I Got Those Zoom Blues! Any Suggestions?

DVDR_Dog

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Let me start by saying I dislike Zoom perhaps because everyone and their brother has used this program to for companionship during the lock down and wants my assistance. I am no stranger to videochat. I was one of the original users of ICQ in 1997. Outside of the technical aspects which fascinate me I have never been a fan, so sue me. It is pretty darn cool and how Microsoft has dealt with it over the years was funny at times. It was my segue to my DVD years as a matter of fact.
So here's the deal. Unfortunately for me, in a stroke of brilliance Zoom Video Communications not only made the software available for free but provided on-line tutorials, help desk and would hold your hand taking you through the basics. That was brilliant. Zoom is a household name right up there with Coke. People who were one scared like heck of video conference now consider themselves advanced users.
Now people who had to temporarily close exercise, yoga and dance studios flocked to Zoom to hold on-line classes. The clients know how to use it and it doesn't technically challenge the instructors sponsoring the classes.
And therein lies the problem. I have friends who are doing psychotherapy sessions on an iPad (no shit) asking for help.
On to the current issue. If you don't know yoga sessions incorporate subtle music into the program as well as the instructor doing an dialog, both are integral parts of the presentation.
So my friend has a yoga studio. When we were completely locked down she was on-line only. She was using the built-in webcam on a Dell laptop I gave her and bought a high quality USB mic. Now that some of the restrictions have been removed she can start holding classes but has to limit the size to 5 students for safety. Moving forward obviously the quality must improve if she wants to retain her on-line segment. At the current quality that's not acceptable.
I found a high quality Logitech wide angle webcam at Staples. Good webcams have sold out at most places for Zoom I imagine.
Audio remains the problem. I need to be able to blend the music with the mic input and mind you it's USB. You should be able to direct the mixed composite output from Windows to Zoom. I am going to go into work and the different settings determined I can host a meeting and see what might really work, but it's not something Zoom has been envisioned as a use.
Should be interesting and it should translate into adoption by many related businesses. You have to keep in mind a big part of their decision is user comfort with Zoom. I put together a more professional solution however it was technically more involved and not welcomed.
So if anyone has any experience in the above scenario let me know what your solution(s) might be. Get used to zoom, coming to an iPhone near you. Arrgghhh!
 
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th3m

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Never liked or trusted Zoom so i can't contribute much to your problem.

You mention that you have a problem to link the Audio output from Windows to Zoom. I would suggest to try also Microsoft Teams, maybe you will get better compatibility this way.

Last but not least if your friends have Apple devices, i would recommend using FaceTime instead, end to end encryption combined with Apple's strong privacy policy is mandatory for psychotherapy sessions and not only.
 

DVDR_Dog

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Well here's the problem. most of these people are using videoconferencing for the first time. I have no control over end user devices however I would expect at least 5 or 10 using a variety of systems from MacBooks, iPads, Windows laptops, etc. given the nature of the presentation. It's going to be 99% one way however the ability to respond is pretty much expected. I am overwhelmed that Zoom has been able to get so many completely unskilled and frankly apprehensive users to adopt this format. Getting them to switch now is extremely difficult as they got this to work and I don't think they believe it. Kind of like the Microsoft Office syndrome.
I could go with another solution however it's going to be more technical, I am only a consultant as a friend and do not wish this to become a never ending job.
What I have found out is Zoom does have some advanced audio controls hidden away for multiple mic conferences but in my application it's a hinderance not a help. I have tried to direct all input both music and USB mic into the normal system output and locally it works fine but Zoom will not accept the music as a valid input but will accept the USB mic. I have directed Zoom to use the system output (or at least the settings say I did) for audio input to Zoom. No bueno.
So at this point I am going to report to the studio owner that she must live with the mic for both music and talking for now. She has noticed that Zoom clips certain sounds but I have been unable to reproduced them on my test systems. I think I may contact Zoom and let them know the situation and see if they are willing to tailor their program for this application. I can only try.
Meanwhile keep those ideas coming.
 

th3m

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I like the idea of combining the 2 audio inputs into 1 single system output. The first thing that comes to my mind is an external mixer, maybe this can get more complicated, but if your friend's laptop have the input-output slot capacity it would be a proper solution.

Maybe this can be done also with a third-party software internally, but then compatibility issues can occur and it wouldn't defer much of the Zoom's settings approach i believe.

