It is fun to get outside and record, but I often have to get super motivated to edit and catalogue a bunch of my recordings. My blog has helped me with that, but I'm curious how folks catalogue their sounds and what library tools they are using.

8 Answers 8


On Windows I use Basehead and totally fits my needs. The next option would be Soundminer, but Basehead works well for me for now... On Mac I use AudioFinder and like it a lot. MY main machine is on Mac, so it's a program I use all the time.

Also, recently West Latta published a nice article on "library organizing" at Audiotuts... Check it here: http://audio.tutsplus.com/articles/general/the-good-librarian/


Throwing your sounds into a library program is easy, it's developing and sticking to a meaningful naming scheme that's hard. Some common conventions are:

• Use an alpha-numeric code derived from the project as a prefix, such as SW001 for Star Wars, recording session #1; then add a short description afterwards (SW001 Laser Shot 06).

• Your initials as a prefix so you can immediately find your own material amongst others, such as JWJ02 Laser Shot 06.

• Code your sounds by catergory, such as TRAF_Pacific Coast Highway Busy (for Traffic), or CRWD_Shopping Mall (for Crowd).

• Or skip coding all together and just use a concise description of 3 or 4 words, such as Expressway Traffic Busy, or Dog Barks Distant Night.

(As a sidebar, I believe the coding techinque was most valuable when sounds were stored on film or tape and the "library programs" were nothing more than 3-ring binders. Also when computers had a max file length of 31 characters.)

Regarding library software, I use Soundminer exclusively and find it to be not only and excellent for that express purpose but also as a sound design tool. (There is a thread addressing that topic on the SSD site.)

  • I am still looking for a good piece of library software. Soundminer is ridiculously expensive in my opinion, and a program like Audio Finder by Iced Audio doesn't appeal to me. Even audio software should have a clean and good looking user interface.
    – Hugo
    Mar 15, 2010 at 16:17
  • Hi Hugo, There's another program called NetMixPro that some of the folks at WB use, but I've not had any experience with it. As I stated before, you usually get what you pay for, and in my opinion Soundminer is worth the investment. Mar 16, 2010 at 0:31
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    I'd +100 this if I could. Took the words right out of my mouth. I actually find myself searching my library most of the time based on the library source (6035, UWT, PE45, etc), show abbreviation that I mastered a custom effect from, and/or the initials of who the recording came from - many times in combo with more standard words. I have a more a photographic memory in that way I guess, searching more intuitively on personal memory and experience than straight-shot, vanilla searching of basic words. Soundminer is great. I dunno where I'd be without it, seriously. It's such a godsend. Aug 12, 2011 at 9:16

The most important aspect of file naming is so that you can find the material later... & possibly much much later ie decades.... I have a chronological library so as I record new material it just gets added to, and then I add additional copies of material as I clean it up & master/output it... so the original recordings will more likely be tagged with the location or recording session but the main naming is as per Sepulchras ie broad term -> specific... I also sometimes name files with a short abbreviation at the front eg AMB for ambience etc..

I use SoundMiner to access the library, which works well (although I wish they would keep developing it) and use it to add metadata to files, especially if the sounds were used in a specific film eg I usually transfer all the ambiences from each film back into the library as a self contained section & tag it with the films name, as that can be a quick way of finding something....


Basehead is currently in Beta for Mac. I've been playing with it, and it seems quite nice and affordable. I can't really tell fully because not all the features are yet implemented in the beta.

The guy Steve, has been super friendly and responsive with email -- that's always a good sign. I just wish I could run plugins or re-wire directly from within Basehead, unless I can and I haven't yet found how. You can open a wave editor but it's not the same as running a batch process or running a standard plugin directly from the software.

  • I second Basehead. I've used everything out there and Basehead is as good if not better then the rest. And the developers (Steve and Jez) are super cool and responsive to their users. Mar 14, 2010 at 23:48

I use Audiofile Engineering's Sample Manager. It is designed great, but at this point has become almost useless. It must have a hard time managing very large banks of soundfiles. Prior to lately, I have loved it for cataloging and batch processing.


You can always go the simple route and maintain an excel sheet. Columns for category, sub-category, filename, title, description

Name each file beginning with a sku and brief title

That's what I do to manage about 4,000 sfx and it works well


In a perfect world, I name them with my initials, then a code, AMB, FOLEY, VEHICLE, HORR, PAD, Perc, ect. Then a Short description of the sound, and then I go ghetto style and drop the sounds into itunes and add a better meta-data. I also keep my Commercial library's in the same place.

Unfortunately, for many of my projects, I just have a project folder with Hundereds of sounds organized with in subfolders. The folders are named well, but the files often get named too generic. I. E. ControlPointStart001.


I currently use this scheme:

General to specific for example:

Tank, M60, Treads, Close, Away

As of now I am just using the finder on my mac, and I'm adding metadata with Sound Devices Wave Agent

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