15. Organising your Studio to Optimise your Workflow

Good Housekeeping

Being organised can optimise your work flow when writing dance music and prevent stifling  creativity with administrative duties.  Keeping your samples in a logical file structure will promote a focused train of thought when writing.

Good housekeeping and organisation is important


  • Work from a Template
  • Organise samples
  • Label all tracks with a type and description e.g. Drums - heavy, Synth - stab, Lead - acid.
  • Backup your samples and song regularly. (not many thing will make a grown man cry, sadly loosing 10 years worth of samples and songs due to a crashed hard drive is one of them.)
  • Create a spreadsheet of songs with a score.


Work from a Template

Setting up a new song from a blank page is very time consuming and unnecessary because you repeat many common steps.  To save time, create and save a template with many of these common processes already completed.  Details can be tailor made to your preferences.

  • Create tracks for drums 1, drums 2, hats, shakers.  Load each tracks with a software sequencer e.g. EXS24 or HALion.
  • Create tracks for VST synths or sound modules called Bass 1, Bass 2, Lead 1, Lead 2 etc.
  • Create tacks for every other common instrument, e.g. SFX 1, Vocals, Guitar etc.
  • Add common DSP e.g. reverb 1 light, reverb 2 heavy, and delay into a Bus or Send.
  • Add a compressor, EQ, low pass filter and limiter to every channel.
  • Add a Compressor and Limiter to the master output channel.


Each time you produce a new song, you can get creative straight away.


Organise Samples

As your sample collection grows and increases in complexity, it is vital to administer logical categorisation for the quick retrieval of specific sounds.  By spending too long searching for the sound in your mind, you will forget what initially inspired you.


Rule 1: Keep all samples in one location.  If your samples exist on different sample CDs, store them on 1 hard drive.

Rule 2: Sort your samples into a logical structure.  Ensure that a minimal top level structure is utilised, e.g. Drums, Analogue Samples, Electronic Samples, Sound Effects and Vocals.  The second level can contain as many categories as necessary to distinguish between the different elements.  Any more than 3 sub layers of categorisation may be confusing.

Rule 3: Add the BPM of all samples to the beginning.





                                 120 BPM Bongos Street

                                 124 BPM Bongos Latin

140 BPM Bongos Electro



         Break Beat Kits

         Drum and Bass Kits
House Kits

Vintage Kits


Jazz Kit

Rock Kits

Analogue Samples

            Brass Riffs
                     Funk Stabs
                     Jazz Trumpet

                     Classical Brass

Guitar Riffs

                     Funky Guitar

                     Blues Guitar

                     Classical Guitar

                     World Guitar



Electronic Samples

            Bass Riffs
Synth Riffs


Sound Effects


            Swoosh etc



            Female Rap

            Female Sing
            Male Rap

            Male Sing

            Robot Rap

            Robot Sing