Organizing your samples and sound libraries for better workflow


I spent the two days re organizing my sample library.

I’ve been wanting to do it for a while, but up until now had only managed to do maybe one or two collection.

However, I just decided to get it done.

My sample library file system

Basically what I do is this.

sample librariesI have two main categories, Sample Packs and Sample Libraries

In the “sample pack” I put all the stuff I get like drums, loops, and riffs, the smaller collections.

In the “sample library” folder I put all my dvds and large libraries like stuff from Big Fish or Sample Magic…the multi gigabyte stuff.

After that I organize them even further.

For the sample packs, I break them up first by company, then within each company folder I will break it down more depending on how much I have from them.

sample pack companiesCompanies like nova loops, where I have a bunch of stuff, I’ll break into categories within the folder.

I’d do drums, keys, synth, strings, loop sets, etc.

Then in each folder I’d put the sample pack that goes in there. So if I have roots rhodes, I’d put that in the keys, if I have Hood RnB construction set I put that in loop sets.

I THEN break down the loop sets even further.

First I break them down by genre, like pop, rnb, dirty south, chillout, etc, depending on what collections I have.sample library style

Then I go into each construction set collection and break it down.

By default, they are just a bunch of folders with each individual construction kit, that includes the bass, Β keys, strings, drums, etc for that kit. You get anywhere from 10-30 of these depending on the set and the company.

Basically these are “pre made” beats, that you can put back together.

I don’t roll like that, so I needed a better way to utilize these kits, since many companies make them and they have dope sounds. I hated going through each folder looking for some keys, or strings, or bass.

loop pack categorySo I take all the files out of the individual kits, and put them in one big folder. Β Then I create new folders based on the instrument category…so I’d have bass, keys, synths, drums, brass, etc.

So now instead of a bunch of folders with premade beats, I have a bunch of folders with various instruments from across the whole collection. So I can find what I want much faster, go to keys for keys, bass for bass, etc.

I do the same thing for my sample library collection, it’s just much bigger because they are dvds full of stuff.

I break it out by genre, then I put each library where it needs to go.

After that I break each library up into folders of sounds instead of construction kits.

I also take the demos out, which is a full mix of each construction set. I only use those for review purposes when I show yall the libraries, then I delete them.

Okay…so how does all this help me work faster?

First off, I get more use out of construction kits this way because I don’t feel “boxed in” to the way they put it together. If I do this before I even listen to the demos, then I’m not tempted to just recreate what they already made…it doesn’t give me a predetermined goal…so now I can just grab what I want and make it fit my creation.

It also let’s me go to the specific sounds I need, without having to go through each baby loop set in the collection. All my keys are together, all tempos, from all the sets in that collection.

So if I want a pop style keyboard riff, I go to that pop folder, pick one of the collections and go to the keys. Easy…

Before I’d have to go to a collection, then look in each little loop set to find the keys…not anymore.

I like it, it took a while, I’m not all the way done, but from now on anything I get will go into this system…

lemme know what you think, leave me a comment

do you have a way you like to organize your samples?


  1. sup yo ichecked out ur workflow vid pretty clever i do the same thing but i use jump drives cause using all the software i have ran out of space but i will b upgrading to a larger hard drive soon but this works for now thanks again homie always wit cha quick ? any body usin cubase 5 let me know thanks

  2. I’m like Effone in that I use a very similiar kinda filing system. When I got Beatmaker for ipod I made like 500 kits over 3 nights, and it only took about 6 hours total cause I can find things easily. Sometimes a little OCD is good(lol)

  3. Brilliant! VERY, VERY HELPFUL!

    Sony Acid (& other DAWs) have management libraries but I’ve been very nervous about spending all that time organizing…what if I switch brands? All that work is lost. Better to organize it myself. And these propriatory programs want you to organize by procussion, basses, instruments etc. Organizing by company makes so much better sense. The company is the best guide to the kind of sound you want.

    This is still gonna take a lot of time… Why ruin my weekend? Think I’ll wait until Monday and call in sick! hehehe

  4. Thanks St.Joe, was doing a google search on organizing sound libraries and boom, your site popped up. Thanks for the pointers! Per some advice from Brinson, I’m taking on this endeavor with about 30 gigs of sounds right now. Should be fun lol

  5. So…nobody thought to code a software to make this an automated process somehow eh? This means that starting from tomorrow i’ ll have to start organizing by hand 1 terra of samples…ufff…you gave me bad news but anyway, you gave me some ideea. Good post!

  6. I’m assuming that you copy the files from the original kits and place the copies into the folders organized by sounds. Beside the duplication of files going on I think this is an excellent way to approach this.


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