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Track presets, template or nothing?

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
Past a certain point, templates become a gargantuan hassle hardly worth the time required to build and constantly maintain it, it's ridiculous. If I wanted to make a large template containing all the stuff I use, that would require time I could use to finish a few pieces. And then I'd still have to constantly go back to it and fiddle around because I decided to change something or because I need to add new stuff to it. I also don't want to deal with the stupidly large file sizes for every little session I might record.

I've moved away from templates and mainly use track presets. It's simpler, more flexible and actually faster for me. The track preset contains my personal configurations of articulations, keyswitches atc., and comes with the respective expression map loaded. What more would I need?

The only things I do have (small) templates for is stuff where there's additional configuration involved that cannot be saved in a track preset. For example Dimension Strings and Brass, which I need to host inside Vienna Ensemble, with the full ensembles, divided desks and single performers, spread to different outputs etc. So I have pre-configured templates for this stuff - to which I can again add any other stuff I have via track presets on the fly.
 

shawnsingh

Active Member
Past a certain point, templates become a gargantuan hassle hardly worth the time required to build and constantly maintain it, it's ridiculous. If I wanted to make a large template containing all the stuff I use, that would require time I could use to finish a few pieces. And then I'd still have to constantly go back to it and fiddle around because I decided to change something or because I need to add new stuff to it. I also don't want to deal with the stupidly large file sizes for every little session I might record.

I've moved away from templates and mainly use track presets. It's simpler, more flexible and actually faster for me. The track preset contains my personal configurations of articulations, keyswitches atc., and comes with the respective expression map loaded. What more would I need?

The only things I do have (small) templates for is stuff where there's additional configuration involved that cannot be saved in a track preset. For example Dimension Strings and Brass, which I need to host inside Vienna Ensemble, with the full ensembles, divided desks and single performers, spread to different outputs etc. So I have pre-configured templates for this stuff - to which I can again add any other stuff I have via track presets on the fly.
Curious about how do you manage send effects, which might not be stored with the track preset? Do you have to remix the send levels every time?
 

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
Curious about how do you manage send effects, which might not be stored with the track preset? Do you have to remix the send levels every time?
Yes. I don't like the idea of having reverbs, effects, routing etc. pre-configured. It makes me feel stuck in this one thing and there's the danger of all pieces sounding kind of same-y. I used to have complicated routings, groupings, sends etc. all figured out in a large template, but then if I realized that I wanted to do something different or needed to change something, it quickly turns into a major PITA that takes all fun out of the equation.

I pick reverbs, effects and stuff on a track/project basis. More conscious decisions, more creativity, less assembly-line production work. I like to start with a blank project and first come up with a general concept - what sounds and colors do I want for this thing, what kind of sonics, vibe and feel am I going for? Based off of that, I make a selection of libraries, patches, reverbs and effects I'm gonna be working with, and load up the stuff on the fly real quick. So I kind of quickly build my little template for the track I'm working on from the ground up. I believe Paul Thomson from Spitfire talked about this kind of approach in one of his Vlogs too. I like that, I think that these decisions - and to some extent the conscious limitations - lead to more focused work and less distractions.

It's some manual work of course, but nothing too wild and honestly, I feel that if I weighed it up against each other, managing and navigating a big ass template all the time is still more constant work and waste of time. And I feel that I kind of end up acting as an operator who makes sure that everything's handled the way the template allows it, and the template is now working me instead of me working the template.
 

GtrString

Active Member
When I get a library, I play though it and try to envision in what genres and what type of arrangements I would reach for certain patches. I have some templates set up for my main genres and styles, and then I would put in a few patches from the library. My templates are not very big, maybe 60-100 tracks, so I dont get brain freeze when uploading them.

