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3 Apr 2020

Extra for sound experts: Using multiple audio sources in ZOOM

For the ordinary meeting or catchup, Zoom’s great. The audio and sound quality when you plug in your earphones or have good laptop speaker is sweet as almost 100% of the time.

But for those of us who are musicians or are used to inputting sound from multiple places, streaming a good mix of sounds can be a bit of an issue.

Here’s the scene: I want to stream a gig from my room by playing audio from iTunes, a video from YouTube, audio playback from notation software, and my guitar at the same time. So I use the Zoom ‘screen share’ command and enable ‘share computer sound’. While technically it works, there’s not a huge amount of control and it only works while ‘screen share’ is active.

If none of that made sense to you, never mind. If you found yourself nodding vigorously, read on.

If you want more intricate audio mixing options without having to screen share and tolerate clunky audio, you can either follow this handy tutorial about using Zoom’s ‘original sound’ mode, or you’ll need to use another programme to route the sound.

We’d recommend a programme called Loopback for ease of use and capability, but depending on how extra you want to be, you can try other options (like Voxengo multi-effect vocal plugin) and see how you go.

Loopback, by Rogue Amoeba

Loopback allows you to pass audio from both microphones and internal sources (like iTunes) to an output that you can then use as a sound source in Zoom. You can control the volume and turn inputs on and off directly from Loopback. Yay.

Source Connect

Source Connect is a way to get high quality audio into one place via the internet without any of the compression and treatment that happens through services like Zoom and Skype. This is great if you want to have musicians working together via zoom or some other video connection.

If you pair Source Connect with a programme like Loopback you can route the audio from your Digital Audio Workstation (see below) into Source Connect, and then you can go from there into Zoom, or OBS (also see below), or some other streaming service and then on to the internet for everyone to see.

So the process looks something like:
You -> DAW -> (Loopback + Source Connect) -> Zoom -> YouTube/FB Live -> the world.

Here are some other things you may need to download in the process:

In case you get stuck, here are some troubleshooting instructions: