I will soon be making some short videos that each cover a specific aspect of Voicemeeter. Voicemeeter is a complex piece of software, comprised of many individual elements which each warrant their own separate explanation. The following are the topics I think are important.
For instance, a video on strip one and the other hardware strips would include showing the ability to label the strip by right-clicking on its name at the top and entering a name followed by the enter key, and an explanation about the decibel metering and how you can push above zero DB using Voicemeeter to increase gain on a low-level signal, and how you can directly input a value – such as -16 DB – directly into the slider by right-clicking within the circle, entering the value and pressing the enter key. Perhaps a separate video on how the boxes work above the strip for pan and EQ, and of course the special effects, and another video covering separately original Voicemeeter’s single enhanced knob and Banana and Potatoes separate gate and compression knobs.
A more advanced aspect of the hardware strips is found in the system settings/options dialogue, primarily for use with an ASIO USB audio interface, where you can assign any channels you wish to both the left and right inputs independently (meaning you can assign channel 1 to both left and right for a mono input to stereo). In Voicemeeter banana, you have three hardware strips whereas in Voicemeeter Potato you have five all capable of such discreet assignments. It is important to point out that if the hardware strip already has an assignment to click the drop-down assignment region at the top, and select the bottommost entry, “remove device selection” for this customized assignment to appear.
Many people never discover that there are two additional panels in the square box above each hardware strip accessible by right-clicking on the box. So you have the voice color panel (which always appears as the default) that permits nice EQ shaping and an echo effect if you move to the top, then right-clicking once brings you the modulation effects panel, and right clicking once more takes you to the position 3-D panel which has a nice depth simulator as well as its panning control.
Next, the two audibility controls – comp (or compressor), which is a simple compressor that adds gain the more you compress (which may be undesirable as a can increase noise), and the rudimentary gate effect which is intended to mute the input if the volume level goes below a certain threshold. Use of either of these should be very slight.
Another item often missed on the strip is that it has a mono button which can be used to take a mono input that exists only on one channel (like a microphone) and split it so that it also appears on the other channel, turning a single channel input into a two-channel stereo input. This is very useful for microphone inputs, but the ASIO audio interface assignment options that exist in system settings/options are far more versatile (but the ASIO audio interface assignment options in system settings/options may render the use of the MONO button unnecessary in some cases, as described above). Additionally, the solo button allows you to hear only that strip to the exclusion of all the other strips, and the mute button, naturally, mutes that strip.
As to the various outputs, the original Voicemeeter provides a single A button which outputs to two channels the same signal. Voicemeeter banana provides three “A” outputs, A1, A2, A3, permitting dividing up which strips go to which outputs – and Voicemeeter Potato provides five such outputs (and three, rather than two, “B” outputs) enabling even further division of inputs being directed to various outputs.
Concerning the A and B buttons, I usually like to say as a memory aid that “A Is for Audition and B is for Broadcast”, as typically the A buttons are intended to go to speakers or headphones. Some software permits you to capture what they call “desktop audio” (such as OBS), so one of the A buttons can be used to assign audio strictly to that kind of software. I recommend instead that one use Voicemeeter as the microphone input to such software — indeed to any software — by following the convention of making Voicemeeter the default microphone input in Windows as well as making Voicemeeter the default playback device in Windows, and further by directly selecting Voicemeeter within the software itself in the same manner.
Anybody owning an ASIO audio interface should absolutely choose, from the A1 button at the top, the ASIO version of the device, which will appear near the bottom of the list — as that will permit the ASIO devices buffer settings to drive the internal workings of Voicemeeter permitting the best latency and performance of Voicemeeter overall. Then, with an audio interface permitting such, you may go to system settings/options and directly enter which channels you want the other A outputs (A2, A3, etc.) to be sent to, which is very handy for setting up your surround speaker arrangement. The A1 button always goes to the device’s front left and right speakers, that is, channels one and two. If you do not have an ASIO device, simply use the additional A buttons to assign the outputs to different speakers or headphones. The WDM or KS options will provide the lowest “latency” or delay, while the MME outputs will provide the best stability in some situations.
Perhaps a separate video would be nice explaining the histories of WDM or Windows Driver Model and KS or kernel streaming both available since Windows 98, and MME which stands for Multi-Media Extensions available since Windows 3.0. Meanwhile read about it here:
And that covers the hardware strips.
The Voicemeeter VA I/O and the VA I/O AUX (and Aux two in Voicemeeter Potato) have the assignable name for the channel and the direct DB value input for the strips, as well as the A and B outputs, the solo button and the mute button similar to the hardware strips, but include an additional button, M. C. which stands for “mute center”. That button is handy in a 5.1 or 7.1 surround speaker setting, as the 5.1 and 7.1 arrangements of speakers include a center channel typically relegated to the dialog. The M.C. button mutes only the center channel so you can hear the four or six surround channels, respectively, which contain the music and effects, while removing the dialogue which is usually isolated to the center channel.
The VA I/O strips also feature each their own treble, midrange and bass controls and a left/right/front/rear controller above each slider, the front and rear being true panners in this case and not just an effect as with the hardware strips. These “Virtual Audio I/O” strips are capable of accepting as inputs up to eight channels, permitting up to 7.1 surround sound control from each strip. Between this Virtual I/O and the Direct Hardware inputs, and the incredible “modes” which I describe later, this can all add up to quite a bit of convenience when mixing for surround and needing to monitor in different speaker setups! Just the convenience of causing the center-channel dialog speaker to be eliminated quickly and easily is worth the price of admission alone! A separate article is needed for that.
