Today streamers have to use a lot of apps and devices to control every aspect of their streams. Controlling audio in this situation can get a bit messy, especially when you have to distribute audio alerts, background music, speech, and donation messages. Otherwise, the stream will quickly turn into one big disaster.
The best way to solve all difficulties with the sound would be to use external hardware such as mixing deck. But it is a pricey thing, and not every stream can afford it. Also, most mixing decks are quite bulky and need a lot of space. And don’t forget about the sea of cables that will flood the floor without proper cable management.
Today we want to talk about a perfect alternative available for everyone – Voicemeeter Banana. It is a free app for Windows that works like a virtual mixing deck. Getting started with Voicemeeter Banana can be tricky, so we decided to write a beginner guide.
How to setting up Voicemeeter Banana
First of all, you need to download the app. There are two similar programs available – Voicemeeter Banana and standard Voicemeeter. Also, you will need to get a virtual audio cable. It can be downloaded on the same page but in another tab. You can have one for free (it is important, we will explain why later). Download Voicemeeter Banana and the archive with the virtual audio cable – x86 or x64 depending on the version of Windows you are using.
Before going deeper into settings, you must make Voicemeeter Banana your default audio device. This way all audio will be going through the app. Find the speaker icon in the Windows tray (bottom-right corner), click it, then select Voicemeeter Input (VB-Audio Voicemeeter VAIO) from the list.
How to add output devices
To let Voicemeeter Banana do its job, you need to configure your hardware first. Otherwise, you won’t hear a sound from your computer. On the screenshot above you can see three outputs – A1/A2/A3 – and their controls. Each has its own color. It means you can connect up to three individual pieces of audio hardware and the Voicemeeter will send the signal to them. For example, a pair of standard desktop speakers, headphones, and an additional gaming headset.
If you want to see what’s connected to your computer and can handle audio, click the relevant output. Everything on the list will be presented twice with WDM or MME prefixes. You should select the audio device labeled with WDW first. If it does not work, try MME instead. Be consistent with making it work as intended. The same rule applies to audio input devices — match input and output – WDW for WDW and MME for MME.
Each audio output has its own slider and adjacent controls. You can see them in the in the bottom-right corner of the Voicemeeter’s interface. Mute output if needed, add EQ settings, control the volume, switch from stereo to mono and back as you wish.
How to set up audio inputs
Selecting input devices is nothing different from selecting outputs. Well, except for you will be doing it on the left within the app’s interface. Here you will have to use the virtual audio cable we mentioned earlier. The cable is an extra input for you to use. Need more than one? It is possible, but you need to pay for them.
Remember the procedure with outputs? The idea is the same, but your inputs don’t have to be hardware. With the virtual cable, Voicemeeter Banana will treat a program on your computer as a piece of hardware and add its sound into the mixer.
Your first hardware for the input category must be your mic (just remember to match WDM or MME). The next one does not matter – select software or hardware. For example, you can select Skype, Discord, or Teamspeak – just select the relevant software to use with the virtual cable.
Let’s say you want to use Voicemeeter Banana with the Xbox app to pull out the party chat. In this case, you should set the output for the party chat as Cable Input (VB-Audio Virtual Cable). For the second hardware input, you can select an appropriate item so that nothing will be labeled as Cable Output. When audio is sent via cable input to the audio device, the Voicemeeter pulls the output from the cable.
We have discussed mostly hardware and fake hardware so far. Now it is time to talk about virtual inputs a bit. When the audio signal goes into your computer, it is transferred for the selected audio output device – the headphones or speakers. Here we get to the virtual section.
The colored boxes on the screenshot above demonstrate virtual inputs controls. B1 represents all Windows audio (that is why we had to select Voicemeeter Input as our default playback device). This virtual input must set so that you will be able to hear the sound from the outputs connected to your computer. The B2 virtual input represents your stream audio including audio sent to the viewers with the help of auxiliary software, for example, OBS or XSplit.
It is very important to get these settings right because you don’t want your viewers to hear audio from all inputs. And you definitely don’t want the sound doubling up with the Windows audio and played on the same speakers.
Just remember that your B1 channel should process only the audio that you want to go in one mix with the Windows audio. Send the B1 signal to one of the following outputs – A1/A2/A3 (or use a combination of those).
Of course, you can always isolate any piece of audio you want by sending only selected inputs to an output. To check how is your microphone is performing (without any other sounds or sending it to the stream), for example, you can switch its output to your headphones, and then just mute other items. The B1 and B2 virtual inputs have their own settings and controls. You can check them in the bottom-right corner of the app’s interface.
How to set up and use Voicemeeter Banana with streaming software
Now, when we are done with initial preparations, it is time to put Voicemeeter Banana to good use on your stream. We decided to take the most popular software as an example. So, we will be adding audio from Voicemeeter to XSplit and OBS. The streaming software plays the minor part here as Voicemeeter Banana is the one in charge.
Connect Voicemeeter Banana to XSplit
All it takes is just these four simple steps:
- Open XSplit and go to settings (the icon with a cog).
- Go to the audio tab.
- Look for the system sound drop-down menu, open it and select None.
- Open the microphone drop-down menu in the same tab and select Voicemeeter Aux Output (VB-Audio Voicemeeter Aux VAIO).
After doing this, all B2 audio in Voicemeeter will be transferred to XSplit.
Connect Voicemeeter Banana to OBS
Also, a very easy process with four quick steps in it:
- Launch OBS and open its settings.
- Go to audio.
- Find the Set mic/auxiliary audio device option, then set it to Voicemeeter Aux Output (VB-Audio Voicemeeter Aux VAIO).
- Disable everything else (other audio devices).
After you confirm the changes, all audio from the Voicemeeter’s B2 channel will get straight into OBS. All other devices will be muted, which allows you to kill the echo and any doubling up sounds.
Final verdict on Voicemeeter Banana
Voicemeeter Banana belong to the category of hidden software gems. You don’t know anything about it and think it is not worth your attention. But when you start using it, you realize how good and convenient it is. To the point that no other app from the “streamer’s arsenal” can satisfy you. Voicemeeter Banana may be difficult to get started, but once you understand the basics and learn its settings, you will be happy.