Trying to test as many ‘sound asset management’ apps as I can, I’ve found that beside the features there are other important factors involved. This is not big news, but the interface, the intuitiveness of the software is very important. Even a feature-rich application can fail to be your valuable asset if you’re constantly mousing over searching for features, or just simply don’t like the interface. For years I sworn to everyone that interface doesn’t really matter that much, we can get used to anything, the important part – of course – the features and the overall stability. I’m not old, but sometimes feel like getting much older, because now I think interface is important. I love softwares that make sense to me even without reading the manual. If I find most of the features, and the user interface is nice (appealing, logically outlined) than I much more likely use that app than the others. I must confess that I’m very used to Pro Tools’ workspace window while searching for effects and managing metadata. I know many hate it, some love it, but I know for sure that many of us use it almost every day.
A few pros why I love it:
In-built (just a shorcut away)
I can create custom catalogues
Searching through them is fast
Able to drag n’ drop the files directly into the session
Handles metadata (although there’s room for improvement)
Able to calculate elastic audio right in there
What I miss from the workspace:
more advanced metadata handling
sophisticated spot functions
few more elastic audio functions
the ability to select parts of clip
The other thing is learning curve. Don’t get me wrong I’m not against learning new things, but frankly, metadata management is not a highly enjoyable thing to deal with. I don’t want to be a hypocrite, I love and need metadata, but I can find much better excitement than typing in and managing metadata. I guess this is the reason (and my laziness) why I’ve been using the workspace window for so long. The other challenge is I’m so used to its interface I’m almost perfectly navigating in it with closed eyes, and this is a big one for me. In the creative flow, I really don’t want to deal with multiple menus and hurdles, I just want to concentrate on the ‘target’. I know this is partly just a matter of habit but this is a pretty strong one, so any contender shall beat my beloved workspace by a high margin. I know some of you now think that I’m crazy, but as I sad I’ve been using this method for years, almost daily.
For the last week, my ‘partner’ was Audioease’s Snapper 2. In some aspects it’s better than the in-built workspace, but in other aspects it’s just not as convenient. I love the speed of it and that I can easily select any segment and spot it to Pro Tools or cut it out into another folder. It handles almost every file format, handles metadata better than the previous version. The ability to spot whole file or partial selection to Pro Tools’ cursor or into the clip bin is really great. The price is right and the company has a good reputation. They are really passionate about their products. But still, it’s not a complete solution. If you have a few hundred gigabytes of effects, I’ve found it very unwieldy to search through the libraries, and metadata management is still lacking. I mean I think the workspace‘s metadata management is still better and more straightforward. I know Snapper is not made to be a huge sound library asset management software, but I think it has much more potential in it. Maybe one day, but not now. It is however a great example of good user interface programming. Well thought out, logically organized and very usable even without any tutorial or manual reading. I really like it. Audioease offers a 100 days fully functional demo if you want to try it yourself.
If you’re not familiar with snapper, here’s a short video about it: