Categorisation and Metadata

Munk Productions Ambisonic Ambiences (MPAA) are extensively grouped, categorised and metadata tagged. Because a library is not worth much if you can’t find the files you’re looking for.

Read here important information about file naming, categorisation, descriptions and the Unique Identifier to help you navigate the library.
Below that you can read about embedded metadata and which formats are supported.

 

Categorisation
Identifier

The Unique Identifier is an important item, as it uniquely identifies the content of the individual ambiences. It looks like this:

MPAAxxxx

where xxxx is a number between 0001 and 9999. It is appended with an underscore and a two-letter suffix indicating the Wave file format. Currently, two formats are available in MPAA:

 

SuffixWave File Format
am16 channels, 3rd order Ambisonic
bi2 channels, binaural ("stereo")

Example with Wave file format indicator:

MPAA0221_am

In addition, a Normalised indicator (_N) may be appended, if the audio of the file has been peak normalised (read more about this here).

Example of peak normalised file:

MPAA0221_am_N

If two files have the same identifier, it means they contain exactly the same content, i.e. they are the same recording in different Wave file formats. That way you will always know if you’re dealing with duplicates of the same audio content.

The Unique Identifier is found at the end of the filename (see below) and in embedded metadata.

 

Type

The ambiences are separated into three distinctly different types: Static, Action and Transition. Read here for more information on types.

Any package contains only files from one type.

 

Category

Within each package, the ambiences are further divided into categories. These inform you of the kind of scene recorded. Categories are:

CategoryDescription
DomesticAmbiences taking place in a private home. For the Transition and Action types: Occasionally in the home's garden.
LeisureRecordings of leisurely activities such as restaurant dining, sports, amusement park visits etc.
Nature / RuralSoundscapes where Nature's sounds are in focus: Beaches, forests, fields, parks etc. Urban sound sources may be included (but not in focus), such as cars, bicycles etc. The Rural category contains ambiences from farms and the countryside, where nature isn't the focus (e.g. wind mills on a field).
OccupationalWorkplace-related ambiences. Besides the obvious offices, it includes other locales from a workplace some of which could be used as non-workplace related, such as elevators, canteens etc.
TransportationSounds related to the transportation of people: Cars, trains, buses, bicycles, etc. Usually in the form of rides in or on such vehicles, but also ambiences from train stations, bus stops etc.
UrbanA large category of ambiences related to humans and civilisation. Typical locales are cities, towns, villages, residential areas, gardens, parks etc.

Each category descriptor is appended with the information Relative Position (“Interior” or “Exterior”), indicating whether it was recorded indoors or outdoors. For Transitions, it may be both. In such cases, the order (Interior/Exterior or Exterior/Interior) designates where the recording starts and where it ends.

 

Locale

This is the “name” of the recording location. It consists of a location descriptor (like Beach, Fjord, City, Town, etc.) and a letter (A, B, C, etc.) indicating the particular location in question:

  • Town ‘A’
  • Train Station ‘C’
  • Beach ‘B’

The letter allows you to locate ambiences recorded in the same general surroundings. The reason for this is that many locations have their own “sound” with recognisable characteristics. A forest or fjord often has a characteristic sound depending on it’s location in the countryside. And a house or apartment is normally built and decorated in a reasonably consistent manner, making reflections, floor types, possible exterior noises, etc. recognisable between rooms.

Of course, this is not always the case; a large city can sound vastly different from area to area, and the same goes for especially larger workplaces, and certain other locales. But we decided to be consistent to make reading of the metadata easier, so it’s included in nearly all ambiences.

The exceptions to the lettering scheme are places like buses or trains, where the individual vehicle within its type is expected to be unrecognisable.

 

Filename

The filename is an abbreviated version of the Description. It’s been designed to

  • contain the most important descriptive information of the ambience
  • be “DAW friendly” so, when working on your project, it’s as easy as possible to know which files are placed where
  • be “directory friendly” so that, when sorting ambiences in a directory on your computer, they will organise in the way that makes finding specific files as easy as possible without consulting the documentation

Of course, if you’re using a metadata tool to manage your sound effects, how files sort in a directory is not that important. But in other cases, it’s convenient – and it’s always valuable when trying to keep an overview of a project in a DAW.

If a Static ambience contains one sound source which is very much in focus, to the point that it could be used as a single sound effect, that sound source is CAPITALISED to stand out in both the filename and the description.

