Windows Mixer Tutorial

 

Many people have asked me how to stream using windows mixer to balance their microphone, instruments, and/or backtracks. Please note, this is not a tutorial for software you might use for streaming, such as Winamp, Shoutcast, iTunes, Oddcast, nor is it a tutorial for Mac users.

 

First, locate the Control Panel for Windows. Most people can click the start menu. If you have disabled the display of the control panel in the Taskbar and Start Menu properties, right click the start menu and enable it accordingly.

 

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In the Control Panel, there are two different views where you can find the audio properties: Category View and Classic View. Follow the “Sounds and Audio Devices” icons in either view until you get to the Sounds and Audio Devices Properties.

Category View:

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Classic View:

 

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Bring up the Sounds and Audio Devices Properties. One thing must be completely understood here. There is an audio input (microphone, system sounds, synthesizer, guitar, etc) and an audio output (audio that leaves the computer). First, I’ll focus on the output. The mixer for this is found under the Audio tab > Sound Recording > click the Volume button. The Recording Control is now visible. If you wish to open the Volume Control, click the Volume button under Sound Playback. Also, if you want the mixer available permanently in your taskbar, go to the Audio and check the box that says “Place volume icon in taskbar.”

 

 

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The Recording Control is something that should be kept open during performances. It is the volume control for your output, therefore it is what the audience hears and it is the levels for recording (a good method to check your levels before performances). The Recording Control might have different outputs such as Microphone, Line-in, or Stereo Mix. In this case, we only have a choice of two outputs. If you would like to add more, go to Options > Properties.

 

 

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Here is a completely new set of options. You can choose to display any combination of volume controls that are available. Note that different sound cards contain different outputs, as shown in the following two screenshots. Ensure that the drivers for the sound card are current by going to the manufacturer’s website.

 

 

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Most Creative sound cards have labeled the stereo mix output as “What U Hear.” Other companies have labeled it differently as well. I believe Sigmatel uses the name of the device. In any case, the stereo output is the combined mix of all un-muted inputs. Selecting this means that, assuming there is no external muting control for the input (via guitar effects pedals, on/off switch on the microphone, or any other way of controlling gear), that the input is live and broadcast-ready. If you wish to broadcast only the microphone, or a Line-in (synthesizer or guitar), the check the Select box in the Recording Control. Otherwise, the stereo mix levels will be monitored and balanced with the Play Control. The previous screenshot shows “Adjust volume for…” Select Playback and click OK. This will bring up the Play Control.

 

 

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The Play Control lists the levels for all of the inputs. The output will only be changed if the stereo mix output is selecting in the Recording Control. If an individual output is selected and the audience says, “You’re too soft,” then increase the output from the Recording Control. In this instance, the Play Control is only used as a personal monitor. I cannot stress enough how important it is to record the mix into a program to check levels and test the limitations and nuances of the sound card. Some cards have extremely sensitive inputs and others need a serious boost. I hope this tutorial has helped to get started using Windows’ audio properties. If there are any additions, comments, questions, or corrections, feel free to contact me at the E-mail below.

 

 

Brian Tervo

“Flaming Moe”

moetownproductions@gmail.com

 

 

 

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