How can I swap large .wav files back and forth for a long distance music collaboration?
September 5, 2009 6:37 PM   Subscribe

My cousin in New Hampshire wants to collaborate on music with me. I'm in Seattle. I'd like to figure out a convenient way for us to pass large .wav files to each other. I can pull his completed rock songs into a multitracking program and create vocal tracks - then I need to pass the vocal tracks back to him in the form of .wav files so he can add them to the mix on his end. I know there are web based file storage sites, and I can randomly try some out, but I thought I'd start with the hive mind: Can anyone recommend a service like this? I'm thinking free, uncomplicated and capable of handling large file sizes. The files don't need to live there for a long time - just a reasonable window of time to pass them back and forth. Have any of you done this kind of thing?
posted by markjamesmurphy to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you need to cut down file size, compress lossly with FLAC on either end and then have the other person unpack them. But I suspect that web-based filehosting may not be the best tool for the job...
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:43 PM on September 5, 2009

posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:43 PM on September 5, 2009

Yousendit, rapidshare, megaupload - any of these sites work great for what you are discribing. And Nth FLAC for a lossless encoding solution to cut down on file size.
posted by bigmusic at 6:46 PM on September 5, 2009

Response by poster: I wouldn't be concerned with making the file size smaller - these would be full sized .wav files, potentially around 4-5 minutes in length.
posted by markjamesmurphy at 6:48 PM on September 5, 2009

Best answer: You send it.
You Send It allows up to upload 100 MB files free of charge, and much larger for the price of a subscription. I use it a lot and am very happy with the ease of moving large files across the internet.
posted by walleeguy at 6:53 PM on September 5, 2009

I'm a big fan of Mediafire. 200 MB limit per file.
posted by reductiondesign at 6:55 PM on September 5, 2009

I have had a good experience using to share music files. However, as I'm usually just sharing mixdowns to show the state of a song, I can get away with compressed files and so I'm not sure how it would deal with giant WAVs.

WAVs are really inefficient - cutting down the file size will be beneficial.
As Inpsector.Gadget suggested, lossless FLAC compression will be useful -
maybe even just zipping/raring it up.

some details - the Lite version is always free and offers:
* 5 collaboration folders
* 1 GB storage
* Up to 25 MB per file
posted by sloe at 6:56 PM on September 5, 2009

Dropbox is easy to use, multi-platform, and free up to 2GB.
posted by schrodycat at 6:58 PM on September 5, 2009

Response by poster: Great answers, thanks a lot everyone
posted by markjamesmurphy at 6:59 PM on September 5, 2009

I second the Dropbox suggestion by schrodycat. It's a great service with very smooth filesystem integration/syncing. "It just works."
posted by hrbrmstr at 7:00 PM on September 5, 2009

Thirding Dropbox, specifically the share a folder feature. If you and your cousin both install the Dropbox desktop app y'all can share a folder so that any files you put in the folder will be available on his pc and vice versa.
posted by nooneyouknow at 7:33 PM on September 5, 2009

If you're looking for a service tailored specifically to musicians take a look at Might be a little more pro focused than what you need right now.
posted by tundro at 7:50 PM on September 5, 2009 is made exactly for this.

In my experience doing this I would recommend sending mp3s back and forth for writing, and then when you're ready to really mix, THEN start sending wav files. I know plenty of people will call blasphemy on my, but hey, a 320kbps mp3 is plenty fine to lay another track to.

But kompoz will let you shoot uncompressed files back and forth all day long.
posted by toekneebullard at 8:18 PM on September 5, 2009

Not an answer to your technical question, but just wanted to say that since your cousin is in NH you two should consider collaborating on the RPM Music Challenge next year.......It's really exploded over the last few years and is a great way to showcase talent and accomplish a pretty cool musical goal.
posted by DuckGirl at 8:32 PM on September 5, 2009

Dropbox is a good choice for background processing of files with people you're working with regularly. One very nice feature is that you don't have to worry about maintaining a constant connection like you do with a website upload or FTP site. My brother, a professional musician, uses YouSendIt all the time as he works with people all across the country. But I have him hooked on Dropbox now.
posted by shinynewnick at 9:50 PM on September 5, 2009

Response by poster: In my experience doing this I would recommend sending mp3s back and forth for writing, and then when you're ready to really mix, THEN start sending wav files.

Yeah, he has already sent me an MP3 as an email attachment. That's all I need on this end - I'm going to do an elaborate bunch of vocal stuff, and when I'm done, it's all going to be on one .wav file, finished, and going back to him. I think it's going to be cool - his MP3 is a very clean and well recorded, full-fledged song, with all the instrumental tracks in place. I'm kind of excited, because I've always wanted to collaborate long distance like this, and I think he'll flip when I add a ton of magical sauce to his song. I'm going to go all Chris Cornell on his ass.
posted by markjamesmurphy at 9:56 PM on September 5, 2009

I agree with the Dropbox suggestion. The free 2 gig version could handle over three hours of uncompressed CD audio, so a few minutes is easy. Although lofi mp3 could be very handy for coordination; uploading a few minutes of audio could take a while on a slow connection, & having quick responses could really make collaboration more interesting.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:02 PM on September 5, 2009

Foldershare, which is now Windows LiveSync was great for this sort of thing. I assume it still is. It works peer-to-peer, in the background, securely and transparently. Throw a file in the sync folder and it ends up on your collaborators hard disk, or vice versa. The only caveat is that both computers have to be on and connected to the net at the same time, something that can be easily facilitated by adding an extra computer into the mix.
posted by Good Brain at 10:41 AM on September 6, 2009

I actually like LiveMesh - it allows up to 5GB per "Live ID" (and you can register nearly any email address as a "Live ID") - it works across Windows and supposedly soon will have a Mac client. It also hosts the files on the web share, so not all of your machines have to be on. Finally, it even supports remote desktop sessions which punch through firewalls/NAT's nicely.

(I've been using it for about a month now, it is very good * warning, yes the borg pay my bills - but I am always open to other options)
posted by jkaczor at 10:52 AM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Berlin based startup Soundcloud are all about transferring music files between collaborators and then distributing to the audience later on. I'm not a musician, but I've heard good things about them from other people around town. Maybe give them a try?
posted by pipstar at 12:16 PM on September 6, 2009

You could cut out the middle man and use Opera Unite. I've used it a few times to send stuff to my girlfriend. Essentially, the Opera web browser doubles as server software when you want it to.
posted by thekiltedwonder at 1:17 PM on September 6, 2009

7thing Dropbox. I have used it for this exact purpose.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 3:58 PM on September 6, 2009

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