Since I bought me a mic (RØDE NT3) and started recording things that sound interesting to me I keep asking myself what would be a good workflow for importing, cutting/editing and mastering the sounds, export them and - very important - keeping all the stuff organized.

I have found 2 threads that are already covering some questions that are related to my question, one about the organisation of files

Audio File Organization

and a brand new one

Noise reduction on my library sounds? Yes or no?

which is about keeping the raw data "as it is" - or not.

So far, I have imported the raw material into my DAW (Ableton Live which works non destructive and keeps the raw data as it is), cutted the sections of a take that I like and put that material on a new track - where I threat it with EQ etc. Then I´ll export the result.

I don´t know if that is a way how somebody more professional than me would work so give me a hint - what happens after you recorded your sounds?

  • "which is about keeping the raw data 'as it is' - or not" my thread is even about Noise Reduction specifically, I'd gently EQ my recordings anyway... but this thread is probably gonna tell us what's good and bad :) Commented Jul 18, 2010 at 18:12

4 Answers 4


When I am recording I try to slate each take with my voice so it is easy to tell exactly what each recording is when I get around to mastering them.

Usually after a recording session I copy the recordings onto my PC, rename the audio files to describe the sounds, then burn them to DVD for backup. I also try to add some info to the DVD like a diary of the recording session describing the the locations, equipment, and subject. If I have taken any photographs and videos I include them too.I dont really trust optical media but it cant hurt to have an extra backup copy.

I then edit the copies on my hdd to add metadata & remove bits of silence which prepares the files to be used conveniently for editing sound effects.

I also backup my sound recordings folder to an external HDD which I sync every few days.

  • "When I am recording I try to slate each take with my voice so it is easy to tell exactly what each recording is when I get around to mastering them." Good idea - never came to my mind :-) Commented Jul 22, 2010 at 11:36

I always keep my raw files untouched in a separate directory, organized by session, and I never delete them, ever. I never process them, normalize them, NR them, or anything - they're the masters, from which I create new, derivative files for my actual project or sound library (kept on different drives/directories). I currently don't have them tagged with metadata or integrated into my mainline database, but they're there. I've needed to go back and remaster or grab alternate takes that, at the time, passed me by, and I'd have been hosed if I didn't have my original takes in their original form. (This is the same thing I do with photography - I never, ever delete my RAW files.)

  • I guess that says it all! Commented Jul 18, 2010 at 18:14
  • @noisejockey, how do you know what raw file to go back to for additional takes if they're not tagged with metadata? Do you have the raw file info embedded into the new sound file's metadata? Commented Jul 18, 2010 at 22:47
  • That's a great question. When sounds I'm previewing aren't quite suitable, those sounds' metadata have the session date and description, which can lead me back to the right folder containing the raw recordings from that session. My sessions are stored by year And are titled like, "20100712_snarlingDogSFCastro". Commented Jul 18, 2010 at 23:46
  • @noisejockey - when it comes to editing your raw material, what kind of workflow do you have developed? Commented Jul 19, 2010 at 7:59
  • 1
    I transfer all raw files to a folder with the session name, subfolder "raw". I make a pass through the good takes and save good snippets to second subfolder, "selects". Then I master the sounds from the Selects, save it into the proper category in my sound library directory, and add the session name as metadata when exporting. Commented Jul 19, 2010 at 21:17

If I am creating SFX, I save a "raw" file that has been trimmed of excess audio (gaps between actions, vocally cuing, etc)and renamed but nothing else has been done. I save that files as something like "1408200 Car INT Engine Noises Original." Then when I create a folder containing all of the SFX broken down, noise reduced, and EQd - "Car INT Engine Start, Idle, Stop" for example - I drop the original file in there as well. That way if something isn't right, I've already got the original there in the folder. I find it easier than NoiseJokey's method, but I'm also not as well organized as he is.


We really need the equivalent of Lightroom for sound :(

  • 1
    Here, here. Precisely! Commented Jul 19, 2010 at 21:14
  • Like, totally...
    – Kurt Human
    Commented Jul 19, 2010 at 21:37

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