Soundplant 50.0.8 beta
Soundplant home page: https://soundplant.org
Soundplant has been almost entirely rewritten from scratch to better support modern and future hardware and platforms, and is now fully 64-bit. Core Soundplant functionality in this beta is stable and well-functioning, with many improvements and new features, but expect some roughness around the edges, and several lesser functions remain not yet fully implemented. Please report bugs not mentioned below.
New features include:
- faster asynchronous sound loading and .keymap opening, especially for large compressed sounds
- numeric keypad support (16 more assignable keys)
- new more flexible audio engine with unlimited channels & higher quality
- new per-key effects including 3 band eq, Chebyshev distortion, timestretch pitch shift, ring modulation
- per-key volume controls now allow up to 200% processed amplification
- darker-themed UI, hopefully easier on the eyes for those working in dark control booths
- collapsible/expandable keyboard sections for UI customization
- oscilloscope & levels meters for output visualization
- new 'info' view mode, a compromise between 'simple' & 'detailed' views
- improved memory handling especially when loading many large sounds
- much improved use of multithreading and GPU acceleration for smoother UI & more audio processing headroom
- custom key colors
- 'list keymap' function is now 'print keymap' which can save the onscreen keymap as pdf or print to an actual printer
- new 'channel priority' setting 'highest' makes a sound unkillable by ESC & Backspace, will only stop on a hit to that key in 'kill' keymode
- lower latency when triggering sounds in 'background key input' mode
Features *not yet working* in this build (sorry!) but coming soon:
- waveform zooming
- activity logging
- effects randomization
- multiple key simultaneous selecting/editing
- batch pitch assign and batch offset assign
- preferences panel including audio output settings & performance tweaking for older computers (though many other persistent settings can already be set right from the main UI)
- save keymap with sounds
Some other notes:
- This version can open keymaps saved in Soundplant v.40 or later. HOWEVER, it saves keymaps in a new JSON-based format that can not be opened by previous versions of Soundplant. So be careful about overwriting old keymaps that you might still want to use in prior Soundplant versions.
- Let me know if you really need support for opening earlier version keymaps created in v.39 and below; if there's enough demand I'll add it.
- As this has an entirely new audio engine, effects won't translate 100% identically from past versions. When opening an older version keymap, legacy reverb, LFO, and lowpass settings are ignored for now. I plan to implement better interpretation/translation of these legacy effects for when loading old keymaps.
- Mac users: Given macOS's recent increases in security and permissions, note that this version of Soundplant will ask you to grant it "Accessibility Permissions" when you first launch it, and this is required for the app to fully function (if this is a huge impediment for you/your organization let me know; I could enable a "minimal permissions" mode if there is demand, which would allow skipping this permissions step but prevent use of 'background key input'). Also note that the app must be placed into your Applications folder in order to run properly without running afoul of security rules.
- Mac users: Custom key color selection works imperfectly on some versions of macOS, because the system color palette dialog behaves differently depending on the OS version. Fix to come.
- Really old Mac users: Technically this version should work as far back as OS 10.10 Yosemite but has not been tested on any system pre-10.11.6, if you happen to have a machine running Yosemite feel free to give it a try and let me know how it goes.
- Windows users: As Soundplant v.47 still runs perfectly on latest Windows and this new beta has not yet reached complete feature parity with v.47 and is not as battle-tested, you have some pretty good reasons to stick with v.47 for now especially in live production environments. That said this beta has many improvements over v.47, so as long as it does not lack v.47 features you really need and you are adventurous enough to be a bit of a guinea pig, please use it!
- I'm not totally happy with the current reverb effect implementation both in sound quality and CPU usage. Though I love having per-key reverb instead of the single global reverb unit of older Soundplant versions, the processing cost is high. I may change this to a convolution reverb and/or reintroduce global reverb to simplify things, let me know what you think if you are a frequent user of Soundplant's effects.
- In general it's asking a lot of the CPU to enable multiple standalone effects processing nodes per each of the 88 assignable keys and I'm still working to optimize things and find the right balance between effects flexibility and processing demands, with the emphasis on handy but low CPU effects (for example the timestretch pitch shift doesn't sound fantastic but is a relatively fast implementation). If you try to activate many effects on many dozens of assigned keys all at once you will surely get glitches on all but the beefiest machines but I'll be working to refine and minimize this.
- Circular dials are being used for UI controls instead of horizontal sliders. While I've long preferred the precision of sliders there are overwhelming practical reasons for dials over sliders and I hope most users are used to them by now from other apps. Soundplant's dials are currently implemented as radial controls, meaning you have to click and drag them in an actual circle to change their value rather than just click and drag in a single linear direction. To me this is the most intuitive and sensitive way to interact with UI dials, but I could be wrong! Let me know what you think. If this elicits strong opinions I can add an option to change them to linear control style (click and drag in a single direction).
- keymodes have been consolidated with the old 'hold down' setting into a new unified 'keymode' menu that I hope makes more sense (without limiting configuration flexibility), let me know what you think.
- This free beta has no function limitations aside from those mentioned above, but will expire in March. I will surely have a newer/improved public release out by then to replace this one, I promise! Until then v.47 remains the latest Soundplant for which you can purchase a license. All who have bought a v.47 license will get a free upgrade once v.50 exits beta; if you want to support v.50's developement for now you can purchase a v.47 license.
The Windows version runs on Windows 10, 8, & 7, 64-bit only
The Macintosh version runs on latest macOS 11.0 Big Sur down to minimum OS X 10.11 El Capitan (should also work on 10.10 Yoesmite but untested)