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Need sound software advice

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by Tammye Nash, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. Tammye Nash

    Tammye Nash New Member

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    I volunteer for a bellydance studio that puts on several smaller "studio" haflas and at least three larger events. They have, over the last couple of years, been working to change from running the music for the shows as digital sound files played on a laptop, rather than CDs in an ancient CD player, a Dennon?, that is not reliable. Another volunteer who considers himself a sound expert (he's not) purchased some software and installed it on his personal laptop. He gets all the sound files in advance and loads them into the software, puts them in order, etc. The software he purchased and has been using is, I believe, intended to be used in a theatrical setting where certain sounds are cued up and played as needed, without the need to add, remove or change the order. That's not the way these shows work. And more than once, the software has failed at critical times during the larger shows featuring professional dancers from around the world. He is now saying he's found the software for Macs that can run on an ipad or even an iphone and it's the best, etc.
    Here's the deal: The studio owner insists that the new system for running the music will be software the studio owns, installed on a device the studio owns. I believe, that since we have volunteers who are not sound experts running the sound, that they need a reliable program in which they can make the necessary changes on the fly — add, remove, change the order — that will give a relatively professional result but is simple to learn and operate. I personally prefer Mac computers, but it may be cost prohibitive in terms of the studio purchasing its own computer. So Mac-specific software may not work. I also don't think they should rely on a phone or an ipad to run the sound — they need to focus on reliability and simplicity as opposed to the neatest/newest gadgets for the guy who considers himself a sound expert.
    So, I am asking for some advice on the best program for them to purchase — something that is reliable, simple and not exorbitantly expensive — and then the best computer to get to run that software. Any suggestions
     
  2. chausman

    chausman Chase Fight Leukemia

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    Have you looked at Qlab? Or was that what the "expert" was using? It's about as industry standard and professional as it gets. It runs on Mac, and has apps that run on iOS devices to trigger cues. It's pretty easy to drag and drop files and the order of cues. For 2 channels of audio, it's free. Which would leave more money for something like a Mac mini (starts at $499).
     
  3. Tammye Nash

    Tammye Nash New Member

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    Thank you. I had seen Qlab mentioned. I will put it on my list for sure. Are there any PC-based programs that are similar/equivalent? I'd like to be able to give them some options.
     
  4. josh88

    josh88 Remarkably Tired. Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    If the other person purchased something and had a windows laptop it might have been SFX, but thats something like $400. If I recall, its pretty drag and drop for setting and rearranging.
    http://www.stageresearch.com/page/home-1
     
  5. AudJ

    AudJ Active Member

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    My church uses Soundcue (lite or full) on an iPad has proven to be very reliable. Seems to cover all the requirements. I'm sure there are DJ based apps that would also do the job. Unless I missed something, you are replacing a CD player, so I'm confused why a full computer would be required, when an iPod was designed for this task. Is video or other need for a computer a future possibility?
     
  6. ThomasL

    ThomasL Member

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  7. jonliles

    jonliles Active Member Fight Leukemia

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    SCS Full ($100) is my favorite Windows PC Sound App. It's easy to use. You can load all the MP3. Set the cues. Have auto stop commands, tell it to pick up a song at a certain time signature (no more trimming in different program), various fades, easy enough to jump to a next cue. For me, it is worth the price for the Professional addition which lets you map 8 distinct outputs.
     
    flowalex999 likes this.
  8. seanandkate

    seanandkate Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    +1 for Qlab if you can get a Mac (even refurbished). For Windows, the SCS suggestion is pretty intuitive. Most of these programs will also allow you to program a file to a particular "hot key" on the keyboard, so you don't need to drag or drop anything.
     
  9. TheaterEd

    TheaterEd Renaissance Man Fight Leukemia

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    I would use Qlab if I had access to a mac. I don't so I use SCS. The kids are generally able to pick up SCS and make it work for basic cues without any help from me.
     
  10. Amiers

    Amiers Winter is Coming

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    Venue Magic is a decent program and it's for windows. All drag and drop. You get a 15 day trial to test it out.

    DJ side of things you could get Virtual DJ which is also pretty user friendly.
     
  11. Tammye Nash

    Tammye Nash New Member

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    Sorry I wasn't clear. Replacing an older laptop using a program not really designed for a live show that often can change midstream as to which dancer is performing next or a dancer not showing up or changing their music at the last minute. Whichever program they have been using - for which he paid, I think, around $100 - has been balking at shutting down. They will buy a new laptop for this purpose, which is why there is debate between PC or Mac.
     
  12. Tammye Nash

    Tammye Nash New Member

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    Thank you
     
  13. Tammye Nash

    Tammye Nash New Member

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  14. Tammye Nash

    Tammye Nash New Member

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    Thank you
     
  15. DGotlieb

    DGotlieb Member

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    You may want to look into an iPad the app GoButton (made my the company that does QLab) and a dock like the Focusrite iTrack dock
    here is a video of the kit in use
     
  16. dbaxter

    dbaxter Active Member Premium Member

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    My company offers a professional level Windows program for theater sound control. Sounds may be played cue by cue in theatrical mode or by number from the Num Pad. If you feel you have special needs, you may contact me with any questions.
    (Edit) I forgot to mention - there is a whole 'sticky' thread on the subject of sound software you might want to look at.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017
  17. Joel - Studio 52

    Joel - Studio 52 Member

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    Some great ideas here. Thanks to all for sharing.

    Joel
     

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