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Old 05-19-2012, 03:57 AM   #1
Annihilator820
 
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Lightbulb How to play music in Steam games using Virtual Audio Cable

Hey everyone, I want to show you how to play music directly from a media player in Steam games (or any other program with the ability to use your microphone). It involves using a simple little program called Virtual Audio Cable (VAC for short, but I'll refrain from calling it that to avoid confusion with the other VAC). Thanks to the method behind it, this is method is actually helped instead of hindered by the new Steam voice codec, and all songs played can be insanely high-quality. If you can't use your mic though, it won't work, as the program takes the slot for recording device in place of your microphone.

Before we begin, let me tell you what Virtual Audio Cable is, what it can do, and how it does such things. If you don't care and just want it to work without knowing how it works, just move on.

Virtual Audio Cable is, in short, a program that receives sound from one program/device (a media player, your microphone) and sends it through a "line" to another program (Steam, Skype, or any other program that uses your mic).

In detail, and to quote the program's creator from its official site:

Quote:
Virtual Audio Cable software allows you to transfer audio (wave) streams between applications and/or devices.

It creates a set of virtual audio devices named "Virtual Cables", each of them consists of a pair of the waveform input/output devices. Any application can send audio stream to an output side of a cable, and any other application can receive this stream from an input side. All transfers are made digitally, providing NO sound quality loss (a bitperfect streaming).

VAC behavior is similar to "What You Hear" (or "What U Hear", "Stereo Mix") feature of Sound Blaster Live! and Audigy cards. But it is only similar, not equivalent. If you simply need a function like "Stereo Mix" under Vista/Win7, there could be better to try to enable it in your audio adapter.

If more than one applications are sending audio to Virtual Cable device, VAC mixes all streams together. If more than one applications are receiving audio from Virtual Cable device, VAC distributes the same audio data among all targets.
Now, let's move on to actually setting it up.

First off, you'll need Virtual Audio Cable, which has a free trial that really isn't worth bothering with, as well as a paid version. The trial blares an annoyingly loud "TEST" voice every 10 seconds, so don't bother with it. You'll have to buy it (or find other less than moral methods, but that isn't recommended) to avoid the annoying "TEST" voice. Simply install it, using the correct install for your system type (x86 for 32-bit, x64 for 64-bit).

After installation, you should have 3 programs in the VAC start folder: Control Panel, Audio Repeater (MME), and the last is unneeded.

Start Menu Folder Programs

Next, open Control Panel and make sure that the number of "Cables/Lines" is set to 1. You'll only need one for what we're doing, but you can set up more if you want to at the risk of confusion.

Control Panel Setup

You should have Line 1 as a device when you click the speaker icon to change the volume. You'll have a second volume control next to the one for your speakers. Don't touch it, just make sure it's there to ensure the program is working correctly.

Sound Device Check

Now, to set up Virtual Audio Cable to play sound to your speakers and to allow your mic to work with it (as the program takes up the mic slot in a program's settings), you'll need to open Audio Repeater (MME) in two instances (it allows multiple instances at once, so just open two of them). Next, you'll need to set each repeater as such (make sure to click start at the window's bottom to make them active):

Repeater Setup

You can skip opening and setting up the window involving the microphone if you don't have a microphone. The other window will cause any audio going through Line 1 to play through your speakers as well, which it usually would not. You'll have to repeat this step every time the programs are closed, such as when your computer is shut down.

Now that you've done that, we'll move on to setting up a media player to play sound through Line 1 (this is crucial as the media player is where your music being played will come from). To set up a media player to output (play sound through) Line 1, simply go to its settings, find the output section, and select output device as Line 1 instead of your speakers. I recommend using Winamp as your media player for this, as it is the one that I'm certain allows you to change the output.

Winamp Output Setup

Finally, now that you've got a media player set to play sound through Line 1, we'll move on to setting up Steam to receive audio from Line 1 in place of your microphone. This step is pretty simple, as you just do something similar to the previous step, setting Line 1 as your recording device. Simply go to Steam settings, then to voice, then change the recording device to Line 1.

Steam Voice Setup


Well, this is it. Everything is set up, and now you should have some media ready to play. You'll have to hold down the push-to-talk button to keep the song playing, unless you set your mic to "open mic/auto-detect." I recommend setting up hotkeys for your media player so you can play, pause, stop, and change songs without having to leave the game. Also try running your games in windowed borderless mode if you can't ALT-TAB quickly in fullscreen mode or if you want to see what's going on in-game behind the windowed media player. Other than the above, you should be all set to micspam (within reasonable limits of course) in any Steam game. This trick also works with other programs that allow microphone use (such as Skype) by setting the program's recording device to Line 1 in a similar way to as shown in the Steam setup screenshot.

Good luck to all of my fellow micspammers out there, and have fun micspamming everywhere in great quality without anything stopping you (but don't be an idiot about it, okay?).

Special credit to a friend of mine who introduced me to Virtual Audio Cable and helped me do first-time setup.
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Old 05-19-2012, 10:02 AM   #2
Annihilator820
 
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Sorry if this was in the wrong section, I thought the "Help and Tips" section pertained only to Steam itself. Thanks for moving it to the right place.
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Old 05-19-2012, 09:39 PM   #3
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Bumping since this is a bit out of the way already. I'm assuming that's alright to do, if not let me know and I won't bump it any further.
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Old 05-19-2012, 10:32 PM   #4
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Or you could just open the music in your favorite media playback program and adjust the volumes to your taste.
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Old 05-19-2012, 10:43 PM   #5
Annihilator820
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adde View Post
Or you could just open the music in your favorite media playback program and adjust the volumes to your taste.
True, but the point is being able to play music for others to hear, not just yourself. Same point behind the program HLDJ.
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Old 05-19-2012, 10:50 PM   #6
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Thanks, just archived this thread for whenever I get around to fiddling with VAC again : )
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Old 05-20-2012, 01:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spineeater View Post
Thanks, just archived this thread for whenever I get around to fiddling with VAC again : )
Not a problem, figured I'd share what I'd learned from a friend, since the high quality and compatibility with the newer Steam voice codec make it extremely useful.
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:01 PM   #8
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Bumping this up since it's been off the front for a day or two.
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:04 PM   #9
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ye isee how now the games gonna be ruined by low quality music or whatever.
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:24 PM   #10
Rotant
 
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Very nice guide, thank you (and have some rep).
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:29 AM   #11
Rotant
 
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One problem I have with this setup is that I can hear an echo of myself through my mic whenever I talk (as well as constant background noise from the mic). Is there any way to stop this happening?
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Old 04-28-2014, 08:05 PM   #12
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I'm scaring people on DayZ... Oh man you should see them when they hear a little girl sing at night
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