Stream Deck For Sound Design - an essential guide Asbjoern Andersen


Interested in using Elgato Stream Deck for sound design? David Dumais – professional sound designer and composer for video games – shares his knowledge on getting started with Stream Deck and making the most of it in your workflow. Dumais works professionally as a freelancer with indie game developers around the world, and he also creates sound packs (available for purchase on A Sound Effect).
Story by David Dumais, photos courtesy of David Dumais
Please share:

If you are a sound designer and want to greatly speed up your workflow, save time, and reduce error in your work, then look no further. The Elgato Stream Deck is the answer you are looking for.

What is the Elgato Stream Deck?

I like to think of the Stream Deck as a super macro pad with an infinite amount of assignable buttons. It’s kind of like a customizable control center for your computer where you quickly access different functions, shortcuts, and commands across any application. It can easily be programmed to do anything from launching applications to executing a series of hotkeys, and even controlling your mouse.

Features:

✓ Assign a key from your keyboard
✓ Assign a hotkey
✓ Assign multiple keys or hotkeys in a sequence
✓ Control mouse position and mouse clicks at the click of a button
✓ Assign a specific series of mouse movements, clicks, scrolls, keyboard clicks and hotkeys
✓ Loop or repeat a certain hotkey a set number of times or infinitely until you tell it to stop

Hopefully this gives you a glimpse as to why this tool is so powerful. My goal with this article is to provide you with some tips and tricks for getting the most out of your Stream Deck as a sound designer.
 

Considerations before incorporating the Stream Deck into your workflow

1. Learning curve

As with all things new, the Stream Deck comes with a learning curve. Fortunately, the software is very intuitive and user-friendly. Programming a button is usually as simple as dragging the desired function from the menu list to the desired button on your Stream Deck. If you are even just a little bit technology inclined, you won’t have an issue here. The true consideration will be the time it takes to set up.

2. Set up time

Here you may want to consider doing a quick time/cost-benefit analysis. Consider asking yourself the following:

What hotkeys/shortcuts do I use in my work?

What tasks do I repeat on a daily basis? Project basis?

What actions do I wish were assignable to a key press?

What I do every once in a while is take mental note of how I spend time during my work day. If there is ever a manual task that I am repeating, I make sure to assign it to my Stream Deck.

Yes, there is the cost of time to set it up, but if it is a task you do on a daily or even consistent basis, the time saved will quickly outweigh the initial setup effort. For example, if you spend a few minutes each day performing a repetitive task, automating it with a Stream Deck button could save you hours over the course of a month or year. This time savings can then be reinvested into more creative or productive aspects of your work. In essence, the initial time investment in setting up your Stream Deck can lead to significant long-term gains in efficiency and workflow optimization.
 

How to use your Elgato Stream Deck

To start assigning actions/functions/commands to buttons on your Stream Deck, you will need to create a profile. A profile is basically a preset for a specific application. For example, I have a profile for when I work in Reaper and another profile for when I work in iZotope RX and yet another profile for when I work in Soundminer. Each profile contains your collection of buttons I have assigned for that application.

As mentioned, assigning certain functions to a button on the Stream Deck is as easy as dragging and dropping the desired action from the list onto the desired button in the Stream Deck software.

StreamDeckTips_sound-01

 

Common command functions you’ll probably use

Hotkey: With hotkey, you can assign a keyboard key, key combination (ex: Ctrl+Shft+A), and even virtual keys to a single button on your stream deck.

Multi-Action: Multi-Action is like a folder that can house as many actions as you want. When pressed, it will cycle through all actions in the folder in sequence until complete.

Create Folder: This will create a folder. When pressed, it will unlock a whole new blank page of assignable buttons to your Stream Deck.

Navigation (next page, previous page, go to page, page indicator): Similar to folders, pages are a different way to organize, manage, and navigate your buttons on your Stream Deck.

