Saturday, July 19, 2014

An Audio Tool I Can't Go Without

Hey everyone! I thought I'd take a minute and talk about an audio tool that I have used for quite a while but have recently found I really can't go without!

These days, I don't get too many chances to work behind the sound board for a live event, but when I do, I really enjoy it. Recently, I ran sound for a wedding. The tech requirements were pretty simple, there were no live instruments or vocalists, just the preacher, a handheld mic for the vows, a slideshow, and I was given a couple cd's with mp3's to be used during the wedding marches (wedding marches? is that what you call them in these modern times??). Anyway, it was all pretty much the usual requirements. 

Even though all these things were pretty simple, one thing I hate doing is trying to juggle fader levels and cd's in and out of a cd player. So I always load the songs into my computer. But even then, running songs in iTunes can be a little bit clunky because you are still managing a fader and then starting and stopping songs with the computer (I know.. I know... that's not that hard, get over it,  right?) Well, there has to be a better way. 

And there is!

This is where the audio tool I told you I'd talk about comes in: "Qlab". 

Qlab is great because you load in all your media. It can handle audio and video files, or even a live video feed. You then build into your project all the cues that you need. These cues can be things like; fade in or out, stops, starts, loops, wait "x" seconds and then start - you name it. Pretty much whatever you can imagine. Then once everything is programed in, you just have a big "GO" button. And each cue you have preset is fired from this one button. You can see this makes it great for weddings or live events where you need to start and stop media at very specific times with smooth transitions in between. And you can see how it can really take the pressure off! And, since it can trigger media to play on top of other media it is perfect for triggering sound effects for more complex shows such as a theatrical productions.

Furthermore, Qlab is so customisable. You can make any keyboard key you'd like become the key that commands the "GO" button. Because of this feature, I've often used it from the stage to trigger a click track or stems from my usb foot pedal. It isn't as nice as say, Ableton Live, for this sort of thing but it's simple and it works!

Best of all. Qlab is a free download. There is a full version that can be purchased but I've never needed anything but the free software. On the down side it is only for that really a down side?  So with all that said, if you use a mac and run sound for live events, I believe you should be using Qlab. Check it out here: