when you stumble upon an interesting sound and you record it, Do you edit it right away keeping only what you think you'll need? Or, do you keep the raw files and use them when you'll need them?

  • In terms of peak levels and consistency, is there a general level to normalize ambiences like streets, rain, etc...as well as all sorts of hits, crashes and louder sounds? Jan 9, 2014 at 17:44

4 Answers 4


it all goes into my library; the original recordings, edited versions, processed versions or whatever... It is so easy to manage and find media via SoundMiner, drive space is so cheap, better to keep it all because you just never know.... a new context might arise....

  • how do you handle labeling of raw vs edited stuff? do you chop the good stuff out of the raw stuff and label it separately? How often do you go back and listen to the raw stuff? I find that I never really do that.
    – Rene
    Jan 6, 2014 at 13:55
  • i rarely revisit the raw recordings,but it is cheap peace of mind to know they exist... it depends on what i am working on and why the recordings were made as to editing and outputing versions, and naming... my library drives are chronologically compiled/growing
    – user49
    Jan 7, 2014 at 9:56

We did a whole tonebenders episode on this topic with Paul Virostek.

I personally edit what I need, backup the originals and then never think of them again. Dustin keeps all of it and I have no idea how he goes back through the source recordings.

I find soundminer to be a huge asset for this kind of thing, because it lets me tag the files as I see fit and then I can import only portions of the files into my sessions if I don't need the whole thing, or if I have a series of sounds edited into a single file.


I have a "to edit" folder on my hd where i copy all raw files if i don´t have the time to edit them right away, which is the common situation. When i find the time, i edit the single sounds, clean them up with RX, change gain(if needed) and write metadata into them (twisted wave). After that i rename them and save them into the dedicated folders and import them in Audiofinder. If i´m happy with the results i delete the raw files. I backup my whole soundlibrary every day. In the beginning i always kept the raw files but as i noticed, that i never got back, i delete them all.

  • that's VERY similar to my workflow.
    – Rene
    Jan 3, 2014 at 19:41
  • I don't do much noise reduction as i try to avoid noise in my recordings but if i have to do, i donit right away. I want my sounds to be usable without any further editimg or restauration, except sound mangling :) Jan 4, 2014 at 16:03
  • Pretty much exactly what I do myself as well but in addition I always try to take a photo of whatever it is I record and then name the photo the same as the recording. Saves me having to remember the setup/mics etc. and thus won't forget them when I add the metadata into the .wav at a later point in time. Jan 5, 2014 at 16:14
  • @AndréEngelhardt This is, what i forgot to mention. I also do pictures of nearly every recording, sometimes even videos ;) Jan 10, 2014 at 9:33

My workflow bears some resemblance to @Andreas. I maintain a repository of raw recordings, sorted by folders appropriately. But once I master them (one big part of my mastering is that I often don't do much to them - mostly just corrective EQ notching, gain staging, M/S width). But once I'm happy with what I've got, I blow out the raw. I know that personally, I'm never going to touch the raw again anyway. Especially so because much of it is MS anyway so the raw files would be a pain to work with in editorial.

To each their own though. Raw files are of little use to me once I have the recording dialed in the way I like it to sound. Helps with the learning process of making a commitment to a creative choice and sticking with it, through better or (sometimes with much later hindsight), worse. But even those can be great learning experiences too.

  • So you decode your recordings during mastering?
    – Alex
    Jan 10, 2014 at 2:08
  • Yes. I never store them in their final form as raw M/S. It's useless for my editorial workflow, and I feel that I know exactly what I want out of a recording to make the final M/S balance decision ('know what I want out of it' both when I recorded it and am re-evaluating it during mastering), and am able to trust the decision I make due to the calibrated monitoring environment I master in. Jan 10, 2014 at 4:24
  • By decode I am referring to XY output, now the raw M/S. I record as M/S (with M/S decoded headphones via 702), and than matrix them after the fact. Jan 10, 2014 at 4:24
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    I also think it´s usefull to write a final M/S File. This is a certain kind of artistic expression and on the other hand, people are not be able to work with XY, AB or ORTF in the same way. These are all fixed stereo images and it´s good. Everyone accepts it. Shure people can do a lot with M/S Raw…but do people need it or do they live with a great stereo recording ? Sometimes it´s good to have a border. It´s easier not to have endless possibilities. This leads to a more straight workflow…. (my opinion) ;) Jan 10, 2014 at 9:39
  • I certainly agree. Setting a boundary/border is a great way of putting it. At least with M/S. Jan 10, 2014 at 10:21

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