth, and file size (in absolute number of samples). Any other info, whether it's deep metadata in BWAV files, other data that can be embedded in AIFF, AIFC, Apple Loops, or even comments in the "Get Info" in MacOS, is in danger of going away / not being read by some future file format or app. So I just... ignore the possibility entirely. I pretend there is no such thing as tags or metadata - and life is simple! Seriously though, I realize I'm missing out on a lot of potential functionality and workflow enhancements - but I've been working this way for so long and my sample collection is so huge that it would be impossible to go back now and start tagging everything. I'm kind of stuck with my system at this point.

Good thing it's a robust system for my needs.

My folder structure is no more than three levels deep, so I'll have top-level folders with names like: Drum Single Hits, Drum Loops, Percussion Single Hits, Percussion Loops, etc. The second level, inside Drum Loops for instance, will have subfolders called: Live-Played Loops, Rock Loops, HipHop Loops, Techno Loops, Film-Tech Loops, etc. Then at the third and last level, inside HipHop Loops for instance, there will be anywhere from 20 to 50 sub-folders, each named with a descriptive category, inside which will be loops from a wide variety of sources but all of them fall into a common category, like: BoomBap Loops, G-Funk Loops, Rare Groove Loops, etc.

Since each sample file has that two-letter abbreviation at the start of the name that denotes the source of the sample, I can usually remember where they came from. So I might have files in Rare Groove Loops with the abbreviation DD at the start of the name; this stands for Drum Drops. If the abbreviation is XG, that stands for X-Static Goldmine, and so on. After a while you recognize the files, so even a short two-character abbreviation is enough; when I hear a file with XG at the start I can recognize that it's one of those ancient loops from the old X-Static Goldmine sample CD from the 1990's, and so forth.
I’m really excited to try this. In your folder structure, how do you handle different types of files like REX / ACID / Apple Loops? Do you combine them with your standard loops or do you separate them into their own folders?

Also, which renaming apps can you recommend when it comes to audio files? I’ve got A Better Finder Rename for the Mac but maybe there’s something better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser View Post
I don't pre-process my sample files generally, except to normalize them to -1db. That way there's no danger of inter-sample peaks or accidental clipping. I use a batch processor for this - Myriad in recent years. If a group of files have relative levels that should be maintained, like various mic positions, or a hi-hat loop that should remain quieter than the full-kit loops it's related to, then I do not do any gain processing, or if I do I make sure to use Myriad's "Normalize As A Group" feature which will scan an entire group of selected audio files, find how much the loudest one needs to be boosted in order for it to hit -1db, and then it changes the gain of ALL of the selected files by that same amount. This preserves any relative levels between the selected files. So I do this if there are any "family gain relationships" that should be preserved.
Awesome! That’s exactly what I wanted to know. Definitely gonna’ pick up a copy of Myriad.

Thanks again for all the help!
Old 22nd January 2019
  #21
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser View Post
I used to be way into Reason (I even did one of the demo songs for an early version called "One Note" that you can find out there somewhere) but I haven't really used it since it added audio capabilities. I did recently upgrade and install v10 but I have to admit that I've only tested it to make sure it works, but I haven't even browsed audio within the program, so I can't speak to it's auto-tempo-matching features (if they even exist).

Back when I used it, without any audio capabilities, in order to work with loops you had to use REX files within Dr Rex, so it was a very different workflow. This is unbeatable if you want to be in that ReCycle-style work mode, where you're zoomed into a single loop and snipping it apart into single hits, rearranging them into new beats - but that way of working requires that your loops are converted to REX files using ReCycle or other utilities. So I tended to only do this when I had a loop whose single hits I absolutely needed to micro-manage into new beats.

Once I got Ableton Live and could just scroll through folders of raw loops and hear them automatically preview in time, with quantized start positions, right in Live's browser, I was hooked. So over time I stopped using Reason so much. Now that I have it all updated and installed I need to get back into it.

