WRITTEN BY JOHNATHAN LOPEZ
ASSISTANT EDITOR, BOOM BOX POST
What is Soundly? Soundly is a freemium audio library management software that lets you organize, tag, and audition your sound effect and add them into your projects in a concise and incredibly simple way. For this blogpost I decided to put myself in the shoes of someone just starting off in the sound editor world. When you’re just starting off in the industry your budget is going to be your biggest limiter. You don’t have the freedom to drop a ton of money on multiple professional grade libraries and a reliable audio library management software to get started on your work. Sometimes the free option is really the only option. This is where Soundly comes in.
Soundly is an amazing audio library manager that really packs in a ton of features into its basic free model. Soundly lets you manage multiple sound libraries, use and edit metadata in the app, audition sound files, and spot them directly to your DAW. Installation was a breeze with a few simple clicks I was ready to get started with Soundly. You do need an account to start using the app but thankfully the initial process was just as simple as installing. There’s also an option for Soundly to remember you so you don’t have to keep logging in every time you want to use it.
We’ll start with the Library tab:
As you can see Soundly does a great job of sorting the information for you. The cloud tab has access to all of Soundly’s sound files and does a great job of sorting things out for you. There’s a ton of subcategories to pick from if you know exactly where to find those sounds.
Be aware that if you just copy your files directly into Soundly they’ll be imported into a folder called “Loose files.” This is a catch-all for any sound that was imported without a folder. I strongly recommend creating sub folders with specific files otherwise they’ll all go into the loose files folder which can get pretty dicey when you have 2000+ files. When you import new sounds it will also offer to edit the metadata which is a handy tool to make sure you can find any sound you need.
Here I imported some files within folders and Soundly was able to keep them organized. Make sure to keep the “Monitored” check so that Soundly can automatically detect new sounds in those folders and keep itself up to date:
You’re also able to make “Collections.” These are useful if you have a show or continuing project that uses the same signature sounds so you can easily access them.
Soundly has also included a “Dock Mode” that automatically snaps the window to the bottom of your screen consolidates the window to only show the important feature you need while editing. This is especially helpful for editors working on one monitor.
The search bar does a great of combing through your entire library, local and cloud based, to find what you need. If you’d like to opt out of any folders when searching you can uncheck them to narrow your searches.
You can also see whether the selected file is being accessed locally or on the cloud by the two icons
If you need to look up a previously searched term you can click the magnifying glass to look up past searches or click the left arrow in the search bar.
Thanks to the newest update you can do a boolean search and add “-” to a word to omit files with that tag.
When Auditioning files there’s a whole suite of options available to you:
A: Pitch tool; speed up slow down your wave file from 0% up to 800%. If you click on the box you can cycle between maximums. In this image the maximum amount I can speed up is 200%
B: Volume Bar; change the volume of the audio file before you import it into Pro Tools
C: Start; and Rewind: Jump to the beginning of the clip or start playing the clip
D: Cursor; allows you to start where you want in the clip you can also isolate part of a clip and export only that
E: Audio Manipulation Window
F: Import to Pro Tools
G: Waveform Size; allows you to change the size of the waveform you’ve selected (won’t affect audio)
There’s a whole slew of metadata editing options built into Soundly. Hit ⌘+T to open the Edit window.
This will allow you to edit the metadata associated with the file and will also allow you to embed this data into the wave file itself. You can also select more than one file and edit multiple file’s metadata. If you’ve worked with Soundminer before you can import a Soundminer database to soundly or you can export Soundly database as a csv file.
DISCLAIMER: This part of the post is purely personal opinion and some suggestions. We don’t have any working or commercial relation with the Soundly Team.
Soundly introduces a much needed user friendly Audio Library Management software to the market. It’s simple to use, easy to pick up, and packs a huge library if you opt into the premium plan. The fact that this service also allows a cloud based library is pretty crazy. You’d effectively never need to carry your 1TB library with you everywhere you go now. However, there are some drawbacks to this service.
Price is the biggest determinant factor. Sure you can opt in the for the free version but that limits you to a measly 2,500 files. The cloud is also non-existent for free users. You can pull a few free sounds from Soundly but you can’t upload anything. However when updating to the pro-version the software removes the limit and you can have as many files as you need stored locally and up to 10GB of storage on the cloud. If you need more space you can buy more storage but that quickly becomes very expensive the larger your personal library.
If you’re a free user you also can’t access the cloud storage for the free sound libraries. These include the accumulated library for Freesound.org, the free Medieval Weapons Library and the free Firearm Library made by Ben Jaszczak and Brian Nelson. A quick workaround is to download the free firearm library and free medieval weapons library and upload it locally but that would cut into your 2500 free local storage space.
All in all Soundly is fantastic at what it does. If you can’t afford the heavy hitters like Soundminer Pro+ and and Basehead Ultra which come with a steep one time price tag, Soundly is definitely an amazing alternative. For a few bucks a month you have access to a plethora of sounds and are able to upload your own sounds that you record to a private cloud that you can access wherever you are. If you’re a pro and are looking to start working from home or looking to find a solution to not having to carry multiple drives with you Soundly’s cloud storage is definitely for you. The search function is smooth and incredibly user friendly. The option to omit words and really fine tune your searches makes this app really worth the $14.99 a month price tag.