Windows Sound Effects in Real Time
December 21, 2005 3:00 PM   Subscribe

How can I add sound effects to a Windows sound source in real time, and then pipe the input into Skype or other programs that expect direct input from the sound source?

I am doing some web seminars and I want to experiment with some sound effects and other sound processing in real time.

Right now I can plug a microphone or headset into my PC's sound card, and then set up the sound card as the audio source for, e.g., Skype:

Microphone -> Sound Card -> Skype

What I would like to do, if possible, is to route the microphone into some type of "effects" program, and then route the modified sound into, e.g., Skype. This seems to imply that the modified sound would be available through a Windows sound "device" that I could then select as an input source.

Microphone -> Sound Card -> Effects Program -> Skype

Can I do this, and if so, can anyone recommend a free or cheap program to let me do so?
posted by jeffbarr to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
I think it depends on if Skype allows you to choose the recording channel. If you can, and if your sound card supports it, you need to choose "What you hear" instead of "Mic" or "Line in". That will cause it to essentially record a loopback of whatever is output.

However, this will obviously not work if the program (Skype in this case) also outputs its own sound, since that will just feed back. If that is the case then there may be nothing you can do except use two sound cards. I could be wrong but I think the program would have to be designed specially to allow the use of VSTs (or equivalent) to accomplish this with just the one sound card.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:28 PM on December 21, 2005

You could probably wrangle GraphEdit into doing it.
posted by Triode at 4:00 PM on December 21, 2005

i don't know anything about Skype, but this might help:

- get a miniplug Y-splitter.
- hook up a cable from yr sound card's Speaker Out to the splitter.
- hook up yr microphone to the splitter.
- under Sound Properties, under playback, mute yr microphone.
- if you need to be able to hear yrself, get another splitter, and hook up headphones or yr speakers to the Speaker Out of the sound card.

now yr mic in will be the combination of whatever yr computer is playing as well as yr mic. if Skype is generating sound from the other party, it'll be played back as well and you'll get the feedback loop.

if you have something that does real-time effects processing, it'll go out of the sound card and into the mic in.

the problems i see with the above is that a) every time you use a splitter, you're playing with signal strength, b) i don't know of any real-time effects processing offhand, c) you'll either get a feedback loop from the other side of the conversation/connection, or you'll hear nothing.

hope this helps. again, i don't know the specifics of Skype, but i have messed around with other VoIP softs. btw: is it pronounced like "tripe," or like "sky pee?"
posted by herrdoktor at 4:45 PM on December 21, 2005

I'd look into using Virtual Audio Cable to link your line in to whatever you're using for effects, to skype.

NB I haven't tried this, but it's where I'd start looking. Also, it's not free. I don't know if US$50 counts as 'cheap' for you.
posted by pompomtom at 5:18 PM on December 21, 2005

...though there seems to be a demo download...
posted by pompomtom at 5:29 PM on December 21, 2005

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