Marie Kondo Your Hard Drive!

Discussion in 'SAMPLE Talk' started by TigerTheFrog, Mar 13, 2019 at 6:55 AM.

  1. TigerTheFrog

    TigerTheFrog Senior Member

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    I have a lot of virtual instruments, libraries, synths, and effects I never use. Over the years, they collect on my hard drives like cat hair on a sweater: freebies, $5 “no-brainers,” things I paid serious $$ for and realized I didn’t like, simply never took the time to learn, or just forgot about. They sit there untouched and, in many cases, eating up precious GBs.

    If you have been following the de-cluttering guru Marie Kondo and her books and Netflix series, you know she doesn’t say get rid of all this stuff you’re not using. She says lay it out and figure out what you actually like--in her lingo, what “sparks joy”? You put everything out there at once because you might actually like that sweater you bought four years ago and forgot about.

    Like many of you, I’ve always gotten rid of GB hogging libraries I wasn’t using, because real estate on an SSD is valuable. (I keep the rar files and a backup elsewhere in case I ever change my mind.) But I never cared that when I click on my Cubase compressors folder that there are a quadrillion compressors there. The ones I use are up at the top and I ignore the rest. But what are all those things? There are the ones that came with Cubase and Sonar, there’s Waves Gold, there’s everything in T-RackS, Komplete, there are numerous freebies, like Softube’s Drawmer 73 and that Klanghelm one that’s supposed to be so good, etc). Honestly, when I purchase a big set like Waves Gold or T-RackS, I just don’t have time to learn everything there is to know about every single plugin, and in time, I just move on, and the benefits other people get from them sit untapped.

    I’m thinking about this now because I just bought iZotope’s Neutron 2/Ozone 8 Advanced bundle. Will I now start favoring their EQ over the ones I use now?

    Effects plugins usually take up very little space on my hard drive, so there’s no big deal leaving them there, but why are they there if I’m not using them? It’s clutter.

    What I’ve started to do is to pick an unused plugin and treat it as if I was shopping for it. I watch the videos. I have a demo file that has numerous examples of vocal, percussion, guitars, basses, orchestral, etc. I put it on a bus and compare it to what I always use. This is as much fun as shopping and distracts me from the other kind of shopping, the expensive kind.

    Another thing this process makes me do is simply walk away from free offers and deals. I never buy a new effect unless I’m able to demo it and compare it to my favorites. It’s got to do something that none of my other stuff does. It’s got to be something that I will use. It’s got to be so much better that it’s worth the money. I don’t care if it’s 50% off.

    If I decide I’m not going to ever use an effect, the easiest thing is to use the Cubase VST plugin manager to remove it from my folders. Or better yet, hide them from Cubase altogether.

    However, these unwanted VSTs also load up in Komplete Kontrol, VE Pro, Sonar, my video editor, etc. To really tidy things up, sometimes there are things I just want to get rid of. But what I’ve learned is that getting rid of VSTs is very different from clearing out a clothes closet--it’s dangerous to remove a lot at one time. What I have learned the hard way is to only get rid of one and then make sure that all my other programs load up okay with it missing. And I also make sure I’m set up beforehand to put it back. This can be as easy as putting the .dll and some files back, but I always make a system restore point to be sure. But in truth, best not to bother. Just organize your DAW differently.

    Generally, my focus on the Marie Kondo-izing of my hard drive is not on getting rid of stuff, but on the rediscovery of my unused plugins. I’d rather explore something that might be really great rather than an obvious target for disposal. But usually, most of them go.

    Of course, this works the same way for virtual instruments and synths too. For me, this is an ongoing process that will never stop, just like building my template. There’s an organic flow to adding new stuff and getting rid of old stuff.

    This is all on top of more basic organizing systems like Kontakt quickload, templates, track presets, and Cubase’s VST plugin manager, etc.

    Do any of you have systems for re-organizing that you’d like to share?
     
  2. dzilizzi

    dzilizzi I know nothing

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    So let me preface this by saying I have packrat tendencies and come from a long line of packrats. So Marie Kondo is a struggle from the start.

    I am also having issues with Cubase seeing any of my Waves plugins since I upgraded to 10 in both. I like a lot of my Waves plugins. And speaking of Waves and cleaning out plugins, I miss when I didn't have to load the full bundles. I could see not loading all of them.

