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  • Jakan
    Member since: October 10, 2020

    o7 Commanders!

    This is a guide intending to help explain an advanced audio configuration using my setup as an example, in hopes that any other CMDRs that have need of such a setup will find this helpful.

    Software used in this guide:

    Windows 10 – the operating system this guide is written for

    VoiceMeeter Potato : there are several versions of Voicemeeter, the differences between versions are the number of inputs and outputs, and the audio mixing features.
    All versions are donationware, meaning they are free to use with the expectation that if the software is useful the user will donate what they feel is appropriate.
    In this guide we will use Voice Meeter Potato, the most advanced / feature full version.

    VB-Virtual audio cables :  Virtual audio cables are drivers for virtual playback and recording devices that can be selected by your OS like any other audio playback or recording device.  They serve to be able to connect the output from one program to the input of another.
    there are 4 “versions”

    1. “Cable” which is a single, basic virtual cable, available free
    2. “Hi-FI cable” – same as “cable” but with bit for bit reproduction, no compression used, donation required to download
    3. “Cable A-B” – installs drivers for two “devices”, cable a and cable b, giving you 2 virtual cables to use. donation required to download (my setup required 2 cables)
    4. “Cable C-D – same as A-B, provides you 2 additional cables. donation required to download

    How the virtual cables work

    MISC software – the following software are sources we will use for Voicemeeter, but are not specifically needed for your setup.  Think of these as stand ins for any other software you may want to specifically direct to 1 or more outputs.

    • Spotify – internet radio / jukebox player
    • Discord – VOIP platform
    • VoiceAttackHCS voice packs – this is a combo of programs used to use voice commands to control and interact with Elite dangerous and other games
    • Sim shaker for aviators + sim shaker sound module   – this software will use an API to interact with particular games (in my case DCS world and MSflight simulator 2020) to translate in game events (touching down on the runway, or machine gun fire for ex) to output that can be sent to a transducer device such as a butt kicker. This software requires a dedicated sound card to work properly

    Objective:
    ————-

    In my setup I have several options of how I wish to play my simulation games, via VR headset with it’s built in MIC and speakers, or instead on a TV with a soundbar providing audio output.  Additionally if I wish instead to play a game on my desktop (not in my sim rig) that is another 2 potential output options (desk speakers or gaming headset)
    I wish to have the flexibility to choose what I’m feeling in that moment, without having to re-configure a bunch of inputs and outputs in each program depending on how I wish to play in that moment.

    Additionally I want to use the ability of some more serious racing or flying sims to use API integration with 3rd party apps to translate events in game to data to be used with a transducer system like a butt kicker.  For example racing sims will often have hooks to send data when you drive over a rumble strip on the track, or when the transmission locks into the next gear.   On the flight sim side, this could be the rumble of the rotors or the vibration of your machine guns firing.
    The software used for this takes ownership over a particular audio device (soundcard) and prevents other applications from using it, which is why I ended up installing a second sound card.  I picked up a simple basic creative SoundBlaster card off amazon for $35.

    In our setup we have several devices and software that generate sound data, these are:

    Sound generating

    ~Hardware~

    • Gaming headset MIC – 3.5 mm connector
    • USB mono headset MIC – USB device
    • Valve Index headset MIC – USB device

    ~Software~

    • Windows 10 – this will be all sound output by windows OS not otherwise specified, importantly this will be the audio from your game
    • Spotify – music player
    • Discord – this will be specifically the VOIP output from Discord voice channels, IE the sound of your fellow CMDR’s talking
    • VoiceAttack – this is the audio played from Voice Attack / HCS voice packs
    • Sim shaker for aviators – this will output data to the butt kicker when particular in game events happen to be translated into vibration the player feels

     

    We will also have several devices and software what we wish to send the audio signals from the sound generating devices and software to, in order to be played back to us or to be used as inputs for other software. these are:

    Sound outputting 

     

       ~Hardware~

    • Butt kicker mini LFE – this is a transducer  that is fed audio signals and convers them to vibrations, unlike a subwoofer these vibrations have no audible component
    • Desktop speakers – speakers on my desk, used for typical, non game playback.  Music while I work or YouTube video while working at my desk for example
    • Gaming headset – these are the speakers I wish to hear from while games I am playing at my desk with keyboard / mouse or with a controller
    • USB mono headset – this is a simple inexpensive USB headset with MIC used specifically for voice chat audio, and for games that differentiate normal audio and “communications” audio, like MS flight simulator 2020 which will output radio chatter to this headset while normal game audio will be sent to the normal speakers
    • Valve Index headset – the speakers attached to the Index VR headset
    • Sound bar and surround speakers + subwoofer – a “surround sound” sound bar with satellite speakers and subwoofer. It uses stereo input so it is not true surround sound

    ~Software~

    • Discord – this will be the INPUT device (Recording device) that is selected inside the Discord app.  This allows us to take any MIC input from our setup and send it to Discord to be used as the input device, without having to change input devices every time.
    • Voice Attack – this will be the INPUT device (Recording device) selected inside voice attack, exactly as Discord’s use case above.

