Organizing Samples in Sound Bridge

Use Sound Bridge software to organize sample files for upload to the QSR Flash RAM card.

Before you begin

You must have a thorough understanding of sample files, formats, and issues related to the use of stereo samples in the QSR. The topics in the Background Info, Samples, and Programs sections of this Manual contain essential information.

Refer to the Creating the Sound Bridge Project topic for general procedures related to Sound Bridge Project files.

About this task

Do some planning before adding sample files to your Sound Bridge Project. This will prevent problems down the road. Think about your file organization and any conversions required. Here are some considerations:
  • Group sample files by sample type (e.g., group samples for kicks, snares, toms, cymbals, and percussion).
  • Load related files in sequence (left and right channels from stereo samples, samples intended for velocity crossfading).
  • Decide what order will be used for loading samples in the Project. Once you use the samples on your card in custom QSR Programs, those Programs will expect to find them in the same location on the card, so you cannot easily move the samples later.
  • Create a list or use a spreadsheet to make your plan. A spreadsheet helps you calculate the required storage for your samples.
  • Note the file type (mono or stereo), and specify which stereo files will be mixed to mono and which will be split into separate left and right channel files.
Tip: If you need to remove a sample from a Project after creating Programs, replace the sample with a copy of another sample in the Sound Bridge Project. This will retain the sample locations of the other samples on the card, allowing Programs to locate the correct samples. Also, if you set the preferences as recommended in the Using Stereo Samples topic, a phantom file will be used as the copy. Phantom files consume very little space.

Planning helps fit the maximum number of sample files on the PCMCIA Flash RAM card. Cards used with the QSR have limited space (8 Megabytes). I recommend use of the largest cards because sample files consume a lot of memory space. Regardless of card size, you will eventually run out of space if you add a lot of large sample files or use too many stereo samples.

Tip: Because stereo samples use twice as much space as a mono file, you should limit the use of stereo samples. That does not mean you cannot use stereo sample files; it means you must make conscious decisions about the file conversion method when adding files in Sound Bridge.

Sound Bridge provides options when converting files for upload to the QSR. Mono files, of course, are uploaded without changes. With stereo sample files, you can split the left and right channels and save them as separate files, or the channels can be blended during conversion to create a single, mono file.

Tip: Before you add samples to your Project, review the file properties. For stereo files, decide whether to split the file or mix to mono before adding the sample in Sound Bridge. I reserve the use of split stereo samples for high-quality snare drum sounds or other drum sounds that need to seem spatially large. I find it better to fit more good-quality mono samples on a card than fewer stereo samples. Adding stereo reverb to a mono sample, for example, will spread the stereo image creating a sense of dimensionality.

The steps for adding different mono and stereo sample files to a Sound Bridge Project are demonstrated below.

Links to topic sections:


  1. Open Sound Bridge, then create or open a Project.
  2. Set the Card Size parameter using the Project > Card Info... menu.
  3. Click on one of the Drum Groups in the left Project pane. The contents of the group will be displayed. New files will show no contents.

Adding Mono Sample Files

  1. Click File > Add Files... to open the Add files to project window.
    Sound Bridge Add files to project window
  2. Locate and select the mono file you want to add to the Project.
    Tip: DAW software or mastering software like Wavelab Elements allows you to view or change the audio properties and formats of sample files. You can also view the audio properties in Sound Bridge by clicking on a file name in the Add files to project window.
    In the Processing Sample Files topic I demonstrated the use of Wavelab Elements to convert a stereo kick drum sample to a mono file. We will use that file in this example.
    Sound Bridge Add files to project window, 21HDSSLKICK sample
    Note: The audio properties for the highlighted file are displayed in the lower-left corner.
  3. Click Add. The file name will appear in the listing in the lower-right corner of the window.
  4. Click Done to save the change and close the window.
    Sound Bridge Project window, 21HDSSLKICK sample added
    Note: The "Free bytes remaining" value at the bottom of the screen reflects the card size minus the storage space used by the file we added. As you exhaust the card storage capacity, this information will help you avoid exceeding the limit.

Settings for Stereo Sample Files

To add stereo samples to a Sound Bridge Project, you use a similar procedure to that used for mono samples. The primary difference between the procedures relates to the way the QSR handles stereo samples.