Super Macro [BarRaider]: This third-party set of plugins can be used to control your mouse position, clicks, and scrolls as well as looping/repeating hotkeys.

– Super Macro: I use to control mouse position, clicks, and scrolls
– Sticky Super Macro: I use for automatically repeating hotkeys
– Sticky Keystroke: I use for automatically repeating keystrokes
– Mouse Location: I use to get the XY coordinates of my mouse across my dual monitor setup. The coordinates can then be used in Super Macro to control mouse position.
– For full documentation, check out the BarRaider website
 


Popular on A Sound Effect right now - article continues below:


Trending right now:

  • Firearms Sound Effects Sci-Fi Weapons (Principle Sound) Play Track 2626 sounds included $50

    The Sci-Fi Weapons library delivers more than 2600 futuristic weapon shots, charges, ricochets and other related sounds.

    All of them were designed using exclusively recorded Foley sounds, synthetic layers, various sound manipulation and morphing techniques.

    Single shots and automatic fire, reloading ammo, energy blasts, impacts and explosions, surface hits – it’s all there, ready to be used in your sci-fi projects!

    Version 1.5 is out:
    In v1.5 update we add 11 new weapons and two new reloads/ricochets packs. The total number of sounds in the library comes up to 2626.

    50 %
    OFF
  • Human Sound Effects Crowds: Emotions And Reactions Play Track 400 sounds included, 90 mins total $47.40

    This SFX library contains a wide range of reactions and emotional responses varying from quiet crowds to roared battle cries to a large selection of exclamations generated by a group of passionate theatrical actors in indoor venues.

    Apart from the vocalizations, we’ve also included recordings of more unusual crowd ambiances like people walking around the mics, falling down, sitting down and getting up, jumping around, marching, or just being present in the space.

    Crowds library is split into the following two parts:

    Small Groups: Includes small groups of up to 30 people which you can layer together and quickly create the sound of any sized realistic groups of people.

    Large Crowds: Brings pre-designed, easy-to-use sounds of medium to large crowds in various types of reactions, moods, and surroundings.

    40 %
    OFF
    Ends 1722031199
  • Analog Days contains 390 sounds extracted from old portable cassette players, Retro WW tube radios, vintage turntable vinyl record players and retro tape machines. This is really a sound time capsule ready to send your projects back to the good old analog days and give that sense of analog imperfection that makes the sound really interesting.

    30 %
    OFF
    Ends 1721944800
  • Ensembles of traditional Buddhist instruments and chanting, with throat singing.


Latest releases:

  • Environments & Ambiences Chimney Wind Play Track 30 sounds included, 93 mins total $7

    There was a massive storm going on outside and we could hear the wind from the chimney so we popped our field recording kit up and extended the microphones to as far as they would go up the chimney and pressed record. We managed to capture the low end and rumbles of the wind interacting with the chimney.

    We then tried adding some reverb on to the samples to give space and context which wasn’t exactly part of the plan for this sample pack but we thought it added something so decided to add these samples to the sample pack for no extra cost.

    Chimney Wind will give you enough audio to give your project the authentic sound of wind from a chimney stack, boosting your project to the next level. Chimney Wind has been edited to allow a drop in ready and Royalty Free sample pack. These Samples can be used in a variety of projects from Sound Designing/Compositions for TV, Film, Documentaries and Video Games. UCS Compliant and Metadata is attached to the samples

  • Door Sound Effects Small Furniture Workshop Play Track 17+ sounds included, 52 mins total $15

    This library is recorded in a small furniture workshop where office furniture is sawn and created. We recorded the sounds of the factory so that they can be easily combined together to create a workshop of any scale.

    Here’s What We Recorded:

    • Large circular saw

    • Drill

    • Doors

    • General work noises

    • Industrial Spaces

    Microphones were placed at varying distances from the recording subjects. Many recordings were created using a LOM Geofon contact microphone.

