Sound Effects Player for Theater


We’ve been looking for a freeware sound effects player for a while now, but what we found was either too DJ oriented, too slow to learn, or not free.  Microsoft Media Player is ok, but clicking on icons and then mousing over to the small controls wasn’t working with novices, or if for some reason our playback location was not on a desk.  Yep, we sometimes have someone crouching behind a set… not a good location to sit with a mouse.  iTunes has the same issues as Media Player, plus it does not stop between tracks/cues.


But we just found Harvest Sounds “Sound Effects Player for Theater”.  This tool has been on SorceForge for a long time now (2004), but we missed it until now.  It’s simple, has big buttons, allows sounds to be organized in acts/scenes, supports multiple file formats, loops, simultaneous playback (overlapping), and saves the project file in editable XML format.  About the only downside is that adding files is not drag and drop.  You have to navigate through several dialogs to add each sound file.


From the Harvest page on SourceForge:

HarvestSounds is a sound effects player, designed for live drama performances by churches, schools, etc.

The current version supports the following features:

  • Sounds are organised into scenes
  • User can write notes about each sound and each scene
  • Simultaneous playback
  • Hotkey assigned to each sound
  • Sounds are loopable
  • Volume and pan are adjustable for each sound
  • Plays mp3, wav, ogg, aiff, flac, mod, s3m, XM and IT sound files
  • Harvest Sounds “Sound Effects Player” has not been updated since it’s release in 2004, or at least we can’t find such.  If anyone knows the author, or can share the source code, please post a reply.  We would be happy to help with small changes such as drag/drop and user-selected cue names.  Right now version 0.5 just counts the cues and numbers them sequentially.  The ability to create 2A and 2B instead of 1, 2, 3 would be a benefit.  But hey, it’s a really simple, effective program that we will be using often.  Thank you to the author!!


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    One Response to Sound Effects Player for Theater

    1. gertjan says:

      Even if you have made it easy for the sound tech to start an effect, he will still forget to respond to his cue from the conductor. 😉
      The lesson here is probably to control the sound effects from the orchestra pit, e.g. by having one of the players (keyboard, wind controller, percussion, …) start them.