Ambrosia Software released the much-needed Soundboard 2.0 and I share a brief review, I’m developing a WordPress theme designed specifically for podcasters, I answer Alan Bunt’s question about using a compressor/limiter/gate on a Behringer 1204 mixer, and I share an Audacity tip about pasting.

Ambrosia Software Soundboard 2.0

Podproducer interface in Crossover

In the Windows world, we’ve had the fantastic and free application PodProducer for playing sound effects into our program. When I switched to Mac, I tried SoundByte (OS X and Windows, $39), BZSoundBoard (OS X, free), and Soundboard 1.x (OS X, then $29). SoundByte had an ugly interface and high price of $39; BZSoundBoard was free and was better designed for the Mac OS X interface, but it lacked many features and functionality; and while Soundboard 1.x was beautiful and had great features, it had a serious bug (playing mono sounds in only the left channel) that turned me off from using it. So I stuck with using PodProducer running through Code Weavers Crossover Mac (to run Windows programs without Windows), albeit with some limitations (like no scroll wheel or drag-and-drop).

Soundboard’s mono bug was highly reported and acknowledged. Ambrosia Software promised to fix it in the next major release, which would be 2.0. I received the email on Friday, November 5, announcing the availability of Soundboard 2.0 and new features. I was excited!

Soundboard 2.0 interface

After trying the app and its new features, I knew I could be happy with it. I love that it lays out sounds on a visual representation of my keyboard, so pressing Q will activate the first sound in the second row, Z would be the sound below it, or 4 would be a sound in the top row. Rearranging sounds is easy, requiring now keyboard reassignments.

Soundboard 2.0 duck button

You can do some basic edits and fades within Soundboard without changing your file, and several features of the program just work beautifully, logically, and simply. Especially wonderful is a customizable Duck button. Clicking it fades the volume of all playing audio down to a set level (default is 33%, but I prefer 15–20%), and clicking it again returns the volume to normal. You can customize how long the fade is. This is great because I don’t have to mess with my physical mixer board to duck my audio (partially fade it out) while I’m talking.

Mac OS X Sound input
Audacity Soundpipe input devices

Soundboard 2.0 also introduces Soundpipe, which they say lets you “Record Soundboard’s audio output in any audio recording program (such as GarageBand) without additional hardware or software ….” Nice! This could totally eliminate the need for a hardware mixer for direct-to-disk recordings, and it works with any program that lets you select your audio input device (including Audacity, or just set the input at the system level).

I could go on, but you get the idea. Soundboard 2.0 is an amazing program for podcasters using Mac OS X. However, what killed my enthusiasm was the price tag—$49 (but they offer an upgrade from 1.x for $19)! That makes it now more expensive than Soundbyte, and $49 more expensive than continuing to run PodProducer through Crossover Mac.

I will continue to use the trial and evaluate Soundboard’s value. But for now, I think $49 is far too expensive. If you podcast with your Mac, try Soundboard 2.0 and tell me what you think.

A compressor/limiter/gate on smaller mixers?

Alan Bunt from 1GoodShepherd.org asked about why I had said in episode 11 that I couldn’t use my Behringer MULTICOM PRO-XL MDX4600 compressor/limiter/gate with the mixer that I had at that time, a Behringer XENYX 1204USB. Alan has the same mixer, but presumably a different compressor/limiter/gate, and wondered why the auxiliary send (AUX SEND) wouldn’t work for me.

Behringer 1204USB aux sends and returns

My reason was simple. The Behringer MDX4600 is a four-channel mixer and I wanted complete channel separation so I could have different compression on my different cohosts and audio sources. The 1204USB mixer wouldn’t support four channels like this because it has only a single, mono aux send. That would mix all the audio down to a single mono channel before sending it to my mixer, so I would lose channel separation.

Behringer X1832USB Channel Inserts

Instead, I upgraded to a Behringer XENYX X1832USB, which has several inserts designed for taking the audio immediately after running through the preamp (gain), sending it to the compressor, and returning it back to the channel—four separate times. It was an expensive upgrade, but definitely worth it.

