MTools To Soundminer Cleanup Tip

This is based on a little tip I posted on the Soundminer beta tester message boards:

How To Clean Up A Sound Effects Library Ripped In MTools And Imported Into Soundminer

Anyone who has ripped the sound effects from a commercial CD library with Soundminer’s Ripper program knows how great their data is. Anyone who has moved to Soundminer from MTools knows that the MTools data isn’t anywhere near as cool looking. Don’t worry, you can get things looking nice without too much trouble.

Make sure that you’re displaying the following fields: Filename, Description, Source, Category, Notes, Designer, Library, and possibly RecMedium.

Make a new database and scan a folder to work with. If you screw it up, you want to be able to go back to your original stuff.

Bring up the Admin window from the Misc menu. Set the Designer field to the creator of the CD library—most likely either Sound Ideas or Hollywood Edge. Set the Library field to the name of the CD library—Citi Trax or Impact Effects or whatever it is.

Copy Filename to Source. If the CD library is from Sound Ideas the filenames probably all start with “SI-” and end with “.L”. If they are from Hollywood Edge they probably start with “HE-” and end with “.L”. Remove these from the Source field. You can either Remove 3 Characters From The Start and Remove 2 Characters From The End. Or do a Find and Replace with nothing. The remaining data though not identical to what Ripper writes will be very similar. For example, a file from Impact Effects that was ripped with MTools will probably be named something like “SI-IE01_04_01.L”. After removing the extra characters the Source field would be “IE01_04_01”.

I also like to note which files were done by MTools for future reference. I set the RecMedium field to “MTools” for that reason. (A good-sized chunk of Cameron’s library was converted from Waveframe over to Pro Tools. I put “waveframe” in the RecMedium field of those files for the same reason. You never know when that information might be useful.)

If the description is all uppercase you can use the change case to Title Case function to make it much more readable.

With these few simple steps. You’ll be very close to what a Ripper ripped sound file looks like. It’s definitely a good idea to backup your data to the files themselves.

There’s one other thing you can do to make things look even better. Most of the CD libraries from Sound Ideas use the format "Title [Lots of spaces] Description" in the Description field of their database. All of this information including all those spaces—which make the printed catalog look nice but which are messy in a digital database—wind up in the Description field when the CD is ripped by MTools. You can put the “Title” into the Category field and the “Description” into the Description field (and dump all those extra spaces) by following these simple steps.

This process will give you about a 95% success rate. The biggest problem you will encounter is data that is not consistantly formatted. I found that the Audio Pro library is a big offender in this area. This process looks for 2 or more spaces in a row. If there aren’t 2 or more spaces between the Title and Description, it won’t work correctly.

Again from the Admin window, copy the Description into the Notes field. (Or another long field that you’re not using for anything else.)

In the Find / Replace box, check the RegEx box.

Type this into the Find field “(.+?)ss+?(.*)” without quotes.

Type this into the Replace field “1” without quotes, and click Ok.

This will return just the “Title” part of the of the Description. Take a second and check to make sure it worked. Like I said, if there aren’t more than 2 spaces or tabs in a row, this won’t work. You might have to fix some by hand. When you’re satisfied, continue.

Copy Notes into Category. Copy Description into Notes.

Type this into the Find field “(.+?)ss+?(.*)” without quotes, again.

Type this into the Replace field “2” without quotes, and click Ok.

This will return the Description part. Again, check it to make sure that it returned everything correct. (You might wind up with extra spaces at the head of this new description. You can use the Remove Characters From Start function to get rid of them quickly.) When you’re satisfied, copy Notes to Description and erase the Notes field.

That’s it. Definitely back up all this data to the sound files.

Those funky looking things you typed into the Find and Replace fields are called Regular Expressions. They can be a bit tricky to learn but they are amazingly powerful. Definitely worth a bit of study. You have a great command-line Unix version installed with OS X called “grep”. If you fire up your terminal and type “man grep” at the prompt you can read all about it. Google would be another great place to look for information. There’s also a book by O’Reilly “Mastering Regular Expressions” that might be useful.