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Cueing sounds/tracks for Live Shows

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Cueing sounds/tracks for Live Shows

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:10 am

Thoughts on this started after seeing one of The Elf's latest gizmos... a USB powered/linked 15-button control pad which can be linked directly to various things in your computer. Ideal for instant replay for folks like me who either for radio or stage shows and dramas with FX need to be able to fire-in a sound NOW. I may well get one... https://www.elgato.com/en/gaming/stream-deck

Over the last year or so I've been using Android Apps and Tablets to fire-in sounds as the touch-screens seemed ideal. But I've now reverted to a laptop as the apps proved to be so glitchy - not fun either on radio or with an audience of 250... :oops:

My old standby which has stood me in good stead is Multiplay https://www.da-share.com/software/multiplay/ Brilliant for a show where the cues are known, the sequence is known and you can pre-plan everything beforehand. The user-configurable screen layouts and titles are very useful I find too.

My new default for radio and also used for some live shows is the free version of DAC http://www.charliedavy.co.uk/dacfree/. Easy to organise, different colours for jingles, stings, trails etc. and has proved to be utterly reliable.

But last year I got thrown a huge curve-ball. A show with numerous cues, order unknown, length of each 'on the night' unknown, but smooth crossfades between them required at the appropriate point. Thinking this through I realised that it had to be as simple as possible... I'd have enough on my plate worrying about overall levels and watching the stage and compere to get an indication of where we were going next! After some rootling I found Soundplant https://soundplant.org/. For me a brilliant piece of software that lets you allocate triggers to the keys of your keyboard. So far so good, but the fact that you can program-in crossfades etc was the clincher. Very versatile and excellent for fast-moving shows with no order to predetermined cues or tracks.

Soundplant is not my go-to for all such activities... I tend to use all of the above, depending on the specific circumstances. But I'm happy with them all and am happy to recommend them.

... but I still might buy a StreamDeck... :D
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Re: Cueing sounds/tracks for Live Shows

Postby Smellthevalve » Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:32 am

Cheers mike :thumbup: might use that soon.
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Re: Cueing sounds/tracks for Live Shows

Postby forumuser840717 » Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:24 pm

For well organised shows with pre-set cue lists in Qlab (and other playout systems) I've found the USB Go-Box from That Little Box works beautifully.

I've also been using it as a remote control for a pair of recording computers running Samplitude as recorders on sessions. Much easier than fiddling about with two keyboards and/or mice to start/stop the recordings.
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Re: Cueing sounds/tracks for Live Shows

Postby Luke W » Fri Dec 14, 2018 3:00 pm

forumuser840717 wrote:For well organised shows with pre-set cue lists in Qlab (and other playout systems) I've found the USB Go-Box from That Little Box works beautifully.

I've also been using it as a remote control for a pair of recording computers running Samplitude as recorders on sessions. Much easier than fiddling about with two keyboards and/or mice to start/stop the recordings.

I'm a big fan of QLab, as simple or as complex as you need/want it to be. Mac only which is a bit of a shame, but great software. The amount of features you get in the free version is really good as well.

At work we've got soft keys on the console set up sending MIDI over to it so once everything is programmed it can all be run from the board with the keyboard and mouse firmly out of the way. Really handy.
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Re: Cueing sounds/tracks for Live Shows

Postby The Elf » Fri Dec 14, 2018 3:15 pm

Things I like about the Stream Deck:
Self-lit (perfect for stage).
Bus-powered.
Small enough to Velcro somewhere useful.
Solid build.
Hard buttons.
Custom icons, including text and animation.
Simple, reliable software.
Although there are only 15 buttons you can 'folder' functions (like an iPhone).

Things I don't like:
Current profile follows program focus (though you can create a 'Swap Profiles' button).
Captive cable (though this prevents accidental unplugging/connector fatigue at the business end).
More buttons would be nice.
Not exactly cheap.

I wouldn't be without mine for stage work. The focus thing remains my major concern, but to be fair it hasn't caused me any problems in practice. It would be better if the Stream Deck could be set to remain 'locked' to a program running in background.

I hope Elgato begin to notice that their devices are being used for applications other than the stuff on which their support and examples concentrate. I know a few potential users who have been put off by Elgato's concentrated push of the Stream Deck for streaming/gaming. This is really a much more generic device than Elgato's publicity gives it credibility for.

Definitely recommended.
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