BaseHead has just released a new version of their sound file management app with a compelling new feature: retail CloudPacks.
Has a morning of editing skidded to a stop because you’re missing one vital sound effect? Annoyed by breaking your workflow to click through dozens of sound library Web shops to download tens of gigabytes of zip files? Wouldn’t it be simpler just to access what you need now and keep working?
Maybe you’re a sound pro with dozens of collections. What do you do when you have to edit across town for the day? You can’t bring terabytes of drives with you. And how do you sort the collections you do own? Which drive are they on? How do you manage your bundles when you’re running out of hard drive space?
BaseHead invented CloudPacks to help. They’re cloud-based independent sound libraries with a focus on an effortless workflow: easy, instant access to new sound collections right from within a powerful sound browser.
Let’s learn more.
A New Tool For Using Sound
Now, full disclosure here: while this post is not sponsored, my Airborne Sound libraries are indeed available in BaseHead’s CloudPacks. Naturally, I’m excited about that. However, I became interested in CloudPacks because of a few subtle – yet powerful – features that have the potential to alter how sound is used and shared. CloudPacks introduce new features for distributing sound that have the potential to affect everyone. So, I’d want to share this even if I wasn’t a part of it.
So, today’s article will take a first look at BaseHead’s CloudPacks. I’ll describe its goals, how you can take advantage of them, and include a quick walkthrough of the process so you can decide if it is right for you.
What Are CloudPacks?
CloudPacks is BaseHead’s name for what are known as “independent sound libraries” that are stored and served entirely from the cloud. BaseHead released an early version of the CloudPacks last year. That allowed downloading free sound libraries. The new version adds retail packages with some fresh, compelling features. How do CloudPacks work?
The original BaseHead app ($99-$479) functions as usual: it imports sound files and allows searching and transferring clips into your favourite sound editing app, as well as metadata management. You’re likely familiar with that.
The 2020.7 version of BaseHead Standard and Ultra (Windows 8.1, 10, Server 2012, MacOS 10.10+ and 10.13+ for CPM) now includes the CloudPack Manager (CPM) app, a companion to the main software. In the CPM app, you can browse indie sound libraries, preview each track, and when you’ve found something you like, buy it and download it instantly and securely. Thereafter, the libraries are available in the main BaseHead app for previewing, tagging, and transferring to any editing app you use.
It’s more than just a built-in BaseHead sound store, though. What is especially cool is that each track from purchased collections is streamed from the cloud. So, purchased CloudPack tracks show in search results just like other clips from your desktop hard drives. They can be auditioned similarly, and transferred into Pro Tools or Reaper, and so on. The difference is that the CloudPack clips never actually need to be stored on your local system. In fact, they don’t need to be downloaded at all. Instead, any audio you need is streamed from the cloud. Thanks to the high-speed Google Cloud infrastructure, you’ll never know these clips are stored remotely; they can be browsed, tagged, auditioned, and imported just like local clips.
The result? You’ll never need to have sound libraries stored on hard drives. You won’t need to download new collections either (although it’s possible to download anything you buy). Instead, clips are stored and streamed from the cloud but work identically to any other local fx you already have in your sound search software.
Benefits of BaseHead CloudPacks
What’s the advantage of using CloudPacks?
First of all, you won’t need to worry about losing your sound libraries ever again. Hard drive failure? No problem. Backup got corrupted? Not an issue. Your CloudPacks are linked to your BaseHead account and will always be available from the cloud. There’s no need to sort out hard drive management either; the collections are stored and served from the cloud so they can technically live online forever.
This is a huge benefit if you find yourself working in different locations often. You can leave the hard drives at home and merely stream clips from the cloud wherever you are. This will be welcome for any sound designers working in facilities that ban mounting local hard drives for security reasons. Now there’s no need to talk to IT to get your effects into your workstation. Instead, BaseHead can access your collections without the need for a local drive.
