File and Folder Management for DAW Sessions | Ideas?

Aron Stokes
Aron Stokes Member Posts: 32 Member

Hello. I'm a composer/producer, mix engineer, and mastering engineer (at times). My primary DAWs are Studio One (PreSonus) and Pro Tools (Avid). I'm looking for a better workflow system for my DAW session folders/files. At the moment, I work like this: EXT-Drive > "SESSIONS" (folder) > Artist (folders)

Inside of every artist folder are DAW session folders for their songs. This is a good start, but I'm now trying to find a good and clean way to sort the composition/production sessions, from the mixing sessions of those productions, from the mastering sessions of those mixes. It sounds like a lot of folders trying to happen, so before I get a little folder-happy, I thought I'd reach out here and get some ideas. 

How do all of you separate your files and keep them organized? I want to get in a habit of keeping all of this clean to the point that when I need anything I can find it and it makes sense. Also, does anyone have experience working in a big studio and could you share some of your file/folder management techniques?

PS: I keep stems of each composition/production inside a folder that lives inside of each composition/production folder (so each "Stems" folder neighbors other folders that can be found in DAW sessions). This makes sense to me because stems come after the process of gain-staging and bouncing individual tracks out of a composition session in order to be used in a mixing session. Does my method for the stems folders seem valid? 

Thank you for reading! I love a good discussion on this stuff.

Comments

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 2,734 mod

    For projects, I have 2 main folders, ongoing and finished. There are many subfolders too but these main 2 distinctions are important to me because the ongoing one gets naturally messy depending on the client, or even myself.

    While a project is "on going" and there's new takes and tracks being added it all adds up quick, when it's finished I always use the DAW's "save project with files/samples and delete unused ones" or "consolidate" (name differs based on the DAW) but basically I end up with a much smaller project folder.


    PS: I keep stems of each composition/production inside a folder that lives inside of each composition/production folder (so each "Stems" folder neighbors other folders that can be found in DAW sessions). This makes sense to me because stems come after the process of gain-staging and bouncing individual tracks out of a composition session in order to be used in a mixing session. Does my method for the stems folders seem valid? 

    What do you mean by "stems"? Multiple tracks bunched together in a stem? Raw stems of unmixed tracks that just have been gain-staged makes no sense to me, unless you're talking about a full multi-track. If you have a guitars-stem with a bunch of guitars into a single audio file and there's an issue in a specific guitar then you cant address it separately in the mix...

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