For example, a morning show that requires instant playback of samples or sound effects on triggers such as a keyboard or other device.

I was checking out Playback Pro - anyone have any experience with this software and it's reliability in a live situation?

Does anyone know what kind of software or things used in a morning radio talk show or late night television talk show by chance?

8 Answers 8


For software, I'd recommend Ableton Live. You can see your hold clip grid, color-code everything, add fx, etc. Lots of integrated hardware controllers available.

On the hardware front, an MPC might do the trick, depending the situation. Triggering sfx from pads just feels better than a keyboard to me.

And as a marriage of the two, I'd recommend Maschine. That would probably offer the best of both worlds.


I did a lot of TV shows for 15 years. I started with Akai sampler then switch to a macbook, motu 828 and Kontakt sampler trigged by a keyboard. Now you can have a nice rig with small audio card with enought output to support surround (if you need) and a small keyboard with controls as levels, cutoff, effects... I did a bunch of kids shows live with a lot of sfx and music playback. My keyboard full of tapes for cues. Was very funny. From Award shows with a big surround applause set-up to simple talk show music set-up trigged by tv host with a keyboard Kontakt is amazing and deep. With the large instruments banks that come with, you can even write music on the spot! Producers like that!

Good luck.


I know a lot of people in live events use Q Cart. It's not too pricy and is apparently very stable.


Today I have been using Jingle Palette and am pretty happy with it's performance. It's free, though not sure it's available on Mac (I was using a PC today). You can load up to 30 sounds per "palette" and it's quick and easy to load a new "palette". Playback response is really good and the user interface is very pleasing. I'll continue using it this week so will add to the post if I come across any problems.

  • @Colin I was about to suggest QLab until I saw your post. Never knew they did this aswell, and it looks like a much better solution! Cheers. Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 18:52

Ive used Sports Sounds Pro. Worked nicely, stable, also keeps track of if you have played the sound or not. Very simple and basic interface. It worked really well doing Imagination Movers Live. I have no idea about external controllers for it, I never got into that when I used it. It is designed to use for triggering audio during events so it really has what you need and only that.


For simple, cheap, and reliable one-shot effects there is SoundPlant. It basically makes your keyboard an assignable sampler. One key, one shot. Very simple and very robust. (And free!)

If you are looking for a cue list structured playback engine with a lot of power, check out Stage Research's SFX (for Windows) or Qlab (Mac) they are both very powerful playback engines: THE industry standards for live theatre playback. Multi track, midi triggering, with its own scripting language to boot.


Mac? http://www.ambrosiasw.com/utilities/soundboard-mac/


I guess i would either use Kontakt controlled by iPad or Ableton controlled by Novation Launchpad or iPad again. Depends on what you have/use today i guess...


For my live theater sound work, I've always used a laptop running Ableton Live, so I'll second that. It lets you do sound processing on the fly, too, if need be.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.