Voicemeeter Banana and Potato have additional controls above the output strips on the far right. These include the “modes” (much more on those in a moment), a mono button for that output channel, a mute button for that output channel, and a switchable EQ for each output. Left clicking the EQ button turns the EQ on and off, and right-clicking that button brings up a full parametric equalizer.
The Voicemeeter Parametric Equalizer:
This equalizer is very high quality, with up to six controls assignable independently to up to six frequency ranges, as well as having the possibility to either apply an overall equalization to up to eight channels of output at once or additionally to separately equalize each of the eight channels individually. To see it working, first turn up or down the center of the three knobs in order to be able to observe the effect, then move the topmost knob to change the frequency assignment, and the lowest knob to change the spread or “Q” of that frequency assignment, which controls how wide to the left or right of the center frequency the center knobs gain or reduction of gain will have an effect. At the top the “FLAT” button returns your settings to neutral, while the A and B buttons permit two separate settings which can be compared with each other, followed by the channel selection buttons, which are then followed by both a channel copy and a copy all button which can then be used via the paste button to bring settings over to another output’s strip and its EQ dialog. An incredibly powerful tool!
The modes button at the top above the output strip defaults to normal mode, which as one might expect simply outputs all eight channels to the output device (the A outputs) or virtual cable (the B outputs) assigned to that particular output slider.
Left clicking the modes button advances it to the next option, while right-clicking it brings you to the previous option. The next option after normal mode is “MIX down A” and the one following it is “MIX down B”, which are similar in that they mix-down up to eight channels to a stereo mix going out the first two channels, but “MIX down A” does not include the side speakers, only the front and rear speakers and the subwoofer, whereas “MIX down B” includes all the speakers, in both cases mixed down to the front left and right channels. The following is taken from the Voicemeeter “Banana” manual:
All Voicemeeter BUS Modes (12):
Here below the list of 12 BUS Mode to manage the 8 channels of the BUS in 12 different ways.
Normal Mode: All channels are sent AS IS
MIX DOWN A: LEFT = FL + (70% FC) + SW + RL – SL; RIGHT = RL + (70% FC) + SW – RR + SR
MIX DOWN B: LEFT = FL + (70% FC) + SW + RL + SL; RIGHT = RL + (70% FC) + SW + RR + SR
STEREO REPEAT: ch1 = FL, ch3 = FL, ch5 = FL, ch7 = FL ch2 = FR, ch4 = FR, ch6 = FR, ch8 = FR
COMPOSITE MODE: Contains pre fader inputs given by the COMPOSITE PATCH set up in SYSTEM SETTINGS/OPTIONS near the bottom.
UP MIX TV (create 7.1 from stereo): FL = L, FC = 20%(L+R), RL = 70%(L-R), SL = 70%(L-R) FR = R, SW=50%(L+R), RR = 70%(R-L), SR = 70%(R-L)
UP MIX 2.1: FL = L, FR = R, SW=50%(L+R).
UP MIX 4.1: FL = L, FR = R, SW=50%(L+R). RL = L, RR = R
UP MIX 6.1: FL = L, FR = R, SW=50%(L+R). RL = L, RR = R SL = L, SR = R
CENTER ONLY (extract Center): LEFT = FC RIGHT = FC
LFE ONLY (extract subwoofer): LEFT = SW RIGHT = SW
REAR ONLY (extract rear): LEFT = RL RIGHT = RR
In Voicemeeter “Banana” and “Potato” the extremely useful “cassette recorder” exists. This can be used to playback files containing up to eight channels, loaded by left clicking on the “cassette label”, eliminating the need for a separate media player to be used taking up one of the virtual inputs — but even more prominently is a very high quality digital recorder capable of multitrack recording up to eight channels simultaneously. It can capture any or all of the individual hardware sliders and/or the virtual inputs sliders pre-fader (that is, capturing the inputted audio with no volume differences or other treatments introduced by the various controls above the slider or the slider itself), or alternatively can capture the post-fader outputs from one of the output buttons, that is from any of the A buttons or any of the B buttons. One opens the above dialogue by right-clicking on the label area of the cassette where one then selects: the inputs; the target directory; the prefix name that will be used at the start of the file name; the file type (I recommend sticking with the default BWF option, which is the multichannel “broadcast wave format” first adopted in Europe and now becoming popular in the USA); the sample rate and bit rate; and the number of channels desired to be captured (Voicemeeter defaults to capturing a mix-down of all inputs to two channels, but you can select up to eight discrete channels); whether to play files on load; the playback gain level of a loaded file; and whether to stop the recording after a certain time has passed (VERY useful for recording events of a known duration).
Owners of MIDI controllers will be pleased to see that up to 50 controls in Voicemeeter “Banana” and 100 controls in Voicemeeter “Potato” can be mapped to their MIDI controller using the familiar “learn button” approach of assigning controllers to individual controls. You can save and load different mappings and give each of those maps a different name.
The VBAN Dialog Box will help you to configure the VB-Audio Network functions, to send/receive an audio stream to/from any computer of your local network. This deserves an entire article for itself. The same is true for the “Macro Buttons” feature, which can from the MENU be made to run upon starting the program.
And we have only been talking about the UI of the interface here so far and its capabilities! The applications are vast and far-reaching. More videos on those aspects will be forthcoming as well! (AND blog posts!) 🙂