Another cool feature is that every CloudPack clip can be auditioned. Normally, indie sound library previews are minute-long montages of “greatest hits” from a collection. That’s great, but can you really know what you’re buying from a short audio preview? CloudPacks can audition every clip a bundle has to offer. Considering buying a 3,000-clip BOOM Library bundle? Now you can listen to every single sound before you decide to buy. Each clip will be displayed in a list within BaseHead itself so you can browse, scroll, and audition any or all of those 3,000 BOOM clips. That includes viewing the metadata, too. You can see full BWAV and Steinberg iXML sound file metadata for every clip before you buy, right inside the BaseHead app.
There’s another interesting side effect to this as well. Since the clips are streamed as individual files, there’s no need to wait to download multi-gigabyte collections and unzip them. Instead, you can access every clip from a bundle immediately after purchasing.
Speaking of content, many popular publishers are already part of the CloudPack system: Pro Sound Effects, BOOM Library, Pole Position Production, Sound Rangers, SoundBits, SoundMorph, and many more. Some libraries, such as The Recordist’s much-loved collections, are not available from any other distributor. There are 231 collections available at the moment, including free bundles. Andy Sisul, the CloudPack content manager, told me that more than 50 will be added soon.
Here is a YouTube video with a quick introduction to CloudPacks:
Beyond streaming and downloading established sound libraries, a feature to upload, store, and stream your own sound libraries is planned.
How it Works
I’ve been playing with CloudPacks for a few weeks now. Here are the broad strokes of the workflow.
Using CloudPacks requires both the main BaseHead app and the satellite CloudPack Manager software. Why two apps? Well, the CPM is separate so managing libraries doesn’t affect performance of the core BaseHead app.
Both apps work in tandem:
- The CloudPack Manager is a store where you can browse, preview, purchase, and manage collections.
- BaseHead itself allows adding, searching, auditioning, and transferring purchased CloudPacks (as well as any other clips you own).
So, you’ll need to launch both apps and sign in to each of them to get started.
Finding and Buying Clips
The CloudPack Manager has two main areas, the Store, and the Manager.
The Store allows searching for libraries by keyword, price, or publisher, as well as browsing everything available.
Clicking a collection displays typical product info: price, summary, and so on, with a few notable differences:
- “Play Preview” swaps to the BaseHead app and plays the audio montage right within BaseHead’s waveform display.
- “View in BaseHead” switches to BaseHead and displays the entire track list in the Results view. This allows you to browse the metadata and audition every individual clip in the collection. This is for previewing only; samples are subtly degraded and locked from anything other than browsing and auditioning.
- “Extras” allows downloading the library’s EULA, help files, or any other documents.
Like what you hear? Clicking the “Buy” button takes you to a typical purchasing page. For the library I was interested in buying, it showed an EULA which required reading (scrolling through) and clicking “Accept.”
Immediately afterwards an alert appears notifying you that the library is available for use in BaseHead.
While the checkout pages are handled within the CloudPack Manager, all credit card verification, secure encryption, and card processing is handled by payment processor Stripe. BaseHead doesn’t actually touch any information from the payment process at all, other than hand over the sound files after Stripe has approved the purchase.
After buying, libraries are displayed in Manager tab. Selecting a library shows an inline “Add” button. Clicking this instantly unlocks all library tracks in BaseHead’s Peek Tree just like any other import, ready for browsing, auditioning, and transferring from the cloud.
And here you can see the entire purchased collection of Thunderstorms 4 streaming from the cloud. Note the cloud icon in the bottom right.
Working without Internet today? Prefer a local copy? CloudPacks allows downloading three copies. Click the “Localize” button to start a multi-threaded download of the entire library to a local hard drive folder. This will work even if BaseHead is not running so you can download massive collections in the background without degrading performance. Once downloaded, there’s also an option to release the collections back into the cloud to restore your 3 download limit.
There’s also an option to do this in the main BaseHead app, too
Streaming the library is available for three months after purchase, and if you have a BaseHead support plan streaming is completely unlimited. “Localizing” or downloading up to 3 copies is always available, even after a support plan has expired. Support plans are $49-$99/year. In reality, though, you’ll probably have a support plan already if you are keeping up with BaseHead releases.
Here’s a video of the CloudPacks in action:
NOTE: For two weeks, BaseHead has kindly offered 30% off any software in their store using discount code CFR30. Use this to upgrade to BaseHead 2020.7