I am working on a theater sound design which will require frequent repetitions of a few sound files. I have a PC laptop that I can use for playback. I have seen software that allows the assignment of hot keys to play different mp3's, but now that I need it, I cannot find it on line. Can anyone recommend something?

Thanks, Gordon Gunn Gunn Bros. Sound Design Austin, TX


Try Jingle Palette.

  • It's free.
  • It supports various audio files.
  • And, in my experience of using it, it's very stable.
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  • I'll check it out, but I'm looking for something that will let me assign keys to sounds, start one when the previous one is not finished, etc. – ggunn Nov 23 '12 at 2:35

if you can beg borrow or steal a mac, qLab is free, awesome and virtually industry standard for theatre.

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  • I have three macs, but nothing portable enough or that I would want to leave in the theater. – ggunn Nov 23 '12 at 2:35

also try SoundByte from www.blackcatsystems.com been using that for years for very same thing. also v stable and very intuitive, maybe even a bit simpler than QLab and less cluttered during a show.

it allows click to play, hot keys, midi trigger, or playlist play. you can also loop individual carts if you want say a birdsong bed under other fx etc.

also features individual level sliders for each cart.


paul d

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  • hi, sorry, forgot to mention: SoundByte is both mac & px compat – paul d Nov 23 '12 at 8:47
  • That sounds perfect. I will check it out. – ggunn Nov 23 '12 at 15:32

Or just Ableton Live! Can do everything!

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Here's a simpler application for just playing sounds from the the same company that makes Qlab.



But I'm afraid thats only mac too. If you don't find anything similar for PC I would definitely go for Ableton Live. I've been using it a lot for theater sound design. Lots of possibilities to change the sound live, allows me to change parameters in ambient sounds and at the same time easily play short effects with just a click. And I can do my design while playing along with the actors, no need to render new files after every change. Try it!

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