We’re happy to announce that aXLsound is amongst the first creators to fully switch to the Universal Category System.

What is UCS ?

The Universal Category System (UCS) is a public domain initiative by Tim Nielsen, Justin Drury (Soundminer), Kai Paquin, among others, and supported by sound librarians, vendors, and users from around the globe.

The main goal is to provide and encourage the use of a set category list for the classification of sound effects. In doing so, the hope is to offer a framework for consistent categorization of sound effects, offer uniformity in a filename structure, and ease the pain of maintaining a sound effects library. The category list has been subjected to feedback from the sound community and will be updated as things move forward.

Where can I learn more about UCS ?

At first, some people may find this new system intimidating, and the task of converting a library could seem daunting but in reality it is not.

If you’re new to UCS, I strongly recommend checking the official website, the drive folder where all the resources are hosted and the official Youtube channel, Tim Nielsen did a tremendous job of compiling everything you need to know in a comprehensive playlist of videos.


What does it look like ? How does it work ?

Here’s a screenshot of what my Scottish Highlands library looks like fully UCS compliant.

The core of the system is the strict pick of a Category and SubCategory from the list, these Category and SubCategory are shortened into a CatID. (example : WATER-FLOW = WATRFlow, FIRE-WHOOSH = FIREWhsh, etc…)

The only mandatory requirement of UCS is that this CatID is added at the beginning of the filenames, that’s it, literally, anything else is extra, yet recommended, people willing to fully dive into UCS are encouraged to use the “official” Filename structure aswell.

UCS is NOT Soundminer specific and shouldn’t be, this system is Universal and really anyone can adopt it. That said, Soundminer has the best integration of UCS at the moment and Justin Drury (Owner/Developer of Soundminer) is actively participating in developing UCS and helping for a smooth integration of the system.

UCS Integration in Soundminer (click to enlarge)
Basic UCS Filename Strucutre

Examples of filenames in aXLsound libraries :

GUNMech_Ak47-Layer 4_aXL_MtSw.wav  /  ELECBuzz_Designed-12 Faraday_aXL_Lamps.wav 

AMBUrbn_016 Distant Airy Traffic_aXL_UrbanAir.C.wav   /   COMCell_DRY-259 Minority_aXL_SmartNotif.wav

Here are the filelist PDFs of all our libraries :

What about the aXLsound library(ies) I already have ?

No problem, just get in touch with me and we’ll find the best solution. I can either send the new files over or just the metadata in a spreasheet.

Also in the latest versions of Soundminer there is a new option called “Lookup Metadata From Cloud”, what it does is that Soundminer fetches the new metadata (not the filename) from their servers on which I already uploaded the UCS versions for all aXLsound releases.