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After years of kludging through PT's Workspace to spot effects I finally broke down and got Soundminer v4Pro. Whoa. Nellie. Fast searches, spotting as a region, the pitch slider, the VST rack, re-recording it all through Re-Wire... I shudder to think of all the time I've wasted before.

It seems intuitive enough, but I'm certain that there's clever little tips and shortcuts that would be beneficial to know. I was just poking around here I found that complex boolean searches are awesome, as well as the Same Folder button.

But what little metadata hacks have you found to speed up your workflow? How do you break down your databases to speed up searches? I know, I know... I still have to RTFM, but I thought I'd give the opportunity for you to be On-The-Spot Super-Geniuses.

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6 Answers

I heart soundminer.

My general sm workflows:

  • create an "import" database that you use for tagging sounds with metadata before adding them to your libraries. Quarantining new sounds and manipulating them outside of your massive databases is quicker and cleaner than putting them into your big database and adding metadata there. The reason is because databases can become corrupt if you throw too much at them too quickly, and you'll be manipulating quite a bit as you add sounds to your libraries. Once your metadata is finished, right click and embed to selected. this prints the metadata to the bwav header. Now move the files into their final location and scan them into your main sfx database. all of the metadata comes with!

  • don't forget that you can UNDO metadata changes. very handy!

  • you can use soundminer to detect and correct "dirty" files - that is files that have database metadata that is different from what is stored in the bwav header.

  • the admin window is your friend. from there you can do things like copy the filename to the description field, strip out the .wav at the end, and then append or prepend a bunch of tags to a group of files.

  • select a group of files and then right click on the description field. the drop down menu has a find and replace option. handy for big metadata edits.

  • always take and embed photos

  • your databases live in the following directory: user/library/application support/soundminer. OSX lion (un)helpfully hides that library folder. type this in the terminal to unhide it: chflags nohidden ~/Library/

  • back up your databases in triplicate please. one onsite, one offsite, a bwav header burn in each file. If you have something like sugarsync or dropbox going, you can just have those services auto sync your sm databases folder

  • sm is a good file renamer. throw the sounds into a temp database, then use either the admin window or the right click find and replace on the "filename" field. presto! also, this is the only file renamer that has an "undo" function that I'm aware of.

  • when doing music supervision or prelim sfx pulls, you can go to prefs and set the files transfer type to "interleaved". then create a folder in the finder and start scanning for stuff you'll need. when you find some cuts that you like mouse over the waveform window near where the little grabber hand is. drag the waveform to your folder - voila! instant transfer sans DAW.

there's more, but that's what I have off the top of my head.

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+1 I do the same first tip that you do for the very same reason. –  Stavrosound Jul 14 '12 at 19:42
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I concur with Rene re making use of multiple databases - I have over 20+ databases...

The most important thing is that you want to be able to find sounds via multiple means - the faster the better. Don't get bogged down searching through one epic master database when it might be far easier & faster to eg have a seperate database for all of Franks libraries, Rabbit Ears etc

Some of my databases are temporary eg I make a new one each time I add a new big library, just so its instant to check through the contents, as I become familiar with it...

Some are project based eg one with all production audio for current film, one with all my recordings, one with all (non-prod audio) media being used on the project.... Even if the media is already in my ProTools work session/s, it is still often quicker to find, compare & remind myself of my resources in SM than in PT session...

I have three master databases - one with all FX & Ambiences, one with all music sample libraries, and one with all Kontakt libraries...

I often keep a master database of library material from specific projects...

Another fun one to randomnly listen to is an IR library - sometimes it like listening to early Pole :)

Love the pitch control in SM, wish it also had an 'audition backwards' button!

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@tim, although SM doesn't have a backwards playback button there is at least one great VST plug that will do that: BackwardsMachine. Very affordable and offers lots of possibilities. –  Jay Jennings Jul 18 '12 at 6:52
    
I agree, anything to find material fast and easy. I actually don't split up databases for each botique library, although I modify them all before loading them in by re-tagging the Source with the abbrevation of that set or provider and usually tag them with sequential index numbers. a Different means to the same end, but thought I'd share as a side note to your method :) –  Stavrosound Jul 18 '12 at 7:45
    
completely agree on the backwards thing. seems like it would be so easy for them to implement a reverse checkbox that both auditions and spots the files in backwards. –  Rene Jul 18 '12 at 12:05
    
+1 for the Pole reference. –  Brad Dale Jul 18 '12 at 13:39
    
cheers Jay, will check it out! –  user49 Jul 19 '12 at 8:23
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I didn't know this trick until today:

the plus and minus keys shift pitch by 10% up/down each time you press them! (very handy if you want exactly half speed etc... )

Option click on pitch slider to revert to zero pitch

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ah, very good! I will have to try that one. I do wish SM had a direct-entry for the pitch control, ie. if you wanted exactly 92.75%. The slider isn't great at fine-tuning. –  Jay Jennings Jul 20 '12 at 6:42
    
@Tim Thanks to this I figured out today that if you hold down OPT & +/- the amount jumps by 20%, and if you hold down CTRL & +/- the amount jumps... by 1%! Then, CTRL + OPT & +/- you get an 11% jump. I haven't discovered which key combo gets it down to 1/4 percent @Jay, but hopefully this'll get you that much closer. –  Steve Urban Jul 27 '12 at 23:49
    
@Tim, @Jay I just found that using the plus/minus keys you can go well above 200%. I reached 5000 before I thought to myself, "this is ridiculous we've gone well past the point of usefulness here..." but nonetheless, you want 225% playback? Don't stop pressing plus. –  Steve Urban Aug 25 '12 at 2:01
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Building off of Rene's last tip, you can also pull out the side bar on the right, and then hit Cmd-Opt-2 to bring up a folder building window. Build folders, sub-folders, name them, and then with a folder selected, select a sound file, hit T and then it's tagged. Click the little preferences button, make sure "Build Folder Structure" is checked. Now you can select all of those sounds, Cmd-B them, and you'll have them all sent to your transfer path, keeping the same organized folder structure.

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although I am a miniminer / soundminer HD user I have been making play lists ( or pull lists for those who remember mtools) in external databases like Foobar PC and bento Mac. I cannot stress enough how much of an improvement playlists are from using the digi workspace and catalogs as the only resource for sourcing and organizing sound assets

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The best thing ive ever done to help my workflow is turning my SM monitor sideways to reduce scrolling, may not sound like much.. but after ahwile youll thank me.

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If I get what you're saying, your 2nd monitor is 9x16 rather than 16x9? I unfortunately don't have monitor arms in my current digs, but I'll certainly keep that in mind when I do. –  Steve Urban Jul 14 '12 at 22:04
    
I recently got monitor arms and set up my 2nd monitor in portrait. So far, I like it! –  Steve Urban Feb 6 at 5:28
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