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Simple sampler for theatre sound effects

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Simple sampler for theatre sound effects

Postby jonathan2008 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:24 pm

I am looking for a simple sample replay device (or devices) with a button activated trigger. This is for a performer - in this case a puppeteer - to activate on stage. It will be concealed behind the set where she won't be able to spend time looking at it and will ideally operate it by touch alone. I have an old Yamaha SU10 which would work except that it is very noisy, even when not actually playing. Any ideas? I'm thinking something akin to an electric 'ding-dong' doorbell but where I can use a sample of my own choosing and feed it through the PA.
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Re: Simple sampler for theatre sound effects

Postby seablade » Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:53 pm

jonathan2008 wrote:I am looking for a simple sample replay device (or devices) with a button activated trigger. This is for a performer - in this case a puppeteer - to activate on stage. It will be concealed behind the set where she won't be able to spend time looking at it and will ideally operate it by touch alone. I have an old Yamaha SU10 which would work except that it is very noisy, even when not actually playing. Any ideas? I'm thinking something akin to an electric 'ding-dong' doorbell but where I can use a sample of my own choosing and feed it through the PA.

Are you looking for a single sound effect, or are you looking for a list of sound effects that the performer just plays through, with one button firing the next cue?

The latter, which is typical for theater, is easily done with a laptop and QLab(or SFX, or SCS, or half a dozen other programs designed for theater playback). The former you might be better off with other options if you can get it cheaper.

But assuming it IS the, want to play back multiple SFX with a single button, QLab and possibly a MIDI foot controller is how I would do it. It is exceedingly simple to operate and used widely for theater for this purpose.

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Re: Simple sampler for theatre sound effects

Postby jonathan2008 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:12 pm

Thank you very much, Seablade. In fact we are using QLab, and a small laptop hidden in the set with access from behind, for most of the cues. The advantage of a stand alone unit, with perhaps two or four buttons and a sound allocated to each, is that we would not be tied to a set sequence or need to find hot keys by touch alone. It's for children's theatre: if they laugh, do it again. If they don't laugh, move on swiftly. I've been investigating programmable doorbells. Having used doorbells in the past (pre-programmed) they have the advantage of being a 'location sound' on stage and giving instant playback but they can be rather quiet.
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Re: Simple sampler for theatre sound effects

Postby seablade » Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:10 pm

jonathan2008 wrote:Thank you very much, Seablade. In fact we are using QLab, and a small laptop hidden in the set with access from behind, for most of the cues. The advantage of a stand alone unit, with perhaps two or four buttons and a sound allocated to each, is that we would not be tied to a set sequence or need to find hot keys by touch alone. It's for children's theatre: if they laugh, do it again. If they don't laugh, move on swiftly. I've been investigating programmable doorbells. Having used doorbells in the past (pre-programmed) they have the advantage of being a 'location sound' on stage and giving instant playback but they can be rather quiet.

You can assign MIDI triggers to any individual cue in QLab if you have the MIDI license(So you don't have to go in order). Combined with a simple pad trigger(Either pad triggers on a midi controller or if you have ac heap electronic drum kit with MIDI out laying around, depending on the size of the pads you want) or simple keyboard midi controller, this can do exactly what you want I believe. The MIDI license can also be rented per show as well for about $3 a show, so you might try renting it first and testing it out, but I suspect you will find, especially if you already have it, this is probably a good solution for you.

The other options I would look at would be things like doorbells, but running them through the sound system is often more electronics than people want to deal with, but certainly can be done.

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