"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
"Soundplant is a pleasure to use, & I'm grateful for your innovation & support over the years. 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
"Soundplant is one of the most valuable tools for music making that I have ever used. The new version is a gorgeous & robust improvement. The layout design alone is just beautiful, & the new features are superb."
-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, BBC audio engineer & journalist, Soundplant Audio Player Review
"It's a program every filmmaker should know about... one of those 'where have you been all my life' moments and a must share."
-No Film School, Audio Playback Made Easy
"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."
-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 keyboard keys (or MIDI), 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 tracks in realtime, trigger sound effects or background tracks during a show, sketch sound designs, make beats and loops, 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 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, or use any MIDI device
- drag & drop sound files onto keyboard keys for quick & easy key assignment; click & drag to move or copy sounds from key to key or *new* between Soundplant windows
- 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 Ctrl/Alt/Option/Win/Command key combos
- *new* v.50 has been rewritten from scratch optimized for modern 64-bit multicore CPUs & GPUs including native Apple Silicon support
- unlimited sound polyphony, allowing for dense soundscapes & complex virtual instruments — mix tons of sounds at once, with full playback progress info displayed for up to 24 tracks onscreen
- 32-bit floating point mixing & up to 384 kHz output for ultra high fidelity
- unlimited sound length — fire off short effects or play huge hours-long tracks with equal ease
- *new* limit 1 play toggle for making a key playable only once per session
- *new* system keep awake built-in capabilities for preventing your computer & audio device from sleeping during a performance even if Soundplant is backgrounded, without having to touch system settings
- record Soundplant's output
- *new* record from from mic or any other input directly onto keys, with optional monitoring through realtime effects & mixing with Soundplant's output, all while continuing to trigger sounds — useful for podcast & mixtape production, live looping, or sampling from your favorite streaming app
- highly customizable sound triggering, allowing for overlapping, restarting, fading, muting, & pausing, controlled by secondary key press or by key release, or use channel priority options to set certain tracks to stop or fade out on the start of other tracks
- 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 — even play multiple playlists at the same time
- fullscreen waveform zooming for setting sound start & end points at highest resolution, with *new* previous/next zero-crossing and previous/next sample for maximum precision
- output device selection, including ASIO support
- open an unlimited number of Soundplant windows for even more flexibility to output to multiple audio devices, gain more 'banks' of sounds, & record multiple tracks
- unlike most players, sounds play entirely from RAM to avoid disk use during playback, & compressed sounds decompress on loading rather than during playback, for best sound quality & lowest latency
- realtime volume, panning, eq, pitch, speed, lowpass, convolution reverb, highpass, distortion, & ring mod effects for each key, with randomization settings for richly varying sound playback
- activity logging for time-stamped documenting of tracks played
- full n-key rollover keyboard support — unlimited simultaneous key presses/releases can be detected on capable hardware — Soundplant is a great workout for your NKRO mechanical keyboard
- 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
- dark & light UI modes
- onscreen keyboard keys are highlighted as they play & can be custom colored & labeled
- pitch adjust allows microtuning to the 100th of a semitone & a 10 octave range, with *new* improved timestretch quality & lock pitch for handy tempo shift
- easily auto-assign a sound to multiple keys at varying pitches to create playable instrument scales using pitch assign multi-key
- easily splice pieces of a sound across multiple keys (for example, to extract individual drum sounds from a breakbeat) using slice multi-key
- works identically on Windows or Mac, & saved keyboard configuration .keymap files are cross-platform compatible & can be easily transferred between different computers using save 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 latest Windows 11 down to minimum Windows 7; 64-bit required, Win 10+ recommended
Mac version runs on latest macOS 14 Sonoma down to minimum 10.13 High Sierra; natively supports Apple Silicon & Intel
- For best performance, a computer from 2016 or later with a 4+ thread CPU, 8+GB RAM, & a dedicated GPU is recommended
- For basic use, Soundplant can run on most computers 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 1280×720 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 including Apple Silicon native support
- new audio engine with unlimited simultaneous sound channels & higher quality mixing up to 384kHz
- MIDI assign for triggering sounds via MIDI
- recording from mic (or any other source) directly onto keys, with optional monitoring through realtime effects
- numeric keypad support adding 16 more assignable keyboard keys
- new per-key randomizable 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, & separated channels for stereo sounds
- variable channel meter sizes allowing up to 24 visible & auto sizing
- improved latency for background key input
- peak/beat detection for more automated offset slicing
- custom key color selection, with chosen custom key colors saved as presets in the color picker palette
- channel priority autokill groups for finer control over customizing what sounds can kill other sounds
- shift+click+drag knobs for ultra high precision parameter adjust mode
- adjust knobs via mousewheel/trackpad scroll (with shift+scroll for high precision)
- shift+click recent keymaps list items to open keymap in a new window
- drag & drop keys between Soundplant windows
- fade curve setting
- backspace key function options added, can be set to fade out all or ignore
- activity logging startup state setting added
- 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
- Windows background key input 'minimize to tray' preference added
- 'save & load background key input settings in keymaps' preference added
- 'auto save recordings' preference to skip prompt for recording filename
- v.50.7 update (April 2023):
- 'limit 1 play' key toggle for preventing triggering more than once per session, helps to mistake-proof performances, key greys out after playing
- 'system keep awake level' preference prevents system power saving from interfering with Soundplant use
- 'lock pitch' toggle for easier pitch-preserving tempo shift
- higher quality processed pitch shift option, find it in the new 'timestretch quality' menu
- alpha preview of MIDI CC support - info on how to activate here
- waveform zoom improvements:
- 'next/previous zero crossing' & 'next/previous sample' buttons for finest possible offset control
- 'zoom in full to start/end' buttons for convenient quick jumping to offset points
- playlist refinements:
- keymodes for 'play sequentially' playlist-triggering keys, makes playlist control easier & more flexible
- visual indicator of which track is currently playing in playlist editor UI
- 'start all simultaneously' playlist keys now also send key release, allowing for richer configurations with 'hold' keymodes of individual playlist tracks
- 'single key step through' playlists now trigger key release with each step, supporting 'hold' keymodes of playlist tracks
- 'select playlist key on press' preference if you prefer keeping the playlist editor visible instead of the default behavior of auto selecting keys triggered by the playlist
- contextual help - click 'help' then click specific UI elements for the docs on that topic
- 'color theme' preference added new option 'obey system' for auto switching between dark/light according to OS setting
- 'channel meters size' preference added new option 'full auto' to dynamically shrink and enlarge while playing
- 'mouseup over key simulates key release' preference, helpful with touchscreens
- 'disable key move in simple & info view' preference, removes a potential annoyance that comes up especially with touchscreens or if using 'mouseup over key simulates key release'
- 'MIDI note display' preference for showing note as number or name
- optimizations & bug fixes including some edge case output device selection issues