     

     

    50 %
    OFF
  • Rolling thunder, rain in the city or in the countryside – these are the sounds that are included in the collection “Thunderstorm Rain Vol.1”.

    These sounds are well suited for creating a stormy, rainy atmosphere for movies, games and other audio-visual content.

    All sounds are recorded in WAV format, 96 kHz, 24 bit.

     

    The following sounds are included:

    • Atmosphere of Thunderstorm in City Outside Window
    • Drops of Thunderstorm Rain on Windowsill
    • Heavy Rain
    • Pouring Rain
    • Rain Hurricane Rattle Metal Plate Loop
    • Rain in the Gazebo
    • Rain In the Village
    • Rain on Windowsill and City Traffic
    • Rain Thunderstorm on City Traffic Background
    • Rainy Atmosphere with Thunderstorm in City
    • The End of the Thunderstorm
    • Thunderstorm
    • Thunderstorm Rain Intensifies
    • Thunder FX

     

    Product Details:

    • 82 GB
    • 96kHz/24-Bit
    • 73 WAV files

    Thunderstorm Rain Vol.1 – Sound List

  • “Sci-Fi Textures and Loops” are unique sound effects in WAV 24 Bit 96 kHz format that are suitable for creating a dark, mysterious, alien atmosphere when creating science fiction films, games, and music tracks.

    32 %
    OFF
  • The Reindeer/Caribou sound effect library has 150 audio files and over 500 individual sounds. Including:

    • Isolated vocalizations of adults, young calves, and newborn calves, including grunts and nickers
    • Isolated mouth and nose sounds, including breaths, exhales, inhales, snorts, coughs, smacking, swallowing, sniffs, burps, and gurgles
    • Herd activity, including resting, moving, herding and round-up
    • Real and foley bells
    • Antlers clashing
    • Footsteps, walking and running on different surfaces
    • Eating and drinking
    • Sleeping/Resting
    • Digging snow

    Reindeer/Caribou - Sound Effect Library

    Most of these sounds have been recorded with a collar microphone on reindeer, so the sounds are extremely intimate, isolated, and close-up. The collar microphone was attached to a female reindeer with a calf, which captured the most intimate moments. The collar microphone also recorded many other reindeer in the herd, so there are a lot of unique reindeer vocalizations.

    This sound effect library also contains all 33 files from my previous Reindeer sound effect library.

    Note regarding the naming of the animal: Wikipedia says that “Reindeer is the European name for the species of Rangifer, while in North America, Rangifer species are known as Caribou”. So, you can use the same sounds for each of them because, at least in terms of sound, they are nearly identical!

    20 %
    OFF
Huge Summer Sound Effects Sale
Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:


How to organize your profiles

I’m sure there a ton of ways people like to set up their profiles, and I’m sure they will be different based on the application. For my DAW however, I personally like to split my profile into 3 sections.

StreamDeckTips_sound-02

Reaper DAW – Stream Deck

Top: At the top, I have all my folders for when I am working on a specific task. For example, in Reaper, I have a folder for MIDI, audio, tracks, plugin, sound design, other, and misc.

Bottom: At the bottom, I like to keep my common static buttons so that they do not change across pages or folders. These are hotkeys I use all the time like play/pause from mouse cursor position, play/stop, loop, and record.

Tip: Right click on a button in the stream deck software and select ‘Pin’ to pin a button in its location across folders and pages of its respective profile.

Middle: For the middle section, I house my most used scripts such as nvk_Search, nvk_Variation, nvk_Create, nvk_Autodoppler, nvk_Loopmaker, LKC variator, LKC Render Blocks, FX Permutator as well as open VST on selected track and close all windows.

Tip: Create profiles that are visually similar so that common functions are at the same location across applications and profiles. This will save you time and mental space to not have to relearn profiles between the applications.

