"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 and 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, and I'm grateful for your innovation and support over the past few years. You should reach down and 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 and robust improvement. The layout design alone is just beautiful, and the new features are superb and very impressive. The reverb is excellent in every way, and 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 and 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 and sophisticated sample player... The multitude and 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
"I can vouch for the extreme stability of Soundplant--it just sits there and works, even on a very low spec machine... hundreds of random effects per show over a six week run, and not a single hiccup in 5 years of use."
-Bobbsy, AudioMasters Forum
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.
- 72 keyboard keys can be used to trigger sounds, with very low latency
- drag & drop sound files onto keyboard keys for quick and 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, .m4a, .aac, .flac, .wma, .alac, .wv, .ogg, .snd, .ape, and many many more, even audio from video files like .wmv, .mov, .avi, .divx, .mpg, .flv, .3gp, etc.
- 'background key input' allows Soundplant to receive key hits while minimized or hidden — trigger sounds with global hotkeys while using other audio software, typing a document, playing a game, or doing anything else in any other program, with optional use of Ctrl & Alt/Option combos
- 32-bit floating point mixing and up to 96 kHz output for ultra high fidelity
- 256 sound channel polyphony, allowing for dense soundscapes and 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
- direct recording of Soundplant's output
- waveform display, with *new* zooming in a detailed fullscreen view for precise sound start and 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 building playlists in a realtime 'wait-in-line' mode by pressing keys to queue sounds on the fly, or *new* 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
- *new* vastly improved caching & memory management for faster loading of sounds and keymaps, and many other optimizations
- *new* autofade mode for easier fade outs and cross fades
- sound output device selection, with support for multichannel devices, including ASIO support on Windows
- sounds play entirely from RAM by default to avoid disk use during playback, for best sound quality and lowest latency - but can also fall back to playing from disk for maximum flexibility
- launch an unlimited number of Soundplant instances for even more flexibility to output to multiple audio devices, gain more 'banks' of sounds and greater polyphony, and record multiple tracks simultaneously
- realtime volume, panning, pitch, reverb, lowpass, resonance, and LFO effects for each key
- randomization settings on effects for richly varying sound playback
- playback activity logging for time-stamped documenting of tracks played
- customizable sound triggering, allowing for looping, overlapping, restarting, muting, pausing, and fading, controlled by secondary key press or by key release
- displays full playback progress info for up to 12 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 and can be custom-labeled & color-coded
- pitch adjust allows microtuning to the 100th of a semitone and a 10 octave range — plus, easily auto-assign the same sound to multiple keys at varying pitches to create playable instrument scales using 'multi-key pitch assign'
- trim sounds to start and end offset points with precision to the 100,000th of a second — plus, easily auto-splice pieces of a sound across multiple keys (for example, to extract individual drum sounds from a breakbeat) using 'multi-key offset assign'
- support for cue points in .wav and .swa files — easily set playback offsets to cue points defined in most audio editors
- compressed sounds decompress on loading rather than during playback, unlike most players, for lowest latency and minimizing disk & CPU usage during playback for best sound quality
- a true live performance program that continues playing even while changing settings, loading and unloading sounds on the fly, and configuring multiple keys simultaneously in realtime
- works identically on Windows or Mac
- saves and loads keyboard configurations as .keymap files, which are fully cross-platform compatible and can be easily transferred between different computers with the handy 'save keymap with sounds'
- includes several options for minimizing CPU and 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 from the computer keyboard 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 or MIDI.
Who Uses Soundplant?
Now in its 19th year of existence, Soundplant has won multiple awards, and its 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 Vice, 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.
Soundplant is not very demanding for basic use and can run on virtually any Windows or Mac computer made in the last 8+ years; a multicore processor and 4GB of RAM are recommended. Your built-in cheapo soundcard will work fine, and so will any add-on professional quality audio interface. For optimal display, minimum 1280x720 screen resolution is recommended.
Windows version runs on Windows 10, 8, & 7; 64-bit recommended
Macintosh version runs on macOS 10.14 Mojave down to minimum OS X 10.9 Mavericks
Here is a complete list of all new features added in v.47:
- waveform zooming for more accurate setting of sound start and end points in a detailed fullscreen view
- playlist refinements, including:
- new "single key step through" mode for using one key to advance a playlist in a predefined or random order with a pause at the end of each track
- unassigned keys can now trigger playlists
- keys with playlists get an icon, which can be clicked to jump into playlist-editing mode
- all playlist changes are now applied in realtime
- "only trigger playlists" setting added to "background key input" Preferences
- bug fixes and edge case behavior consistency improvements
- new channel priority setting "autofade" fades out a sound on the next sound trigger, making crossfades easier; "autokill" replaces "low" channel priority setting in previous versions
- overhauled caching system speeds up loading of most frequently used sounds and keymaps significantly, with Preferences settings for cache location and size
- "use space key as global pause/unpause" option added to Preferences
- improved memory management and other speed and efficiency improvements
- "background key input" emergency off key combo changed to ctrl+alt+shift+tilde to avoid conflicting with more common key combos in other programs, and now also stops all sounds
- bug fix: Mac: "save with sounds" caused a crash with certain types of sound files
- bug fix: Mac: Soundplant wouldn't run under certain permissions settings
- bug fix: Windows: contextual help wasn't properly opening the documentation in some setups
- bug fix: Windows: launching Soundplant set to Run Maximized misbehaved under certain conditions
- many other minor bug fixes
- ends support for Windows Vista
- ends support for Mac OS pre-10.9
- update v.47.1 adds minor fixes including:
- bug fix: under certain conditions drag and drop to load sounds wasn't working if "use space key as global pause/unpause" was on
- bug fix: in rare cases when using "hold down" mode, releasing a key unexpectedly caused a sound trigger
- other minor bug fixes