Fashy podcasting with free software

Perhaps, you received an invitation to speak on a live stream or Alt-Right podcast. If you possess high agency, maybe you set aside time to create your own. Either way, time to gear up and get ready for mixing and editing your audio! Allow us to share a simple, low-cost setup that works well here at Shitlord Castle Studios.

Prerequisites

With a budget under $200, you setup a reasonably high-quality portable studio. Feel free to research and discover a configuration that suits your needs. Note: If any aspiring shitlords with proven post histories on fora such as Daily Stormer’s BBS wish to begin podcasting yet suffer from a shortage of funds, please contact us for support.

Hardware

No dopey-looking earbuds! We forbid relying on the onboard microphones too, as they sound terrible. You need a laptop or tower, not a smartphone, and administrator access on the machine. Procure the following:

  1. Pair of active noise-cancelling headphones. U.S. recommend the AudioTechnica ATH-ANC7b. If you skimp on the noise-cancelling technology, you accept reduced enjoyment;
  2. For a microphone, we suggest the AudioTechnica ATR-2100 USB. Note:  You don’t need a condenser mic;
  3. Windscreen for the device bought in the previous point. This helps eliminate sibilance, plosives, background noise, wind, and other distortion;

Software

Before reading the rest of this post, download and install the proceeding software packages. Seek the appropriate support resources. The nuances of their installations lie outside the scope of this document:

  1. VoiceMeeter Audio Cable;
  2. VoiceMeeter Banana;
  3. Skype or use the Edge extension;
  4. Google Hangouts browser plugin or use the Chrome extension;
  5. VLC;
  6. Audacity;

Of course, swap out VLC and Audacity for your preferred media and editing programs, respectively. If you lack any notion to record on Skype or Google Hangouts, consider Discord as a platform. The part in this guide which references Google Hangouts substitutes for a Discord configuration as well.

Configuration

First, make every device and program output 44.100 Hz in 16 bit PCM. This avoids any heavy math and latency on the part of VoiceMeeter Banana in converting between bit depths. If you monitor via a second source, such as HDMI output, ensure the setting matches there too.

VoiceMeeter Virtual Audio Cable

Setting Virtual Audio Cable to 16 bit 44.1 kHz.
Set all the things to 16 bit 44.1 kHz.

 

  1. Open the VB-Audio Virtual Audio Cable Control Panel;
  2. In the Options menu, select Internal Sampling Rate: 44100 Hz;
  3. Restart your computer;

VoiceMeeter Banana

Screenshot of the VoiceMeeter Banana recorder options.
Mixing all outputs into one bus.

All the magick happens in this program. Note the record button on the tape deck of the main console. This outputs the mixed stream to a file. First, we configure the recorder options though:

  1. Click on Menu, then Tape Recorder Options…;
  2. Choose POST-FADER OUTPUTS and highlight the Virtual BUS B2 option;
  3. Ensure Sample Rate shows 44.100 HzBit Resolution equals 16 Bits, and Channels says 8;

Note: The A1-B2 devices shown near the tape deck on the VoiceMeeter Banana console denote input devices (microphone, Skype, etc) which output to the file. Disable any you prefer not to save to the archive. In reality, all these remain enabled most of the time.

System Settings

Screenshot of VoiceMeeter Banana system settings.
Fader and audio quality setup.

Pick your preferred file output type as well. We like a raw format such as WAV. Next, time to modify some system settings:

  1. Click on Menu, then System Settings / Options…;
  2. Check that Preferred Main SampleRate displays 44.100 Hz;
  3. In PATCH COMPOSITE, we configure the five (5) inputs of VoiceMeeter Banana that get mixed together. You see that IN1 Physical Input #1 runs the microphone. Since we need just one channel for the microphone and other inputs like Skype (IN2 Physical Input #2, in this case), click over the inputs in this section to set them accordingly;

Console

We have a lot of work to do here. Foremost, understand that the A1A2, and A3 monitors in the HARDWARE OUT section differ from those of the same name in the MASTER SECTION. Consider those as output faders, while the five faders to the left of that section function as input faders.

