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I’m a lifelong avgeek and as I’m learning to fly for real, I use my home simulator as a really useful training tool. Occasionally I’ll stream my flights, and because I have a production background I really wanted to have a proper audio workflow. The following setup is exactly what I use to send audio to OBS for live streaming on Twitch and elsewhere.
Getting the sound out
In order to hook into the pro mixer I have, I needed a pair of external USB sound cards, hopefully ones that either output a pro line or mic signal. My same friend who’s working on those overlays recommended a digital DI box by Peavey that outputs to two XLR jacks. It rocks.
It’s a step above some similar USB cards that I’ve found and it includes circuitry to eliminate electrical noise and ground loop hums. This is really nice because PCs are noisy and most cheaper external sound cards don’t output truly clean audio. I have two of these, one for X-Plane ambient sound, and the other for PilotEdge output.
Mixing the sound
Everything gets sent into a Behringer 1002b mixer. With 5 XLR inputs and a total of 10 channels of audio, I have a lot of granular control. It’s very easy to adjust the mix to compensate for a quiet controller, or an extra loud plane. In order to use a typical pc headset with a mixer, you need to supply it with ‘plugin power.’ This is sort of a lower voltage version of phantom power and it’s tricky to find the right adapter. I found a nice one from a company that makes a lot of small adapters and power modules, Sound Professionals.
Routing audio to the right places
Two 1/4″ patch cables go from the mixer’s main outs to a Tascam USB audio interface that I typically use for recording into my Mac. I use Tascam’s app or hardware knobs to tweak the signal levels and OBS recognizes the input as a generic USB soundcard.
The mixer has both monitor and FX Send submixes, so I can isolate my headset mic and just send that back to the PC for PilotEdge. With the other submix, I send ATC to my headset plus my own mic input to simulate sidetone.
Wistia: What are some qualities of an effective social video?
Ian: Everyone’s feed these days is inundated with visual media vying for attention, so the key is to stand out. Especially in a video’s opening, you have to really quickly establish why someone should stop scrolling and pay attention to your video.
As a visual medium, the first step is making sure those visuals are top notch. Everyone has a camera that can make a good-looking image, so your content has to look great from the start. For me, this means that I spend a lot of time in production on B-roll, especially shots that establish where we are and what’s going on.
Autoplay is the norm on social, so we have to use that opening shot to introduce the viewer to our content and quickly give them a reason to engage. Because of autoplay, I avoid having logo bumps or slow moving introductions on social.
While they might offer some branding consistency, social moves too quickly for that, and you have to start providing value to your audience immediately. They’re not going to wait for your fancy logo to finish animating.