Building a personal music production library can save you hours and hours of time while you’re plugging away at that brand-spankin’ new production in the studio and will help to set you apart from the rest of the competition when it comes to productivity.
However, as there are several different ways of developing libraries that can be used over and over again, the methods that will work best for you will largely depend on your workflow and what happens to be most convenient to you.
Getting Started: Template Creation
The first, and probably the easiest method to implement by far with a stable studio setup is template creation, which basically occurs after you have finished a project.
The premise is rather simple; it consists of taking your project and stripping it down to its essentials by exporting all of your MIDI samples and then deleting said parts from the arrangement so you can write in new parts whenever you want to compose a track in that particular key.
The Advantages of Templates
This method offers several time-saving advantages such as not having to go back and recreate your synth patches from scratch nor having to create new audio, MIDI, or effects channels that are already in place so that you can lay out your brand new ideas as quickly as possible with little to no time wasted on ancillary and counterproductive things that don’t contribute to your compositional workflow or ideas that you’re wanting to lay out.
Of course, the only downside to this method is that it can become relatively easy to produce repetitive-sounding projects, but there are other methods that you can integrate with this method to reduce such tendencies.
Using Presets to Speed Up The Process
Another method that you may find useful is coming up with your presets for your favorite synths, and depending on which DAW you happen to use, there are certainly multiple ways of doing this.
For example, let’s just say that you came up with a brilliant sounding bassline that you’d like to include in other tracks but don’t want to go through the painstakingly laborious process of inserting and tweaking every single one of the 20 or so plugins that you used to create that unique sound.
Ableton Live Shortcut
If you use Ableton Live, you can create an audio rack out of it by simply highlighting all of the plugins in that particular chain, pressing CMD+G (Mac OSX) or Ctrl+G (Windows), clicking the little floppy disk at the bottom left-hand corner of the rack, and presto!
You can also create instrument racks and layer various instruments on top of one another to play a single part by going to the Ableton Instrument menu and dragging an Instrument Rack onto an empty MIDI track.
Of course, if you already have separate instruments that have been layered and processed independently outside of an instrument rack, you can simply group the instruments and any effects that you’ve processed them with, drag them into the MIDI track with the Instrument Rack, and then drag them straight into the rack itself.