Both Live and Reason can act as ReWire slaves behind Logic, and you can even use Reason behind Live without Logic.
I just tried doing what you described (previewing raw loops) in a Reason session in the browser, but I don't believe Reason quantizes them like Live for audition purposes. There's a newer Reason release (10.2 - I'm running Reason 10.1.2), but I'm not aware of any new feature in 10.2 that would address this. Too bad, because it would be great to hear loops like you really need them to be without having to go through extra steps. Big time saver...
Old 23rd January 2019
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junior View Post
I’m really excited to try this. In your folder structure, how do you handle different types of files like REX / ACID / Apple Loops? Do you combine them with your standard loops or do you separate them into their own folders?

Also, which renaming apps can you recommend when it comes to audio files? I’ve got A Better Finder Rename for the Mac but maybe there’s something better?
Well, it probably runs contrary to my theory about never relying on just one app's capabilities to decode my samples, but I've sort of put all my eggs in Live's basket - or at least in the basket that relies upon whatever app I use having the ability to guess tempo as good as Live can:

- If I'm given Apple Loops, AIFF, BWAV, or WAV format I just leave them in that format, deal with their names, and toss 'em all in folders together. That means that a given folder might have all four formats of files next to each other, but it also means that if there is "Acid-ized WAV" files then I'm not wiping out whatever meager metadata lies inside the "Acid-ization" of those files. If Live (or whatever app I'm using) can read that data, well... fine. If not, no biggie - it's still a WAV file. Likewise for BWAV or Apple Loops - whatever metadata they contain may or may not be helpful to whatever app is reading the data.

- For REX files, it's a bit of a special case. About 20% of the sample libraries I get have REX versions of the loops - but I've noticed that usually they're not particularly good "REX-ifications" of the loops. When I use ReCycle to convert something to a REX file, I always put the "stretch" parameter to max - this causes most REX players to add that familiar and useful "tail" onto each slice, that frontwards-backwards-loop-with-fade-out thing that only ReCycle seems to do. But most third-party REX loops aren't saved this way, so the slices just cut off abruptly at the beginning of the next slice, which makes them next to useless for me. I'm not sure what utility they're using to make REX files, but it sure ain't done by using ReCycle with the stretch parameter set to max. So what I do is keep an additional sub-folder in each of my third-level folders, called "zREX Versions". The "z" in the folder name makes it sort at the bottom of the list. Inside that are subfolders with any REX versions that I received that I'm too paranoid to just toss. But in truth I think I have never ever used them. I keep them just in case some future sample player will do something great with REX files, or in case SpectraSonics' Stylus gets an upgrade that makes me want to use it, but so far neither of these have happened!

In terms of file renaming utilities, you've already got my favorite - A Better Finder Rename is one of the kings of the genre, and I absolutely rely on that thing. It really does seem like the most sophisticated one I've found, and is basically the only one I use. My only two must-have utilities are that and File Buddy, which has a very detailed "find" function among many other fantastic tools, and it also has a rename utility that can operate on any selection made from within its search results. So I can use File Buddy to "find all files within a user-selected group of folders, that have the following properties of size, file type, name, date, etc." and then when I'm presented with the results list, I can select a range of files in that list and either drag them to another location, drag them to another app to be opened in that app, or perform renaming operations on them right from within File Buddy itself. These renaming operations are not quite as full-featured as ABFR, but then again I can always drag from the FB results list into ABFR, so I'm covered either way.

