Accepting listener calls via Skype (or other audio chat apps) is one of the things many users ask us about supporting. While it’s something that a web app cannot natively support, we can give you some recommendation on tools and directions on how to do this on your computer.
The goal is to mix your voice with the voice of another person coming through Skype into one audio source, which you can then broadcast. The classic, brute-force approach to do this would be to add an additional sound card to your computer and use it to mix these two audio channels together. You can easily accomplish the same thing through software by using a free app on your PC.
VB-Audio CABLES is a (free, donationware) virtual audio device that can work as a virtual audio cable. This means it can act as a new, virtual, sound card: you can direct different audio sources to them and they can mix them all into a single output. From the VB-Audio website there are three available downloads: VB-CABLE Driver, VB-CABLE A Driver and VB-CABLE B Driver. You'll only need to download and install the first one (VB-CABLE Driver), as well as Skype. The other two drivers (VB-CABLE A & VB-CABLE B) can be used if you'd like to set up additional virtual cables. If you're using a different audio chat application, see the proposed settings for Skype below and make the corresponding changes in your application of choice.
You’ll need to configure the following:
- Go to Skype, and select Tools > Options from the menu.
- In the Audio Settings section, first make sure that the microphone you're using is selected. Then select the virtual "cable" as the Speakers device:
- In Radiojar’s virtual studio, right click and select “Settings…” to open the Adobe Flash Player settings window, go to the microphone settings and select the cable you have chosen for Skype, for example "CABLE-A Output (VB-Audio Cable A)" as the Microphone device.
- Right click on the icon for sound in your windows system tray (at the bottom-right of your screen, next to the clock) and select Recording Devices.
- Double click on the microphone that you're using to open Microphone Properties. Go to the Listen tab and choose your cable at "Playback through this device". Make sure that "Listen to this device" is checked.
(We've found this works well on Windows 7 & 8, there have been some cases where the listen tab doesn't appear on Windows Vista, depending on the sound card and driver. Sometimes, again depending on sound card and driver, you can find the option to allow your microphone to play through the speakers in the playback section of your sound properties, in the Levels tab of the output device properties. If you're using an even older version of Windows, you can probably do this much easier by using the mixer: add your microphone and unmute it)
You’re set! To go on air, start a Skype conversation and while the other party is online and in a call with you, press the microphone button in the virtual studio to broadcast both your voices.
How to test
To run a little test before starting, you can do the following:
- Put on some headphones to avoid feedback from the speakers through your microphone.
- Make a Skype call and monitor the sound through your headphones. You’ll be able to hear the entire conversation, including your own voice.
Ready to go!
You’re now ready to start accepting listener calls in your radio broadcasts. Make sure to filter your listeners for prank calls and talk to your them for a little bit before going on air to prepare them and ensure a smooth transition in the show.
If your guests sound too loud or too low, you can always use Skype’s volume adjustment slider in the Audio/Video preferences. This will not affect the volume of your own voice.
Have fun doing talk shows with your listeners!