    Where I'm starting to see the need to clean out is all the free and inexpensive Kontakt libraries I have. I don't need a free orchestra when I own Spitfire and EW. I am covered now. I'm slowly moving them over to another, less used drive and eventually they may be gone. Or at least on a back up drive only. But, when I open them and play with some of them? I remember why I had them in the first place. Though some I will never use, the sounds they do give me ideas. And I'm trying to use more of them in things. So I guess they do spark joy. Just not in a usable way.

    And this is where I have a problem with Marie Kondo. Or maybe it is just me. Utilitarian stuff rarely sparks joy for me. But I use it. Spitfire strings? Meh. But put them in a piece and they sound so much better than that interesting sounding freebie that is slightly out of tune and sounds horrible in a mix when put next to all it's slightly out of tune in different ways counterparts. So it can be a challenge to figure out what goes and what stays.
     
  3. Land of Missing Parts

    Land of Missing Parts Confabulous Fop

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    Great topic! Four things that I do to manage the sprawling libraries.

    1. Kontakt Quickload - I try my best to have everything available at a glance in quickload. It's fast and for me it just works better than using the libraries browser or looking through folders in finder. In finder, I organize by developer and leave all of the folder structures in place. In quickload, I can organize any way I like.

    Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 10.10.09 AM.png

    2. Keyswitch Across Perc Libraries - Since it's easy to accumulate things like glocks, music boxes, sampled kitchenware, I like to have, for instance, my glocks all condensed into one track in my DAW. When I enable that track, at a glance I can see all glocks that I have and can keyswitch to audition each sound. I always keep a keyswitch window open, which will let me see what all of the options are for whatever instrument I have selected.
    Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 10.33.02 AM.png

    3. Use a Template - This isn't anything new to anyone, but I like to condense my articulations into one track per instrument, then have all of my instruments laid out and disabled in my template. The goal is to be able to tell at a glance what all of the available options are. I use keyboard shortcuts to hide/reveal groups in Logic; for example shift ^ 2 will hide and reveal all of my strings. So I can quickly see all of my options, then hide them so things don't feel cluttered.

    4. Keep a "To Add" Folder - When I get a new instrument, in finder I put it in a folder named "zz to add". The zz is just so it's at the very bottom of the list. The important thing to me is that they don't immediately go into use. When I have time, I'll take a look at everything that's accumulated in that folder and take time to figure out what it is, where to place the folder, how to categorize in Quickload, and I'll build the articulation maps, resave custom .nki files, multis, and banks.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019 at 8:21 AM
  4. dzilizzi

    dzilizzi I know nothing

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    You can keyswitch between libraries in Kontakt? I don't normally use the Quickload because I had all my Kontakt non-library products in one folder, renamed with the initials of the company, then the name of the library. It is easy to zoom through them all in the file tab. But I really like the idea of keyswitching libraries.
     
  5. Land of Missing Parts

    Land of Missing Parts Confabulous Fop

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    I was referring to keyswitching using the articulation mapping in Logic. But to answer your question, I can think of at least two different ways to keyswitch in Kontakt. One is using banks. The other is using multis and something like Orange Tree's free keyswitch router multiscript.

    The nice part about Kontakt quickload is that it doesn't affect the actual file structure on the operating system level. So you can move stuff around anywhere you want, have multiple instances of an instrument, rename them, delete instruments you don't need around, rename folders, create custom banks and multis. The downside is that there's no word search and you won't be able to see non-Kontakt instruments.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019 at 8:22 AM
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  6. dzilizzi

    dzilizzi I know nothing

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    Thanks. I may have to try the quickload to organize better. I think I miss stuff because I forget what they do. LOL! Time to go shopping in my hard drive!

    Ah, Logic. One of the only reasons to buy a Mac. Okay, and core audio. I keep coming close, especially when my 16 GB max RAM laptop stutters on playback. PC laptops are harder to configure. And truthfully, if they didn't solder in the SSD, I would have bought one.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    TigerTheFrog

    TigerTheFrog Senior Member

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    What I love about Quickload is I can put instruments in multiple categories, anything that suits the kind of music I want to make. For example, I have one folder that is called "Rhythmic Instruments," and it includes Digital Audio Tools' Indie Finger Series, Output's Signal and Exhale, Sonuscore's 12-String & Balalaika, Sonokinetic Ostinato series, In Session Audio's Fluid Strike, etc. I even put single folders that contain stuff like this from Celestia and Ethera EVI. All these instruments create pulses and patterns (often syncopated ones) and combine in unexpected ways. And of course, all this stuff also get filed away in the categories you would expect.
     
