Use a single mic for Xbox party and streaming

This method allows you to use a single headset for both Xbox party and streaming while allowing you to control where mic audio is heard (party, stream, both or none) while mixing in game or system audio at any level. This method is not useful if you want or need to use in game chat as you are utilizing the PC Xbox app for party. It also assumes that you capture game audio using the HDMI input on your capture card. When finished, you will listen to the game audio from your Xbox's optical audio port and NOT from the HDMI port. This allows you to mix audio in your headset however you wish while recording or streaming game audio at a different level. It also allows you to overcome any lag introduced by your capture solution such as the Elgato HD60.

What you'll need:

  • Windows 10
  • Xbox App installed
  • PC headset
  • Optical to analog adapter or optical in on your PC. I use an EarForce DSS which both converts optical to analog as well as provide surround sound.
  • Optical cable to go between your Xbox One and converter or PC
  • PC with line in if your optical adapter outputs to line out
  • Ground loop isolator if you are connecting your optical to analog converter using an analog audio cable
  • Voicemeeter Banana
  • VB Audio Cable

Voicemeeter Banana Setup

Voicemeeter Banana provides the following for you:

  • 3 inputs from hardware
  • 2 virtual devices providing input and output (B1, B2)
  • 3 outputs to hardware (A1, A2, A3)

VB Audio Cable provides:

*1 virtual input *1 virtual output

Before you can configure Voicemeeter Banana we need to tell the system how to handle these new audio devices. Start by opening the sound control panel and clicking the playback tab. Located the Voicemeeter Aux Input (sometimes referred to as Voicemeeter AUX VAIO) and Voicemeeter Input (sometimes referred to as Voicemeeter VAIO) devices. Right click Voicemeeter Aux Input and set it as the default device. All audio playback that isn't otherwise defined will be available on this device. Right click Voicemeeter Input and assign it as the default communications device. Any audio from a communications app will be played back from this device (voice from your friends). Your playback tab should now look like this:

Click the recording tab and locate the CABLE Output device. Right click it and simply assign it as the default device for recording. Any audio that arrives here will be treated as microphone input by any communications app you use (your voice being sent to your friends or stream). Your recording tab should now look like this:

We can now assign physical hardware in your PC to Voicemeeter banana's inputs. To do so, simply click and select the device you wish to mix in like so:

For the purpose of this tutorial I'll assign my Xbox One audio to the first input. In my setup this means my PC's line in port located on the back. You should assign whatever device has this audio on it. You can then double click the Input 1 text and assign whatever text you wish.

For Input 2, assign your microphone. If your headset connects through your PC's microphone port, assign that. In my setup my Logitech G330 headset uses a USB dongle which provides an additional microphone and line out port specifically for the headset so I assign the G330 microphone to Input 2.

For Input 3, assign CABLE Output.

In the upper right of Voicemeeter you'll see A1, A2 and A3. This is where you assign an output channel to a physical device such as your speakers, headset and so on. In my setup I have assigned my computer speakers to A1, my G330 headset to A2 and CABLE Input to A3. For the purposes if this tutorial, always set your headset to A2 and CABLE Input to A3. If you don't have speakers then don't assign anything to A1.

Voicemeeter banana should look similar to this when you're finished:

At this point we're ready to route audio. Before you start, remember these two things:

  • Your headset is on channel A2. Any source you want to hear in your headset should output to A2.
  • Your recording software will record B1. Any channel you want to record or stream should be assigned to B1. Don't output your Xbox One audio on Input 1 to B1 unless you know what you're doing.

Start by ensuring all channels are disabled (they'll be dimmed). Remember that A2 is your headset so enable A2 for any audio you wish to hear there. In my case, that includes my Xbox One (Input 1) and party chat audio (Voicemeeter VAIO). For reasons that will become clear later, set your microphone to output to A3.

Next, assign what channels will get recorded. Generally this will be your headset mic, the rest of your party and possibly system audio if you want to mix in music. Earlier we set the microphone to output to A3. By outputting to A3 we can decide how to route microphone audio. We can output it directly to the stream, directly to the party or to both. Remember that earlier we set CABLE Output as the default recording device so anything that exists there will be picked up by communications apps. Party chat in the Xbox App is a communications app. By setting the microphone to output to A3 we ensure that the party hears your microphone but we also need to get microphone audio to your recording or stream. To do so, tell CABLE Output to also output to B1. To output the microphone only to your party, uncheck B1 under CABLE Output. To output only to stream/recording, uncheck A3 and check B1 under your microphone input. To mute your mic to all, mute the mic input. We'll automate this later.

Voicemeeter banana will similar to this:

Notice that I'm outputting A3, Voicemeeter VAIO and Voicemeeter AUX to my recording and have set the volume sliders accordingly. If you output each to A2 you will then hear exactly what it'll sound like on stream in your headset. This allows you to set your music and voice chat mix accordingly. You can then choose whether or to output music to your headset, to stream, both or none.

Configuring hotkeys

At this point you're ready to configure some hotkeys that makes swapping where the microphone is heard much simpler. Start by clicking Voicemeeter Banana's menu button and selecting the "MacroButtons" entry:

A new window will appear. Right click the first button and fill out the form like so:

You can assign whatever hotkey you wish. Do the same for the second and third buttons filling them out like this:

And:

Now, when you press the appropriate hotkeys, you'll configure who gets to hear the mic.

Recording/Streaming Software Setup

Setting up your recording software is simple as everything you wish to capture exists on the Voicemeeter Output (Voicemeeter VAIO) device. Simply set that as an audio device you wish to record in Game Capture HD or OBS. I use Game Capture HD so it looks like this:

Now What?

From here, simply use the Xbox app for party chat and mix the audio using Voicemeeter Banana however you wish. You can also substitute party chat for discord or some other voice communications tool, usually without modifying anything.

If you have any questions you can find me on Twitter at @xboxrecordus or as RealAngryMonkey on Xbox Live.