setting up your sound

Far Cry 2, Ubisoft Montreal (09/02/2008)

My usual procedure for acquiring a 'Safe House.' With auto-aim turned off, it provided a good opportunity for me to show some sniping skills.
Hi! Jolie here with another guide of sorts dealing with common broadcasting questions; this time, I'll talk a little bit about how to set up your audio for live broadcasting at Justin(TV). By the time you finish reading this, you're well on your way to adding a whole new level of interaction that should come with live video casting. I've also included a software alternative to those who don't want to deal with physical Mixers.

Capture Card Sound

So you've hooked up all the analog cables to your capture card; the red and white R.C.A. cables are in the right place, but you're wondering why there's no sound. The problem is that you have your capture card registering as a peripheral audio device on Windows (assuming that you have Vista -- but on Windows XP, your device may register as a recording device). A peripheral audio device is another way of saying that it requires proprietary software to manage or access the sound; the software bundled with your capture device. This doesn't necessarily make it cast friendly.

So how would you remedy this? As I've mentioned in my previous entry on my setup, you will need to plug the sound directly into the sound port of your sound card in the back of your computer -- or if you have a laptop, in the Microphone | Line-in Jack. This means getting a Female RCA to 3.5Mm Male dongle. In other words, instead of putting the Red & White stereo outputs into the capture card, you plug them into the dongle and the dongle is connected straight into the P.C. I recommend the dongle instead of the adapter since you may need the extra cord length.

note: your capture card's sound input may be supported by some casting programs and you may only need to un-mute your sound device. To do a simple check, click the 'Broadcast,' button on Justin(TV) in the upper right corner, go into 'Settings,' and then see if the name of your Capture Card is under the 'Microphone | Audio' pull down tab. If it's there, then you only need to un-mute your device. Due to the variations of operating systems and hardware setups, I've provided some generic adjustments for Windows XP & Vista.

Windows XP

To do this in Windows XP, right click the sound icon, choose 'Adjust Audio Properties.' Under 'Device Volume,' click on 'Advanced.' Find your capture card audio device and make sure to un-tick 'Mute.'


Right click the sound icon, go to 'Playback Devices,' and double-click on the device that has a green check mark on it. Go to the 'Levels' tab, find your capture device's name and make sure that the speaker icon doesn't have a red cancellation sign.

In case your device isn't found there, you'll need to go to the 'Recording Devices,' tab and look for your specific card. And again, look to see if your device is muted.

Enabling StereoMix

StereoMix is a software based analog mixer that allows you to combine your multiple recording devices or sound inputs into a combined sound. You could listen to your 'Ipod,' and do a voiceover with your Microphone or you could play a game and provide a commentary. It was a popular feature that came with the Windows XP operating system that enabled professionals and enthusiasts alike to record their own content without having to purchase extra recording hardware. However, it is at most times disabled or hidden in Vista.

Note that you don't need to enable Stereo Mix if you're planning to only broadcast game sound. Just select your default recording device as 'Line-in' by right clicking the sound icon and choosing 'Recording Devices,' then right-clicking 'Line-in,' and 'Set as Default Device.' However, I find Stereo Mix an easier way to change various sound levels on the go without turning off the cast.

Enabling Stereo Mix in Vista

If you're fortunate enough to have a soundcard or onboard audio device that came with your computer which utilizes StereoMix, you only need to enable it. Simply right click the sound icon, go into 'Recording Devices.' Right-click within the white space and choose 'Show All Disabled Devices.' Either 'StereoMix' will appear muted, or it won't -- or if you're lucky, your capture device's name will show up. If it does show, you only need to un-mute it.

If It Doesn't

Prepare for some craziness. In the likely event that your computer doesn't recover, I've decided to leave out modifying your registry files. Registry files are an index or way of telling your computer how the software will manage its hardware; anything from where the hardware is located, to the software settings. It's dangerous to alter, so I've provided an alternate solution.

Installing XP Drivers for your Sound Device

At the manufacturer's website, you'll usually find several versions of the drivers that came with your particular computer in a driver support disc. Refer to the documentation that came with your computer to find out the exact model of your P.C. What you want to look for is the XP Audio Drivers. Why Windows XP? As I mentioned earlier, this particular operating system has wide support for 'StereoMix.'

In case your driver doesn't install because of a prompt saying that the software you're installing is incompatible with this version of windows, don't worry. You only need to right-click the driver, select 'Properties,' go to 'Compatibility,' and then check 'Run this program in compatiblity mode for:' and the first option should be 'Windows XP (Service Pack 2).' You may want to check off under 'Privelege level,' as 'Run this program as an administrator.' After you're done installing your drivers, check for 'StereoMix,' under 'Recording Devices.'

Setting Your Sound Levels

And that's pretty much it, with 'StereoMix,' you'll not only be able to broadcast your gaming sound (Line-in), but also your voice (Mic-In), or whatever is playing on your computer (PC Speakers). All you need to do now is to set your sound at a comfortable level. Not too loud that you'd deafen your incoming viewers, yet not too low that it takes super hearing to discern sounds.


I recommend using headphones instead of playing through the speakers, because you may want to speak to your viewers. Some casters use the microphone to pick up the game sound, which at most times drown out the voice and/or the game sound. You should use direct sound inputs to ensure clear signals. There are headsets available that allow you to hear the input sounds from your computer, while at the same time have a microphone boom to speak in. At the moment, you can only broadcast in analog stereo or mono (single channel), so having a regular stereo headset won't be too bad.

Enable Mic Boost

If you're soft spoken or just want to speak at a comfortable level without putting too much strain on the voice, you should enable 'Mic Boost' and adjust the slide accordingly. To enable that feature, head into 'Recording Devices,' by right clicking the sound icon. The adjustments vary depending on the sound device you have installed. I recommend getting a noise cancellation headset that filters outside sound like your computer fans for instance, so that you can produce a high clarity sound for your voice.

My Settings

After casting for a few months, I've come to realize that I have a pretty developed sense of hearing; and because of that, my cast is usually on the low volume side. To remedy this, I plugged a headset directly into the headset port of my T.V. and adjusted the volume on my end, while the casting computer was a notch or two louder.

  • Stereo Mix: 5%
  • Line In: 60%
  • PC Speakers: 60%
  • Microphone: 75% w/ Mic Boost Enabled

note: If you have buzzing sounds on your broadcast, you might be putting the default input device too high (the primary device that you're broadcasting). What's happening is that you're attempting to amplify the sound beyond its audible range and that is why you're hearing noise.

By the way, I wrote this haphazardly during my break, so you may see grammar and spelling errors or whatever else that can literally go wrong with blogging -- so you probably have more questions for me. If you'd like to, send me an e-mail below and I'll do my best to assist you.