I was in over my head when the best thing I could think of doing was delete everything and start all over. I wish I had been tagging and organizing my sample library from the start, because that’s what you gotta do if you don’t want to get in over your head. With sample packs and freebies you pick up everywhere now you can have 25,000 samples with no idea how to find anything in them if don’t you start with a good plan on how to sort this shit.

It was too late but I tried a few things to put some order in this big ass drive that was full of things called FILENAME001.AIFF and BASS_STRUM_FROM_KOOL_GANG.WAV. I’m on a Mac, and Macs have got they’re own tagging thing. So I made orange tags for loops, and blue tags for one-shots, and I did this with about 500 files before I fucking died of boredom. Then on a piece of paper I wrote down all the kind of samples I thought I had — a couple thousands from sample packs, a bunch of things I recorded from vinyls, what kind of instrument, what it sounded like… I would split my files into different folders by loop or one shot, then a subfolder by instrument, then by key, then by source. This was even worse. Instead of finding stuff I was still wasting time looking for stuff because I had no idea where I put anything.

After this disaster, I looked up a few posts and almost everyone wanted to sell me some shit. I guess bloggers don’t really blog anymore, they just write posts that look kinda like a blog but are scams to direct you to their boss’ software product. I found a freebie called ADSR Sample Manager and tested it out. It looked like it was doing something useful, but so many things were tagged wrong and this was gonna make my problems even worse.

By this point I just gave up and thought to group the samples I used a lot from the big overall collection. That was when I saw someone talking about Sononym. I don’t make any money from this, this isn’t one of those blogs. Sononym was just what I needed and if you have a huge collection of samples and didn’t bother to organize them, Sononym does all that boring shit for you to put some order into your sound library.

Sononym screenshot

The way it works is you add files to Sononym, which does this tedious shit and tells you if it’s a loop or a one-shot, the category/type, the length, and a bunch of other categories. Sononym is made for electronic music production so they don’t waste your time with these, they are tuned for the type of samples and sounds that an electronic music producer will be working with. Some of them are subjective like “loudness” or “brightness,” that can mean different shit to people but it was easy to figure out what Sononym meant by them, and when you think about that’s a good way to classify samples. There is also a “similarity” which finds things that sound like a sample you identify. So imagine you’re looking for a snare but you can’t find the right one. Sononym digs down and gives you a list of things it thinks “sounds like” the snare you pick as an example. It works. Sononym is like having a detachable set of ears that do this business of listening to hundreds or thousands of things for you and bringing to your real ears the ones that are most important.

Sononym sample similarity organizing

I don’t know if endorsements matter now but Sononym had endorsements from people that I’ve actually heard of, which is nice sometimes. There isn’t a blog by someone that is rewriting stuff the company tells them to, but artists like John Tejada and Jamie Lidell and Cristian Vogel putting their name down. I trust zero fucking reviews these days (you shouldn’t trust this one either) but I think those guys know what they’re talking about.

Sononym is pretty cheap too — $99 for a license and there’s a 30 day trial, and the full version works on multiple computers. There isn’t a monthly fee but if they upgrade to a full version you’ll have to pay again. But the good thing is this stuff is backward compatible really far, to Windows 7 or macOS El Capitan. Like the best music software, this just works.

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