A computer's sound card offers only two ways of interacting with audio: an output to speakers and an input from a microphone or other audio source. Yet many situations require more complex routing of sound, such as mixing audio output by multiple programs and recording it to a file. The Virtual Audio Cable software assists with these tasks by patching audio coming from one source into another, just as a physical cable would do in a stereo system. Setting up the software requires little technical knowledge, but a clear plan in mind for how the audio will move.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Windows XP or newer
- Virtual Audio Cable software
Draw a diagram of the cable set-up you need, as if wiring it with physical cables. Charting which outputs need to lead to which inputs ahead of time will reduce errors later on. Keep in mind that each cable can perform only one task.
Open the Virtual Audio Cable control panel from the Virtual Audio Cable folder in the start menu. Count the total number of cables you will need based on your diagram, enter this number in the "Cables" box, and press the "Set" button. Leave all other settings at their defaults.
Set the output device on each of your audio sources to one of the virtual cables. The method for doing this will vary according to what audio software you use. You can also set a single default output by right-clicking the sound icon on the task bar, choosing "Playback devices," picking one of the cables, and pressing the "Set Default" button.
Open Audio Repeater from the Virtual Audio Cable folder in the start menu. Repeat this step, opening a new instance of the program for each action in your diagram, excluding those going from an audio source to a cable, and the final output.
Select the "Wave In" and "Wave Out" options in each instance of Audio Repeater, using your diagram to guide which inputs go to which outputs. Press the "Start" button in each instance of Audio Repeater.
Start the activity for which you wired the virtual cables and set the recording source to the virtual cable in your diagram that receives all the signals. The output will now contain the mixed audio from all your inputs.
Tips and warnings
- For capturing an audio stream as you would hear it, choose the "Stereo Mix" or "What U Hear" option as your input. Which option appears depends on your sound card, but they have the same function.
- To hear the stream sent to your output virtual cable, use an additional instance of Audio Repeater with your final output cable set as the "Wave In" and your speakers set as the "Wave Out."
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