Mixing Audio To Integrate Digital Phones With Digital Radio Streams & Podcasts

Equipment for USB Sound Card Configuration

Audio Mixing Kit Components. (Headset not included)

Note: The instructions contained on this page are re-printed with permission from the copyrighted “Internet Radio Audio Mixing” manual. The manual shows you how to configure your personal computer with audio equipment to mix audio for podcasting and/or live digital radio broadcasting without a mixer.
One Talk Solution For Audio & Video Productions

One of the problems many new digital radio broadcasters have encountered is finding a simple and reliable solution to take phone calls from their listening audience and/or to seamlessly mix audio clips into their podcasts or live digital radio broadcasts.

While video casting on the Internet was not in mind when the audio mixing kit was developed, we have since found it integrates well with productions utilizing webcams and video streaming.

The mixing kit allows video talk show producers to seamlessly integrate calls into their productions using VOIP software like Skype, Google Voice, Google Hangouts. The kit has been successfully tested on video conferencing platform like Blab under the concept of giving our radio listening audience an option to listen or watch live programming. .

Integrating digital or VOIP web based phone systems into an online based digital radio and/or video broadcast isn’t as hard as it may seem with the right equipment and knowledge. It also does not have to be expensive.

There are virtual audio cable software that say the software allows users to mix audio on a computer without a mixer but results from our testing shows these products don’t always perform well and can be complicated to configure for regular users. Our audio mixing kit uses the tried and true method of hard wiring audio with cables.

Mixers

There are expensive and not so expensive mixers or sound boards one could use to integrate phone calls and other audio sounds into a production but why spend money you either don’t have or can use in other areas of your media operations if you have an option.

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Technically, the mixing kit and instructional manual we have developed is a mixer without a mixer in a sense. The cable configuration we use patches an external sound-card into your computer’s existing sound-card giving you the ability to mix audio on one sound card and directed that audio out to another sound-card seamlessly as if you were using a mixing board to take various audio sources and mix them before sending to a main output. Our technique uses the same concept except all the mixing occurs on the small USB external audio card..

Once obtaining your audio mixing kit and instructional manual, just follow the instructions and you will be amazed at just how easy and affordable it is to increase the value of your media production.


***If your computer or laptop has only one USB port, you will need to obtain a USB Hub.

  1. Plug in external USB audio card to computer or laptop and allow time for installation of drivers. If any audio software already installed on your computer opens to manage the USB audio card, exit that software.
  1. Plug the male end of the Y- cable (audio splitter) into external USB audio card’s speaker out port.
  1. Take one end of the 3.5mm male to male audio patch cable and plug it into one of the two female ends of the Y- cable (audio splitter).
  1. Take the remaining 3.5mm male end of the audio patch cable and plug it into the microphone port of your computer or laptop.
  1. Take the microphone 3.5mm input cable (usually pink) from your headset and plug it into the microphone port of the external USB audio card.
  1. Take the headset headphone input cable (usually green) and plug it into the remaining female end of the Y – cable (audio splitter).

Configuring PC Recording Devices (Microphone)

Microphone PropertiesNote: You are going to enable the computer’s internal microphone only and disable all other microphone devices including the one associated with the external USB audio card. Your computer’s internal sound-card will always be the default choice of all software microphone properties.

On laptops and computers using Windows operating system’s Vista and later, in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen of the task-bar, you
should see an icon for “Speakers” that looks like a small white or
grayish speaker. It is used to control the volume of the speaker
system and access and configure the properties of audio devices.

speaker icons

Right-click on the speaker icon using your mouse to pull up a
menu to access the “Sound” control panel.

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After pulling up the sound control panel, click on the top tab that
reads “Recording”. Depending on what recording devices came installed on your computer or laptop, you should see a list of all available recording devices including the external USB audio device you installed.

If you do not see the newly installed external USB audio device,
right click anywhere on an empty space on the panel and then click
on “Show Disabled Devices” and “Show Disconnected Devices”.

If the recording device associated with the external USB sound card is disabled, leave it disabled.

You will only use one microphone port to send your mixed audio out to radio broadcasting/podcasting software and that is your computer’s built-in sound card built. Disable all other recording devices by right clicking on their icons and then clicking on “Disable”.

