Stage Research, Inc.has announced the release of SFX 6, the new version of its live entertainment sound playback software. More than just an update of the application, SFX 6 has been rewritten from the ground up and boasts an array of new features.

“We’ve been collecting feedback and suggestions from sound designers about how to take SFX forward, and now SFX 6 is ready to go,” says Carlton Guc who is partnered with Brad Rembielak in Stage Research. “SFX is all about sound, and we’ve been listening.”

SFX, which typically replaces one or more CD players or minidisc systems, was designed to put the art back into sound design. The core product of Stage Research, SFX embodies the company’s Sounds Simple philosophy, which provides more power and flexibility than traditional playback equipment.

Instead of worrying about technological limitations, SFX users create rich sound designs that can be reliably played back during each performance.

Version 6 includes numerous new features, which expand SFX’s capabilities while ensuring that it remains user friendly. Among the most important changes are:

• An ASIO sound playback engine which supports 16-bit or better WAV, MP3, or WMA audio files.
• Cues output to a true matrix with virtually any number of inputs to any number of outputs.
• Audio cues can contain mono, stereo, and even more channels. Users can even drag-and-drop multiple sound files to create a multichannel, synchronized sound cue from existing mono and stereo sound files.
• Fades are now called volume changes, and volume change curves can be completely customized. Curves can be assigned on a per crosspoint level.
• Revamped user interface.
• Undo/redo functions.
• Two new windows are now available. Transport window shows/controls the execution of cues. Active Matrix gives users control of all the volumes of the standby and playing cues right in front of them and on the fly.
• Collapsible cues. Cue sequences connected by waits and autofollows can be collapsed into one line.

In addition, users can now easily seek to the middle of any complex cue and have every part of that effect sync to the correct place, even volume changes. Users can also select multiple effects in a cue list, all independent of the standby cue so they can edit effects without losing the execution sequence.

SFX 6 retains the ease of operation of its predecessor SFX 5.6 which users value. Users simply put their sound files on the computer and then drag-and-drop them into an SFX cue list along with other special cues, such as Waits and Volume Changes, created in SFX. This enables them to craft easy-to- play back sequences.

SFX also allows users to play back multiple sound effects at the same time and send them to many different outputs. Imagine playing a train cue that steams across the stage from stage right to stage left while also playing rain in the back of the house and a telephone ringing based off an actor’s cue. All cues overlap, are independent, easy to set up and even simpler to play back!

“Just about anyone can use SFX to create complex shows that are operated easily,” notes Guc. “If you play back prerecorded music or sound effects, especially if you’re a theatre sound designer or operator, then SFX is for you. Now SFX 6 and its new features extend the application to further enhance every production.”

Stage Research has already given users the jump start on SFX 6 training with one-day, hands-on courses in New York City and Orlando led by SFX expert trainer, Drew Dalzell and additional sessions will be scheduled across the country.