The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
Audio interface with multiple playback devices / channels from Windows
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Audio interface with multiple playback devices / channels from Windows

I've been learning about audio setup for streaming from my PC and am looking for an elegant way to manage the volume of several output sources, such as;


- game sound (general windows system sounds)
- microphone
- discord chat
- stream effects
- music

It seems that in order to achieve this some kind of mixer device will be required, and/or possibly the use of an audio interface.

The main challenge seems to be maintaining several separate channels of audio output to a device which can easily manage the volume levels. There is a need to output a set of these channels at a desired volume to your own headphone / speakers, and output another selection of channels to the stream at a desired volume (either software or another separate PC).

This seems to be difficult because many audio interfaces / mixers treat USB input as a single source. i.e. in Windows there is only one playback output device available. Which means the audio at the mixer is already combined / overlapping. e.g. Game sound / discord chat output via usb are treated as 1 audio channel at the mixer and are already combined, meaning that adjusting the volume impacts both audio levels.

I see that it could be worked around by having discrete line level outputs into a mixer, which might require several sound cards or audio interfaces, in order to have enough separate playback devices (channels) in Windows so that the mixer is receiving discrete audio per channel.


I have seen there are a couple of devices which attempt to cater for this market. These are the GoXLR, and the Rodecaster Pro

I see the GoXLR has a video which explains about the separate playback devices here which is a good reference
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryC2QvM6jYE


My question is;
Are there any other audio interfaces or mixers which provide similar capability (separating windows audio output to multiple playback devices via a single usb connection)

I had been looking at the Yamaha AG03 and MG series mixers which seem to be a bit cheaper and do the majority of what I need, though likely cannot separate the windows audio output by multiple channels over USB.

I also just want to note that I am in no way selling or advocating for any products, I realize this is a first post and may come across that way. Though I will note that products like the GoXLR are a bit overkill for my needs, e.g. I don't really need the effects stuff. Really all I want is the ability to control volume per channel, have a given volume for my own headset / speakers, and another volume level to my stream audio mix. And compression would likely be a plus on my mic input. The GoXLR is a bit pricey, and I don't like the plastic sliders much, but arguably it's the most straight forward solution I am aware of at the moment. (No disrespect to it either, it looks very intuitive and has a bunch of snazzy features too, just a bit more than I was looking for really)

I figure this is the place to ask this type of question as the people here will have the inside word, any advice appreciated. Thank you

I should note, I am aware of voicemeter banana and using virtual audio channels to achieve this. While doable, I think having hardware control is beneficial, otherwise you'd have to alt+tab in order to access volume on the fly which is not really ideal.

Last edited by lazykiwi; 4 weeks ago at 09:11 AM.. Reason: forgot to mention voicemeter banana
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
Hi,

I see, what you're after.
But to be honest, required feature set is pretty rare on pro-audio or some alternative budget pro audio interfaces or mixers. In most cases there is just single stereo WDM device (accessible by normal Windows applications). The reason for that is, most people recording or mixing music simply don't need that and WDM act only for some basic playback or recording duties. The rest of I/Os or paths to mixer are available only via ASIO driver (essentially for DAWs) at Windows.
There are couple exceptions among vendors, like RME or MOTU (but I haven't checked their latest drivers), who offers multiple WDM devices.
Those are good of course, but still there is no direct tactile control (hardware DSP mixer there is controlled from application).. in case of RME and their TotalMix app you can employ external MIDI controller, but sum of prices for controller and interface like Babyface Pro would be likely more than dedicated integrated box like GoXLR.

However if your current setup can work well with Voicemeeter Banana, eg. mixing there, features, latency and stability is right. Then you can also add external MIDI controller, because AFAIK there is external MIDI mapping. For your use case you don't need any fancy motorized faders to get balance, so something cheaper like Korg Nanokontrol should work there, if you set the right mapping and use its 8 faders to control Voicemeeter.

