Ideas for managing patches?

Hi all, I’m looking for ideas and best practices on how to manage “patches” - which maps out most closely to a particular song state, but unattached to any song. I hope the use of the term “patch” in this manner doesn’t confuse the conversation… but it feels like what I’m looking for is a “patch librarian” for song states.

My current workflow is that I have a template song built with 15 linked racks; each linked rack contains an instance of a particular plugin (Omnisphere, Arturia Piano, Arturia CS-80, Korg M1, Kort Wavestation, etc.). When I’m creating a sound for a specific song, I load up the template, enable routes to the plugins that I want, dive into the linked racks, and find a combination of patches that I like (using already built presets or adding new presets to a plugin), set the volume levels, keyboard splits, etc… and of course set up song states for verse, bridge, chorus, whatever, and save this as a song. I can load multiple songs into a playlist because they all start from the same template. That’s all cool.

What I’m curious about is: often while I am searching for the “right” sound, I find other cool sounds that I want to save for later use - combinations of plug-ins and gain settings, keyboard splits, etc. I’m sure we all do this as we burn the midnight oil exploring the depths of the plugins. I could save each one as a separate song and try to name it descriptively, but that seems a little clunky for going back and listening to the collection.

What are some good ways to hold on to these song-states-without-a-song, and build up a library of sounds?

Thanks for any suggestions!


Like you mentioned, I save those layers and cominations as songs. I then put them in a set list to explore later. As I come up with new combinations, I keep adding them to the set list. When I am looking for new sound combinations, I will call up the set list. You’re right, it’s clunky, but I don’t have a heavy gig schedule.

  • Paul

Here’s what I do: for every plugin (or sometimes I group plugins) I make a song. I make a list of interesting patches and put those on different midi channels; then I make states for every patch and rout stuff such that in one state, only one patch plays. An example makes this easier:

  • I have a song called “piano’s”
  • Inthere I may have an instance of Kontakt, in which I have 16 different piano sounds pre-loaded, each on different midi channels
  • So Midi 1 may be a very bright piano - so state 1 is labeled “Very bright piano” and plays only midi 1
  • And that way I label all states; each sounding one “patch”
  • Perhaps I’ll have in that same song a Pianoteq instance, also with my preferred patches - I add those to states >16
  • What I also do (certainly for piano’s) is EQ patches exactly to my liking. So I may have 4 instances of NI’s Maverick, each EQed differently (and not just EQ, I may use compressors, reverb, chorus, even mild amounts of distortion), on different channels and each with their state, labelled in some way I can easily recognize what kind of piano goes with what state.

The racks in which these plugins live are linked - I when making a “real song” that has different instruments, I use the same patches from the same linked racks.

Works for me!