One of the most important but often overlooked aspects of music production is your library of samples, presets, instruments and MIDI ideas. These essentially form your ‘instrument’ … along with any real instruments or outboard gear you might use. They are the things inside your computer that make sound, which you then turn into music.
Dedicating time to build and tend to your sound library can help free up time later when it comes to actually making music, so you can focus more on being creative and enjoying yourself. Here are some tips on how to get the best out of your sound library…
Regularly make new content for your library 🚀
Setting aside time to create new sounds, presets and ideas that you keep in your library for later will pay dividends. Here are some ideas of stuff to make…
- Carry a handheld recorder with you for recording awesome sounds wherever you hear them. You know you’ve been wanting to sample that dustbin lid for ages!
- Use an app on your phone to jam out ideas or record a hummed out melody, then save to a Dropbox folder or your Noiiz Library so you can access these when making music
- If you use software or hardware synths, spend time with your Sound Design hat on and build up your preset library.
- Make drum kits to save time searching for the perfect snare when you’re trying to jam out ideas and save them in your favourite drum sampler format
- Made an awesome sound in a project you’re working on? Save it to your library! Try doing this at the end of a session so as not to interrupt your creativity.
Expand your library with content made by other people/companies 🪐
Collaboration is a beautiful thing and whether you collaborate directly with a partner, or indirectly by purchasing content made by other people, injecting your library with outside influence will help you expand your sound and try new things. Here are some ideas about how to add collaborative content to your library…
- Make use of all the free stuff! We live in an age of abundance and there is a wealth of free content on the internet, so find it, store the stuff you like and embrace the generosity!
- Subscribe to a service like Noiiz that offers unlimited content, then spend time extracting the stuff that you resonate with
- If you see a sample pack, a preset collection, a new plugin or another product you feel will add value, save up and buy it! This can get expensive quickly, so only buy what you know will add value. Services like Splice Rent-To-Own can help you spread the cost of expensive plugins.
- Use what you have – chances are your DAW or whatever you use to make music with already has a large library of content. Spend time sifting through this and saving the bits you like.
Be organised! 💼
Organising your library before you make music gives you the best chance of being your most creative later. It requires discipline, but having a well organised library can literally transform your creative flow. Spend time developing a proper system – it’s easy to quickly bung stuff somewhere without thinking about how easy it will be to find later. Here are some tips for staying organised…
- Develop a system that suits the way your work, then stick to it
- Consider what categories are most useful – do you prefer to organise by type (e.g. Synth Presets, Samples), by style (e.g. Heavy, Ambient, Moody), by manufacturer (e.g. Noiiz, Ableton) or something else?
- Label stuff clearly so you know exactly what it is, even if you don’t see it for a year!
- Use a cloud backup service like Dropbox and Noiiz to backup content and ensure it’s available anywhere you need it, even if you don’t have your computer with you.
- Use your DAW’s built in library or a plugin like Noiiz Connect (coming soon.) Some DAW libraries are better than others, but most are more than good enough. Being able to browse content in the place you work can save time and help you stay creative.
- Familiarise yourself – sometimes just browsing what you have can be a good way to learn your library so when the moment comes, you’ll know exactly what you need and where it is.
Send us your tips 😊
Let us know at [email protected] how you organise your library and we’ll add any good tips to this post ❤️