Farrago is a soundboard app, which is exactly what it sounds like: a program that can hold clips of audio to be played back at will. If you’re thinking that the reason a podcaster would want to use an app like this is for things like interjecting noises during the podcast to amuse the hosts and listeners, it is true that is one use case for a program like Farrago. But it’s not the one I’m most excited about.
Every time I edit a podcast, I have to dink around with lining up things that go in every episode, and things that change every episode. Intro Siri beeps and silly statements and theme music are things that all go into every episode, but the silly Siri statements will be different each time, which affects where the intro music needs to start and where I need to position the tracks of us talking during the show. The music never changes, but if I append fade out outro music, its position is also affected by the length of the conversation.
In other words, stuff moves around.
With Farrago, I can set up a sequence of intro clips and a sequence of outro clips, as well as some additional silly random things that I may want to use in reaction to my co-hosts or to separate segments or conversation shifts with. Then, I can click record, play the intro clips sequentially, and we can babble for however long we do, followed by me playing the outro clips sequentially before ending the recording. Like magic, everything is lined up and there’s nothing for me to do except edit the talking bits themselves, which I have to do anyway.
I used to use a program called Soundboard by Ambrosia Software, but something happened to Ambrosia way back in the Snow Leopard days. They failed to keep their products working when Apple changed some system audio fundamentals. Rogue Amoeba, meanwhile has succeeded wildly and is now THE one-stop-shopping source for podcaster audio utilities.
Cool features of Farrago include setting starting and ending points for the clip, as well as fade-out duration, volume, and hotkeys to trigger a specific clip.
You can set up different boards within Farrago to logically organize things, and to make it easier if (like me) you’re dumb enough to have more than one podcast.
If you’re wondering how my co-host can hear what I’m doing with Farrago, that’s thanks to another Rogue Amoeba product called Loopback. With Loopback, I can set a Loopback virtual audio device consisting of my microphone plus Farrago as the input source for Skype. That means not only does my co-host get to hear me yammering in their ears, they can also hear any audio output from Farrago as well.
Oh, and incidentally, I record the podcast with Audio Hijack (yes, also by Rogue Amoeba), putting my mic recording into one file, Farrago’s output into a second file, and the output from Skype (my co-host) into yet a third file. Since they’re all the same length when we are finished recording, lining them up in Logic is not a problem.
I actually have my co-hosts send me a copy of their end of the conversation that they recorded for better audio quality than Skype can provide, but the Skype track serves both as a backup and as a tool to help me line up their independent voice track with my voice and the Farrago track. I do this by lining up waveforms on the Skype call track and the file that the co-host sends me.
If you have a podcast, if you want a podcast, if you want to want to have a podcast, you really want all the things from Rogue Amoeba.