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ULTIMATE Clip Pack/Tune Organization for DJs (now w VIDEO)

Posted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:31 pm
by The Phat Conductor
EDIT - video demo here:

once you have several thousand songs warped, and multiple versions of all of your own songs it gets a little hectic to wade through all of that music. i was looking for a system where i could easily get at my songs by bpm, artist name, genre, key, etc. and the ableton browser doesn't let you sort yet...

if you're on a mac though, you are in luck. finder now has near instantaneous searching that won't crash ableton and supports drag n drop for clip packs.

here's how my organizational structure works

folder 1 - bottom ableton browser = master crate = every song i play named BPM-KEY-artist-track-genre-tags-tags-tags-tags-tags-etc.als
folder 2 - middle ableton browser = hot crate for that individual gig = tracks copied from the master crate that day
folder 3 - top ableton folder = originals + vip business

then i have several finder windows open for the different genres, called up be doing the (now instantaneous, thank you leopard) tag searches.

when i need a song in a given key code (camelot notation) i do a search for that, and then sort by bpm.

have fun!


Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:38 pm
by The Phat Conductor
wow, no replies?

i guess nobody realizes how useful this is yet ;)

i should have picked a more melodramatic title i suppose ....

there, i added ULTIMATE to the title in capital letters... people better read that shit now, hee hee...

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 7:41 pm
by Kableton
Stupid question..but what are tags?..and what purpose do they serve?

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 9:26 pm
by The Phat Conductor
they're for searching... let's say you play hiphop and dnb and you need to be able to tell them apart...

instead of wasting your 3 ableton folders on genres, you can put 'hiphop' at the end of all of your hiphop clip packs, and 'dnb' at the end of all your dnb clip packs, and then do instantaneous searches for them in finder and sort by bpm. very fast and very powerful.

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:29 pm
by Jekblad
hey man i totally dig.

How does the multiple clip thing work? are you dragging in an als or an mp3/wav?

Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:37 pm
by The Phat Conductor
warped packs of clips as .als.

just warp em, copy it a few times, set your cue/loop points, and then drag em into the browser. provided you are within your dj set track folder it won't make a new project folder for each .als clip pack.


Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:09 pm
by salatspinatra
I'm probably simply in a position to conform. I'm just going to try this out. I like your primary ableton folders. Really A-Game approach. My experiences with Smart Folders is that I've gotten out of hand with them, and I'm still not convinced that they catch everything that's in the nooks of my audio drive. The lists that they put up still end up being unruly because I'm using a lot of loops rather than songs. It's just not feasible for me to look through the searches they pull in the middle of a gig. The boolean operators in Leopard do make things a bit easier. But still, in my case, I'd end up with too many smart folders.
But my set up is probably a bit extravagant with memory allocation, but it works for me. I have iTunes open, and have sorted my library with all kinds of metadata. I haven't changed the names of my tracks, I simply use the sort from the various columns. If I'm playing other's tracks, which is typically the case, I can leaf through the album covers, check out any number of tags I put in for them, and drag them straight into a scene. Haven't crashed either. At least not because of iTunes.
One problem with my approach, and A BIG WARNING. is it's very difficult to move your itunes library .alc files and all, and have a new drive reference your analysis files. I don't put much steak in them, aside from finding the first beat, and a good stab at the tempo. But for tracks that required a great deal of warping, you'd probably be very sad to loose them, or have to drag them in from embedded folders, if you ever moved your library to a bigger drive (which is inevitable)

a work around

Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:24 pm
by salatspinatra
a work around might be to organize your music in your own way, or just dump them in a common place. Then turn off itunes preference to import and organize tracks into it's own file structure.
Still, I'm not sure if when you rebuilt your library on another drive if the XML file would know what to do with your analysis files. But at least you wouldn't break your ableton files.

Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:27 pm
by salatspinatra
and I guess after you tagged everything itunes the way you liked them, you could use mac smart folders in the finder, rather than in itunes, to create smart folders based on the tags. Okay, that's the last add-on to this reply.

Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 3:43 pm
by The Phat Conductor
hahaha, don't sweat it mate :D

the one thing tho, is that i am using .als clip packs, and not songs. so itunes won't work with my method.

i really recommend working with clip packs and not songs. having tons of different cue points and tons of different launch/warp properties is the way to go.


Posted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:30 pm
by salatspinatra
Ugh. A big "fuck you" to the ableton forum for bumping me out to the sign in page and erasing my whole initial message. I'm always Select-Alling and Copying shit first, and the one time I don't, the fuckers-that-be-the-internet eraces my message. Okay here goes again:

Sorry Phat that you had to see that, but I addressed the following question for you:
Have you ever looked at Tag Folders or Punakea? ... _Home.html

Tag Folders appears to be very powerful, but my eyes glaze over just thinking about it. There's no support that clarifies and solidifies my understanding of it where the abstractions leave off. Does it make sense to you? Do you think something like this is worth the effort?

Then there's punakea. No documentation. But it might appear intuitive to some and not intuitive to others.

Then I went on to a spiel about tags, but fuck it. I'll wait til some young bucks chime in, and see if it's any interest to them.

Posted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:31 pm
by The Phat Conductor
the finder thing in leopard works just fine for me.

i only use it once or twice a set anyway...

Posted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:45 pm
by trevorc
the hot crate idea is an excellent one, i just had a 'why didn't i think of that' moment, cheers man :D

Re: ULTIMATE Clip Pack/Tune Organization for DJs

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 8:26 pm
by audiovoid
Yea Ableton's built in search function is sketchy as Fuck!

Re: ULTIMATE Clip Pack/Tune Organization for DJs

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:50 pm
by adverbial

Blows away any other cataloging system I have ever found. Mac only.