The only part of ABFR I've never mastered is the "Use Regular Expression" part, which allows you to do things like move strings of text from one location to another within the name, etc. So I often have to do things like temporarily move a subset of files to new folders, perform renaming on those folder's contents individually, and then move them all back to a common folder when I'm done. For instance, if the file names are a total wreck, and I need to completely re-do them while retaining only the digits of the BPM, I might drag them to a new folder, completely strip all characters except for the BPM, add leading zeros so that "96" becomes "096", and then add my source-prefix and descriptor-suffix using ABFR before dragging them back to their "real" folder. Not a big deal - but someday I will conquer the full feature set of ABFR!
Old 25th January 2019
  #23
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junior's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser View Post
Well, it probably runs contrary to my theory about never relying on just one app's capabilities to decode my samples, but I've sort of put all my eggs in Live's basket - or at least in the basket that relies upon whatever app I use having the ability to guess tempo as good as Live can:

- If I'm given Apple Loops, AIFF, BWAV, or WAV format I just leave them in that format, deal with their names, and toss 'em all in folders together. That means that a given folder might have all four formats of files next to each other, but it also means that if there is "Acid-ized WAV" files then I'm not wiping out whatever meager metadata lies inside the "Acid-ization" of those files. If Live (or whatever app I'm using) can read that data, well... fine. If not, no biggie - it's still a WAV file. Likewise for BWAV or Apple Loops - whatever metadata they contain may or may not be helpful to whatever app is reading the data.
I like your idea of having a single repository for all of those files / formats. Do you move your Apple Loops from their default location into your folder structure, too?

I was trying to load Apple Loops into Live and Reaper but neither of them would play the files, unfortunately. I might be doing something wrong, though. I was thinking of maybe converting them to standard AIF files but didn’t want to the lose any of the meta data. Nothing is easy, LOL

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser View Post
- For REX files, it's a bit of a special case. About 20% of the sample libraries I get have REX versions of the loops - but I've noticed that usually they're not particularly good "REX-ifications" of the loops. When I use ReCycle to convert something to a REX file, I always put the "stretch" parameter to max - this causes most REX players to add that familiar and useful "tail" onto each slice, that frontwards-backwards-loop-with-fade-out thing that only ReCycle seems to do. But most third-party REX loops aren't saved this way, so the slices just cut off abruptly at the beginning of the next slice, which makes them next to useless for me. I'm not sure what utility they're using to make REX files, but it sure ain't done by using ReCycle with the stretch parameter set to max. So what I do is keep an additional sub-folder in each of my third-level folders, called "zREX Versions". The "z" in the folder name makes it sort at the bottom of the list. Inside that are subfolders with any REX versions that I received that I'm too paranoid to just toss. But in truth I think I have never ever used them. I keep them just in case some future sample player will do something great with REX files, or in case SpectraSonics' Stylus gets an upgrade that makes me want to use it, but so far neither of these have happened!
Good to know about the stretch settings in ReCycle, thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser View Post
In terms of file renaming utilities, you've already got my favorite - A Better Finder Rename is one of the kings of the genre, and I absolutely rely on that thing. It really does seem like the most sophisticated one I've found, and is basically the only one I use. My only two must-have utilities are that and File Buddy, which has a very detailed "find" function among many other fantastic tools, and it also has a rename utility that can operate on any selection made from within its search results. So I can use File Buddy to "find all files within a user-selected group of folders, that have the following properties of size, file type, name, date, etc." and then when I'm presented with the results list, I can select a range of files in that list and either drag them to another location, drag them to another app to be opened in that app, or perform renaming operations on them right from within File Buddy itself. These renaming operations are not quite as full-featured as ABFR, but then again I can always drag from the FB results list into ABFR, so I'm covered either way.

The only part of ABFR I've never mastered is the "Use Regular Expression" part, which allows you to do things like move strings of text from one location to another within the name, etc. So I often have to do things like temporarily move a subset of files to new folders, perform renaming on those folder's contents individually, and then move them all back to a common folder when I'm done. For instance, if the file names are a total wreck, and I need to completely re-do them while retaining only the digits of the BPM, I might drag them to a new folder, completely strip all characters except for the BPM, add leading zeros so that "96" becomes "096", and then add my source-prefix and descriptor-suffix using ABFR before dragging them back to their "real" folder. Not a big deal - but someday I will conquer the full feature set of ABFR!
Ah, that’s great! I love ABFR but have never tried it’s regular expressions capabilities. I just took a peek and I’ll have to study up a bit before trying to tackle that part of the app, haha.

Thanks for the tip on File Buddy, too. It looks like it does some things similar to Path Finder but maybe a little more geared toward file manipulation? Gonna’ download a demo to check it out.

Thanks again!
Old 27th January 2019
  #24
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charlieclouser's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by junior View Post
I like your idea of having a single repository for all of those files / formats. Do you move your Apple Loops from their default location into your folder structure, too?

I was trying to load Apple Loops into Live and Reaper but neither of them would play the files, unfortunately. I might be doing something wrong, though. I was thinking of maybe converting them to standard AIF files but didn’t want to the lose any of the meta data. Nothing is easy, LOL
I don't have much confidence of the longevity or viability of Apple Loops as a long-term format - it seems that the adoption rate is about half or less - and I despise Logic's loops browser so I just ignore it and I don't have anything in Logic's default Apple Loops location except for the stock library that Logic seems to always demand that you install. I just let Logic put what it wants where it wants and then never look at it again. I'm still a little unclear on the differences between AIF, AIFF, AIF-C, etc. so I just dump incoming Apple Loops in my sorted folders and hope for the best. If I ever have a situation where Live can't load something (hasn't happened yet I don't think) then I would just batch-convert from Apple Loops to AIF or WAV and say goodbye to the metadata. Since Live can do such a good job of guessing tempo, I just assume that eventually all apps will have similar abilities, and I don't need or use key / chord information anyway so I'm not sorry to lose that metadata. All I care about is quick auto-tempo-matching really.

Quote:
Originally Posted by junior View Post
Good to know about the stretch settings in ReCycle, thanks!
Yes, this is the real magic of ReCycle - otherwise it's just a loop-slicing app, of which there are a thousand that all do the same, boring, mostly useless thing. When the slices just stop abruptly it's not usable for me. I've used ReCycle since the late 1990's and it was revolutionary and still is. On early White Zombie / Rob Zombie records I was putting in stacks of "sausage-fattened" hip hop loops behind the live drums, and I had to manually slice them and manually build tails to fill in gaps. Don't ask how much time was spent on that - it was a lot! So when I first saw ReCycle my life was changed; I wish I had that on those early records! We used it quite a bit on NIN's The Fragile album to disassemble loops and extract single hits in a way that no other program can do, still to this day. If you listen closely you can still hear a slight artifact as it builds the tail by reversing and crossfading the slice, but if the slices are at even rhythmic intervals then the crossfade point is also at a rhythmic interval and the artifact just adds a bit of up-beat shuffle to the resulting rhythm - so I actually like what it does!

Quote:
Originally Posted by junior View Post
Ah, that’s great! I love ABFR but have never tried it’s regular expressions capabilities. I just took a peek and I’ll have to study up a bit before trying to tackle that part of the app, haha.
Yes, in theory I "should" know and understand how to manipulate those regular expressions but my brain just shuts down when I try to comprehend it. Getting old I guess - grey matter RAM is full!

Quote:
Originally Posted by junior View Post
Thanks for the tip on File Buddy, too. It looks like it does some things similar to Path Finder but maybe a little more geared toward file manipulation? Gonna’ download a demo to check it out.

