"Be sure to pick up Marcel Blum's Soundplant... files are triggered with virtually no latency... offers a refreshing alternative."
-Electronic Musician Magazine, Download of the Month
"There's an excellent piece of software called Soundplant that allows you to transform any Mac or PC into a custom soundboard."
-CNET, How to play sounds using a computer keyboard
"Love your product, as a sound designer for theater it is absolutely indispensable in creating reactive & dense sonic imagery to enhance live performance."
-Jim Fourniadis, director, producer, actor, & owner, The Dark Room Theater, San Francisco
"Soundplant is a pleasure to use, & I'm grateful for your innovation & support over the past few years. You should reach down & pat yourself on the back, Soundplant was used by me during production of Inception which was awarded an Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing."
-Ed Novick, film production sound engineer
"The new version is a gorgeous & robust improvement. The layout design alone is just beautiful, & the new features are superb & very impressive. The reverb is excellent in every way, & helps give the sounds a warmth that makes them sound that much more "real". The keyboard response is better. Soundplant is one of the most valuable tools for music making that I have ever used."
-Tom Furgas, composer & artist
"I use Soundplant for all of the sound FX playback from my Mac for Top Gear Live. I think that it is brilliant."
-Gareth Davies, Head of Audio, BBC's Top Gear Live
"In an era of bloated software, Soundplant is squeaky clean - we love it! 100% Astro-Certified!"
-rock band Man or Astro-Man?
"With Swedish Television (SVT), I've done the Olympics where we of course used Soundplant live to the whole world. Without doubt the most used 'playback program' in TV work over here, with great success."
-Mattias Dalin, EUROSOUND mediacrew ab
"A subtle & sophisticated sample player... The multitude & flexibility of the playback options offered by Soundplant make it an almost uniquely talented file player... it works so beautifully in what it does it just demands a place in the audio toolbox."
-Alistair McGhee, audio engineer and journalist, Soundplant Audio Player Review
"Thank you for the devotion & generous approach that has made your software accessible & intuitive to young musicians & sound engineers. Young techies (my crew ranged from ages 8-11) can easily grasp the interface and became aces at synchronizing music and sound effects. In the many years we have used the program we never had a single crash or freeze."
-Chris Chater, Music Educator
What is Soundplant?
Soundplant is live performance audio software that turns your computer keyboard (yes, your QWERTY keyboard) into a versatile, low latency, multitrack sample trigger and playable musical instrument. It allows the assignment of sound files of any format and length onto virtually all keyboard keys, giving you hours of instantly-playing random access audio at your fingertips with no extra hardware needed. Use Soundplant as a performance, presentation, or installation tool, as a drum pad, as an educational aid, to mix together tracks in realtime, trigger sound effects or background tracks during a show, create music or loops, sketch sound designs, make beats, and give new life to old sounds - all via an input device you've been practicing on for as long as you've been typing. Because it's a standalone software sampler that uses your own samples to create custom soundboards, Soundplant is an infinitely flexible electronic instrument limited only by the variety of sounds that you feed it. An easy to use interface provides drag & drop configuration of each key, including options which control the way each sound is triggered along with several lightweight non-destructive realtime effects. Playing sounds are displayed with a progress bar and track time, and you can even trigger sounds with Soundplant hidden while using any other program.
- 88 keyboard keys can be used to trigger sounds with very low latency, including *new* numpad support
- drag & drop sound files onto keyboard keys for quick & easy key assignment; click & drag to move or copy sounds from key to key
- plays virtually all sound file formats in existence, including .wav, .aif, .mp3, .mp4, .flac, .m4a, .aac, .wma, .alac, .wv, .ogg, .snd, .ape, & many many more, even audio from video files like .mp4, .webm, .mkv, .wmv, .avi, .mov, .mpg, .flv, etc.
- 'background key input' allows Soundplant to receive key hits while minimized or hidden — trigger sounds with global hotkeys while using other audio apps, typing a document, playing a game, or doing anything else in any other program, with optional use of Ctrl/Alt/Option & *new* Win/Command key combos
- *new* v.50 has been rewritten from scratch optimized for modern 64-bit multicore CPUs & GPUs — everything is faster & smoother
- *new* 'MIDI assign' for triggering sounds via MIDI noteon — use any MIDI keyboard or grid controller with Soundplant
- 32-bit floating point mixing & *new* up to 384 kHz output for ultra high fidelity
- *new* unlimited sound channel polyphony, allowing for dense soundscapes & complex virtual instruments — mix tons of sounds at once
- unlimited sound length — fire off short effects or play huge hours-long tracks with equal ease
- record Soundplant's output directly, with *new* options for lossless or compressed recording format to manage RAM usage
- *new* more customizable UI with collapsible keyboard sections, togglable dark/light modes, & realtime visualizations
- waveform display, with zooming in a fullscreen view for precise sound start & end point setting
- playlist queuing for flexibly triggering multiple sounds with a single key, allowing playing in sequence or shuffled, or all starting simultaneously in sync, or stepping through a pause-at-the-end-of-each-track playlist with a single key, or triggering a single random sound from a group of sounds
- output device selection, including ASIO support on Windows
- launch an unlimited number of Soundplant windows for even more flexibility to simultaneously output to multiple audio devices, gain more 'banks' of sounds, & record multiple tracks
- sounds play entirely from RAM to avoid disk use during playback, for best sound quality & lowest latency
- realtime volume, panning, pitch, lowpass, & *new* convolution reverb, eq, highpass, distortion, & ring mod effects for each key
- playback activity logging for time-stamped documenting of tracks played
- customizable sound triggering, allowing for looping, overlapping, restarting, muting, pausing, & fading, controlled by secondary key press or by key release
