I’m thinking of a number of music production related updates and have written down quite a bit of stuff in my notes in the past couple of weeks. One of the things that became ever-presently appreciable as I was doing a bunch of sample librarian and multitrack archival work this weekend, in the wake of the passing of the Bat-Man; the need for a good utility belt, and by utility belt, I guess I’m stretching that analogy to really mean a folder full of utilities for processing samples, renaming files, editing hardware presets, creating visualizations, etc.
Basically, there are certain programs that might even come with installers, might even be more updated, etc. but the simple act of having ANY version of these programs on hand and never having to re-install them or hunt them down on the internet between OS installs (if you do those on any kind of regular basis) is extremely nice when you know what you want to do, know that you only use a utility every once in a while, and don’t want to go through the rigmarole of re-downloading and re-installing. There is already enough of that with a standard OS re-install and it is nice just to have certain things at the ready. You can always upgrade when these programs get useful features or bugfixes, or no longer works with your OS or your gear.
There are a number of random programs here. I don’t trust that they’re always going to be online and always available. They do exactly what they need to do. I could be compelled to update them, but for the most part, there’s no real reason to think twice about these programs unless they just stop working. Oh, and this folder is completely portable and runs from this directory without changing a single registry entry or ini file. You’d be surprised how many programs can be moved from their current install location and ran from basically anywhere. No matter how dirty that sounds, it’s going to be super useful when you can’t find that random internet oddity like PaulStretch or that one Electribe project editor you like and especially if you didn’t save the installer files either.
On a slightly separate topic, but could also be something you keep in your utilities folder, you should definitely consider keeping the latest known good version of your most critical software and drivers. Companies like Camel Audio, the makers of Alchemy get bought and no longer offer downloads for the things you purchased, or companies like Echo, who were an audio interface standard when PC audio interfaces started going pro on a budget, but are now out of the business and no longer offer driver downloads, which is also a problem I have to deal with.
There are also a number of programs like AudioMove, and RazorLAME I use for converting batches of files from any sample rate and bit depth, to any sample rate and bit depth or compressing them in one of my two primary compressed file formats; FLAC and MP3.