BE YOUR OWN SOUND MAN – Bo in the trenches / by Bo Gerard

Music and sound effects can really help with the energy and quality of your show, but most of us aren’t able to hire a trained sound operator to be at every show we do.

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Years ago, I was using a system called the “iCue 2 Virtual Soundman”. The system cost around $600 and you connected the receiver to a music player (iPod back then) and to your sound system. You operated it with a small, wireless, radio frequency remote you kept in your pocket or on your belt. It worked great! I could play tracks for my intro, walk-up tracks for audience assistants, music for on-stage bits, whatever! But the company went out of business, and the newer music players were not compatible with the iCues old software, so I suddenly had a $600 piece of useless technology. The only other option at the time was a system that cost around $1300, and I didn’t want to spend the money and end up with another un-updatable system a few year later. So, I went back to doing my show without music, and it worked fine, but I knew the perceived value of my show had gone down a bit.

The GOOD NEWS is that, thanks to Bluetooth technology and updatable phone apps, the music is back in my show. And I am loving it! And the cost is incredibly low! I am now using an app called GoButton, and a full-function version is available for FREE in the App Store. (I actually purchased the pro version, because 1- I wanted the ability to have multiple shows loaded at once, and 2- I love the app so much that I wanted to reward the designers for making such a great product available for free for those who couldn’t afford the pro version)

You can run the app right from your phone, or you can purchase a Bluetooth remote to operate it (seemingly) hands-free. I am currently using the AirTurn Digit BT-106 Bluetooth Remote. It costs around $60. With a couple of minor alterations (I placed a small square of Velcro (hook side) on the center play button, so it was easier to quickly find by feel; and I made and attached a belt loop using hanger wire and tape ) I now have a way to run all the cues and sound effects that I want. I do have to use misdirection while I am pressing the remote go button, but hey misdirecting and multi-tasking is what we magicians do, isn’t it!

So, for sixty bucks, a free download and a little music editing, (Audacity - great, free music editor) - the energy of my show, and it’s perceived value to my clients, have both gotten a big boost!!!