For example, if in Reaper you use [Enter] to play audio but in RX [Spacebar], you can assign both to a button that is at the same location in both your Reaper profile and RX profile. Or perhaps you use [Ctrl+Enter] to open the export window in Reaper, but [Ctrl+E] to open the export window in RX. You can assign each of these hotkeys to the same button but on their respective profiles. In this example, if you keep your export button in the same place across profiles, you don’t need to remember the specific hotkey for each application. For me, my export button is always at the top left across all applications, so when I’m ready to export, whether in RX or Reaper or even when I’m editing video, I know to go for the top left button on my stream deck.

StreamDeckTips_sound-03

RX Profile – SFX Page

Another Tip: Color code your folders. Keep all buttons in each folder the same color or shade of the same color. This helps not only keep your buttons visually pleasing and organized, but also keeps certain colors assigned to certain tasks.
 

My most used Shortcuts/Hotkeys for my DAW

1. Load scripts: My most used Stream Deck shortcut is probably to load scripts in Reaper by assigning hotkeys to scripts both in Reaper and the Stream Deck.

2. Insert Plugins: Another common use is to insert plugins on to selected tracks or selected items in Reaper. Here’s how you can do that.

a) Save your selected insert fx (or fx chain) as a preset

StreamDeckTips_sound-04

b) Search for saved FX preset

StreamDeckTips_sound-05

c) Right-Click and select ‘Create Shortcut’

StreamDeckTips_sound-06

d) Assign the fx preset to a shortcut

e) Assign that same shortcut to a hotkey in your Stream Deck

3. Loops for cutting and trimming multiple items: Recently I have been using the BarRaider Sticky Super Macro to loop through a set of shortcuts I have assigned in Reaper for editing multi-mic field recordings. Here’s how it works.

a) In Reaper’s action list, assign a shortcut to Item navigation: Select and move to next item

b) In Reaper’s action list, assign a shortcut to Item navigation: Move cursor right to edge of item

c) In Reaper’s action list, assign a shortcut to Item edit: Trim right edge of item to edit cursor

d) In Stream Deck, drag Sticky Super Macro by BarRaider

e) Under the ‘Macro:’ section, click the ‘capture’ button to capture keystroke

f) Capture your assigned shortcut for Item navigation: Move cursor right to edge of item

g) Capture your assigned shortcut Item navigation: Move cursor right to edge of item

h) Capture your assigned shortcut for to Item edit: Trim right edge of item to edit cursor

i) Set the delay to around 60ms

Now your button is ready. You can edit just 1 track and then run this script to clean up the rest of the microphone tracks.

 

Check out David Dumais’s Helpful Stream Deck Video: ‘Best Productivity Tool for Sound Designers?’



Best Productivity Tool for Sound Designers?


My most used Shortcuts/Hotkeys for RX by iZotope

1. Export regular: This exports the audio file to the same folder it was loaded from and overwrites the file.

StreamDeckTips_sound-07

a) Select all

b) Open export window

c) Press Enter

d) Delay 150ms

e) Press Enter

f) Press Enter

g) Go to next tab

2. Export Field Recordings: This opens the export window and selects 24-bit from the bit depth drop down menu. It then confirms all export settings by pressing enter. Now we choose file location (which is the same as where the file was loaded from) and file name. For the file name, I add ‘(edited)’ to the end of the file name to note that it was edited in RX. Finally, the file is exported.

StreamDeckTips_sound-08

a) Open export window

b) Press Enter

c) Delay 100ms

d) Mouse to bit depth drop down

e) Mouse selects bit depth drop down menu

f) Mouse selects 24-bit

g) Press Enter

h) Delay 200ms

i) Right button

j) Spacebar

k) Adds text ‘(edited)’

3. Close All Tabs: This closes all files. If files were edited, a popup window shows up asking if you would like to save the file. It then selects ‘No’ and enter for each of the files in RX.