- full playback progress info displayed for up to 6 tracks at once
- 'simple view mode' for larger keys that you can click or tap to play like a virtual cart machine, perfect for touchscreen devices or less advanced users
- onscreen keyboard keys are highlighted as they play & can be custom-labeled & color-coded
- pitch adjust allows microtuning to the 100th of a semitone & a 10 octave range — plus, easily auto-assign the same sound to multiple keys at varying pitches to create playable instrument scales using 'pitch assign multi-key'
- trim sounds to start & end offset points with maximum precision — plus, easily splice pieces of a sound across multiple keys (for example, to extract individual drum sounds from a breakbeat) using 'slice multi-key', with *new* peak detection for automatic start & end points
- compressed sounds decompress on loading rather than during playback, unlike most players, for lowest latency & minimizing disk & CPU usage during playback for best sound quality
- works identically on Windows or Mac
- saves & loads keyboard configurations as .keymap files, which are fully cross-platform compatible & can be easily transferred between different computers with the handy 'save keymap with sounds'
- includes several options for minimizing CPU & RAM usage for performance tuning so that it can run well even on older computers — Soundplant can give new life to that dusty old laptop you thought you'd never use again
Soundplant is not a synthesizer, plugin, editor, or sequencer, but it is way more than a media player. Soundplant was designed to do one thing and do it well: to trigger sounds with maximum speed, efficiency, and ease of use. Users love its rock-solid stability for live event use, its simple one sound per one key metaphor which eliminates the usage complications of many other software samplers, its versatility for handling sounds of all types from short effects to full length songs to hours-long mixes, and its ultra-optimized use of the computer keyboard with lowest-possible latency requiring no extra hardware.
Who Uses Soundplant?
Soundplant's users include the BBC on shows such as Doctor Who and Top Gear, National Public Radio on shows such as A Prairie Home Companion, Oscar-winning sound mixer Ed Novick on films such as Space Jam: A New Legacy, Inception, and The Dark Knight Rises, CBS and ESPN in live sports broadcasts, Nike in fashion shows, and director Kevin Smith's View Askew Productions in podcasts and live events.
Windows version runs on Windows 7 or higher, 64-bit required
Mac version runs on macOS 12 Monterey down to OS X 10.11 El Capitan; Intel native but also works on Apple Silicon via Rosetta, native M1 support coming soon
- For best performance, a computer from 2016 or newer with a 4+ thread CPU, 8+GB RAM, & a dedicated GPU is recommended
- For basic use, Soundplant can run on any Windows or Mac computer made in the last 10+ years, but on older/slower machines you may have to turn down some settings as recommended in this FAQ
- Your built-in cheapo soundcard will work fine, and so will any professional quality audio interface
- For optimal display, minimum 1280x720 screen resolution is recommended
Here is a complete list of all new features added in v.50:
- rewritten from scratch with full 64-bitness optimized for modern multicore CPUs & GPUs
- new audio engine with unlimited simultaneous sound channels & higher quality mixing up to 384kHz
- MIDI assign for triggering sounds via MIDI
- numeric keypad support adding 16 more assignable keyboard keys
- new per-key effects including 3 band eq, Chebyshev distortion, timestretch pitch shift, ring modulation, highpass, and convolution reverb with support for loading custom impulse response files
- faster asynchronous sound loading & .keymap opening
- improved memory handling especially when loading many large sounds
- spectrogram, oscilloscope, and volume meter realtime visualizations
- dark and light ui themes
- collapsible/expandable keyboard sections
- new 'info' view mode, a compromise between 'simple' & 'detailed' views
- 'fade to pause' setting allows fading in/out from/to paused state
- 'copy multi key' allows easily duplicating a key onto multiple keys at once
- backspace can be set to 'fade out all' via the preferences
- fullscreen mode togglable via ctrl+alt+shift+enter
- recording format preference allows lossless or compressed recordings
- waveform zooming has increased detail, deeper zooming, & channel separation for stereo sounds
- improved latency for background key input
- peak/beat detection for more automated offset slicing
- custom key color selection
- channel priority autokill groups for finer control over customizing what sounds can kill other sounds
- fade curve setting
- Command/Windows/Meta modifier key combos added to 'only accept input with key combo', yielding 4 more combo options to background key input
- 'obey key combo setting even when in focus' background key input setting added
- backspace key function options added, can be set to fade out all or ignore
- activity logging startup state setting added
- Not yet implemented but coming soon: effects randomization
- Not yet implemented but coming soon: Apple Silicon native support
- v.50.3 update (December 2021):
- Windows ASIO support
- improved audio routing: fixed some devices and secondary output channels not appearing in audio output device menu; moved device routing to a separate higher priority thread for better performance
- shift+click+drag knobs for ultra high precision parameter adjust mode
- smoothed audio transitions when adjusting effects knobs & stopping & muting tracks, for better sound and elimination of clicks/pops; also improved volume knob adjustment curves for greater sensitivity and accuracy
- optimizations lowering cpu/gpu use significantly
- "save & load output device in keymaps" preference reenabled
- "save & load background key input settings in keymaps" preference added
- Windows background key input system tray icon reenabled & "minimize to tray" preference added
- levels meter visualization improved for greater accuracy
- all visualizations can now be disabled in the preferences if desired
- "set offsets to current view" button added to waveform zoom view
- autokill group keys with no sound assigned can kill other sounds, allows creating custom kill-only keys
- background key input instant off combo changed to Ctrl+Win+Shift+Escape (Windows) or Ctrl+⌘+Shift+Escape (Mac) to better avoid conflict with combos in other software
- bug fixes