Working with big Templates: Organisation tips?

Hi everyone,

I just finished setting up a pretty big template (around 950 inst tracks), so far so good my Macbook is holding up! However, I’ve noticed that every time I open a new session, it (obviously) creates a huge file (starting 500Mb, but easily go over a Go). I am used to have my session files straight on my laptop, but at that pace I’ll quickly go full storage. That raised a question on what organisational tips would you have when using a big template? About minimizing file storage, or any other advices? Thank you

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Wow 950 tracks, that is a huge template. Is this all in your DAW or do you use VEP to host the plugins? I haven’t really done any organization on the actual project files, but I can see why it can be important with big files like this. I try to keep the project files and the libraries on different SSD drives for best performance at least. :slight_smile:

I assume your laptop SSD is faster than an external SSD would be, so personally I would keep the project file on the internal drive to make sure Logic can access the project as fast as possible.

They’re all in the DAW, but turned off, so they are just preloaded when I open my session. I have all my instruments/samples and libraries on external SSD, and my project files on the laptop, but since a lot of my memory is already used because of plug ins and apps that didn’t let me install on external SSD, I’m running out of place very quick. I will do a test of moving my session files on an external SSD, see if it will impact the latency of it all. Thanks!

Hmm…have you considered the approach I tried, which is to instead have a “clean” master template with all groups, effects prepared. Then have separate projects for each instrument group, that way you can easily import instruments on a need to need basis from those projects! :slight_smile:

Here is what I mean:

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Hi Mikael! I’ve been playing around with your tips (and thanks so much for your helpful video). However I ran into a few issues. I have all my plugins and instruments on off in the full template, and when I load a stack into my empty template, they seem to automatically load with the on button switched. The other thing is that on my empty template I have all my bus routing ready (but nothing on it) and when I load a stack as well and tick the bus button, it sometimes messes up the organisation and some tracks are in the wrong bus. Hope you can help, cheers!

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Yes if you import a track stack it will be on (loaded). Have you tried using the Logic library to load instruments one by one instead, in your “empty template” where you have the routing and effects only?

I’m not a fan of huge instrument templates myself, so I would recommend that approach, or simply load instrument by instrument from other projects as I showed you in the video above. Meaning not loading track stacks from those projects, but individual instruments.

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Thanks a lot Mikael, I will do that and keep you posted! I think it might be the only solution indeed!

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I agree with Mikael. Huge templates are overkill and can negatively impact productivity. I want to focus on writing good music instead of sound searching and scrolling forever. I would recommend building a smaller template that covers the orchestra and sticking to 1 or 2 libraries per family to have a consistent sound and to make your mixing easier. (especially on a laptop)

Limiting the libraries you use will help you gain speed in mixing too. By the end of the day, a good flute is a good flute.

My current template has a bit over 280 tracks by default (Articulations are on separate tracks and I also have divisi patches). The way I manage it is as follows;

  • Instruments in orchestral order
  • Color coding per family
  • Everything is organized in folders to make the architecture easy to use

My DAW (Nuendo) has features that save tons of time:

  • Track search by name
  • Show/Hide tracks preset to show Strings only or Brass only for example
  • Macros to hide all unused tracks or show tracks that are currently playing at the play head

If you need something specific, you can simply load it. Also: You can have multiple templates depending on your needs. I have a template for a big band, another one for jazz trio, another one for a TV show that I work on, etc.

Also: To keep the mix organized, I send my instrument tracks into group tracks organized by their frequency range and type (Strings High, Strings Low, Strings Solo, Strings Ens) so I can have control over their overall volume and audio treatment.

Group tracks also serve as stems when I’m exporting, so you’re killing 2 birds in 1 stone.
Group tracks then go to a VCA track to control their overall volume, this way, I can lower all the string groups without affecting their automation, for example.

Here’s a diagram attached that better illustrate my signal flow :slight_smile:

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Hi Medhat, thank you very much for your reply, that was very helpful. I’m going to see how I can improve my template, and will reduce it greatly. Thanks!

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This is so useful, thank you so much. @medhathanbali
Where and how would you add Choir?

Cheers,
Michael

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My choirs have their own separate group/stem track. Since it’s only 1 track, no need to have a VCA, you can simply adjust its volume directly.

As for the placement, at the moment, they come first in my template, followed by winds, brass, percussion and strings. Most scores seem to place the choir between the percussion and string section, others place them at the very top.

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Okay thank you. I mainly split them in Male/Female and Ensemble with the phrasemaker so i have 3 tracks. Then I route them to one bus with reverb and eq. Surely it depends on what you wanna finally do. So if the female needs more reverb than the men in the backgound i would probably make 2 busses instead.

My approach is even simpler: I treat the choir as 1 entity. If there’s 2 layers or more, i do the audio treatments directly on the instrument tracks themselves, then everything goes to 1 master group called “Choir” that has no treatment.

Personally (in Logic) I prefer to work on mini-templates in the form of summing stacks saved as channel strip. For example I have:

  • String ensemble (Cinematic Studio Strings), where each track in the stack is part of a per-stack multi-Instrument)
  • Modern percussion stack
  • Orchestral percussion stack
  • Specific per project stacks
  • rock bank stack
  • etc

Doing so, searching and loading the proper stack when I need it is quicker than opening a huge template and eventually remove what I don’t need.

Another advantage I find in this approach is that I get a VCA for free (the master track of the stack).

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