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How to Amp Up Your Show Using a Podcast Soundboard

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How to Amp Up Your Show Using a Podcast Soundboard

The ability to live produce and mix sound effects, music, and more into your podcast as you record it should not be underestimated. 

A podcast soundboard gives you the ability to seamlessly integrate media into your podcast during your session, so you can speed up post-production (or skip it altogether!), and publish it straight away. 

In this guide, we break down the power of a soundboard, where to get your groovy tunes, and why you should be making the most out of the new Riverside.fm media board. 


TL;DR 

  • A podcast soundboard is basically a media library that enables you to include sound effects, music, and more in your podcast as you record. 
  • Using a soundboard to live mix saves you time and simplifies your workflow. 
  • Watch out! A soundboard and a mixer are not the same things.
  • Riverside.fm’s media board is fully integrated, so you don’t need any additional equipment to get started.

What is a podcast soundboard?

A soundboard is essentially a media library (music, audio clips, videos, etc.). Often you will find an array of preloaded audio clips and sound effects ready for use, but you can also upload your own. 

A soundboard can be online or on your computer.
There are many online soundboards (free and paid) that come with a diverse range of media you can use. Alternatively, you can build your very own ‘soundboard’ by manually compiling or recording your desired audio for use in your podcast. 

A soundboard gives you the ability to ‘live produce’ your podcast.
Just like a radio show or live broadcast, a soundboard enables you to include sound effects, music, and other media in your podcast as you record it. This is known as ‘live producing’ or ‘live mixing’. 

What is the difference between a soundboard and a podcast mixer? 

You may have heard the word soundboard used interchangeably with ‘mixer’, ‘mixing desk’, or ‘mixer console’. Whilst this is correct, most likely they’re referring to a physical piece of kit called a mixer - in this article we’re talking about soundboard media libraries. 

The confusing thing? If your soundboard is not integrated into your recording software, you will find yourself using a physical mixer to ensure the audio from your soundboard is included as a recording track. 

The problem with this is how cumbersome this is. Mixers are much better suited to a permanent studio setup and often require a fair bit of foundational knowledge. That’s why we’d advise opting for a soundboard that is fully integrated into your recording software so that you don’t need to make additional effort to start live mixing. 


What does a mixer do in a podcast?

Think of a mixer as the heart of your podcast. Your mixer takes multiple audio inputs and outputs them as a single track. 

Connect your computer as an audio input to use your soundboard.
Whether you’re using an online soundboard or have created your own on your computer, if it’s not integrated into your recording software, you’ll need to use your mixer to use it during your recording session. 

Control the volume and output of each track.
Using a mixer, you can toggle the volume of each separate audio input - that includes you, your guests, and any sound effects coming from your soundboard. 

Related article:
Find the best podcast mixer for your setup with our guide 


Do I need a mixer to use a soundboard in my podcast? 

This depends on your soundboard setup. As we’ve said, if you’ve compiled all your sound effects and media locally to your computer and your soundboard isn’t automatically integrated with your recording software, you’ll need a mixer to include your media as a separate track. 

With Riverside.fm, your soundboard is fully integrated.
Riverside.fm’s media board is an automatic feature, so you don’t need additional equipment to start live producing right away. 

Read more about Riverside.fm’s new Media Board


Why do I need a soundboard for my podcast? 

Save yourself time and simplify your workflow. Don’t worry, you’re not losing out on the creative process. By live mixing, you are instantly saving yourself time. If you have a formulaic structure: intro, transitions, outro - you can insert these using your soundboard and cut out post-production completely. 

Sound effects add flair and personality to your podcast.
Including sound effects, music, and other media in your podcast instantly boosts the production quality. 

Keep your listeners engaged.
Imagine watching a film without a soundtrack, not so captivating anymore, right? That’s exactly what a podcast without sound effects is like. Music, transitions, and other media reinforce and complement your content, and underscore what you say during your podcast. 

Give your live stream audience the full experience.
Live mixing with a soundboard means that if you’ve got a live audience watching the recording they can still enjoy your podcast with all the added sound effects, transitions, and music.

How does a soundboard work?

A soundboard is a bit like an iTunes library. A compilation of media, whether that’s sound effects, music, video, transitions, or more. 

A soundboard gives you quick access to your media.
Most soundboards allow you to organize your media for hassle-free use. 

If you’re using an online and integrated soundboard,
such as the Riverside.fm media board, all you have to do is upload your media files and you’re good to go. When the moment is right, select your media from the soundboard and play it during your recording session. 

If you’re compiling your own,
download your media files and save them into a file locally on your computer. You’ll then need to connect your computer to your mixer so that it is recorded as separate audio input for your podcast. 


How do I get sound effects for my podcast?

Most soundboards come pre-loaded with free-to-use media, so if you’re stuck for inspiration, don’t worry. 

Several websites offer jingles, sound effects, and music
that you can download to use for your podcast. We outline some of the best out there later in this article. 

If you’re feeling creative, try recording your own.
Recording your own podcast jingles can be a great way to add some personality to your podcast. 

Best soundboards for your podcast 

Integrated Soundboards 

The following options offer a soundboard as part of a browser-based recording suite, meaning you don’t have to go out of your way to include your soundboard in your podcasting setup. It’s all done for you. 

Riverside.fm 

Price: Basic subscription for $7.5/month

About: Riverside.fm is a browser-based audio and video recording platform. The Media Board is automatically included at no extra cost. 

Features

  • User-friendly. The Riverside.fm interface is built with the user in mind. It’s super easy to navigate and you need no prior knowledge to get started. 
  • Add music, sound effects, and video. Riverside.fm lets you include any kind of media, so even if you’re recording a reaction video, you can use the Media Board to include the video in your live recording. 
  • Preview your media before going live. The last thing you want is to go live with a file from your soundboard, only to realize it’s the wrong one. Riverside lets you preview your media, so you can avoid those silly mistakes. 
  • Adjust volume and fade out your media using the slider. Riverside’s Media Board allows you to toggle the volume of your media so it’s just right. You can also use the slider as a fader, to fade your audio in and out. 
  • Media board tracks are automatically synced. Once you’ve finished recording, you’ll find all your video and audio tracks perfectly synced to save you time. 
  • Save your media for later. Riverside automatically saves any files you upload to your personal media board, so you don’t have to worry about reuploading at a later date. 


Standalone Soundboards 

The following soundboards are available for download. When we say they’re standalone, that means they’re not integrated with any recording software, so you’ll have to connect your computer up to a mixer to include it in your podcasting setup. 

Soundboard Studio 

Price: Free version includes a maximum of 24 tracks. Three-tier price structure, $4.99/week, $29.99/year, and $64.99 forever.

About: Soundboard Studio is an iOS app that is optimized for mobile and tablet use. Available on the App Store, it is perfect for including music beds, voiceovers, sound effects, soundbites, and more. 

Features:

  • Play tracks simultaneously. You may have a voice-over that you want to combine with a backing track, this feature is perfect for those moments. 
  • Bulk import tracks. You don’t need to wait around to manually upload each individual media file. Instead, you can bulk upload them to save yourself time. 
  • Easy user interface. Soundboard Studio is built with the user in mind. The intuitive and interactive app interface requires no prior knowledge. 
  • Create boards for your sounds, and set color schemes so you can navigate easily. Soundboard Studio allows you to organize your media with easy navigability. 
  • Trim your audio. Soundboard Studio allows you to trim your audio clips to perfection, so you don’t need to worry about cutting them off at the right moment. 
  • Automated tracks streamline your workflow. This feature allows you to set Soundboard Studio to automatically play, stop or change the volume of other tracks triggered by whether a track starts playing, stops playing, or reaches its end.  


