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Getting Started

BaseHead uses a SQLite database to store all your imported files and and scans all the metadata inside them and parses this info into the Database routed to the correct Database [fields].
We suggest creating multiple ‘Imports’ per Database and we will get into that a little later on in this manual.  You can have as many ‘Imports’  as you need in a database but can only open a single database at a time.
BaseHead does allow you to create multiple databases and has ability to quickly switch between them to help maintain multiple databases easily if needed

Importing files to the Database

Now you have BaseHead installed, it’s time to add sounds to the database. When BH is first launched a default database will be created for you. You can rename this from the Database Menu OR you can create a new one by pressing Ctrl/Cmd+N

NOTE:  It’s ONLY possible to create/load/open Databases on local mounted volumes/drives.
SQLite databases on network drives or a NAS will be painfully slow to search cuz many tiny journal files need to be created and read over and over for many operations. So the only way to search a shared DB or DB on a Network Share with speed is to use the BaseHead Server add-on application that will serve the DB for you fixing this SQLite limitation and giving you other benefits as well like user permissions.

To Import some files, just press Ctrl/Cmd+I to open the Import Window (Non-Lite versions)

You can also just drag and drop files direct from Explorer/Finder to the Results List and it will pop up the Import Window also with the dragged files and folders ready to import.

All options on this window have Tool Tips explaining what they all do so no need to describe them here beside a few.
One is choosing how to import local drives for PC users…
(Mac users don’t have these setting since drives are stored with Volume names instead)


Drive Letters (PC Only)
Use this option if your files are on a fixed internal drive or if you clone your SFX drive and want to hook it up to another PC.
BaseHead will use the drives letter as the location for the files.

Hard Drive ID’s (PC Only)
Only use this option if you have your SFX on a removable USB/FW drive that you take with you from place to place.
BaseHead will use the drives ID as the location of the files and ignores the assigned drive letter.

If your files are on a server/network path then neither of the above settings matter, so just leave on the default setting of ‘Drive Letters’

Also, on this window you can name each ‘Import’ and they will appear in the left side PeekTree. You can also create ‘Groups’ or Import into ‘Groups’ from this window. These two features will be explained more later in the manual in the PeekTree section. ‘Imports’ are highly recommend to use always for every import to set BaseHead apart from other “rival” programs.

Adding Files to Existing Import Library

BaseHead will detect if you are dragging a sub directory of an existing import library and ask if you want to add it to the existing library or create a new import.  Simply drag in a new folder of files and if the folder is within a folder already imported into BaseHead you will see a dialog box asking if you wish to import to existing library:



Select YES to add the folder to the detected existing library
Select NO to create a new import library.

Metadata Chunks

Press (F4(for Advanced Users Only)


If you click this gear icon/button on the Import Window (F4) it will open up a panel that allows you to turn ON/OFF what metadata chunks are imported when audio files are scanned into the database that is helpful for power users and troubleshooting.

There is a Tool Tip Info icon on this page that will explain it more in depth, but basically if your don’t know what you are looking at with this fully then don’t change anything, don’t even look at it, forget about it and never open this window again. 😉

Once you get your options/settings correct on the Import Window, select a folder or files to import and press the ‘Import’ button to start adding files to the Database.

You should definitely watch the below Getting Started Video first before you continue to see how to Import and get going quickly!
Tip: If you watch this video you can skim thru the next few pages of this manual much quicker…8)

[Video] Importing Media Files


[Video] Getting Started

by our friend Jonah Guelzo explained in another point of view (using v4.x)

macOS Users: SD2 Files!
If you have old ancient files that have NO extensions on them like SD2’s from back in the day….
We dropped support for this ancient format in version 5.x (as of this writing) so convert those files over to WAV or BWAV now with extensions.


After Files have been Imported

Results List Fields

Now that you have some files in the database, you can right click the header on the Results List and you will get a list of available fields that you can show in the Results List with also options to Show All and Reset to Defaults

Search Bar

This is where all the magic happens!
The 4 search bars that can be changed to any searchable field in the database or combined to search for what you need.
All the search boxes can have their values changed to search to any field by clicking on them and selecting a new one from the pull down list.

There is also a “Simple Search” mode you can use if you do not need the advanced 4 search boxes (deselect “Advanced Search” in the Options menu)

To find Sounds simply type the words you wish to look for in the search boxes in the top SEARCH BAR area:

If you type more than one word (separated by a space) this will perform an AND search and will only find entries that match BOTH words. Prefixing a word with ‘-’ (minus) will tell the search to omit any results with that word in it

This is called a NOT search and would return results with the both the words ‘metal’ and ‘hit’ in them as long as ‘crash’ and ‘hollow’ weren’t also in the [description].
An EXACT search can be done by “putting the words in quotes like this”
An OR search can be done by putting a capital OR between the words.

The above search would return results with the both the words ‘metal’ and ‘hit’ in them as long as ‘crash’ and ‘hollow’ weren’t also in the [description]. These functions work in all of the 4 search boxes with any field selected.

You can also browse [field] values in the database by click the Browse Arrow next to the lower two search boxes:

Linking of the bottom two browse arrows to filter off each other is also possible. Just click the link icon that is between them now to enable this new mode.

This below image show the difference when clicking the Browse Arrows when linked compared to un-linked.

In this case when while browsing [directories] linked (the bottom image) it only shows values with records that also have “GR2” in the [category] field also.

