How To Play Music Through Mic Using Voicemeeter And A Soundboard
Here’s a comprehensive tutorial on how to play music, or any audio file for that matter, through mic using a VoiceMeeter and a soundboard. I’ve gone ahead and updated this in 2019.
It’s fully free.
(Tested on Windows based systems)
Following this tutorial, you’ll be able to:
- play Soundboard audio through mic (can be toggled on/off)
- listen to that audio yourself at the same time (can be toggled on/off)
- and also talk through the mic yourself at the same time (can be toggled on/off)
(works even without a microphone, but then your voice can’t be heard because you need a physical microphone to receive & transmit your voice)
What’s needed for this to work: (there are other ways, but this specific setup requires)
You’ll find everything needed to make this work by just following this tutorial.
What Are Those 2 Components Used For Playing Music Through Mic?
This here is an attempt at explaining what is what. Download links in the step by step part of this tutorial.
For starters, imagine a physical audio mixer that processes audio signals. It’s one of those things that has lots of audio cables going into it from different audio sources and then cables going out of it. It takes the audio signals coming in from the incoming cables and processes those incoming signals in various ways. The audio mixer will then channel those processed audio signals to somewhere else through cables going out of it.
In comparison, VoiceMeeter is a virtual audio device that acts as a VIRTUAL audio mixer with many inputs and outputs. One such input will be sounds coming from the soundboard I mentioned earlier, but also from your microphone if you had one. The signals will be processed within VoiceMeeter, both the cable’s output and your microphone’s output signals. Having processed the signals, VoiceMeeter will then channel those signals through one of its own outputs which in our case will be used as a virtual microphone.
VoiceMeeter also has a built-in VAC, short for virtual audio cable. We’ll be using this to route audio signals from the sounboard into this virtual audio mixer called VoiceMeeter.
As the name suggests, a soundboard, in our context a self sustained audio source, is an application to which we load our audio files. We can set hotkeys to each audio file in the application in order to trigger them remotely. This way we have full control over what plays when through the microphone. If possible, run a soundboard application as Administrator. That way it gets elevated permissions and is less likely to be ignored when it’s running in the background.
IMPORTANT: You can choose a soundboard for yourself in this post: List Of Soundboard Software For Playing Music Through Mic In 2019 (link opens in a new tab); the soundboard used in this tutorial is called EXP Soundboard.
If a soundboard is an overkill for your cause, you can replace the soundboard with any configurable audio source (Windows Media Player for example) and instead play the sounds coming from that via the virtual microphone. Or simply follow one of the other tutorials for setting things up using YouTube or Spotify instead.
How Does This Method Work
Audio signals from the soundboard go to VoiceMeeter via VoiceMeeter Input. At the same time, audio signals from our microphone are also picked up by VoiceMeeter. In VoiceMeeter, the signals get processed and then played through VoiceMeeter Output, in our case a virtual microphone.
There’s also a second output from VoiceMeeter. That one goes into our speakers so that we can hear the same things that go into the virtual microphone. We can choose what we want to hear. We’ll choose to hear the triggered sounds but not ourselves speaking through the microphone, unless that’s something what you wanted. We can choose what goes through the virtual microphone in that same fashion.
TUTORIAL: How To Play Music Through Mic (Soundboard + VoiceMeeter)
If you skipped most of the text up until now, you might want to read through that in case you find this steppidy step part of the tutorial make little sense to you. A magnificent picture was painted about this whole process with the words above.
You can choose some other soundboard if you like: List Of Soundboard Software For Playing Music Through Mic In 2019 (link opens in a new tab). Support for EXP Soundboard was dropped in 2016, so it might not be a butter smooth experience for you with it.
You can select either Download or Install. Ultimately, they’re the same thing.
Enable VoiceMeeter Input and Output. You should be able to find them under Playback and Recording tab in Sound settings. They might be disabled by default, so you might not see them. You just have to right-click and tick the Show Disabled Devices to first see them.
In Windows 10, you can find Sound settings by hitting Start – Settings – System – Sound – Sound Control Panel.
Make VoiceMeeter Output as the Default Device under the Recording tab in the Sound settings. You can do that by right-clicking on VoiceMeeter Output and the option for doing so will pop up. It’s so you don’t have to manually set voice applications to use it as it’s already the default device (virtual microphone).
Open EXP Soundboard and select VoiceMeeter Input as the 1st Output.
(you can skip this step if you didn’t have a microphone)
In VoiceMeeter, for the 1st HARDWARE INPUT select your microphone. There are options for WDM, KS, MME or even maybe ASIO and whatnot – know that the best one is the one that works for you. For me, that was MME.
Still in VoiceMeeter, under A1 HARDWARE OUT, select your main speakers. Doing so allows you to hear the same things that go into the virtual microphone.
B MAIN OUT is the virtual microphone – you don’t have to do anything with it as it’s aready set and ready. The virtual microphone is the pink “virtual out”, it’s also VoiceMeeter Output (virtual microphone).
Understanding this 6th step is crucial, otherwise you might start to think you did something wrong in the previous steps when something’s not working quite as it should.
You need to make sure the target program you’re trying to play the sounds into is using VoiceMeeter Output (virtual microphone) as its Input Device! A program’s Input Device is usually your physical microphone. VoiceMeeter Output acts as a virtual microphone.
There are many ways to make sure that happens, but I’ll show 2 ways how to make sure the target program (e.g a game, Skype, Discord, etc) uses our newly set up virtual microphone instead of our actual microphone.
1 – The easiest, but also the least reliable way is to make your VoiceMeeter Output (virtual microphone) your Default Device and Default Communication Device under Recording tab in Sound Control Panel. This way any program should pick VoiceMeeter Output as the default microphone. We did this in Step 2. However, it’s unreliable because some newer sophisticated programs can probably tell the difference between a real microphone and something else (an audio device which I’ve been referring to as virtual microphone… To some programs it’s not a virtual microphone but rather just a random audio device, so they might just ignore it entirely).
2 – Another relatively easy way is to simply edit audio settings in the target program to use VoiceMeeter Output as the primary Input Device. But some target programs simply don’t have this setting, so in some cases this approach doesn’t work (ahem… Steam for example). Then again, it does work with Discord and many other programs.
Let’s See If Things Are Working
Open up “App volume and device preferences” setting and also “Voice Recorder” (Windows’ built-in program – hit search and type Voice Recorder). Assuming VoiceMeeter Output is the Default communication device and Default Device in Sound settings, just hit record while playing the audio file in soundboard and see if the playback plays the audio or not.
If you have Windows 10, Voice Recorder is more sophisticated in what it considers a microphone, so a 3rd way of making sure it picks up the VoiceMeeter Output (virtual microphone) is needed.
Windows 10 has this neat little setting called “App volume and device preferences”. You can find it by hitting Start – Settings – System – Sound – App volume and device prefernces. In “App volume and device preferences” setting change Default to VoiceMeeter Output under the Output tab in the aforementioned Windows setting for Voice Recorder (in the picture, the Default has already been changed into VoiceMeeter Output).
That way you can test by playing back the recording of what all come out of the virtual microphone (your voice, if you had a mic, and whatever sound you started in Soundboard). This applies to any other target program where the Input Device is VoiceMeeter Output.
Alternative Options For Playing Audio Through Mic
If NOTHING here worked out for you, don’t let it get you down.
I’ve listed a bunch of methods for playing music through mic, few of which I’m still using myself. Check here: “My Best Picks – How To Play Music Through Mic (Tutorials).”