Jump to content

Sound FX using a PC & USB Midi Keyboard


Recommended Posts

Hi All,


For a school production I need to construct a system for sound effects. Most will have to be triggered in real-time to visual cues (whiplashes, etc).

I therefore think I can do this by using a laptop as a sampler and a small USB keyboard as the trigger/controller.

I have some software which could be utilised to this task including Adobe Audition V6 and Sony Soundforge V8. So my questions are:

1. Are the software applications suitable?

2. What small (inexpensive) keyboard would be suitable?

3. How would you go about setting up such an arrangement?


Many thanks for all suggestions..



Link to comment
Share on other sites


this is easily done.


Take for example a cheap midi controller/keyboard: M-Audio Oxygen 8 v2. It comes with Ableton Live included. In Live you can assign any midi message to any function of the program including the starting of audio clips. Assign each note to a sound clip and, presto, you have 25 clips to launch at the press of a key.


The connections should be: keyboard, via USB cable to laptop, and from line out via a 1/8" Jack to 2 x 1/4" jacks cable into your mixer.


Hope this helps,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Multiplay is decent enough for fx playback. It can be found under Software Release Announcements on this site.


I have used it at a variety of shows where I use it to playback fx quickly changing from one to another.

There are options on each track that you up-load, start/end time in the track, fade times, panning the computer output, hot starts off your PC keyboard, etc.


It also allows you to have mutliple copies running at the same time, so you can run 2 que lists. This allows me to run one when I need to run a music bed (pan left) the other is for the louder stings/fx (pan right), the panning is actually how the music is outputted from your computer, not the panning on the desk! I have found it a easy to you and so far reliable piece of software and its free.


Before you try and make/bodge something have a look at this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi All,


I have just purchased the M-Audio Oxygen 8 V2 keyboard from Digital Village in Southampton for £40!!!

Not being a musician, the Ableton Live Lite 6 software seems extremely wacky and non-intuitive.


If anybody has some suggestions as to how to configure the above kit to playback samples, I would be most grateful.


Many thanks.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

... some suggestions as to how to configure the above kit to playback samples ...


Hi Roy,


I guess you will need to learn how to use Live if only a little to make this happen. Please note that I haven't used Live for over a year and the following are from the top of my head.


Now, Live has three libraries on the left panel that are actually folders in your hard disk. Setup one of them to point to a folder where your audio files are located. Then you can browse your files from within the left panel.


Be sure you are is "Session View" mode, as it is the one that will help you.Then drag and drop an audio clip from the library into the columns of the center of the window. A small colored rectangle will be created. There is a small "Play" button on the left of it. If you click it, it will play.


You should already have installed the drivers of the Oxygen, so I assume it is visible to your OS as a midi-in device. Set it up as the midi-in device in Live as well.


Then, there is an option "Midi Map Mode", turn in on. This makes all controls in the application blue. You click on the control you want to control with midi, then you perform an action in your controller to assign the midi message.


So, you click on the "play" button on your audio clip rectangle, then you press a key on your Oxygen keyboard. From there on, any time you press the key, the clip is played.


Repeat the above steps for the rest of the audio clips and you're set!


By the way, Live has a nice manual. Be sure to have a quick look.



Hope this helps as well.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you google hard enough there quite a few PC and mac based show playback systems. Some are even free.


For schools with Macs I can recommend Macscue (Very simple even a teacher can use it.) It is really basic though and requires a workaround to make a "Stop cue"


for a bit more power Qlab comes fairly close to SFX. you can add modules as you go to trigger midi and video as well. It has multiple outputs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.