SAS- Sample Acquisition Syndrome- what is your approach?

I’ve been doing some sample library organising over the last week, and realised I have about <1000x more samples than I could use in a lifetime.

1000s of one-shot drums, 1000s of loops, 1000s of multi-layer sampled instruments.

I found some new sample packs last night that I got given on a drive via the purchase of a secondhand sampler last year.
There are some fantastic samples amongst the pack, 100s of them, and it dawned on me that each one used correctly has the potential for a record or a music project when combined with other gear.

Obviously I’m not going to make 100s of records with them, so where’s the line?

I have an SAS mentality of ‘this might be useful at some point’… but the physical and mental clutter of having 500gb of one shots is counter productive.

Does anyone have a solid approach/technique to sample organisation that they feel good about? One that aids in workflow/productivity rather than get in the way?


Nothing wrong with having a lot of choice. I would just pick a dozen for a project and move on with that. Repeat.


I basically delete any samples I don’t think is close enough to awesome. I have a very small sample library, about 2GB or so, and most of it are my own recordings, and most of those are long takes of jamming and field recordings.

I have one set of drums I got from Loopmasters a few years ago, and some DFAM stuff I recorded when I had a DFAM, but for drums, that’s it. Most of the drum samples, I’ve never used. I got about 20-30 that I keep coming back to, rather than digging out new ones.


Haha! Mate, I feel absolutely seen. I got a 2tb drive to backup all my files into one location and was more than slightly stunned at exactly how many GBs of samples I’ve amassed over the years.

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Such a timely thread, I was asking myself something similar this morning.

I’ve decided to really dig in to my mpc live 2. Obviously, as per the thread, I’ve put on there too many samples. I’ve decided to wipe it clean and curate a very small set of samples. I’ve not decided how to select these samples so I’m watching this thread with interest.

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Often use a pool of sounds collected over the years, combine with new project specific samples that I take at the time - mostly loops and various stuff, my regular pool is mostly drum sounds, obviously the classic stuff which is a big part of my sound, but also processed variations of those, plus bespoke stuff that I make from scratch using a variety of gear.


I had a pretty sever SAS last few years, mostly due to DAW-production.
Got a disk dedicated to them, as long as they fit in it I’m fine with that accumulation needs (which involve to regularly mass-delete packs of sample I never used).
Basic file management helps me not getting drown in it (Drums -> brand / favorite ; Loops -> Drum/instruments/misc -> brand ; MIDI -> brand ; Current year -> Brand ; Mine -> by date). Every year the packs remaining on the current year file get moved to other files.
Honestly I dont see SAS as a problem as long as it doesnt financially impact you. I’m ok with using the same packs all the time, but being able to seek into a gazillion files for something different from time to time (as much different samples can be from a pack to another… Which is, most of the time, not a lot).

What helped me to reduce the amount of sample I get is… Stop using a DAW the way I used to, focusing more on tweaking hardware than layering shitons of samples on my DAW.


I make all my own samples.
Either field recordings, from records/films or sampling my other gear, or resampling material I made previously.

Ive got a bunch of drum samples acquired over the years. Thats about it.

Sample packs and all that dont interest me.

Making samples is fun, thats why I do it. But its like photography, for every 20 samples I make, I’ll probably only actually use 1 or 2 of them.


Does anyone have any advice/experience relating to sample management utilities? I’ve had a look at the various ones on offer but I’m never convinced by any single one of them to commit to a purchase.

I was considering giving Waves COSMOS Sample Finder a try. It’s free.


I’ve got this folder on my octatrack - “monomachine samples” and it’s just files labeled 00-50. What are they? Bass drums? SID zaps? Do I have to audition every one?

So now I’ll download a ton of samples but then I tell myself I’ve got to listen to them and rename them individually before they go into the sampler. This helps a lot with naming scheme (Bd - Hammond drum machine, misc - kitchen drawer) so I know roughly where to start.

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I got incredibly frustrated with Waves having the 1 purchase = 1 user license approach (particularly when companies like Arturia, Ableton etc. let you use a license 4 or 5 times) and completely disregarded them for that reason. When the product is free they might be off the hook though (or I’ll “buy” multiple copies :wink: )

EDIT: just registered half a dozen copies so I should be covered!

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That’s a very valid point. Thanks for the heads up. I hadn’t realised Waves’ license terms were so restrictive. That could get tiresome pretty quickly when upgrading machines.

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It’s why I didn’t bother with more once I realised I could only use Kramer Tape on 1 machine (and access to updates expires after a year, which is annoying too)

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I have a lot of samples too, but only bought one time the whole sample from mars thing, because it was in good price.
I have a ton more samples than that - but: I made them for myself. I do not have any loops or something, but a lot of self made drum hits.
I do not think that 30x 808 booming kicks are any better than 10x of that.

It could lead to a problem if you buy one after the other and do absolutely nothing with it.
What for :wink:

I know I’m the one asking for advice on this thread, but XLN XO has been worth it’s wait in gold for me for organising drum samples and being able to get sounds I want fast (it’s the going through folders on my computer, hitting spacebar, endlessly auditioning, that makes me lose the will to live…).

It’s great to be able to audtion one-shots in use, in context of a beat.

Also Atlas, similar setup/approach to XO, but brilliantly intuitive for building exportable kits out of your full sample library fast. EDIT: advantage of Atlas over XO is that you can build out full kits in 8, 16, 64 parts, etc, so you can easily get it into any drum program (Ableton, MPC, Elektrons, etc).


There’s a free sample manager called ADSR. It’s really only any use if your samples already have decent names for files and folders. If you have vocals, one shots and loops in the same folder and you have to play them to find out which is which, it won’t help much.

If however you have kick drums, spread across 10 different, distant, folders, and the files or folders all include ‘kick’ or ‘bd’ it will help



This is what I’m going to start making more of an effort to do.

  • Think suitability to the project at hand first.
  • Create a new sample folder for the project.
  • Spend dedicated time going through my full sample library to grab samples I want for said project.
  • Copy them into the new project sample folder.
  • Only refer to this folder for samples for this project.

That sounds like a plan I can follow straight off.

I think the idea of setting time aside to curate project samples as a task is something I’ve neglected to do… I like the idea of prioritising this.


I wish someone else would do me sampling. always feel I’m shooting in the dark.

on the subject of single cycles, adventure kids sswf is an incredible source but my lord there’s thousands of em. bout 10 folders n no apparent system to it. I tend to only ever use the first 10 in the first folder :joy:

anyone have a source for a smaller, more concise set of single cycles? bread n butter Roland-esque stuff would be amazin.

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Does that mean I could make drum racks in Atlas? That would be massively convenient!

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