I still think you should give a test go with Microsoft teams, this way you can identify either if its your setup or Zoom that bring the problem to the table.

If i find something more i will get back to you
 

starhawk69

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This might be something to look at. -
HTML:
https://www.vb-audio.com/Voicemeeter/index.htm
Haven't tried it myself yet but I D/L this one and its big brother The Potato and plan on giving them a try. I already have a hardware mixer, eq, and mixing amp but this looks interesting. Won't be able to try it until tomorrow but I'll stop back by and give you a review then.

OK, back with a preliminary report. Looks like a really good software mixer. The light version VoiceMeeter is able to mix audio from audio devices (hardware inputs and CD/DVD, etc.) and from other audio applications like VLC, WMP, AIMP. It can mix 3 inputs through 2 buses to 3 outputs. So you can playback audio on another app and input it to the mixer along with a mic or even a network stream. Supports all audio interfaces (ASIO, WASAPI, DirectX, MME, WaveRT, KS and ASIO to connect to DAW or musical instrument. Also has DSP effects and equlazier built in.
Compatibility:Windows XP, VISTA, WIN7, WIN8, WIN8.1, WIN10 (32 / 64 bits
PC Configuration:Min: Celeron / Duo Core 1.8 GHz - 512 MB RAM - Disk < 100 MB
So it will run on just about anything that runs Windows. Full documentation available from the website. I am very impressed with what I've seen and used so far. Quality program with documentation and support and it's Donationware so you can download and use it free unlimited, just deal with the nag screens if you can't afford to throw a few dinero their way.
It has a big sister VoiceMeeter Banana that will do 8 channels with full eq on all buses and a audio file player built in that plays just about everything you can think of. It also has a bigger brother The Potato that has more feature than most people would ever use. The Potato is comprable to Steinburg WaveLab or Ableton and has professional grade features. I've used both of those and PropellerHead and SoundForge and this is at least as good as any of those. I'm glad you asked your question because I would never have looked for something like this. I'm probably be using it to replace the normal windows volume control/mixer, so definatly will be sending some money their way. I love to support quality software producers.
So, for what you need the basic version will do everthing that you need, but if you like playing with lots of cool toys try the Banana or the Potato
 
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starhawk69

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There are also some inexpensive mixers out there. I was looking at some to connect my computers together to use the same amp. For around $40 -$60 you can something like this
Code:
https://www.amazon.com/A4-4Channels-Console-Bluetooth-production/dp/B07MLGS622/ref=psdc_11974881_t2_B07Y2RYHFF
and there are alot to choose from in that price range.
 
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jamvaru

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lol, encryption
lol, apple
i can't even be bothered to type the words 'f*** t***'
ugh

so, sourceforge sent me an email a while back about a software for group video conferencing called 'jam session', i think

i forwarded to my dad who was trying to use zoom for that and it didn't work
I haven't heard anything more about it. I suppose the group is working on the issue.

The thing is that lots of people don't even have computers, i guess. they just have their phone or tablet.
It is kind of sad.

But Lemme find that link... i deleted the email already: http://llcon.sourceforge.net

it is called 'Jamulus'

Probably more than is needed for a yoga session though.

Honestly, i don't really get it. I mean you can just do yoga, y ou don't need an instructor. I guess it helps though. And it can be fun.
 

jamvaru

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the beatles went to india, once upon a time
they communed with some swami there, a yogi or something
turned out it is all just a huge scam to get laid
the yogi teaches them and stuff and then it's like, hey, wanna learn the really fun stuff?
lol
 

DVDR_Dog

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I finally got Zoom to do exactly what I needed it to do. I didn't have to go digging through the registry or any crap like that. Turns out you can fiddle with the screen sharing and share the system's audio only. Further fiddling keeps the cam as main video feed. You can turn off the audio clipping under advanced audio features too but that's another story.
You can share the system audio only with the screen sharing feature? Huh? I thought it was screen sharing?
For some reason it still retains and sends the video/mic feed and blends the system audio. I don't wanna know, nor do I really care other than it works. What a pain in the ass, completely counter-intuitive. I know it's not what the program is intended for and the GUI is set up to keep it idiot-proof which is a major feat in itself. All's well that ends well. Don't forget to send a little financial help to Thumper before you leave.
Thanks.
 

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