The filename consists of the following fields and abbreviated information:

Category_RelativePosition_Locale_Season_keywords_Region_Level_Type_UniqueIdentifier_WaveFileFormat.wav

Italised fields are optional; they appear where relevant. The fields that haven’t yet been explained are:

 

FieldMeaning
RelativePositionExterior or Interior. Values: "Ext", "Int", "ExtInt", "IntExt"
SeasonThe season of the year of recording. Normally only relevant to exterior ambiences. Values: "Spring", "Sumr", "Autmn/Wint", "Autmn", "Wint"
RegionThe region of the world in which the ambience was recorded. Normally only relevant to exterior sounds.
LevelAn optional attenuation in dB for very loud ambiences (see Gain and Level Options)

 

Examples:

Transport_Ext_CityB_AutmnWint_bikeRide_fromHouseA-to-parkingLot_Trans_MPAA0244_am.wav
Urban_Ext_gardenB_AutmnWint_forecourt_birds_distantTraffic_Stat_MPAA0067_am_N.wav
Leisure_Int_fromSupermarketA-to-shoppingCentreA_fromEntranceThroughCheckout_busy_voices_handlingNoises_shoppingCarts_Trans_MPAA0159_bi.wav
Domestic_Int_HouseA_kitchen_cleaningAfterDinner_Act_MPAA0223_bi_N.wav

 

Metadata

We provide metadata in two forms:

  • embedded in each file
  • as a TSV file you can import into a spreadsheet for searching, sorting, and further manipulation. This file follows the Soundminer fomat

Our metadata support the following formats:

  • Soundminer Metawrapper Metadata v4
  • BWAV (Broadcast Wave) Metadata
  • MacOS Spotlight Metadata

A large number of audio applications on different platforms support some or all of these formats, so, in general, you’ll be able to view and search this information almost regardless of your chosen application.

We built our documentation to fit this specific area of audio files as well as possible. Not only are we dealing with non-music files, but even within the sound effects category, ambiences have their own specific needs. For example, we decided not to include a short-form “name” of each file – many such “names” would be the same (beach, beach, beach, and… well, beach), and the information such a name provides would just be a duplication of information already present in both Filename, Locale and Description. On the other hand, Locale is a specifically important information in our ambiences – but none of the popular metadata formats have such a field. So we created this field knowing it would take some imagination mapping it in a meaningful way to the supported metadata formats. And this goes for other fields as well. We hope you agree that the way in which we have done it makes sense and helps to sort ambiences in a helpful way within e.g. Soundminer.

The following helps you to understand where the information can be found.

 

Soundminer

In the table below you can see which metadata fields we include, and how our documentation’s fields are mapped to Soundminer’s fields.

Soundminer FieldMPAA FieldExample
CategoryAmbience (Type) / Category(1)Ambience (Static) / Leisure
SubCategoryCategory(2) / LocaleInterior / Supermarket 'A'
FilenameFilenameLeisure_Int_SupermarketA_nearGreensSection_mediumBusy_telephone_
checkoutBeeps_voices_handlingNoises_footsteps_Stat_MPAA0157_bi.wav
DescriptionDescriptionLeisure, Interior, Supermarket 'A', large supermarket, near greens section, distant phone ringing, distant checkout beeps, display coolers humming, medium busy, voices, handling noises, footsteps, ZM-1-3E
Designer-Christian Munk
Manufacturer-Munk Productions
URL-https://www.munkprod.dk/shop
Library-MP Ambisonic Ambiences
LocationUnique IdentifierMPAA0157
Microphone-Zylia ZM-1-3E
ShortIDUnique Identifier_formatIndicatorMPAA0157_am
NotesFormatAmbisonic, 3rd order
ReleaseDate-2020-05-20
BWDescriptionDescriptionLeisure, Interior, Supermarket 'A', large supermarket, display coolers humming, medium busy, voices, shopping cart, handling noises, footsteps, faint background music, ZM-1-3E
BWOriginator-Christian Munk

 

BWAV

In the table below you can see which metadata fields we include, and how our documentation’s and Soundminer’s fields are mapped to Broadcast Wave’s fields.

BWAV FieldSoundminer FieldMPAA FieldExample
DescriptionDescriptionDescriptionLeisure, Interior, Supermarket 'A', large supermarket, display coolers humming, medium busy, voices, shopping cart, handling noises, footsteps, faint background music, ZM-1-3E
OriginatorDesigner-Christian Munk

 

MacOS Spotlight

If you select an MPAA file and press ⌘I (or right click and select the “Get Info” option) MacOS will show file information on screen. Under “More Info” you’ll see a number of metadata fields with metadata. The fields we include are the following:

MacOS FieldSoundminer FieldMPAA FieldExample
AuthorsDesigner-Christian Munk
CopyrightYear Manufacturer (Library) URL-2020 Munk Productions (MP Ambisonic Ambiences) https://www.munkprod.dk/shop
Musical genreCategoryAmbience (Type) / Category(1)Ambience (Static) / Leisure
CommentDescriptionDescriptionDomestic, Exterior, Garden 'A', Autumn, back garden, collecting leaves, leaves rustling, electric train passing above, Northern Europe, ZM-1-3E