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Playback software for backing tracks and stings...


Sound Engineer

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I'm wondering what I can use on a Windows system for playback of audio in professional situations (I work on corporate events, conferences, awards ceremonies and occasional theatre)

 

I started wondering as I did a theatre show the other week and was presented with a dual CD player and a couple of CDs for all the backing tracks. It seemed a bit outdated!

 

I currently use CombiWave on my Windows laptop, outputting via a good quality (Focusrite) audio interface. Combiwave is ok, but it's very basic.

 

I know that QLab is pretty well renowned, but it's Mac only.

 

Do I:

 

1) Buy a Macbook and QLab?

 

or

 

2) Find a decent Windows based equivalent? (that's where you guys come in, suggestions please!)

 

All I need is playlisting and playback of all the usual audio files as well as the ability to remotely trigger playback via MIDI.

 

What does everyone else use?

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I quite like multiplay. It costs nothing to download (although they suggest leaving a donation if you like the software). and does all the things you'd typically need for an award show. I tend to set up a stack of different walkups, and have repeated music cues (e.g. sponsor walkup music) assigned to hotkeys. So the whole show can be run using keys 1-0, space bar. and another key for fade-out.
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Another SCS recommendation here. A fantastic piece of software. It will also do video and images if that helps.

I have been using it for several years and the support is excellent.

 

I suggest you download the demo and have a play!

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At the risk of writing another "me too" post, I'd also heartily recommend SCS. I've used it for years - it's always done everything I've needed it to and the author has even added in a feature that I requested within a few days of asking.

I've used Qlab on occasion but to me it just doesn't seem nearly as flexible and feature-packed. All other things being equal, for audio use, I'd go with SCS every time.

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Iv used a free programme called Jazler show for a few youth talent shows iv sound tech,d at.

 

Its a very simple Cartwall type app designed for radio jingles etc , but worked equally as well playing full length tracks. Its also very easy to rename the tabs too for quick recognition

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I didn't reply earlier because I'm in the middle of an intense 2 week stint doing audio at a local theatre...

 

...using SCS running on my laptop.

 

Something slightly glazed over previously--whatever system you go with (Windows or Mac and whatever software) budget for a decent audio interface with balanced outputs. I'm using an M Audio M Track ($139 here in Australia). Edited to add: Sorry, just noticed you have a Focusrite. Sorry.

 

I've also used Multiplay in the past but, for whatever reason, David Dutton hasn't updated it for some time and I've heard of some issues in newer operating systems with certain file types. I sure you can find the details here on the BR.

 

One other thing to mention: for any show that's a bit unpredictable, have a look at Soundplant. It just turns your keyboard into hotkeys (no playlist) but for random things like a panto where the cast is vamping a lot and random boings and rimshots are the order of the day, it works well--and free for the basic version, cheap if you want things like MP3 playback.

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  • 3 weeks later...

One other thing to mention: for any show that's a bit unpredictable, have a look at Soundplant. It just turns your keyboard into hotkeys (no playlist) but for random things like a panto where the cast is vamping a lot and random boings and rimshots are the order of the day, it works well--and free for the basic version, cheap if you want things like MP3 playback.

 

You can do that in SCS too, but you don't get the keyboard display to remind you what the keys do. For occasional busking SFX it's fine, though.

 

 

 

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In SCS, you get a strip down the right hand side of the screen that displays your hotkeys, albeit not in quite such a pretty was as Soundplant. Maybe there's an option to hide it but it's always been visible on mine.
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