Otherwise, I'd probably get GoXLR, this seems to be complete solution for you, including monitoring of external digital sources. And effects there looks pretty useful to me.. (like basic EQ, noise gate, de-esser for mic inputs). I have never tried it, but if they didn't screw accompanying software and drivers, so it would be stable, it seems to be killer solution for the task.

Michal
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Musician's Avatar
The combo of a Metric Halo interface and a monitor controller.
Windows drivers are coming.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Thanks Michal, very useful feedback. I did not realize voicemeter banana could be mapped to a midi controller, that could potentially make for quite a low cost option if usability is good. I will look into that further thank you.

The GoXLR seems very well suited to the task just not sure if I want to step up to that price range yet. Another option may be to use a sound card or audio interface per output playback channel to feed into a mixer, though perhaps it will work out a similar cost and have added nuisance.

I am also looking at getting an XLR mic which means I will need an audio interface of some kind regardless, so trying to figure out the best approach in terms of future proofing and overall capabilities. Cost certainly racks up quickly with music hardware if you are trying to get good quality, so trying to approach it sensibly
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by lazykiwi View Post
Thanks Michal, very useful feedback. I did not realize voicemeter banana could be mapped to a midi controller, that could potentially make for quite a low cost option if usability is good. I will look into that further thank you.
You're welcome. That's just what I recalled about Voicemeeter. It's pretty comprehensive software, I've used it few times for various OBS setups.. but by its nature, it's additional software layer between apps and real audio interface driver, so sometimes there can be woes with stability of such solution at certain setups.

Quote:
The GoXLR seems very well suited to the task just not sure if I want to step up to that price range yet. Another option may be to use a sound card or audio interface per output playback channel to feed into a mixer, though perhaps it will work out a similar cost and have added nuisance.
Well, I see, it can look expensive from gamer/normal user perspective, but honestly you'd get loads of features for asked price. Suggested solution with couple of USB soundcards and external analog mixer can be pretty much PITA to maintain (you've mentioned at least four independent sources in OP) and can bring bunch of another issues.. for example with ground loops from various unbalanced audio sources.

Additionally GoXLR can give you mentioned effects for your voice, which aren't really present on budget analog mixers (like gate, compressor or de-esser). Some of those might be in particular software (like audio plugins/FX in OBS or channel processing in Voicemeeter, however as they are working in software, it also implies some latency, if you'd like to monitor your voice with processing applied, it gets very uncomfortable, and most people starts to speak like fools, when they are hearing their voice with half second delay . If I got that right, GoXLR has that processing in hardware, which happens before audio reaches the computer, so you can hear yourself without significant delay.

On top of that, there is also that sampler feature, so you can prepare for example some radio like audio jingles, background music or sound effects (some swoshes etc.) and comfortably trigger those from physical buttons.
So if I just try to look on that with that perspective, it's not really expensive to me, because I have no clue about any other device with similar features.
And sum of some analog mixer, cables, several audio interfaces won't be so far from GoXLR price.

Quote:
I am also looking at getting an XLR mic which means I will need an audio interface of some kind regardless, so trying to figure out the best approach in terms of future proofing and overall capabilities. Cost certainly racks up quickly with music hardware if you are trying to get good quality, so trying to approach it sensibly
I understand, but still I don't think, you will be able to cut so much from total price by getting some cheaper pro-sumer interface with mic preamp and workarounding it with several added gadgets.
As I've mentioned before, only interface, where I'm sure, it will have hardware DSP mixer with MIDI remote control and full support for WDM apps is RME. BF Pro is 700 EUR, used older model is for 300 typically. Those are superb and dependable interfaces with great support, but on the other hand, you likely won't need an ADAT optical port, Hi-Z input for guitar etc.
And it still won't cover some pretty much exclusive features of GoXLR for streaming and broadcasting.

My few cents

Good luck with streaming setup!

Michal
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump