Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Streaming gameplay with two sound cards

Another post on this. I'm not convinced my previous suggestions work very well and I've found a better way to do this by making use of a few pieces of free software.

So; round two.

The setup

I've been through this in detail on a previous post, so this is just the highlights.
  • game audio through primary soundcard (the default Windows device)
  • Skype audio through secondary soundcard
  • input from a microphone

The problem

All the streaming software I've seen mixes microphone input into the Windows default sound. I need to also mix the output of another sound card to capture game audio along with both sides of a Skype call during multiplayer gaming.

The solution

The outline is:
  • create a virtual input sound device
  • mix microphone and Skype output into that device
  • set the virtual input sound device as the "microphone input" in the streaming software (in my case, XSplit Gamecaster but this should work with any similar software)

But... how?

To create the virtual audio device we need some extra software. I used VB-Audio Virtual Cable (a donationware alternative to theVAC which costs $25 upwards). Find the downloader (there is a download link under the "VB-Audio Virtual Cable" heading) and install it and magically you'll have some new audio devices appearing in your Windows Sound dialogue.

Next you want AmaMix. The download contains a load of visual stuff, but you only need to worry about AmaMix which lets you route audio to different devices. Make sure you run it as Admin or it will just crash with no indication as to why.

AmaMix is pretty easy to set up. Hit Config and it will give you a dialogue which lets you choose both the secondary sound card output and the microphone output as sources and the new VB-Audio device as your target. There are also options for boosting the inputs and generally fiddling with them until the levels are as you want them.

If you can't find the output of your sound card go to the Sound dialogue and select the Recording tab. Right click and enable disconnected and disabled devices and it should appear.

Finally, in your game streaming software select the VB-Audio device as your microphone input. Now, when you want to stream (or record) you just need to remember to fire up AmaMix along with your streaming software and everything should be ready to go.

I hope this helps someone!