If you were a DJ in the 80’s you had to deal with this system of 8-track looking cassettes in a carousel. Someone would record a soundbyte on the cassette and put it in the rack. When it was time, you pulled the cassette out and prepped it for use. Whether an intro, news soundbyte, special effect, or other sound, everything would revolve around that carousel.
Things have changed from that time. Now, you can get a soundboard together via iPad or computer. Collecting sounds can be done though use of a digital recorder, or going through a website to pay and download your favorites.
Why Use a Soundboard
Some experts say that changing it up a bit during a longer podcast can keep people listening. For example, putting some music behind your vocals could break up the monotany. After all, if you record a 30 minute show, you don’t want the majority of people to drop out at the 22 minute mark.
A soundboard brings a change. It could be as simple as a “bing” at the end of a paragraph, or as complex as a top 40 morning show call ID.
I’ve been playing with this web-based soundboard. It’s called Soundboard.com. You register, create a board, then either upload bites or pull soundbites from another board. Some of the boards start at $4.99. Other boards are free.
One thing you want to watch is copyright. For example, there is a Ron Burgandy sound board. If you use sounds from movies, TV shows or other copyright files, you could get in trouble. There is a point of fair use, just know where those boundaries are.
I have also found this website to sometimes lag. You have to wait a couple seconds for the bite to load. That could mess up your pace.
SoundByte Sound Board
For a while, I was using this sound board. It’s called SoundByte by Black Cat Systems. It’s install software that lets you put soundbites into carts. Some options include a “Talk” button, where the sound will act as a ducking unit – lowering the volume so you can talk over the sound. It also has a fade out option as so you don’t have an abrupt ending.
You can set up multiple sounds and have them at your fingertips. Their Soundbyte iOS app lets you use your iPad or iPhone as a soundboard.
Soundboard for Mac – Ambrosia Software
I haven’t played with this software, but I have heard some great stuff about it. Soundboard for Mac is by Ambrosia software. It has added features of overlapping sounds, pitch bends, speed up or slow down the audio clip, and adding other effects. You can even add plugins to improve the sound bites.
The only downfall is it’s only developed for Mac. However. there is also an iOS Soundboard app for $19.99. You can dedicate an iPod or iPad to your soundbites, this might be a great program to own.
Is there a Video bite board out there?
Not that I have seen. There are video aggregation programs that hold your favorite videos, but nothing that will put bites in a carousel like the soundbites.
There are pro DJ software bundles out there, that will let you have fun with music videos and cue video bites.
I suppose software like Wirecast and VidPro can also be considered as video bite boards. There is YouTube DJ mixer software out there, but once again, you can get into copyright issues if you use it.
When using a Soundboard, it could take a little bit of time to get used to it. Remembering you have a sound byte or a quote you can use from time to time could change the pace of your podcast, and even break up the monotony.
What programs do you use? Are you going to add bites to your podcast? Let me know by commenting below!