How To Video
Trigger sounds with a computerLearn how to cue sound effects from any computer keyboard using free software.
There are hundreds of apps out there that let you trigger a handful of preset sound effects, everything from spooky Halloween sounds to well, you know, but you don't need an app to have fun with sound effects. With some free software and any Mac or PC, you can make a custom sound board that will make apps seem like kid toys. To make this happen, download a free program called Soundplant. Open it up, and you'll see a virtual keyboard where you can drag and drop sounds or load them individually. These sounds can be short sounds or loops or full songs, but if you want to play anything other than Aif or Wav files, you'll need to pay for a registered version. Once you've mapped the sound to a key on your keyboard, you can just press the key and the computer will play the sound. That's simple. So long sound, you can kill it by holding the Shift key and pressing the button again. If you dig a little deeper, you can adjust the volume, panning, loop and launch settings for each individual key. So, aside from assigning a belch to every key, what can you do with this? Well, you can add sound effects to your kids school play. You can nerd out and fill this thing up with Star Trek sound effects, but it really comes in handy for Halloween. Pair this thing up with a wireless speaker and a wireless keyboard and you can scare the but Jesus out of people from up to 30 feet away. So there you go. A quick, simple, and free way to turn any computer into a sound effect machine. For CNET.com, I'm Donald Bell.