At this point, my sound effects library has grown to the point where I can’t bring it with me into Avid. It’s just too unwieldy, and I’d end up bringing in a lot of sfx I’d never use. So starting with Hellboy 2, I kept my sfx in iTunes, and would use the iTunes interface to sort and preview my library. When I found an effect I liked, I’d drag it to the desktop and then import it into Avid (in OSX you can’t drag direct from iTunes to Avid, although last time I was on Windows you could).
Now, I’ve taken to using a feature of Finder (Leopard-only) that I’ve long overlooked: the ability to filter Finder by media type. In your sidebar, under “MEDIA”, you will find the Music item. Clicking on this accesses your iTunes library, including any playlists (I keep all my sfx in a smart playlist so I can quickly filter out the sfx), and even allows you to Quick Look them by hitting the spacebar. Find the track(s) you want and off you go, without ever leaving Avid.
The Caveats (as usual)
When using Quick Look you can’t change tracks as easily as in iTunes or standalone Finder, but it still works. You just have to hit spacebar twice when you want to preview a different track (once to stop, another to start a new track). Doing it this way prevents you from having to switch applications and incur the wrath of the 5-10 second catch-up process that Avid does every time you switch back to it with a large Unity project open.
Also, this method works great when you’re searching for a small number of sfx of the same type (variations of crowd, e.g.). It doesn’t work as well if you’re searching for a bunch of different types of sfx, since every time you do a new search it will forget what files you’ve already selected. You’d have to search for one type of sfx, import, rinse and repeat.