New User - But Completely Stuck

I’ve purchased Audio Finder and it looks like it’s going to be exactly what I need, however I’ve RTFM and I’m still stuck.

To start with I just want to re-organise my audio files without touching them in Finder (because of dependencies with past projects).

In the image below, I am trying to re-organize a very poorly organised “general audio folder” for this project of several tracks, each a separate project with its own specific audio folder as well. These are audio files common to nearly all of the tracks.

So I want to reorganise them without shifting the audio from their location in finder.

For example, I would like to drag the FX_Blofeld samples to the BIN -> Synth FX in the sidebar, but if I move them they physically move on the drive.

At this stage I am not interested in metadata tagging, though I will introduce this in time.

I want to be able to make collections of samples from around my system used on various projects without having to copy them physically. But I am still stumped as to how to do this most basic of features….


Just to clarify a bit further;

Within the project “Steampunk” I want to reorganise these audio files.

I also want to be able to create new folders to organise the existing audio. So for example, a synth riser might be organised into Synth FX and Risers. I might then later tag it with “distorted”, “aggressive” or “Dr Who”…a label for myself characterising the audio file.

For sure, ultimately that Steampunk folder will have audio that will cross over into other projects, just like other projects have donated to that project. This way I hope to be able to collect sounds into folders for new projects from pre-existing projects and organise them in different ways, as well as be able to search my whole library using tags.

Are you trying to create an entirely new tree structure apart from the file system tree structure? If so, I don’t think AF will do that. You can create flat lists, which contain pointers to files anywhere on your system, but that is not the same as a freeform tree with hierarchical navigation.

You can create an alternative tree structure within Finder itself, by making folders and placing symbolic links to other locations within them. But that can become confusing as the same file or folder appears to be in two “places” at once.

Ultimately, I think you are facing a moment of truth regarding how to view your library - canonical hierarchy versus tagging and lists. Audiofinder is allows you to view your file system hierarchy, and even place folders in lists (not sure how well this is supported), but it is primarily a search tool focused on tags and other clip properties.

I am personally fond of the tree structure, and I manage my file system organization carefully when bringing new libraries in. But I don’t do this for navigation, I do it in order to:

  • utilize well-chosen folder names during search
  • understand what I own from a vendor/library/collection/licensing standpoint
  • keep my sanity while protecting my library investment

For these reasons, I have gone to lengths to organize and reorganize, at the file system level, my library over time. However, I have not hit the issue that prevents you from doing the same, because my projects never reference clips at their library location. I always re-spot any clip as a copy to a project, so that all its resources are local to the project. That way I can copy a project folder and be sure that all necessary resources go with it. That involves duplication, but it is worth it in my view.

After copying a new library and scanning it in to AF, I essentially forget about the file tree structure and go back to searching via tags and collecting ideas via lists. Since I spot copies to projects, the original file location within my library does not matter. When I want to reorganize my file system, I only have to rescan in Audiofinder, and repair any broken lists.

I guess this is a long way of saying, if you want to use Audiofinder, Soundminer, Basehead etc, these are fundamentally tag/property search tools. Until you convert your thinking to that paradigm, I don’t think you’ll get much value from the tools, and you’ll certainly be working against their intent.

Speaking to your reuse scenario, if you have a large set of projects that share clips, I would consider creating a shared resource folder for that set of projects - but copy new clips from your library into that folder. That way, you can avoid duplication, but still maintain independence between your library storage structure and your project space. Doing that will prevent the situation you’re having now, where your hands are tied because of old projects.

Thank you very much for your detailed response.

I think you have understood my intent pretty well. What I am looking for is a “finder” within a “finder”. But I don’t want to change anything physically on my disks.

I want to be able to use previous projects as resources for new projects, and categorise things to help me class material. Tagging is only appropriate if you know what you are looking for. I don’t - I know that I used certain kinds of material in certain projects some of which has non-descriptive names. I also have my own my forms of classifications usually based on character or the name fo the project. For example, I have a “Global Audio Files” folder for Orchestral FX of different types that also includes “Ethnic FX” for a TV project. It’s really well organised and I use it a lot. I want to expand that concept.

But some projects are either hurried or evolve in unexpected ways. My most recent large project is a mess…I’m doing a follow on project and I’d like to organise the material without copying it or moving it. Without copying it because I probably won’t use more than 10%, but it would be useful to be able to use it as reference library…once its properly organised.

I have mostly been using Logic as the database, by going through manually through past projects and selecting audio files to drag into the audio window, or by creating a “utilities” folder in each project with audio files that might be useful or inspiring. It’s crap solution.

The suggestion you make to have a shared resource folder is EXACTLY what I currently do, but isn’t always practical as the project evolves. I have a Global Audio files folder, a project audio files folder, and then a song audio files folder.

The idea of copying audio files local to the project as I go is exactly the process favoured by logic, and exactly what I am trying to avoid as it is incredibly inefficient and doesn’t solve the problem of cross pollinating projects. I’d like to have a folder of sub booms, some of which came from my Steampunk project, some from a Horror, some from a trailer, etc…each organised into folders there (after the fact so I don’t have to move them on the drive) and then into one big one. I can remember what I’ve used and where ion my sub booms by the sub category. AFTER that I would start to sue tags - soft/loud/aggressive/gentle/3btsin etc.

And there is nothing that will do this very basic job out there. It’s all tags. Tags are only useful if you know what your looking for.

I note that Netflix often have the same film in different genres - you can find Alien in “Sci-fi” and “Horror”. I’m just looking for the same process for organising my samples.

Not sure I followed all of that, but there’s one clear intersection that you might not be exploiting:

  1. Ignoring symbolic links in the file system, tagging is the primary mechanism by which one clip can be referenced multiple ways. This is what AF and other such products facilitate.

  2. For you, past projects are the primary key by which you remember and reuse sounds.

Together these imply that you should, as a foundational step, tag all of the clips used in your past projects with the name of the project. You could then, for instance, search for “steampunk boom”, where one word is the old project and another (optional) word is descriptive of the sound.

This alone may crack the case.