But you don’t have to do what I did! If you’re okay with mono compressing, you can use your mixers aux send to send audio to your compressor and then bring it back from the aux return(s).

Podcaster’s Theme for WordPress

The Noodle.mx Network’s WordPress theme is still a work-in-progress, but I’m developing it to eventually be a complete theme designed specifically for podcasters, whether they have one show or a whole network. To help me toward this, please give me your honest feedback on my theme, as I’m still developing it (and will be changing things soon), as well as send examples of other themes you like and why you like them.

Until I finish the theme (it may be a while), you can still hire me to customize my Subscribe & Follow widget for your website.

Audacity tip: pasting

Copying and pasting in Audacity is easy, but it can potentially mess up things.

If you’re replacing a section with something else, save steps by copying your new section, selecting the old, and immediately pasting. It will replace what you had selected, whether it’s longer or shorter than what you pasted.

But this can mess you up if you’re working with multiple tracks by moving one track but not the other.

Audio tracks before pasting

Audio tracks before pasting

Pasting into just one track misaligns everything

Pasting into just one track misaligns everything

Here’s how to paste without misaligning everything else.

  1. Have the audio you want to keep (the track you’re pasting into) above your other track(s).
  2. Either select what you want to replace or simply click the cursor where you want to insert the audio into your now-top track.
  3. Hold down Shift and press the Down key. This extends your selection or cursor to the next track. Press the Down key for as many tracks as you have.
  4. Paste (Cmd-V on OS X or Ctrl-V on Windows, or choose it from the Edit menu).
  5. Your pasted audio is now in all of your selected tracks, properly moving everything in every track so that nothing is misaligned.
  6. Hold down Shift and press the Down key just once. This deselects the top track. Oddly, pressing the Up key will not deselect the bottom track, thus step 1’s required positioning of your tracks.
  7. Instead of pressing delete, which will reflow all of the remaining selected tracks, press Cmd-Opt-K (OS X) or Ctrl-Alt-K (Windows) to Split Delete (also selectable from the Edit menu). This deletes the audio from the extra tracks without moving anything.

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About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.

13 comments on “Soundboard 2.0, Podcaster’s Theme for WordPress, and Pasting in Audacity – TAP020

  1. Bob says:

    On the concerns about the cost of SoundBoard and SoundByte, one needs to consider the cost of their own time (or their client's time). If the utility saves even one hour of time having to insert or edit sound clips in an episode, it's paid for itself. $50 is still relatively low cost compared to some other tools for the semi-professional or professional podcaster such as Adobe Audition.

    $50 = Soundboard 2.0 or 10 lattes from the coffee shop or two cases of beer.

    1. Yes, it's fair to consider the cost of doing without it. But I think the $50 price tag is still too high for podcasters who aren't making a living off what they do.

      1. Patrick says:

        Agreed.  I’m looking for a good soundboard program for our Cub Scout events (Pinewood Derby, Space Derby, pack meetings) but $50 is too rich for my blood.  

        1. Hi, Patrick! I did eventually buy Soundboard, but only after I found a coupon on RetailMeNot.com. It only removed about $9 from the price.

  2. Walter says:

    Daniel… When you used PodProducer, did you find that the loops didn't really "loop"… that's the one thing in PodProducer that I'm not a fan of… Any ideas? Thanks!

    1. I haven't looped any of my sound clips, but I'll try some tests. What kind of computer are you using? CPU, RAM, operating system.

  3. Robert says:

    Daniel. Glad I found your site. I want to podcast but I now have Windows 7 and wildvoice is not compatible with it. I used to be able to stream live while recording and even record skype interviews at the same time. Do you have any suggestions?

  4. diegojoker says:

    Hi Daniel! I m starting podcast and I like to use customized sound effects in real time. With a simple soundboard like XENYX 302 or 502 using 2 external channels (a channel for the mic and another one for an mp3 player with sound effects), I’d get it?

    1. Yes. Those small mixers have barely enough channels to handle that. But they don’t have enough outputs if you ever want to do Skype mix-minus.

      1. diegojoker says:

        Actually, i need a mix minus. So with a Xenyx 802 using the fx send, would be possible?

        1. For just one mix-minus, yes, the 802 would work.

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