Sound Effects Wing for Improv

tymckz

Member
Hi

I'm working with an improv theatre and they want a more user friendly way to access sound effects. There are many different shows each week, each show has their specific sound effects. They want a wing for the tactile button pushing or slider effect, as opposed to a software program on a computer. It's fine to create the pages of sound effects for each show with software but when running the show they want something to physically push or slide.

I've looked at the Akai mini or the Novation Launchpad mini but the one drawback is that there is no ability to have each button labeled as the buttons will change for each show. Putting tape on the buttons or some other rigged way to do that won't work long term and having to look at a computer screen, look at a keypad and hit the right button is too time consuming... they need immediate action.

Do you know what I'm looking for? Does something like this exist?
 

josh88

Remarkably Tired.
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
I would recommend getting something like a stream deck. music all lives on the computer but you can set up soundboards with custum pictures or text and one hit of the button plays the effect. The whole thing works by nesting folders in folders and just dragging and dropping with a lightweight app on the computer. Because of the nesting you could have hundreds of pages of buttons, a page for each show.

I use mine as a qlab trigger and a few other uses set up for other programs and it was some of the best money I've spent.
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Sports Sounds Pro. Not free but worth the roughly US$140 IMNSHO. On a touch screen computer/laptop the playback is a breeze.

There are other pieces of software that will do one-shot playing and I think there is a sticky thread near the top of this Sound/Music/Intercom forum. Some of them are free, some may no longer supported by the author, a few are not exactly new and the UIs reflect that. I'll leave out the theatre-oriented cue players.

A hardware solution is a box by 360 Systems called Instant Replay. It was meant to be broadcast product (many 360 products are), the visual (text) interface is very 1998, and it's rock solid. I see a lot of them out with rap acts and on corporate events (all the executive "walk up" music, etc). They used to be terribly expensive but used on Fleabay they're the price of a decent laptop with touchscreen. Did I mention rock solid? The trade off is the IR isn't configurable like a software product.

Good luck with the search and let us know what you chose and how it works for you.
 

BCAP

Well-Known Member
A hardware solution is a box by 360 Systems called Instant Replay. It was meant to be broadcast product (many 360 products are), the visual (text) interface is very 1998, and it's rock solid. I see a lot of them out with rap acts and on corporate events (all the executive "walk up" music, etc). They used to be terribly expensive but used on Fleabay they're the price of a decent laptop with touchscreen. Did I mention rock solid? The trade off is the IR isn't configurable like a software product.

I remember that 360 Systems unit.

There are a few less expensive sample playback devices with buttons - Roland / BOSS made some of them (SP-202 Dr. Sample) and there may be other manufacturers.

I've seen some different theater applications using Arduino boards (or Teensy controllers) and arcade style buttons. Some of these microprocessors have audio board options that support CD quality audio playback and can even use SD cards with *.wav files (which might make it really easy to swap audio files out). It would take a bit of work to do but I can imagine a GIANT sound effect button with LED inside being a fun thing to build into an improv routine.

Similarly you could build an HUI device to simply send a keystroke to a computer with a Teensy board and an arcade button. That board has USB output on it. That way you could put the button onstage and have it control your favorite computer playback program of choice. I've built one of these myself, here is a video I referenced while building mine.

 

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