I feel like I sit and wait a lot while searching through my library. Anyone else get the feeling they spend just as much time, if not more, waiting to audition sounds as they do editing them?

Im guessing the only way to speed this up is to buy a faster hard drive, either Solid State or... I think ive seen a 10,000 some rpm drive? The other option is to partition depending on library, type of sound (in larger categories), etc. Any ideas?

Also, I hear a lot about sound miner. But isnt this expensive/another program to run behind pro tools?


  • 1
    Soundminer is probably the best of the library managers out there. Good metadata search facilities and handy for spotting fx to something like pro tools. Other DAWs like Logic, Nuendo and some video editors supported. Cool sound design options with the VST rack too. It can be expensive though but they have cheaper versions than the Pro version available. Other options like Basehead, and even Audiofinder(mac) can prove effective too. Snapper is another nice tool where you can audition files in your Finder and spot to Pro Tools or send to bin. I'm sure others will chip in though. Past bedtime!
    – Andy Lewis
    Jan 3 '11 at 0:34
  • @Andy Thanks for the info! I guess ill need to check out sound miner!
    – C3Sound
    Jan 3 '11 at 6:23
  • 1
    Consider how many hours you've wasted auditioning sounds, times that by your hourly rate, and compare that to the cost of Soundminer or Basehead. Aug 24 '11 at 13:28

no problem/waiting with sound miner with my main library database of 500,000+ sound files - how are you searching your library? I hate spotlight - slow as a wet week...

  • @Tim Ah, just using the workspace in pro tools. Tim! I love your collaborative sound library projects - I just told a friend about them, Augie Restivo, he should have signed up for the room tone project!
    – C3Sound
    Jan 3 '11 at 6:22

I would definitely go for soundminer it really will speed up your workflow dramatically.

If you are unsure you can start with miniminer and then step up to the standard or pro edition later.

The main thing is make sure that you complete the metadata as you add new sounds.


What can help on a searching side too is to shorthand searches, such as:

resi = residential, amb = ambience, backg = backgrounds, met = metal, plast = plastic, etc.

It may seem like it only shaves a fraction of a second off a search, but added up over time, it saves a lot of time. As mentioned, Soundminer is a top choice. With it you can do boolean searches which are quite amazing. In many cases, I've used them to effectively get a handful of results on a search to find what I need instead of thousands of files that I don't need.

An example would be:

amb cit traf day -bird -siren

This would mean that it searches for city traffic ambiences that are daytime, but without birds (if the file was tagged properly), and without any sirens (of tagged properly)

This function proves to be very powerful

One note: Soundminer and other search tools are not 'contextually intelligent'. This means that if a file is tagged with the text no birds, and you run a search for files that are -bird, it will NOT show that file because the word bird was tagged it, regardless of having no in front of it. Lesson? Only tag what the file has, not what it does not have (except under specific circumstances)

I know this answer is somewhat of a tangent from the actual question, but it does relate to it in the sense of effective search ability and time saving.


If you're on an extreme budget, iTunes is a good alternative... you just have to be good with your naming and tagging. You can even drag a file directly out of iTunes and into your DAW.


At work I use basehead and it is pretty damn speedy (milliseconds) at searching our 300,000+ snds (2TB) Library, it's also cheaper but not as nice looking as Sound Miner. At home I use audio finder which is not nearly as fast but gets the job done pretty well, plus it only costs $70.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.