  8. StefanoM

    StefanoM Active Member

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    I Agree with you. The Quick Load is very Powerful
     
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  9. gregh

    gregh Senior Member

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    I went through this process last year when I sold quite a bit of stuff - would have sold a lot more if I could - license restrictions. Have not missed anything I got rid of. Have bought almost nothing for quite a while
    Will probably look to sell more sometime later this year - pretty much the same attitude that TtheF has expressed
     
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  10. Alex Fraser

    Alex Fraser Senior Member

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    Great tips!

    I've recently given Komplete Kontrol another spin after dismissing it when it first came out. With a couple of cheeky tweaks, it's proving a great way to move swiftly though NKS stuff and samples.

    Also, if you want to cut down on "new library bloat", dipping in and out of a subscription service like Sounds.com or Splice is a great way to pick up interesting samples. You can take a "pick and choose" approach rather than buying a whole new library just for a couple of sounds.

    I've been applying the "get rid of it" principle for a while now and said goodbye to a ton of stuff. My toolset is more or less Logic, Komplete and some SA stuff. It helps keep my mind clear and has the side benefit that my entire rig can be updated in about three clicks of the mouse. That's massively valuable to me. God bless Native Access. ;)
     
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  11. JPQ

    JPQ Senior Member

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    I allready thinked is in Splice somethign what i can use cinematic ways maybe get trial nature sounds sounds useful. some percusion as well. and if some stuff is also available in different keys they can be useful. i nust maybe check someday this.
    ps. what is SA stuff?
     
  12. dzilizzi

    dzilizzi I know nothing

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  13. MartinH.

    MartinH. Senior Member

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    When I weigh disk space gains from decluttering against the time it takes to get them, the price of a bigger harddrive, and the hourly wage that I can get from freelance work, it always comes down to "just buy a bigger drive". But having a better organizational structure is something that I could see value in. But it's so hard to apply that, once you've followed the "just buy more and bigger drives" approach for over a decade...
     
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  14. OP
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    TigerTheFrog

    TigerTheFrog Senior Member

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    There's another issue for me because I use cloud backup in addition to my local backups. That imposes a certain kind of discipline because if I move a library from a regular drive to an SSD, I have to delete the files in the old location from the cloud backup. And if I keep buying more and more SSDs, I will have to pay more for cloud backup too.

    But the big thing about the Kondo approach is that it is more thoughtful and the typical American house organizer approach. They mostly sell you more snazzy shelves to fit more of your crap in your closets. But she asks us to think about whether owning all this stuff makes us happy. The idea sounds corny, but at the heart of it, she is asking us: do we keep a library because everybody on this forum thinks it's genius, or do we actually like it ourselves? The rave reviews aren't all that important if we never use it.
     
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  15. kitekrazy

    kitekrazy Senior Member

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    Sometimes it takes a system reformat to decide want to keep. For some of us the hoarding gets so bad you buy the same thing twice. My biggest weakness is those really affordable Kontakt libraries that are basically synths.
     
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  16. dzilizzi

    dzilizzi I know nothing

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    Mine are rarely synths. But I buy a lot of oddball sound libraries that are usually inexpensive. Who can turn down cling wrap drums for $2?
     
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  17. NYC Composer

    NYC Composer Senior Member

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    Buying a 2 tb SSD for under $200 means never having to say “ sorry, I’m so full that I couldn’t have one more byte!”
     
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  18. MartinH.

    MartinH. Senior Member

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    I've ran out of free SATA connectors years ago, even abandoned having optical disc drives in favor of harddrives and SSDs. And 2TB aren't that much if you regularly create over a gig of data per day.
     
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  19. Land of Missing Parts

    Land of Missing Parts Confabulous Fop

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    I've been using Mediasonic's 8 bay drive enclosure for around a year and a half with no issues. That would give you eight more SATA connectors.
     
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  20. MartinH.

    MartinH. Senior Member

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    Thanks for the recommendation, but I shy away from all enclosure types that use "additional electronics" because if you check reviews of them on a large enough sample size, I have yet to find one where people didn't encounter significant problems. Back when I did some research on those (many many years ago, so potentially its super outdated) that was because there was a limited number of chip types available for that kind of task, and they all sucked.

    What I need to decide next is whether I want to keep my bank vault for storing hard disks, but having the backups fairly out of date because it's a PITA to go there and swap the drives, or put that money towards bigger cloud storage and put more data there.
     

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