Time to setup your monitors or auditing devices. In the HARDWARE OUT section, click on A1 and set that to your headphones. Perhaps, you lack any other output devices. Our A2 outputs to the HDMI output which lets us watch the live streams on the projector before the free-for-alls start (with the microphone muted, of course).

In the MASTER SECTION, click four times on the Mode of the virtual B2 output device. That sets it to Composite. All your input streams mix into this fader, and saves to a file when the recording button on the tape deck gets pressed.

Inputs
Screenshot of VoiceMeeter Banana with several presets.
The configuration described in this article applied.

Now, we configure the input devices. These appear as HARDWARE INPUT 1-3 and VIRTUAL INPUTS. Right click on their name to assign a more accurate value to each input. In our rig, HARDWARE INPUT 1 works for the microphone. Left click on Select Input Device to assign it to your microphone.

 

Scroll to HARDWARE INPUT 2, right click on it, and name it “Skype”. Left click on Select Input Device and assign it to CABLE Input (VB-Audio Virtual Cable). Configure Skype to handle these in a proceeding section.

Setup any other hardware device as HARDWARE INPUT 3. If you paid for another Virtual Audio Cable, you can assign it here too. Otherwise, this stays as default.

Right click on the first virtual input and name it “VLC”. You can see this device reads from the VoiceMeeter VAIO input. Configure VLC to handle these in a proceeding section.

Right click on the second virtual input and name it “System”. You can see this device reads from the VoiceMeeter AUX input. Configure Google Hangouts on Air (or Discord) to handle these in a proceeding section.

The output of the inputs

Look closely at the faders for each of the input devices. You see buttons for A1-B2? These represent output devices. Remember you assigned the A1 HARDWARE OUTPUT to the headphones in the preceding section, so that remains lit given that you want to hear output from all those input devices in your ear.

You can deselect A2 from all the input faders if you don’t need another monitoring device. We leave A2 broadcasting for the “System” device as that allows listening to the hangouts on the projector before the live streams begin, as mentioned earlier. Same deal with A3: turn it off if you have no use for it.

Finally, let’s solve a common problem with VoiceMeeter Banana configurations which trips up those new to the software package. For Skype and the System input devices, deselect the B1 output on those respective input faders. Otherwise, you create a loop within those programs which sounds like an echo to the audience.

Of course, the B2 output on all the input faders stays highlighted. This sends the output from each input device to the composite bus we created earlier. Set any output levels on the individual input faders first. We knock the Skype and System faders back 10 dB as they are quite loud compared to the microphone and VLC devices.

Sound palette

Screenshot of a sound palette playlist in VLC.
VLC as a sound palette.

We utilise VLC as a sound palette program simply due to not liking the available dedicated sound palette programs. They limit you to a number of audio clips or require the user to assign countless files to buttons, which we feel takes too long. Using a standard media player, such as VLC, you possess the ability to control the program via the keyboard, search clips, and organise them in a more intuitive manner which requires much less time to preserve. Additionally, you remove the necessity to maintain a separate program for sounds, considering you install a multimedia program for playback anyway.

Create a hierarchical directory (a.k.a. folder) structure with your clips organised into directories under a main palettes directory. Then, create a blank playlist in VLC and drag the main directory to it. The program adds all the sound bytes and you can save this playlist to a file facilitating reloading it in the future.

Thus, the only configuration step to pipe VLC through VoiceMeeter Banana requires changing the audio output device. In the Audio menu, mouse over Audio Device, and select VoiceMeeter Input (VB-Audio VoiceMeeter VAIO). Note: Do not select the VoiceMeeter Aux Input. We assign that to the system in a subsequent step.

Skype

Screen capture showing the call audio configuration for Skype
Skype setup for VoiceMeeter Banana.

Remember that virtual audio cable configured previously? We put it to good use here. Perform the following actions to route Skype’s I/O through VoiceMeeter Banana:

  1. In the Call menu, scroll to Audio Settings…;
  2. Set Microphone to VoiceMeeter Output (VB-Audio VoiceMeeter VAIO);
  3. Uncheck Automatically adjust microphone settings;
  4. Point Speakers to CABLE Input (VB-Audio Virtual Cable);
  5. Uncheck Automatically adjust speaker settings;
  6. Click Save;

Google Hangouts on Air

Screenshot of our Google Hangouts on Air configuration.
Not much to do here.

Very similar setup to Skype. The configuration differs in that VoiceMeeter’s auxiliary input takes the place of the cable input. After creating your Google account, signing into the service, and opening the Hangout link:

  1. Click the gear widget to open HoA settings;
  2. Set Microphone to VoiceMeeter Output (VB-Audio VoiceMeeter VAIO);
  3. Point Speakers to VoiceMeeter Aux Input (VB-Audio AUX VAIO);
  4. Click Done;

 

 

Screenshot of Windows playback devices.
This sends audio from the browser to HoA and Discord.

Wondering how the sound from your web browser makes it to the VoiceMeeter aux input in the first place? You have to set the default system playback device to it. Take care to disable system sounds during recording unless you want to annoy the audience.

 

PROTIPs

Learn from our mistakes. Endeavour not to repeat them. Please, post any more bits of advice in the comments section.

VoiceMeeter Banana

In addition to the windscreen on your mic, in the AUDABILITY section of each input, we find a Gate setting. This noise gate can tune the sensitivity of the device so it avoids picking up any background noises like the air conditioner, street sirens from your vibrant neighbourhood, typing on your keyboard, clicking the mouse, etc. You want the microphone to respond to your voice at a distance of one fist’s length and no more. Play with this setting to discover a comfortable preset (putting it at 5.5 works for us).

Set Mono on your microphone input to remind you the one track configuration. You can do the same on the A1 fader in the MASTER SECTION. Consider the doing it for the Skype A2 input and output. This minimises any thinking on your part when it comes to doctoring the file in Audacity.

Right clicking on the INTELLIPAN graph in each hardware input cycles through (((echo))) effects, phase shift modulation, and stereo panning. All these effects can chain on one or more inputs, as desired. Double left click on any effect to zero it. Reset the faders by double left clicking as well.

(((Skype)))

Set your Skype status to Busy. That nukes any sounds while recording. Otherwise, count on driving your listeners crazy with notifications. Call the Echo / Sound Test Service to test your microphone plus sound palette before beginning the recording.

Google HoA

Avoid the Google phone number verification by setting your age to 13 years or younger upon creating the account. By default, HoA initialises both the microphone and camera upon starting it. Put tape over the camera lens and mute the microphone in VoiceMeeter Banana to mitigate this “feature”.

VLC

Set the volume to 150% in VLC. We found this gives the most optimal level when piped into VoiceMeeter Banana. Also, remember to regenerate and save your playlist as you add new sound clips.

Audacity

After recording your mixed stream to a file with VoiceMeeter Banana, you can rework parts of it in Audacity. Besides cutting out dead air, you want to reduce any distortion in the file. Adhere to these simple steps to knock out noise in the archive via Audacity:

  1. Select a part of the track where little audio appears (between peaks, for example);
  2. In the Effects menu, find Noise reduction;
  3. Click Get profile;
  4. Select the whole track (Control+A);
  5. Return to the Effects and select Noise reduction;
  6. Click OK;

Support free software

All the packages from VB-AUDIO Software qualify as donation-ware. This means you pay what you can. If you refuse to deal with (((PayPal))), share their site links on social media, write a positive review of their programs, or tell your friends about them instead.

Both VLC and Audacity release their source code publically. Help those projects by submitting bug reports, authoring software patches, porting them to other operating systems, getting your friends to install them, and sending them shekels, of course. They appreciate your efforts, for sure.

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One thought on “Fashy podcasting with free software

  1. What a great ‘How-To’. I wish something like this had been around when I first started using Voicemeeter. We use the exact same set-up as this at Radio Aryan, only with slightly different settings and we also have an amplifier for linking up to the radio server for live broadcasts and recording on.

    Thanks for putting it all in one place.

    Liked by 1 person

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