StreamDeckTips_sound-09

a) Close all files

b) Right button

c) Enter

d) Repeat Step 2 & 3 fifteen more times

 

Steam Deck Plugins you may find interesting:

Cubase
Discord
Midi
Mouse Control by VIVRE-MOTION
Mouse Simulator by VIVRE-MOTION
Nuendo
OBS
Slack
Super Macro [BarRaider]
Twitch
Unity for MacOS
Unity for Windows

Check out all available plugins at: Elgato Marketplace

 

Where to go from here

If you want to test the Stream Deck to see if it’s right for you, you can download the Stream Deck Mobile for iOS for free and get started with up to 6 buttons. For those on Android, you can download the app for a 30-day free trial.

If you want to purchase the Elgato Stream Deck, you can do so on Amazon or at Elgato.com.

If you’re looking for different functionality, consider checking out the Stream Deck + which comes with knobs and a touch slider. There’s also the Stream Deck pedal which you can use with your feet.

Consider checking out the Elgato Marketplace for tons of free plugins, profiles (you don’t have to manually program everything – others have done the work for you), sounds, icons, and more.

 

A big thanks to David Dumais for sharing his top tips for sound designing with Elgato Stream Deck! You can find David’s sound packs here on A Sound Effect.

Are you using a Stream Deck in your sound design workflow? Please share any tips and shortcuts you might have in the comments below:

 

Please share this:


 



 
 
THE WORLD’S EASIEST WAY TO GET INDEPENDENT SOUND EFFECTS:
 
A Sound Effect gives you easy access to an absolutely huge sound effects catalog from a myriad of independent sound creators, all covered by one license agreement - a few highlights:

  • Human Sound Effects Crowds: Emotions And Reactions Play Track 400 sounds included, 90 mins total $47.40

    This SFX library contains a wide range of reactions and emotional responses varying from quiet crowds to roared battle cries to a large selection of exclamations generated by a group of passionate theatrical actors in indoor venues.

    Apart from the vocalizations, we’ve also included recordings of more unusual crowd ambiances like people walking around the mics, falling down, sitting down and getting up, jumping around, marching, or just being present in the space.

    Crowds library is split into the following two parts:

    Small Groups: Includes small groups of up to 30 people which you can layer together and quickly create the sound of any sized realistic groups of people.

    Large Crowds: Brings pre-designed, easy-to-use sounds of medium to large crowds in various types of reactions, moods, and surroundings.

    40 %
    OFF
    Ends 1722031199
  • “The Shoe Collection: Dirt- Knee High Boot“ by Periscope Post & Audio, provides 22 high quality footsteps files in dirt with the knee high boot.  The audio files are recorded at 24bit, 192k with mono and stereo recordings.  The Sennheiser MKH-60 was used for the mono files with a slightly more distant mic placement than the stereo files, which were recorded with the Sennheiser MKH8050 and the Sennheiser MKH-30 near the shoe.  From different walking speeds, to jogging, sprinting, jumping, hard stops, scuffs, and more!  There are several performances with each file to fit the right action you need.  That’s a whopping 268 footsteps between the mono and stereo files!

    These sound files are also UCS metadata tagged

  • Creature Sound Effects WINGS Play Track 1444+ sounds included From: $99

    We are extremely proud to present our first library, WINGS – a one-of-a-kind sound library.

    From tiny insects to small birds, from fairies to dragons, WINGS offers a creative palette with a diverse range of sounds to choose from.

    With over 1400 files (more than 4 GB for the 192 kHz version ) we’re confident you will find the perfect sound.

    When purchasing WINGS you get 2 packs, our Design category that includes 180 files and the Source category that offers more than 1200 sounds. Featuring the very best of our foley sessions.

    All single flaps have been careful edited, allowing for unique speed or rate adjustments.