As I work in Studio One, I also create a preset I can import into any project I want. That is a quick way to reach for the library when I feel like it. I do have set up a few busses and fx, just the usual stuff I repeat for every project, so I can just get to play music and work with my ideas a little faster. I often spend some time pre-daw, sketching out the ideas and finding reference tracks ect, so when I fire up the daw, I know what to do.
 
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cpaf

Member
Anyone else want to chime in :)? It is really great to hear how you all do it differently and the reasons why!

Im almost done with the first iteration of my template now - and I feel utterly in terror of the prospect to do this in another daw too!! Ill probably stick with Cubase now.

I will try my Best never to have to use vep as I find the complexity (and potential faults) mindboggingly risky - though i do see all the benefits too - someday ill probably need to go down that road anyways!

For now i disable tracks in Cubase - simple but powerful!
 

JohnG

Senior Member
I read of people scorning templates but man -- I don't see how anyone can write for TV or movies, or really even video games without a template. A huge template, with regular orchestra, orchestral FX, guitars, synths, sound design stuff; small strings, epic strings -- everything.


You don't have to have it all loaded, but handy.
 
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cpaf

Member
I read of people scorning templates but man -- I don't see how anyone can write for TV or movies, or really even video games without a template. A huge template, with regular orchestra, orchestral FX, guitars, synths, sound design stuff; small strings, epic strings -- everything.


You don't have to have it all loaded, but handy.
How do you group them? Im quite interested in this as im trying to use as few folders as possible cause im uncertain if too deep a folder hierarchy will be more confusing than helping. I also find it difficult to decide which instruments to include especially Orchestral stuff - i've at this point include almost everything i have.

I have tried organizing by instrument type and not her developer though I know many swear to this? What do you think
 

JohnG

Senior Member
I'm accustomed to "score order," so woodwinds on top, then brass, percussion (some have pitched at top, some bottom), harp / celeste / keyboards, choir/vocal, strings.

More recently I dropped most unpitched [edit: original post spell-checked to "unhitched," which is not a term I've heard previously] percussion to the bottom in case I want to transpose.

But I don't think it matters as long as you're happy. I'm not rigid about it.
 
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DS_Joost

One day I'll fly away!
Indeed, order does not matter as much. Mine always used to be (within these groups everything used to be subgrouped by library, so Hollywood Strings, Symphony Series Strings, etc):

Strings (solo on top)

Brass (from solo to sections per library)
Woodwinds (same here)

Auxiliary Instruments (Pianos, Glockenspiel, Celesta, Bells, Harps, etc.)

World Instruments (NI's World Series, Forest Kingdom II, etc)

Orchestral Percussion

Epic + World Percussion (Drums of the Deep, Albion Percussion, Stormerdrum, etc. First Epic stuff, then World stuff)

Choir (from soloists to ensembles grouped by library)

Synths

Band + Electronic (Guitars, Basses, Electric Keys, Drum Kits (like Strike 2 for example), Electronic Drums (Battery, Transfuser (remember that one haha)

Sampler Tracks

Soundscapes + Drones (from Forest Kingdom, Kwaya, Omnisphere, etc. Just some hundred song starters I liked)

FX Tracks (Reverbs (1 for every section of the orchestra using Spaces plus some five different ones like Shimmer, Black Hole and Valhalla Room just to send to. No preconfigured sends for the Band and Synths). Also some delays, couple of returns for Soundtoys Rack, Waves GTR and Guitar Rig five and then some empty returns. Everything labeled with a small character, for example aSTRINGSVERB, aBRASSVERB, oSOUNDTOYS, xGUITARRIG.

Group tracks: group tracks for sections per library , so HS, SS, AS (Hollywood Strings, Symphony Strings, Albion Strings. As in, different busses per different instruments, but not all of course. I had some 30 busses I think).

Master Bus

I hope this gives you some idea. I always had abbreviations for everything so I could type it in the search box, select the tracks I wanted, activate them and start playing. It was really really fast.

This was a *'2&# to type on mobile though haha😅, hope it helps!
 
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