Hi, I'm currently building a sound effects library of my own (as I'm sure most you already are doing).

My question is this: How do you keep your files organised, do you use a numeric, categoric or alphabetic structuring system, and how do you incorporate the use of metadata into your libraries?

Thanks, just looking for tips!


6 Answers 6


FWIW I'm all about Metadata, myself. I rarely use hierarchy of folders to find a file. I use Soundminer 99 percent of the time. That means that my metadata is key when I search, so I make sure that my metadata is impeccable and I am constantly adding to it with other possible uses of sounds.

I do use proper folder hierarchy and keep the filenames descriptive, etc., but I pay extra special attention to my metadata and ensure every possible reference word is in there that it could be used for, because that is how Soundminer works.

It's extremely important to keep up because I have libraries in which the files are named "WR4719400929288457383" and a word search will never pull it up, however because I use Soundminer, it searches the metadata so the Wrench Drop file named "WRDR485737854" will come up in a search.

  • Is it Soundminer or Basehead that has a built in thesaurus? Commented Sep 29, 2010 at 12:05
  • its soundminer, and the thesaurus is user definable.
    – Rene
    Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 1:16

There are a number of posts that have already discussed metadata and sfx library organisation. It's well worth having a read through as there's some great advice in them and you can see how others are operating:

Audio File Organization

Metadata Programs

Library Search Engine for Mac

Library Search Engines


I use iTunes to organize and manage metadata. My metadata convention tends to change for the various libraries (Blastwave FX, for example, is always the Artist where the different libraries are the album, but Soundsnap.com is an album and the artist is whoever submitted it to Soundsnap), then I use the comments field to put in whatever I feel fits for the sound, be it woosh, impact, crackles, or whatever. I haven't run into a character limit on comments.

THEN, I let iTunes "Keep my files organized," and mark things like Soundsnap as compilations -- I almost never have to go digging through my actual folders since I can simply search iTunes, so what happens in the actual folder structure almost never is a problem.

  • I had never considered using iTunes as a way of archiving your sound library. This is genius.
    – JTC
    Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 14:56
  • I've considered using iTunes but what about it mixing with your other files like music, etc
    – Hector Lee
    Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 15:06
  • I have a separate Windows profile for my music and sound projects, so this hasn't been a problem for me. I simply don't send everything to the same folder. The other key is to prevent iTunes from being your default MP3 program, so it doesn't auto-import everything you want to test out. Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 22:09
  • I don't use iTunes as a DB for SFX, but you can have multiple iTunes library on the same account: on Mac just launch iTunes while pressing Shift+Alt. ;) Commented Sep 29, 2010 at 7:26

I keep it in categorized folders and with describing filenames, like "metal hit on wood 01 (MKH60).wav"

And using Foobar2000 for searching (I'm under PC/Windows), special pack I build for libs searching. You can find demo video here:


Of course foobar is also free, and I think it's much better & customizable than iTunes for that aim


I like a simple generic, alpha-numeric named folder, with all relevant sounds pertaining to that category included within the folder or folders.


I name files with the date _ take - region followed by a short descriptive like <

101225_05-03 Metal jingle bell thrashing

in the metadata description I'll add much more detail. I also use the creator metadata field to describe the device / mic I capture it with.

I use soundforge on the pc to add metadata as I cleanup each sound file, I often record long takes with multiple sounds or performances in one file. I used to create and export regions a lot but latley just switched to dumping the entire file into Kontakt and making the sample start play the region I want to hear etc.. I feel like this is time saved over exporting each sound or performance from a longer source file.

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