Next you will make the internal recording device the default
recording device. Right-click on its icon and on the menu that
appears, click on “Set as Default Device”. You may need to take
an extra step and click on “Set as Communication Device”. Just to
be clear, the internal recording device should be set as both the
default device and the communication device.

If configured properly, the internal recording device will display a
green check mark by its icon and underneath it will read “Default
Device”.

If you have your headset on and your headset microphone un-muted,
you should see the audio meter light up green when speaking into your microphone . If the audio meter for the recording device meter is not registering, do not worry about it at this point as you may need to simply complete the rest of the steps outlined.

To access the “Microphone Properties” control panel of the main
internal recording device that is marked as the default device,
double click on its icon or right click and then click on
“Properties”. The audio control panel for that recording device will
appear and you will see several tabs related to configuring the
recording devices.

Click on the tab that reads “Advanced”. The default format should read, “2 channel, 16 bit, 44100 Hz (CD Quality) if it does not, change to this setting using the drop down menu provided in the “Default Format” section.

Next look at the section labeled “Exclusive Mode” in the
“Advanced” tab. If checked, un-check the box that reads, “Allow
application to take exclusive control of this device”. This is very
important as two devices are working together and neither should
take exclusive control in the broadcasting process.

Click on the “Apply” button at the bottom to keep the changes made to the “Advanced” tab settings.

Next you will click on the tab that reads “Levels” and you will see at least one adjustable audio level volume controls for your computer’s internal microphone.

One audio level volume control should read “Microphone” and the other
may read “Microphone Boost” if you have two or perhaps a radio box for enabling boost properties. You may use these volume controls to
increase or decrease the audio level of the internal microphone to your liking.

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The suggested starting points for these volume settings for the
default internal microphone are “Microphone” set to 100 and the
“Microphone Boost” set to 0db. You can now close the
“Microphone Properties” for the default internal device by clicking
on the “OK” button.

 

Configuring Playback Devices

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On the “Sound” panel, click on the tab that reads “Playback”. If
you do not see the newly installed external USB sound card device, right-click anywhere on an empty space on the panel and then click on
“Show Disabled Devices” and “Show Disconnected Devices”.

If the external USB sound card is disabled, enable it
by right clicking on the device’s icon and clicking on “Enable”.

Disable every listed “Speakers” device listed except the external
USB sound card. Once disabling all other “Speakers” devices listed, the remaining external USB “Speaker” device should automatically become the default device. In the event it does not automatically set to default then right click on icon and then click on “Set as Default Device”.

There should be a green check mark by the icon of the external USB
and read “Default Device” device.

In the “Playback” section of the “Sound Panel”, double click on
the external USB “Speaker” device icon or right click and then click
“Properties”.

In the “Properties” control panel click on “Advanced”. The
“Default Format” should read “16 bit, 44100 Hz (CD Quality)”. If
it does not match this setting, change the setting using the drop
down box.

Under the section below that reads “Exclusive Mode”, un-check the
box that reads, “Allow application to take exclusive control of this
device” if it is checked. Click the “Apply” button if you made
changes to the settings.

Next click the tab that reads “Levels” on the “Properties” control
panel. You will see a audio level volume control for “Speakers” and another possibly depending on your sound card, a volume control for “Microphone”.

It is suggested you set the “Speaker” volume level to 50.

Next click on the “OK” tab to exit the “Properties” control panel
for the external USB sound card.

You have now set a starting point to mix your voice, your caller’s
voices and audio clips to send to broadcasting software. You can make adjustments as needed. Any broadcasting or podcasting software, VOIP application/software or a web-based phone systems should detect your settings. If they do not detect your default settings, remember to always set the software to use the internal sound card you set as the default.

Note: The instructions contained on this page are from the copyrighted “Internet Radio Audio Mixing” manual produced and reprinted here with permission from the author. To purchase manual or to obtain permission to reprint contact [admin@blacktalkradionetwork.com].

The Black Talk Media Project is an NC based non-profit that assists and provides new media services to independent Black media producers in order to elevate marginalized voices. If you are in need of affordable unlimited podcast hosting and/or Internet radio streams check out hosting options from the Black Talk Media Project.

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