When I asked on the Theatre-Sound List for suggestions of software tools that permit playback of sound cues for Theatre, I received lots of suggestions. I was asking specifically about tools that work under Windows. My primary laptop runs Mac OS and I use QLab from Figure 53, but I have a secondary laptop that runs Windows and I wanted to put it into service for playback as well. I occasionally run into situations where I need my primary system, but also have a gig needing playback. So I gathered together all the suggested products (and a couple comments from folks) for reference.
- Richmond Sound Design’s SoundMan-Server: Charlie Richmond just about wrote the book on Theatrical sound playback technology, I recall reading a paper of his presented at an AES conference on Sound Reinforcement in 1986.
- CSC Show Control not be confused with
- SCS Show Cue System
- CueMaster: developed by a Theatre-Sound List subscriber because he could not find a system that did what he needed.
- Black Cat Systems Sound Byte: this is more of a “cart machine” than a cue stack, but it does have some MIDI automation. It is available for Windows, Mac OSX, and iOS.
- MultiPlay: as of Feb. 2016 this is not under active development, so no new bug fixes and as new versions of Windows come out there are likely to be driver issues. As a note, MultiPlay was mentioned by more people than any of the others, but that may be because of the cost, FREE.
|Free Version (channels)||Demo / Trial Version (channels)||Price Range (outputs)|
|SoundMan-Server||Yes (2)||No||$0 (2)
lots of steps
|CSC||Yes (2)||No||£0 (2)
|SFX||Yes (2)||Yes (upon request)||US$ 295
including support and updates
|SCS||No||Yes (4)||US$58 (2)
+ annual support
|Mac OSX Software|
|QLab||Yes (2)||Yes, 20 minutes||US$0 (2)
+ rental options
|Go Button||Yes, 1 Show||Yes, 1 Show||US$0 (1 show)
|Windows / Mac OSX / iOS|
|Sound Byte||No||Yes||US$39 (1 rack of carts)
US$79 (5 racks of carts)
US$149 (50 racks of carts)