Currently, all of my hundreds of sound files from field recordings are simply titled with a date and time, and I've done my best to describe their contents in the Comments field in Finder. This is functional, in that it… is a place where I can access my files, but it's really subpar in a number of ways.

I've searched and searched for software to help me manage and browse my recordings, to no avail. For photographers and videographers, there's many options — Bridge, Lightroom, Darktable, etc. — but I've yet to find something for audio.

(And I'm only an amateur; surely people who do this for a living must have some kind of software they use for this!)

Some things that it would be nice for the hypothetical software to have, for the purposes of defining the question:

  • Can display relevant data for sound files (duration, bit rate, bit depth, etc.)
  • Can display a waveform, and ideally a spectrogram
  • Can keep track of additional information, such as
    • Tags/labels
    • GPS coordinates, and ideally GPX tracks for audio walks
    • Text description
    • Rating
  • Can perform some basic sound editing functionality, such as normalization
  • Can batch correct file dates (for when the field recorder's clock was wrong)

2 Answers 2


Soundminer is by far the most popular audio library software for sound recordists (for instance a friend uses it for his nature recordings) / audio post production (such as when you're using SFX), who need to catalogue and use a large amount of sounds.


There are a number of other alternatives you could consider as well: Soundly, ADSR Sample Manager, Resonic, Sononym, and SoundQ.

But Soundminer is the most popular choice out of all of those that I've mentioned.

If you happen to be a dialogue editor, and looking for a tool to manage all the sound files for that, then I highly recommend Kraken: https://krakensoftware.co.uk/ Life changing.

Another software to mention, that I use personally when I need to do batch editing / metadata editing, is Sound Devices' WaveAgent: https://www.sounddevices.com/product/wave-agent-software/


I'm not sure what platform you're using (I'm on Linux) but for what you're trying to do, I get the best results with Mixxx. This is meant as DJ software, but it is useful for field recordings because you can see your whole waveform, and you can even add cues and label the cues. And, it's cross-platform.

The cues are useful when you need to tag a point in the recording that isn't obvious from the waveform. For instance, if you're recording a rainstorm, and there's a single thunderclap, you can see that pretty clearly in the waveform. But if you're recording a brook and there's distant birdsong, you might not want to sit through 20 minutes of recording, trying to find that part.

Mixxx allows you to create 'crates' and playlists. Crates hold tracks in no particular order, with no duplicates, where playlists are in a specific order and you can have the same track more than once. With crates, you can organize your recordings: 'Talking', 'Weather', et cetera.

I don't keep WAV files anymore, and I know these don't have the same tagging scheme as MP3s; FLAC files do, however, and they are smaller than WAV files, without losing sound quality. So if you use FLAC, then you can just set the actual date of the recording in the 'date' field, and yes, you can do this in a batch in Mixxx, and have it write to the files.

However, you might also not want tag edits to write to files. For instance, if you have a backup or sync system in place, and you bulk edit metadata for your recordings, then change your mind and change them again, well that's a lot of binary data to synchronize. You mentioned photo/video software, and they usually resolve this issue by using a sidecar file that holds the metadata. In this case, you could just sync your Mixxx db file when it's updated, which is way smaller.

If you ever decide to move out of Mixxx, you can go back in and have it 'bake' the tag data into the files themselves.

Another Mixxx feature is called 'Auto DJ', where it'll pull a bunch of files from a selected crate and crossfade them in a random sequence. I have created a crate of recordings that I can sleep to, set my in / out cues to exclude anything on the recording that might wake me up (like talking or thunder), and just have that going all night. You can even just loop a field recording and leave that going forever.

The one thing Mixxx won't do is normalization, but it does have replay gain, which means it'll 'normalize' your recordings without altering the recording itself. For permanent normalization, you'll need a program like Audacity.

Anyway, I have been in the same boat as you. Apparently, there is no software for field recordings (though one would assume there would be), but you can use Mixxx "off-label" and it does a great job.

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