Processing audio files with the Audiofile Engineering Sample Manager (review)

Sample Manager is an audio file batch processor. It allows you to change multiple characteristics of several audio files at once. It works with Actions (60 in all, of which several are very powerful) and supports iZotope technologies such as MBIT+ and SRC dithering and SonicFit speed/pitch processing. I found its feature set quite impressive.

Sample Manager has a simple interface with on the left a file list and waveform panel, in the middle an Info panel that reflects analysis, calculation and allows for editing of some metadata fields, and on the right a panel where you drag Actions that look like Apple’s Automator actions.

With Sample Manager you can analyse audio files for errors — reasons why a file won’t import or play in your DAW, for example. You can also calculate various parameters of the audio, such as phase correlation. These are what I’d call “global” capabilities. They don’t require you to drag an Action, or set up a Workflow (which is a series of Actions executed in a given order).

screenshot of sample manager analysis tool

The file Info panel will change when you have calculated its characteristics, but you can also change some parameters of that Info panel yourself. For example, you can add your name to the Copyright field, add comments to the Comments field or change the BPM field.

If you really want to start processing files, you’ll add Actions to the right panel. One of these could be cutting up the files at left into several smaller clips, based on label markers in the files, or just the opposite: melting several audio files together. Actions are pretty flexible in that you can select only a few audio files in your list and apply Actions on them only. You can also preview the effect an Action or a complete Workflow will have.

One specific Action is the “Process with Effect” one. That one will enable you to select an effect — Core Audio or VST — and apply it. Contrary to some other audio processors I have tested in the past, the effect editor will open as it was intended, i.e. not as an unwieldy list of sliders and fields, but inside the interface programmed by the developer. The iZotope Ozone editor, for example, was available to me as editor proper.

screenshot of sample manager interface

You can daisy chain as many Actions and perform them on as many audio files as you wish, but you should keep in mind that daisy chaining many Actions may have an impact on your computer’s processing power and its memory.

Individual effects can be previewed with the waveform in the lower left panel. For example, a fade in is represented by a faint green area. The curve slider makes the area change its aspect in real time.

Audiofile Engineering has done a great job with Sample Manager, and has used the best dithering and speed/pitch technology available on the market. It’s a tool any serious sound engineer shouldn’t be without.