Using Soundminer

So you're looking for some sound effects for your movie... Here is an introduction to using Soundminer, which will help you navigate our sound effects library and transfer mono and stereo versions of effects you would like to use.

This tech doc also includes instructions on how to use Soundminer in conjunction with Pro Tools to transfer sound effects directly into your session.

Logging into Soundminer

  1. Launch Soundminer.
  2. The Directory Authentication window will appear. In the user name field enter: smuser and in the password field enter: letmein. Click Authenticate to login.


Soundminer Setup

  1. To ensure that you are accessing the entire sound effects library, check that the Database pulldown menu says Ω All.


  1. Set the transfer path by clicking the folder icon at the bottom of the Soundminer window. A file browser will open.


  1. Create a destination folder on the Scratch drive or your external drive for your sound effects. Soundminer will send your selected sound effects to this folder.


  1. Check Soundminer Preferences. Go to Soundminer v4.5Pro > Preferences.


  1. In the Preferences window, select the Transfers tab. The Sample Rate should already be set to 48000, Bit Depth to 24, File Type to Broadcast Wave, Handle set to 600.0. You can also see if the transfer path has been set correctly in this tab. Make sure Interleaved Stereo and Send files into DAW app after transfer are checked.


In some cases, you might find it useful to add something to the beginnings or ends of the filenames of your transferred sound effects. For instance, you can make your sound effects filenames start with 'FX_' by editing the File Naming Scheme to read 'FX_<Filename:1>'. This will group the files together when sorted in a list such as the Clips list in Pro Tools.

Working with Soundminer

  1. Click the drop down menu on the right side of the interface (under the details window) and select Spotting.


  1. There will already be an Untitled Folder in the Spotting window. Click twice on it to rename the folder.


  1. To aid with organization, you may find it useful to make separate folders, or even subfolders, for different types of sound effects. For instance, one folder for effects and one for ambiences: the effects could be divided into subfolders for wood, metal, etc.; the ambiences could be divided into subfolders for interior, exterior, etc. Click on the gear icon at the bottom of the spotting window and click New Folder (or press command + N). If you do this while you have a folder already selected, Soundminer will create a subfolder.


  1. Search for sound effects by entering queries in the Search Database field at the top of the window. Associated sound effects will appear.


  1. When you find the appropriate sound effect, highlight your folder in the spotting window and press the T key. This will tag the sound effect and it will appear in your spotting folder. Click the dropdown arrow next to the folder name to view its contents.


  1. Before transferring the files, go to DAW App and select No DAW.


  1. When you are ready to transfer the tagged files from the sound effects library, highlight your Sound Effects folder in the spotting window and click the green arrow transfer button below. This will send the files to the transfer folder you set in the transfer path.


  1. The waveform icons next to your tagged sound effects in the spotting window will turn red. Your sound effects are now available in your specified transfer folder and are ready to be imported into other applications.

Transferring Sound Effects Directly into Pro Tools

  1. Open a Pro Tools session alongside Soundminer.
  2. Review Soundminer preferences as above.
  3. Go to DAW App and select Pro Tools.


  1. The Pro Tools Session Located dialog box will open, click Ok. Now your files will transfer directly into the Audio Files folder of your Pro Tools session. You will also notice, above your spotting window, the Spot to DAW option with the Pro Tools icon.


  1. Tag your sound files into the folder in your Spotting window, highlight the folder, then click the green transfer button. Switch to Pro Tools and you will see your transferred sound files in the Clips list.


  1. You can also simply select one or several files from your search results and go to Edit > Bring into DAW (or press cmd + B) to transfer files into Pro Tools. The results are the same: your transferred sound files will appear in the Clips list in Pro Tools.


Spotting a File to a Particular Place in your Pro Tools Timeline

  1. In Pro Tools, if you know the specific track and moment in your timeline where you want a particular sound effect, click with the selector tool to put your cursor in the desired place, then switch to Soundminer.


  1. Select from the search results the sound effect you would like to transfer and click Spot to DAW with the Pro Tools icon above your spotting window (or press S). A progress window will pop up briefly. Switch to Pro Tools and your sound effect will be in the desired track and time.


This method is for spotting one file at a time to a particular place on your Pro Tools timeline. If you select a folder from the Spotting window and use Spot to DAW, Soundminer will crash!

The vast majority of sound effects in Soundminer are stereo and should be spotted into stereo tracks in Pro Tools. If you would prefer to Spot them as mono or into a mono track in Pro Tools, select Sum to Mono before Spotting to DAW (See the section 'Optional: Stereo and Mono Sound Effects' above). If you do Spot a stereo sound effect into a mono track in Pro Tools, only the left channel will appear as a clip in the track (the right is still available in the clips list).
Note also that if you select multiple sound files and Spot them into Pro Tools, they will appear on your timeline one directly after another in time. This method is more suited to Spotting one sound file at a time.

Spotting a Particular Section of a Sound File to Pro Tools

To spot only a particular section of a sound file form Soundminer, select a sound file from the search result, then click on part of the waveform at the bottom of the screen and drag left or right to set in and out points. You can extend or contract the selection by clicking and dragging its edges (not the yellow markers). Then click Spot to DAW (or press S). A progress window will pop up briefly. Switch to Pro Tools and your selection will be in the desired track and time.


This clip will have enough handle length so that, if you need to, you can pull its edges with the Trim took to see and/or use the whole audio file.

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