Splice Studio tour: your DAW meets the Cloud

Splice Studio is the most simple and powerful way to back up your projects and share them with collaborators. It allows you to travel back in time to any previous version without taking up precious hard drive space, and projects sync at lightning speed thanks to an encrypted file hashtag that prevents you from ever uploading the same file twice. Everything stays private until the moment you make a project public, and Splice doesn’t view or mess with the files you’ve saved.

If you’re just getting started with Splice Studio, you’ve come to the right place! In this blog post, we’ll be navigating key features and common questions revolving Splice Studio.

The big picture

Splice Studio operates using the Splice desktop app in conjunction with the web version. Having the desktop app running allows Splice to create time-stamped backups of your work each time you hit “Save” in your DAW. The website is where you can add collaborators, upload stems, release your tracks to the Splice Community, and more. From both the desktop app and the website, you can easily open the project right back up in your DAW by hitting “OPEN.”

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(Splice Studio on the desktop app)

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(Splice Studio on the web)

Tour stop #1: backing up your work

How do I get Splice to sync my work?

There are two options for how the Splice app syncs your projects, which you can change in the app’s “Preferences” page:

  • The first (and default) option is to sync projects using the Splice folder. After installing the app, a Splice folder and shortcut are automatically created. Save a DAW project into the Splice folder and the app will automatically sync it – it’s that easy. You can also drag and drop projects you’ve made elsewhere into your Splice Folder to sync them.
  • If you change your preference to “Sync projects anywhere,” Splice will ask if you want to keep a project synced with the cloud when you save a project anywhere on your computer or external drive.

splice-studio-01 Is my DAW supported by Splice? Are there DAW-specific things I should be aware of?

Splice Studio currently fully supports Ableton Live, Logic Pro X, GarageBand, and FL Studio. There are some nuances as to what Splice Studio considers a new project for each DAW:

  • Ableton Live: Every project folder will be considered a new project in Splice. So, if you have one project folder with 10 .als files, saving any of those files will update the same project. “Save as” into a new folder to create a new project.
  • Logic Pro X and GarageBand: Splice only supports projects in the “package” format, not the “folder” format. Every .logic and .band file will be considered a new project in Splice.
  • FL Studio: every .flp file will be considered a new project in Splice.

Tour stop #2: exploring the DNA player

Once your work has been backed up to Splice Studio, you can add more information to the backup by selecting the project. This will bring you to a page that displays a DNA player, which is a feature that gives an insight into the essence, or DNA, of your track.

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The DNA Player displays all of your individual tracks and the layout of different audio and MIDI regions, similar to how the project might appear in your DAW. However, the DNA player is only a visual representation, and you can’t use it to hear what’s actually in the session – until you add stems, that is. You can add bounces of individual stems by hitting the “ADD STEMS” button below the timeline. You can also add a master audio track by hitting the “Attach an audio preview” area located above the DNA player. After all of that’s done, your project might look something like this:

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Adding these audio files will help you easily recall what specific versions of your work sounded like without having to open up the project in your DAW, but it’s also a crucial thing to do if you decide to collaborate on a project.

Tour stop #3: adding a collaborator

How do I collaborate on a project using Splice Studio?

Select the “Collaborators” tab on your project and invite collaborators by email or username. If they’re not already on Splice, they’ll be invited to join. Your collaborators will be able to view and open any version on the Project Timeline.

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What’s the Project Timeline?

The Project Timeline, located to the left of the DNA player, displays all of the different versions of the project that have been uploaded to Studio. Use it to see any new saves your collaborator made, or to navigate to an older version of the project. You can star versions and add descriptions and comments using the timeline to highlight important saves.

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You can star versions and add comments when you make a new save using the desktop app as well:

 

 

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A collaboration pro-tip:

If you and your collaborator(s) don’t own all of the same software instruments or plugins (which is likely the case), adding stems in important saves, along with a bounce of the overall project, is always a good idea. This will help in making sure that both you and your collaborator are hearing the same thing. We have a whole separate post dedicated to useful practices you can observe when it comes to creating stems for collaboration, but here are some quick tips to get you started:

  • Creating stems in Ableton Live: Make sure to select “All Tracks” in the Export settings.
  • Creating stems in Logic Pro X: Rather than bouncing, go to File → Export → All Tracks As Audio Files.
  • Creating stems in FL Studio: Make sure to select “Split mixer tracks” in the Export settings.

No matter what DAW you’re using, exporting stems in mono is often a good idea to make mixing easier for your collaborator. If you have stereo tracks in your project, however, you may either want to render those separately. Alternatively, uploading an audio-only project is an option as well, if you want to keep the DNA of your project private when the track is released on Community.

The final stop: going public

Your track that you’ve spent countless hours on is at long last complete, ready to be remixed by the masses. Or, perhaps it’s not quite there yet, and you’re looking for vocals, a new section, or an improved mix. Whether you’re simply looking to share your track with the Splice community or searching for a collaborator or some production advice, releasing your project is a great way to have some fresh ears to listen to your work. Releasing your project makes it viewable to the public on the Explore” tab of Community.

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Attach an audio preview to your track and add a description to communicate your intentions to listeners (ex. “Looking for a vocalist to collaborate with,” “Seeking feedback to clean up low end of mix,” “Remix me!” etc). You’ll be notified any time another producer splices you, and again if they share an updated version of your song.

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What does it mean to splice a project? How does it work?

Splicing lets you grab a release from the community to learn from, remix, and work on. Maybe you want to see how an artist crafted a snare, or help someone else master their track.

Just visit Community and click “SPLICE” on a release that you like. This will copy the project into your Studio so you can open it in your DAW and work on it privately.

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If you’d like to release your updated version back to the community, just create a release from the project’s page. The original creator will be notified and can choose to continue working from your version. Or, any of the other community members can take it in an entirely new direction!

Preparing your track to be splice-able:

Setting up your track so it can be easily spliced by other producers requires even more clarity and organization than when you’re collaborating, because you don’t even know who the other person may be. This makes adding comments, descriptions, and stems even more important than it was before. Naming your tracks so that they’re easily decipherable is a good idea too (ex. “Lead Vocals” rather than “vclmixfinaltake_keep03”). Broadly speaking, air on the side of over-communication rather than under-communication; an anecdote of how you arrived to a particular mix decision may be straightforward to you but an eye-opening learning experience to somebody else!

Still have questions about Splice Studio? Let us know in the comments below!

 

February 5, 2018

Harrison Shimazu Harrison Shimazu is a video game and film composer passionate about communicating narrative through music and sound design.