Because the QSR cannot play back stereo samples directly, stereo samples must be mixed to a mono file or split into two mono files for the left and right channels. The way stereo samples are processed by Sound Bridge is determined through the Edit > Preferences menu.

If the Auto-split stereo files box is checked, Sound Bridge will separate the left and right channels, creating separate mono files. Sound Bridge will assign a Voice Name to the mono files it creates, appending "L" and "R" to the left and right channel names. If the box is not checked, Sound Bridge will create a mono file by mixing the stereo channels.
Tip: You can use Sound Bridge to change the settings for stereo sample files after adding the file to the Project, but the Voice Name cannot be updated after it has been created. To avoid misleading Voice Names (that have the L or R appended), use the Preferences menu to change the Auto-split settings before adding each stereo sample, rather than changing the settings after adding the file.

In this topic, I discuss procedures for splitting stereo samples and for mixing a stereo sample to a mono file.

  1. Before proceeding to the next section, review the settings in the Preferences window. Make sure the Auto-split stereo files box is checked.
  2. Click OK to close the Preferences window.

Splitting Stereo Samples

  1. From the Sound Bridge Project window, click File > Add Files....
  2. Navigate to the folder containing the stereo sample file you want to add to the Project.
  3. Click to highlight the file in the Add files to project window.
    In this example, I use a stereo snare drum sample file named kit208SnareSt.wav. As shown in the image below, this is a 16-bit, stereo file.
    Sound Bridge Add files to project window, showing kit208SnareSt file
  4. Click the Add button, then click Done.
  5. Review the contents of the sample group in the Project window.
    Sound Bridge added the stereo sample to the Project by splitting the sample into two mono files. The Voice Names for the added files are shown below, with "L" and "R" appended. The Voice Name is a truncated version of the sample file name due to character limitations.
    Sound Bridge Project window, kit208SnareSt sample added
    Important: Because the stereo sample was split, the size of each mono file (57kB) is half the size of the original sample (113kB). As we will see below, adding stereo samples with the Auto-split stereo files box unchecked will cause Sound Bridge to add a single mono file that is half the size of the source file. This becomes important when managing sample file sizes to fit in the limited space of the Flash RAM card.
  6. To view information about Voices added to the Project, highligh a file name in the Project window, then click Project > Voice Info... to open the Voice Info window below.
    Sound Bridge Voice Info window
    The Voice Info window contains information that does not apply to drum samples. But double-clicking on the sample name in the lower pane opens the Sample Info window below, which shows the settings related to stereo sample processing.
    Sound Bridge Sample Info window, showing split stereo Voice
    Although you can change the settings for the Voice by checking a different box in the Sample Info window, I do not recommend this. This method will force Sound Bridge to change from a split file to a mono mix but the Voice Name in the Project will not change. This will cause confusion. Instead, delete the files from the Project and then add the sample again with the correct Preferences set, if you need to convert the file differently.

Converting Stereo Samples to a Mono File

  1. Open the Preferences window. Uncheck the Auto-split stereo files box. This will cause Sound Bridge to convert stereo samples to mono Voice files.
  2. Click OK to close the Preferences window.
  3. Click File > Add Files....
    In this example I use a stereo tom sample named kit207HiTomSt.wav. Sound Bridge will convert this to a mono Voice file based on the current Preferences settings.
    Sound Bridge Add files to project window, showing kit207HiTomSt file
  4. Click Add, then click Done. The file will be added to the Project window as shown below.
    Sound Bridge Project window, showing kit207HiTom mono file
    A single, mono file was added to the Project. Note that the file size (82kB) is half the original sample size (164kB). Opening the Sample Info window shows the settings related to conversion of the stereo sample.
    Sound Bridge voice info window, stereo conversion to mono
  5. Click File > Save As... to save the Project file.
    Trouble: Sound Bridge appears to have a bug. You may encounter error messages if you attempt to save the Project using the File > Save menu option.

Exporting the Excel Project File

  1. Click File > Save As... to open the Save As window.
  2. Use the Save as type: dropdown menu to select Text Dump (.xls).
    Sound Bridge Save As window, change type to Text Dump
  3. Select a folder and enter a filename for the Excel file, then click Save.
  4. Open the .xls file to view important Project details as shown below.
    Excel file showing Sound Bridge Project details
    Tip: Use the Excel file to manage your Sound Bridge Projects. Add columns for notes about individual samples, including names of Programs that use the samples.