Want to connect a digital mixer via USB to your puter? Good luck getting your recording software to work properly with both audio in and out.
Want to route audio from one app to another, like from recording software to Skype? Good luck with that, too.
Fortunately, a buddy of mine recently introduced me to a fabulous range of (free) software that turbocharges Windows audio.
Did I mention it’s free?
As far as I can tell, it seems that there’s a French dude named Vincent Burel who was apparently so tired of crappy Windows audio, he did something about it.
All the software I’m introducing here is technically DonationWare.
You can download and use it for free for your own use, and if you like it you can donate to support more audio goodies.
You will definitely end up donating…
The first ultra-cool piece of software is called Voicemeeter, and comes in various flavors, like Banana and Potato.
Yes, Banana and Potato!
The names alone made me want to try out the software…
This is what Voicemeeter (basic version) looks like with some added details about the inputs and outputs:
As you can see, it looks like a mixer. You just download the “Install” version from this page, install it, and fire it up.
Now, this is where it gets a bit hairy…
Like me, you’ll probably be totally lost unless you’re some kind of Audio Wizard.
I’m not, so I decided to download the Voicemeeter manual. There are also some video tutorials on that page.
The manual is quite handy because it shows you how to virtually “wire up” Voicemeeter as your new default Windows audio mixer. You also get some simple examples of how you might connect up various bits of software and/or hardware.
And that’s the real strength of Voicemeeter: You can literally make it do ANYTHING in terms of audio routing.
An example from the VB-Audio web site:
Yes, there’s a learning curve, but if you’ve ever wanted to do something even slightly complex with audio on your puter, Voicemeeter’s got you covered.
For example, Voicemeeter is exactly the kind of program you need if you want to play video games, record video, and also record audio from the game, your headset, and also have a combined (and adjustable) audio output to stream to software like OBS Studio.
Even if you don’t want to do anything quite so fancy, setting up Voicemeeter gives you crazy flexibility and allows you to route any incoming audio (from software or hardware) to any outgoing audio (software or hardware) – including your speakers, headphones, etc.
If you seem to have run out of enough inputs/outputs, you can upgrade (again, for free) to either VM Banana or VM Potato, which are basically larger versions of Voicemeeter with more possible connections.
But, as I said, you’ll want to read the manual to get yourself started.
I don’t have enough connections!
Not to worry – you just need Virtual Audio Cable.
You can think of Virtual Audio Cable as a the software equivalent of an audio cable. It has an input, and an output… And you can use it to connect any 2 audio thingies together – with Voicemeeter or without.
If you donate, you can get 2 extra Virtual Audio Cables, for 3 in total:
But wait, there’s more!
Need an audio spectrum analyzer? No problem!
Or, do you need the ability to combine audio from different puters and gizmos over your LAN?
Not surprisingly, there is also VB-Audio’s VBAN:
And of course, it works with Voicemeeter out of the box.
VB-Audio’s donationware certainly did, and thus deserves the ScottiesTech.Info Shabam seal of approval.
I’m a techie/engineer, and my eyes started to cross trying to set everything up. There IS a learning curve for fancy setups.
Fortunately, there’s also a handy VB-Audio Support page and even a forum if you get lost. Also, check YouTube…
But once you get there, you’ll look back and wonder how you ever survived Windows Audio without VB-Audio’s totally cool goodies!