Disadvantages:

  • Cannot include video. 
  • Doesn’t work on desktop. Works only on iPad, iPhone, and iPod. 
  • Not integrated with recording software. Although this is a great app, Soundboard Studio is not automatically integrated with recording software, meaning you will have to figure out how to fit it into your podcasting setup. 

Ambrosia Software’s Soundboard App 

Price: $49.99 on the App Store 

About
: Available on the App Store for iOS Macs and iPad. 

Features

  • Create personal media libraries. Organize your audio into libraries for easy access and organization. 
  • Keyboard hotkeys. Soundboard turns your laptop keyboard into hotkeys, so your soundbites are literally at your fingertips.


Disadvantages: 

  • Not integrated with recording software. Soundboard is not automatically integrated with podcast recording software, so you will have to manually include it in your recording setup. 
  • Outdated interface. Soundboard’s interface hasn’t been updated for over a decade, and it really shows. 
  • Cannot include video.

Rogue Amoeba’s Farrago 

Price: Free to download but audio quality purposefully degraded. One-time purchase costs $59.

About: Available on the App Store for iOS Macs and iPad. 

Features

  • Easy and intuitive tile layout. Farrago’s tile grid means you can find exactly what you’re looking for in seconds. 
  • Color-code, customize, and organize your audio tiles. Farrago lets you organize your audio into groups, set your audio tiles’ colors, name, and tweak fade-out settings.
  • List mode. Think of this as an order of play. Farrago lets you order your clips, add notes, and play them in sequence. 
  • Keyboard hotkeys. Farrago turns your keyboard into hotkeys, creating easy shortcuts to playing your audio instantly.


Disadvantages:

  • Not integrated with recording software. Soundboard is not automatically integrated with podcast recording software, so you will have to manually include it in your recording setup. 
  • Cannot include video. 

The Podcast Soundboard App

Price: $4.99

About: Available for macOS, iOS, and Windows devices. 

Features
:

  • Color-code your sounds. For easy navigability, the Podcast Soundboard app allows you to color-code your media. 
  • Output configuration. Choose which audio device the app outputs to. 
  • Trim your tracks. Using the Podcast Soundboard App, you can edit your clips down to exactly the right length to save yourself time later. 
  • Fade out. Allows you to configure the time from the end of the track at which it’ll begin to automatically fade out.
  • Affordable. Available for a low price one-time purchase.  


Disadvantages:

  • Cannot include video. 
  • Outdated user-interface. The interface is clumsy and hard to use, meaning you may need to familiarise yourself with it before diving in. 
  • Not integrated with recording software. Although this is a great app, again, The Podcast Soundboard App is not automatically integrated with recording software, meaning you will have to figure out how to fit it into your podcasting setup. 


Bonus Tips: 

Where to find sound fx for your podcast

Once you have sorted your soundboard, you will need to start adding it to your library. Luckily, there are many easily accessible options on the internet. Here are some suggestions of where to start: 

Free: 


Paid:

For more recommendations, check out this article about the best free music for your podcast

How to upload music and sound fx to your soundboard 

If you’re compiling media from different sources, we would recommend first downloading and saving everything to a specific file on your computer or to a folder on Google Drive or DropBox. From here, you should be able to upload your media to your soundboard in bulk. 

How to integrate your soundboard into your podcasting setup 

If you’ve opted for a soundboard that is not automatically integrated into your recording setup, then you’ll need a mixer. 

Whether you’ve got a soundboard application on your computer, tablet, or phone, you’ll need to connect it up to your mixer so that the audio output from your soundboard is included as a recording track. 

Find the best options of podcast mixers using our guide 


Final Thoughts

Even if you enjoy the editing process, don’t overlook the power of live mixing with a soundboard. Integrating sound effects, music, or video into your podcast as you’re recording, will save you time whilst amping up your production value instantly. It’s a no-brainer. With Riverside.fm’s integrated Media Board, it couldn’t be easier. 

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