Thanks again!
I've used File Buddy for years also, and although there are many similar (and possibly better) utilities I tend to stick with the ones I've already learned until I run into something that I want which they can't do. FB is a nice middle ground between finding things using detailed criteria, and then being able to perform some manipulation of names and locations right within the app, so even though its renamer is not as good as ABFR, sometimes it is enough so it saves a step by just doing the renames right inside FB.
Old 29th January 2019
  #25
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser View Post
Yes, this is the real magic of ReCycle - otherwise it's just a loop-slicing app, of which there are a thousand that all do the same, boring, mostly useless thing. When the slices just stop abruptly it's not usable for me. I've used ReCycle since the late 1990's and it was revolutionary and still is. On early White Zombie / Rob Zombie records I was putting in stacks of "sausage-fattened" hip hop loops behind the live drums, and I had to manually slice them and manually build tails to fill in gaps. Don't ask how much time was spent on that - it was a lot! So when I first saw ReCycle my life was changed; I wish I had that on those early records! We used it quite a bit on NIN's The Fragile album to disassemble loops and extract single hits in a way that no other program can do, still to this day. If you listen closely you can still hear a slight artifact as it builds the tail by reversing and crossfading the slice, but if the slices are at even rhythmic intervals then the crossfade point is also at a rhythmic interval and the artifact just adds a bit of up-beat shuffle to the resulting rhythm - so I actually like what it does!
I've had ReCycle for years and have used it with good results as you described, Charlie. But I only use it if/when I identify a candidate loop that could enhance a track or be used in some productive way. And that's the catch-22... sometimes it's difficult to tell if a non-ReCycled loop will fit or not especially if the tempo is way off. So auditioning them with Live seems like a good solution, since Logic or Reason (the DAWs I use) won't automatically adapt a raw loop with ReCycle properties. I sure hate to buy another DAW just to do that, though. I guess a workaround would be to ReCycle ALL my Sample/Loop libraries where they could then be auditioned easily within Reason. But that would take awhile, unless there's some kind of batch function available in ReCycle (I don't think there is)....

Charlie, am I missing something? Any other ideas?
Old 29th January 2019
  #26
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Oh my god ReCycling a while drive full of samples would make me lose my mind! Unless I was a whiz with AppleScript or whatever and could figure out a way to drag-n-drop a whole folder on the app and have it apply settings and save each one.

So I only use ReCycle in special circumstances - once I've identified a loop that has some single hits I want to extract, or one that I want to rearrange so completely that I can't really do it by cutting regions in Live's timeline. Live's time stretch capabilities are definitely amazing, and they even have a sort-of-ReCycle mode tucked away in there. If you've got the sample/clip editor open in the bottom of Live's screen, in the column under "Warp" at the bottom there is the "Preserve" area, and there's a little pop-up with the arrows on it. If you set Preserve to Transients, and then choose the frontwards-backwards arrows mode and set the amount to 100%, it's very similar to ReCycles frontwards-backwards thing. Sounds a little different, but has much the same effect. Of course you can always leave the arrows in frontwards mode and Live will time-stretch to fill in the gaps.

So I wind up using one of these modes and just rearranging regions by cutting and moving on Live's Arrange (timeline) view. Once in a blue moon I will use Live's Clips view to create a bunch of clips for kick, snare, hat, etc. and then trigger them and record that performance, but most of the time I just edit with cut+move on the timeline.

So the only time I really break out ReCycle is when I want to export the individual hits as WAV files to put into a sampler like Kontakt or EXS. But that's pretty rare these days. When doing remixes or doing drum programming on records I did that a lot more than I do lately, since I'd want like the kick from some boom-bap loop to layer underneath a live drum performance but I didn't want the whole boom-bap loop in there.

Rex format is also used by Spectrasonics Stylus, but you have to use their Rex Converter app to put the Rex files into whatever crazy internal format Stylus uses. Stylus is sort of like a souped up version of Reason's Dr. Rex player, but the only reason I bother to use Stylus lately is when I want to use its randomization function, which is only useful to me when I have like a shaker or hi-hat loop or something pretty linear, and I want it to add slight variations as the loop plays. Still cool to have in a pinch though - saves manually programming and editing a thousand bars of hi-hats!
Old 13th April 2019
  #27
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Bellectra's Avatar
Anyone tried the new update of Loopcloud? (YouTube) I've been using Audiofinder for a couple of years now but I'm a bit disappointed in their development rate and their product manual. Loopcloud has made a tremendous progress and with the ability to include your own collection combined with an improved sample editor it surpasses Audiofinder in many ways. Especially when linked to a DAW.
Old 13th April 2019
  #28
ADSR's Sample Manager just got updated a few days ago.. Theres now a standalone version alongside the plugin!
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