When I made my airshow debut at Chicago in November 2020, I realized that Discord had affected the quality of the music I had submitted. The problem: unlike good old Teamspeak, Discord won't let normal users input stereo sound, and it mixes everything down to mono instead, destroying the quality for more advanced files. It may not be immediately apparent to everyone, but trust me, the difference between mono and stereo is night and day for people with good headphones. For a sample, plug in your best headphones, speakers, or other electronic audio-spamming device, and try this out:
So, I set out trying to find ways around this problem. The solution for ASE was (as shown above) to just ask everyone to send me their audio files, but that wouldn't have worked if the show had narration. Then for Alpha's WLAS, it was to use a dedicated Discord music bot, since bots aren't subjected to the mono mixdown constraint... only to discover that to volume control the best bots, you have to pay money towards them, as Alpha did.
With those out, what was the next best thing? Take the usual Teamspeak-style approach, and run it through a custom Discord bot account; again, bot accounts are able to stream in stereo, Teamspeak style. I've experimented with this method, and it works (though I'd heavily recommend only trying it if you have two computers for the setup). That's where this tutorial comes in.
- A walkthrough of how to make and invite a basic Discord bot account. If you have a second account that you use to stream music for shows, I'd highly recommend doing it on that one.
- Discord Audio Pipe. Sends your computer's audio inputs to the bot for it to stream.
- Virtual Audio Cable, for giving your computer's sound an input driver. If you already have a Stereo Mix input, you can skip installing this one.
- Once you've got the bot set up using the first link, invite it to the server you want to stream on (i.e. YSTB for Indy, YSAA for Alpha, etc).
- Get the bot's token, copy it into a text file called "token.txt", and put said text file in the same folder as Discord Audio Pipe. This lets DAP route your audio input to the bot.
- With Discord Audio Pipe active, set its mic input to either Stereo Mix or Virtual Audio Cable, depending on whether or not you needed to install VAC.
- Try it out!
- If you're using VAC, you won't be able to use it properly without doing some tweaking. If you're on Windows, head over to the Sound menu in the Control Panel.
- VAC's Cable Input/Output is inactive as long as the computer's normal audio hardware is active. Set the VAC devices to be the defaults, and they'll start working/streaming.
- Optional, for if you want to be able to keep the speakers functioning for yourself: Go to the Recording tab, pick Properties for Cable Output, and set "Listen to this device".