    Pick your preferred version at the introductory prices below:

Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
 
  • Environments & Ambiences Chimney Wind Play Track 30 sounds included, 93 mins total $7

    There was a massive storm going on outside and we could hear the wind from the chimney so we popped our field recording kit up and extended the microphones to as far as they would go up the chimney and pressed record. We managed to capture the low end and rumbles of the wind interacting with the chimney.

    We then tried adding some reverb on to the samples to give space and context which wasn’t exactly part of the plan for this sample pack but we thought it added something so decided to add these samples to the sample pack for no extra cost.

    Chimney Wind will give you enough audio to give your project the authentic sound of wind from a chimney stack, boosting your project to the next level. Chimney Wind has been edited to allow a drop in ready and Royalty Free sample pack. These Samples can be used in a variety of projects from Sound Designing/Compositions for TV, Film, Documentaries and Video Games. UCS Compliant and Metadata is attached to the samples

  • Door Sound Effects Small Furniture Workshop Play Track 17+ sounds included, 52 mins total $15

    This library is recorded in a small furniture workshop where office furniture is sawn and created. We recorded the sounds of the factory so that they can be easily combined together to create a workshop of any scale.

    Here’s What We Recorded:

    • Large circular saw

    • Drill

    • Doors

    • General work noises

    • Industrial Spaces

    Microphones were placed at varying distances from the recording subjects. Many recordings were created using a LOM Geofon contact microphone.

     

     

    50 %
    OFF
  • Rolling thunder, rain in the city or in the countryside – these are the sounds that are included in the collection “Thunderstorm Rain Vol.1”.

    These sounds are well suited for creating a stormy, rainy atmosphere for movies, games and other audio-visual content.

    All sounds are recorded in WAV format, 96 kHz, 24 bit.

     

    The following sounds are included:

    • Atmosphere of Thunderstorm in City Outside Window
    • Drops of Thunderstorm Rain on Windowsill
    • Heavy Rain
    • Pouring Rain
    • Rain Hurricane Rattle Metal Plate Loop
    • Rain in the Gazebo
    • Rain In the Village
    • Rain on Windowsill and City Traffic
    • Rain Thunderstorm on City Traffic Background
    • Rainy Atmosphere with Thunderstorm in City
    • The End of the Thunderstorm
    • Thunderstorm
    • Thunderstorm Rain Intensifies
    • Thunder FX

     

    Product Details:

    • 82 GB
    • 96kHz/24-Bit
    • 73 WAV files

    Thunderstorm Rain Vol.1 – Sound List

  • “Sci-Fi Textures and Loops” are unique sound effects in WAV 24 Bit 96 kHz format that are suitable for creating a dark, mysterious, alien atmosphere when creating science fiction films, games, and music tracks.

    32 %
    OFF
  • The Reindeer/Caribou sound effect library has 150 audio files and over 500 individual sounds. Including:

    • Isolated vocalizations of adults, young calves, and newborn calves, including grunts and nickers
    • Isolated mouth and nose sounds, including breaths, exhales, inhales, snorts, coughs, smacking, swallowing, sniffs, burps, and gurgles
    • Herd activity, including resting, moving, herding and round-up
    • Real and foley bells
    • Antlers clashing
    • Footsteps, walking and running on different surfaces
    • Eating and drinking
    • Sleeping/Resting
    • Digging snow

    Reindeer/Caribou - Sound Effect Library

    Most of these sounds have been recorded with a collar microphone on reindeer, so the sounds are extremely intimate, isolated, and close-up. The collar microphone was attached to a female reindeer with a calf, which captured the most intimate moments. The collar microphone also recorded many other reindeer in the herd, so there are a lot of unique reindeer vocalizations.

    This sound effect library also contains all 33 files from my previous Reindeer sound effect library.

    Note regarding the naming of the animal: Wikipedia says that “Reindeer is the European name for the species of Rangifer, while in North America, Rangifer species are known as Caribou”. So, you can use the same sounds for each of them because, at least in terms of sound, they are nearly identical!

    20 %
    OFF

   

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.