     

    This is how our input and outputs will connect logically
    Logical connections

     

    Physical connections and logical connections to VoiceMeeter
    ~Inputs~

    here we see how each recording or audio input to Voicemeeter device is connected to the computer, and configured in voicemeeter

    *note the naming standard used by Voicemeeter is confusing at first (for me at least) – we will send spotify and voice attack’s audio output (our friend’s voices in voice chat) to the INPUT side of the virtual cables.   The OUTPUT of those cables are connected to inputs 4 and 5 on voicemeter
    Input devices

    ~Outputs~

    This diagram shows the physical connections from the computer to each physical output device, and logical connections to software, including the configuration of voicemeeter’s output (right side)

    Output connections

    ~Input to output mapping~

    Based on the above, here are the outputs as assigned in Voicemeeter
    -A# outputs are physical
    -B# outputs are virtual

     

    • A1 – motherboard built in sound card, Stereo line-out (normal, green output most people use) – connected via y cables to the gaming headset, desk speakers, and butt kicker amp
    • A2 – USB mono speaker headset
    • A3 – Built in motherboard sound card, digital optical output (S/PDIF) – connected to the sound bar’s optical input
    • A4 – Secondary sound card, Stereo line-out, dedicated to the butt kicker
    • B1 – labeled as “Discord MIC” this is “Voicemeeter aux output” in windows, and is the INPUT device that Discord and Voiceattack use for their input devices (MIC)

    in this picture you can see on the input side of voicemeeter (left side) each channel has a list of buttons on the right side, labeled A1-B3.  This specifies which output channels this input channel should be sent to.

    So for example, each MIC is output (think data not my voice) to output “B1” or the software output, that is used as the INPUT for Discord and Voice Attack’s MIC. This sends my voice, input by one of 3 MICs to the same logical “Mic” in windows, to be used by any program that I would want to input MIC audio for.  This allows me to, for any application that needs a MIC specified, a single device (Voicemeeter aux output) can be set and not have to be changed with our desired play style. Set it and forget it!

    We can see that both the voiceattack and discord channels are output to A2, which is the USB mono speaker headset.  This means that the audio output from voice attack (my virtual crew responding to my commands “DEPLOY HARDPOINTS!”, as well as our fellow CMDRs in discord wing voice channel, will be output ONLY from the USB headset, as if I was wearing a radio set for communications.  This will not play out of the main speakers.

    We see that Spotify’s input channel is set to output to A1 (gaming headset, desk speakers, and butt kicker amp) and A3 (the sound bar and surround sound via optical output)
    this will send the music data to my desk speakers, gaming headset, butt kicker, (A1) and the sound bar / surround sound (A3)
    -Note* we don’t want the butt kicker to play audio from music, it’s not a subwoofer and it sounds awful so when I want to listen to music as I normally would, I will simply have the butt kicker turned off if I’m not playing a game.  When I want to listen to music, while I play a game, I will unselect A1 as an output, as my music will play from the sound bar, and not be sent to the butt kicker, which will be on and receiving the windows output that includes the game audio, to which it will react as intended.  In this setup I will not have my desk speakers turned on or be wearing my headset so it’s of no consequence that by deactivating A1 I’m no longer sending Spotify data to my desk speakers, headset, and butt kicker, as it’s also playing via A3, the sound bar.

    Windows is being output to A1 and A3, same as Spotify.  This is the reason Spotify is split off into it’s own input, because we always want to send windows game sound output to the butt kicker amp while we play, and to the sound bar so we hear the game sound, while only sending Spotify to the sound bar while the butt kicker is in use.

    Finally we see “sim shaker API” channel is being sent only to A4 (the butt kicker via the secondary sound card line out) which allows the software to send data gleamed from events in certain sim games to the butt kicker amp.

    Voicemeeter output mapping

    *note output A5 is listed as unused in this screen shot, this would typically be my Index speakers, but only are seen as a device by windows while steam VR is running.
    when I wish to play VR and want the audio to come from my headset, I will select the index as device A5 and select the appropriate mappings.

    I hope this guide has been informative and helpful!

    o7 Commanders!

  • netburnr
    Member since: October 4, 2020

    I thought getting an obscure joystick was an adventure… but this right here is some mad science level work!

    For any questions on the Oblivion Fleet website or forums, feel free to send me a message on Discord

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