Sound effect machine from stage for improvisors

tymckz

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Hi
I work with improvisors. I want to give them a physical machine offstage that is well lit, with the ability to label buttons that can make pre-programed sounds and is connected to the speakers. I might be living in a dream world since all my searches came up empty. Does anyone know if this exists?
Thanks
Ty
 

seanandkate

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Could you use an old laptop? There are many sound effects programs that allow you to assign hotkeys to trigger any sound effect you import. Would a computer keyboard key be too small for you to label legibly?
 
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tymckz

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Thanks for replying. I thought about that but they need something a little more bulky to easily and quickly hit the sound button. I was looking at this but I'm not sure if or how it would work.

Could you use an old laptop? There are many sound effects programs that allow you to assign hotkeys to trigger any sound effect you import. Would a computer keyboard key be too small for you to label legibly?
 

What Rigger?

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I know there's a way to do this with a piano keyboard through MIDI (?)...but that was 20 years ago. Dueling Pirates (@derekleffew might remember) was a patchwork gear show where I had to do this from the booth without really looking at it.
Maybe there's something between this ancient idea and Q-sys that the hive mind knows of.
 

Smellyglove

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You can look into the Stream Deck. You'd need a PC or Mac to hook it up to though, and some software to play the sounds, as it's just a remote. Super simple to set up and configure. But it has small LCD buttons.
 

seanandkate

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Thanks for replying. I thought about that but they need something a little more bulky to easily and quickly hit the sound button. I was looking at this but I'm not sure if or how it would work.
It looks like that might do the trick. Find your local supplier, and tell them what your application is. They can confirm or deny. But it looks like this might be the "big button" solution you want.
 
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dvsDave

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You should be able to use any number of touch devices that support OSC
 
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Jay Ashworth

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What I suspect you actually want is a "sampler". It will look like that Akai controller -- and I think Akai makes some -- but the audio samples will live right in the box, and you'll hook an XLR cable to it.

Lessee...

Yeah; as I suspected, the -218 someone linked about is just a control surface; here's a similar unit from Akai that is an actual all-in-one sampler with audio output:

 

Van

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I second Jay. A sample pad is the ticket and There are TONS of them available as they are used by DJ's and one-man bands or solo acts all the time.

BTW The first Sampler unit ever produced was The Chamberlin in 1949.
 
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dvsDave

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Another resource would be TouchOSC, a free app from hexler.com. You'll need some sort of OSC compatible playback software, there's a list at their site.
 
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TimMc

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The go-to box has been the 360 Systems Instant Replay. Fifty clips on the surface, you can select layers. Pricey item.

Sports Sounds Pro on a touch screen laptop would be less $$.

A sampler like the Akai above or one of the Roland SP400 series samplers, from a pawn shop or ebay....
 

Jay Ashworth

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Do take note, though, that most of the Replay 360s are pretty old hardware these days, and if you're going to buy one, you're going to want to think seriously about replacing its (SCSI) hard drive with an SSD and an adapter.

As much as I like those boxes, I suspect it for your environment, you would be better off with the sort of sampler mentioned above, intended for musicians performing live rather than DJs in a nice cushy booth.
 

RonHebbard

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The go-to box has been the 360 Systems Instant Replay. Fifty clips on the surface, you can select layers. Pricey item.

Sports Sounds Pro on a touch screen laptop would be less $$.

A sampler like the Akai above or one of the Roland SP400 series samplers, from a pawn shop or ebay....
@TimMc and @Jay Ashworth Will the 360 Instant Replay play multiple effects simultaneously, for instance: A background rain / wind / storm track with thunder claps and 'Zot you're sterile' lighting bolts overlaid on an as called / cued basis in real time dependent upon performers' pacing??
(The world has yet to perfect Equity members with MIDI In, Through, and Out jacks on their necks and / or SMPTE inputs on their butts.)
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

spiwak2005

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@TimMc and @Jay Ashworth Will the 360 Instant Replay play multiple effects simultaneously, for instance: A background rain / wind / storm track with thunder claps and 'Zot you're sterile' lighting bolts overlaid on an as called / cued basis in real time dependent upon performers' pacing??
(The world has yet to perfect Equity members with MIDI In, Through, and Out jacks on their necks and / or SMPTE inputs on their butts.)
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
I don't believe it can playback cues simultaneously. When cues are assigned to hotkeys, pressing a hotkey will stop the current playback and start the new cue.
 

Dionysus

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London, Ontario, Canada
How about a iPad with "Go button"? from our friends at Figure 53!
Another option would be QLab with a laptop with a touch screen or MIDI device as mentioned above. QLab can be configured with a "Cue Cart" instead of a list for easy playback of a number of pre defined "canned" sounds. While a Midi Pad or even Keyboard can be done up to play a bunch... An 88 key keyboard can be configured for 88 different sounds!

Really QLab with carts for different "feels" or "games" is how I would handle improv typically. Load with what you think you'll need for different themes etc.
Go Button is really great for just leaving a control that anyone can operate.

Of course there are lots of other options.
 

TimMc

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@TimMc and @Jay Ashworth Will the 360 Instant Replay play multiple effects simultaneously, for instance: A background rain / wind / storm track with thunder claps and 'Zot you're sterile' lighting bolts overlaid on an as called / cued basis in real time dependent upon performers' pacing??
(The world has yet to perfect Equity members with MIDI In, Through, and Out jacks on their necks and / or SMPTE inputs on their butts.)
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
The first IRs could not. I *think* the most recent versions/firmware can do this with a limited number of clips but not sure. Sports Sounds Pro allows this but it is not the default.
 

Ben Stiegler

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What I suspect you actually want is a "sampler". It will look like that Akai controller -- and I think Akai makes some -- but the audio samples will live right in the box, and you'll hook an XLR cable to it.

Lessee...

Yeah; as I suspected, the -218 someone linked about is just a control surface; here's a similar unit from Akai that is an actual all-in-one sampler with audio output:

Ableton makes some solid stuff, too - pricey, tho- smallest is $800 SRP
 
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jm_in_tx

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I could build you one in a day with a Raspberry Pi and some off-the-shelf parts. Seriously. I built a faux-speakerphone for an escape room that behaves just like a speakerphone (Polycom): it gives a dial tone, DTMF tones, rings, plays messages... All coded in Python using the audio routines from a gaming library.

Be cautious about going down the QLab route. I love QLab and have used it many times but it is the gold standard and has a price structure to match. I use Show Cue System for sound in my stage shows. It's probably not what you want because it's not a "press this button to play this sound" sort of thing. Regardless of the relevance to the problem at hand, I love it because it's affordable, does everything I need, is rock solid and has the best support I have ever experienced.

There are many ways to skin your cat. One way might also be MultiPlay. But it's Windows software (as is SCS) and doesn't meet your criteria of being a robust box with buttons.
 

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