The top image is un-linked hence it showing many more Directories when browsing.

Check the Search Bar page for a more in-depth look at how to use all the search features

This might be a good time to look at the different sections of the program to get the terminology down


BaseHead Terminology

Results List

This is where all the search results are filled. 

Important: Any file dragged from the Result List will be referenced (does not go through transcoder and is referenced in place)

Basically, consider dragging from this list the same as dragging from Explorer/Finder into your DAW.
If you want files to be copied always to the set Transfer Path thru processing then make sure to drag from the Drag-n-Drop Bar instead and make sure ‘Reference Files when Possible’ is OFF if you want files to always copy and run files thru SRC.

Left Side Bar Panel (E)

This panel shows the PeekTree browser and UCS category browser. It can be freely resized by dragging the right boarder and either auto-hide or pinned open using the Pin button at the top or manually opened/hidden using keyboard “E”

The PeekTree shows multiple tree “nodes” that include:
Collections, Groups, Imports, CloudPacks, Favorite and Recent Searches, History, Paths and X-fers

The UCS Browser included in v2021.3 is a new category browser that you can switch to using buttons at the top of the panel to browse by category if you have UCS tagged content. This is auto populated.

All these will explained more in depth on the PeekTree section

Info Strip

Here you have the Drag and Drop Bar and also a few other controls
The DnD Bar should be used the most for dragging files out of BaseHead if you want files copied to the Transfer Path.
BaseHead is designed for this bar to be the DnD center of attention Dragging from the Results List should be only used in rare cases when you must have the file at the original sample rate or from the original location.

  • Database Hot swap Combo Box – Lets you switch between databases that have already been loaded previously.
  • Database Folder – Click to Open a new DB file.
    Tip: Ctrl+Click of this folder will show you the DB location in Explorer/Finder
  • Transfer Path Folder – this is where you Select where BH will copy non-referenced Files.
    Tip: Ctrl+Click of this folder will show you this location in Explorer/Finder You can also set the Transfer Path by dragging and dropping a folder onto this folder directly OR by dragging a .npr .cpr .ptf or .ptx file direct to the Results List to change it to the session’s audio files folder of Nuendo/Cubase or Pro Tools.

DnD Bar (Drag-n-Drop)

The DnD bar is used to drag (copy) the selected file/selection to a desired location. This supports dragging directly into an application such as a DAW or to a folder location.

The DnD function will apply any processing settings you have as well as the selection you have made in the waveform display and make a copy of the original file so as not to affect the original.

Right Side Bar (P)

This panel has tabs at the bottom to switch between different modes of operation and includes:
File Details/Editor, Batch Renamer, Effects Processor and Marker Editor

You can freely resize this panel using the boarder on the left and can show/hide using the “P” key. More on each of the panels further on in the manual.

Transport Controls


  • Record (Ultra) allows capturing Performances now that are added to the History Node in Red prefixed by a PERF
  • Loop Region (loops if a region or playback marker is set – (L)
  • Auto-Play
  • Reverse Playback (changes playback direction) – (Q)
  • Continuous Play (once the end of a file or End Marker is reached it skips to the next in the list)
  • Shuffle Play
  • Volume and Pan sliders and
  • the pitchSlider now has 3 different modes now and a lock button
  • M/S Stereo Decoder button

TIP: SmartLoop will be engaged whenever you move a pitchSlider or pitchFX slider. This will be indicated by the Loop icons turning green.

FYI: to change Performance Recording settings right click the Record button.

Performance Recordings are placed in the History Node once completed and you need to transfer them to your DAW if you make one linked before you quit BH if set to record the default Temp Folder location since on next launch they will be cleaned up (deleted) automatically.

[Video] Transport Controls

Check out the following video for a quick overview on transport control functions and performance recording.

Selecting a Region:

Once you find a sound that you like you can trim the sound down if needed by clicking+wiping across the waveform where you want to zoom in on. It will make a purple box like below……..

When you let go of the mouse it will ZOOM in on the selection
To show all the waveform again you can hit (A) or to undo only one level of zoom you hit (Z)

You can also Hold Shift to select a Yellow Range that doesn’t zoom in when the mouse button is released.

When you are happy with your choice then you can either:

  • Add the file to the Taglist (T)
  • Toss the file to your main set wave editor by pressing (W)
  • Spot the sound to a track in your Target App by pressing (S) (for supported apps)
  • Most commonly is dragging and dropping the sound to a Track, to the audio pool of your Target Application or to a folder via the DnD Bar.
  • X-fer any selected sound to the Pool or Bin of the Target App (X) or the whole Taglist (ALT+X)
  • The © key when pressed will copy the selected to your set Transfer Path.

Drag and Drop from BaseHead is best done by grabbing the DnD Bar that is directly to the left of the waveform. (see main page image)
Then dragging it to the desired application or destination folder.
Also, you can just grab the records directly from the Results List, but keep in mind those files will always be referenced when dragged from the Results List always!
Another great highly recommend way to work is……….tag many sounds using (T) and then (Ctrl+Drag) from the DnD Bar to drag the whole Taglist without having to look at it  (NOTE: This same function is (Option+Drag) on Mac).

If your a Pro Tools user, here’s an older 4.x video to watch to get you familiar. Other DAW users should give it a quick watch also.


[Video] BaseHead 4.x with Pro Tools