Taking a Byte Out of Time

Sound Byte: Using sound clips  without adding time.

When I first started the SciFi Diner Podcast, I would record my shows through my mixer and into my Zoom H2n Handy Recorder, and then add my intro, outro, sound clips, and promos in post production.  All my sounds were banked in a folder on my desktop. I edited my audio files using Garageband at the time; when I found a spot for a sound clip, I would split the track, move it over, logo100and drag and drop the clip in.  After making sure the levels were correct, I would continue editing. The whole process, if I was organized, took two minutes tops.  I used about ten clips through the show.  You can do the math to see how much time that added to my editing. But Sound Byte changed all that.

What Sound Byte allows me to do is  organize my sound clips into an app that I can play while recording a show.  Black Cat Systems, who produces the app, has a Mac, PC, and iPhone/iPad version of the app. Sorry Android users. Here’s the way it works for me.

I use the Sound Byte app on my iPhone (there is a free and paid version of the app; the paid version is $4.99).  The set up takes a little bit of time, but believe me, using Sound Byte will save you time in the long run . I load my sound clips into the app page designated for my phone in iTunes and then sync it.

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 9.13.51 PM

When I open up Sound Byte on my iPhone for the first time, I am greeted with this screen.


This screen is called a rack (a location that holds all your audio clips); the individual boxes are called carts (a box to carry your sound clip). To get my clips to appear, I press one of the gray boxes for a few seconds.  This brings up a screen that looks like this.


Next, I click on the words “Sound File” to bring up my bank of sound clips.


After I select the clip I want to use, it takes me back to cart options. I can now test the clip, adjust its loudness, change to color of the cart, and much much more. Coloring coding is pretty awesome. I can make the clips I use all the time one color, promos another, and listener feedback still another.  Once I am finished tinkering, I click the back button and my clip is ready.


Then, all I need to do is connect my iPhone to my Zoom R16 Multitrack SD Recorder Controller and Interface
via a ⅛ inch jack to XLR chord and I am ready to record.  It seriously couldn’t be easier.

As I said before, it takes a little bit of time to load the rack initially, but after that, this program seriously knocks at least 20 minutes off my post production time. That is another 20 minutes I can be connecting to my listeners or writing blog posts.

If you are already using Sound Byte, let me know how it has helped you in your podcasting. If not, I encourage you to check it out. Streamlining your podcast couldn’t be easier.  It you want to hear another podcaster’s perspective on Sound Byte, you can listen to my interview with Ben DeBono from the SciFi Christian Podcast. If you want to find out other ways to streamline your podcast workflow, check out my post on Auphonic last week.




3 thoughts on “Taking a Byte Out of Time

  1. I used Sound Byte for years on my Mac. It’s a great application for organizing/playing audio clips.

    The only downside I found with the Mac version is that, the developer would remove older versions of the program from its website and only offer the newest version, which always required purchase of a new license. So, every time I bought a new computer and went to install the program, I had to buy a new license. This may have changed for the desktop version, and likely won’t be an issue for the iOS version. But even given this annoyance, I’d still highly recommend the program to anyone in need of this type of application.

    1. I have only ever downloaded the trial version of Sound Byte for the Mac. The iPhone/iPad version has never required me to repurchase it. That is kind of a bugger though.


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