The best way to organise your presets | sound libraries

No idea what sounds you have? Can’t find what you’re looking for?

It’s not because you have too many sounds, you just didn’t organise them well enough.
It’s so important to have them organised. You can get surprised and inspired by all the sounds you forgot you had while you’re already looking in the right place.

What’s a good way? Create empty folders with the names of main categories of instruments and put it in the location where your software looks for presets. There are many ways to do this, I loosely based my categorisation on music scores and instrument classes:

You can make these folders visible under the Factory Library tab in Kontakt 5 by dragging them into the “Instruments” folder in the Kontakt 5 Library folder.

Don’t throw all your presets in there just yet, read on…
Wind instruments should be wood, maybe, because brass and saxes are also wind instruments. But then again so are organs. But what are flutes doing in a wood category? They’re metal. There’s reed in the wood instrument class – clarinets, oboes, bassoons. But not saxophones, they’re reed AND brass and get a class on their own.

Brass, saxophones and voices are easy. I put music boxes, thumb piano’s, synths, sound effects and sound design in the keyboard category.

Pitched and unpitched percussion are easy. Gongs are tuned, tamtams are not!

Plucked is for string instruments that are not bowed. So a plucked acoustic bass fits in there. Strings is easy.

Inside the main categories I’ve got sub categories. Wind instruments has: 1 flutes, 2 oboes, 3 clarinets, 4 bassoons, bagpipes, harmonica’s, melodica’s, recorders, world wind instruments. The numbers are important in case you’re working on pieces for orchestra.

Brass has: 1 French horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, 4 tuba, then flugelhorn, cornets, etc.

Saxophones has: 1 mini sax, 2 soprano, 3 alto, 4 tenor, 5 baritone, 6 bass.

My voices folder is a mess. I don’t use them often.

My keyboard folder has: accordions, celesta’s, church organs, clavichords, digital pianos, electric organs, electric pianos, fx, grand pianos, harmoniums, harpsichords, loops, marxophones, mellotrons, music boxes, sound design, synthesizers, thumb pianos, upright pianos.

Pitched percussion has: Bamblong, boomwhackers, carillons, bells, coffee pots, crotales, gamelan, glass, glockenspiel, gongs, hang drums, lithophone, marimba, steel drums, tibetan bowls, timpani, tongue drum, toy glockenspiel, tubular bells, vibraphone, xylophone, etc.

Unpitched percussion has: bamboo poles, bassdrums & kicks, bongos, buffalo drums, cajon, calabash, casanets, Cathedral of Junk, clappers, claps, claves, claydrum, congas, cymbals, darbukas, djembes, drumkits, dunbeks, ewe, hammers, handles, hihats, kroboto, marching band, logdrums, snares, tabla, windchimes, etc.

Plucked has balalaika, banjo, bass guitar, bouzouki, cavaquinho, canjo, guitars, harps, kora, koto, lutes, mandolines, sitars, etc.

Strings: 1 violins, 10 viola’s, 11 celli, 12 double bass, combinations, world strings like hurdy gurdies.

Wait for it…

Inside some of these folders you need more folders. And in some of these folders more folders are needed. Violins, for example. You’ve got solo violins and you’ve got string sections. String sections often have presets for the first section or the second section of the orchestra. There are analog drumkits, digital drumkits, acoustic drumkits, there are great analog synth basses, digital synth pads, you can also sort synth sounds per synthesizer like I do. Love my Jupiter samples!

Almost ready…

Don’t do things two times that you only need to do once. Kontakt or whatever instrument you can manually organise presets for, is not the only program you can use the folder structure for. Make the folder structure extensive enough, store a backup and put the structure in the place your DAW looks at. For Logic it is: User/Library (make visible in Go drop down menu of the Finder by holding ALT)/Application Support/Logic/Channel Strip Settings/Instrument/

You can copy the channel strip settings from the normal Library to that place if you want, or just add templates every time you use an instrument in Logic.

Last two things: copy everything so you can tweak everything without losing the original files and settings. And set a timer, don’t spend more then half an hour per day on this, you’ve got other stuff to do.

Go! Have fun!