M:S samples, kits, chains and organisation ideas

Apologies for any duplication of existing threads, I’m just trying to dump my thoughts in one place to get some feedback. I’ve been experimenting with different ways to organise/curate my samples for use in my M:S (which I’m having a lot of fun with) and here’s what I’ve come up with so far…

  1. Curating numerous one-shot drums into a single folder and batch renaming them to KIK 1, KIK 2, SNR 1, SNR 2 etc so they are easy to browse. Most sample packs use long and descriptive names but this isn’t great for the 9-character display on the M:S. Having simple naming makes it very easy to preview and experiment with different drum hit types and also easy to p-lock/change sounds “on the fly” for jamming due to the simple naming convention. You can also have different curated folders with drums for different genres/styles, if that suits you. One downside - the sample lock limit…

  2. …which can be overcome with sample chains. I started by “bouncing” 120 samples from a free trial of a sample pack into one file. This then makes it easy to set the sample length to 1 and just use the start to switch to each sound, the normal sample chain method. The downside here is that you need to remember where each type of hit is located. You can manage this by, for example, having 20 kicks, 20 snares, 20 hats, 20 claps etc to make up 120 sounds in total.

  3. A variation on point 2 - you can make “kits” by bouncing down sounds in sets of e.g. 10 sounds. If you follow a convention of having kick, snare, clap, hats, cymbals, perc and always have the same type of hit in the same postion then you could have 12 “kits” of 10 sounds and if you change the sample start by 10 then you get a whole new kit. You could also p-lock the hi-hat steps and just change those by sample start of 10 and that would bring in a new set of hat sounds. This would be handy for jamming because you have a reliable and repeatable way of changing either an entire kit or just the kick, or the snare, or the hats etc. I haven’t actually tried this yet and I literally had the idea whilst I was writing this post.

  4. Sample chains for timbral change. I’ve tried bouncing down 120 notes of a bass pluck sound with each one slightly different from the last. I’ve tried varying multiple parameters over time including filter cutoff, oscillator variation (shape, PW, whatever), distortion, env decay etc. The results have been mixed (probably my limited sound design ability) and I think that a whole chain for one sound might be too much. I’ve thought about trying the 12 sets of 10 sounds idea here as well, so I know that each 10 locations in my chain is a new synth sound. Haven’t actually done this yet, but I’m going to try. I’ve not really enjoyed trying to do sound design with single-cycle waves in the M:S. It absolutely works but because LFO target etc is stuck behind a menu it’s not as intuitive as the one-per-function front controls IMO. Your mileage may vary.

  5. Using long evolving notes with timbral change. I’ve tried bouncing down long notes with a timbral change over time like cutoff sweep, distortion sweep or whatever else you fancy. You can then use sample start and length, decay etc to create variations and use p-locks to make synth sequences. It’s actually pretty effective and I had some acid-like sounds going by using simple synth samples with low-to-high rez sweep and then p-lock the sample start.

  6. …what have you guys come up with?! I’m spending more time curating sample sets in these ways to see what works best for me - I’m primarily trying to improvise and jam techno/dance tunes without any pre-preparation aside from creating and curating the one-shots and synth samples as a separate process. I’m really curious to see how others are doing this stuff. I don’t want to have any patterns pre-made etc, I’m mainly using one pattern (8 or 16 steps) and sometimes using polymeter (varying track length on the fly) and shifting the steps with the track+level. I think there is a lot of mileage in one pattern if you get the muscle memory down and organise the samples well beforehand.

Thanks in advance for your input.

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Interesting thoughts/techniques here, thanks for sharing. So far I’ve done only basic sample management, separated samples into the following root level folders:
1Shot - one shot drums & perc
1Cycle - single cycle waveforms
DrumLoops - drum loops, obviously

Planning to add in the future:
Vocal - snippits of old movies, astronaut voices, etc.
Vinyl - snippits of vinyl records
Chords - I’m planning to sample my minilogue XD playing chords, maybe other synths too
Field - random stuff I record out in the world with my field recorder (or app on phone)

The problem is my drum loops folder takes up 80% of the Model Samples memory, so I need to pare that one way down! Difficult to do, as every time I explore that folder I end up making something fun and funky, so it is hard to choose what to dump!

One question on this - say I create and save a pattern that uses a sample that I later delete from the M:S. What happens when I play that pattern? Will there just be silence instead of the missing sample, or will it revert to the default drum kit? Since I haven’t taken meticulous notes about what samples I’ve used in each pattern, I’m nervous about removing anything and screwing up my patterns!

Excellent, underrated post that slipped past me.
I am glad it got bumped!

This.

I think it is crucial to be deliberate with what samples you put into the MS.

I also spend a lot of time curating, naming, filing, renaming, sorting, etc.

Batch editing is done with Myriad, which is a sadly discontinued update to the the old Sample Manager batch converter application.
With Myriad I trim out any space/silence below -50dB. And while I am in there I also convert to mono, 16bit, 48khz so that I know exactly what size folders I am dumping onto the MS.

I can also take long, 6 second synth samples and batch convert them to 1 second with a fade out.

I use Easy Rename, a free Mac app, to remove extraneous file name prefixes. Batch converted.
“ABX_Deep_Vol2_StabT009.wav” turns into “StabT009.wav”.

Does all of this take time?
Absolutely.

Is it worth the time?
Absolutely.

A minute spent doing this on my computer is a minute saved trying to find and work with material on my MS, as my folders are all killer, no filler.

It cuts down on the fatigue I would experience using the MS, searching for the right sample amidst a load of junk, and the sample editing allows me to put even more content on my +Drive.
I am at about 150MB in there now. My current project of about 15 patterns uses 25MB of the 64MB, a big chunk of which are chains that will get much more mileage in this project.

Chain creation is also very important to manage. You can zap 5 or 10MB of your project RAM with one chain. So use hits of similar lengths to keep it concise.
And remember that you have 576 slots in your project. Chains in MS are more of a function of sample locks / LFO based sample changes. Where as on DT/Rytm, the function is more getting as many unique sample hits available to your project as you can across 128 slots. So be deliberate with chain creation.

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