BEST VIRTUAL SOUND CARD FOR iCW

BEST VIRTUAL SOUND CARD for iCW


Recently while investigating and researching virtual sound cards for iCW,  we discovered that the owner of  claessonedwards.com, has described on his FORUM, a way to install for free,  a virtual audio device - virtual sound card, which he calls - “BREAKAWAY PIPELINES”.
Archive from this FORUM   HERE
HERE IS A PASTE COPY FROM THAT FORUM:

To install the BREAKAWAY PIPELINE(s) (virtual audio cables) BREAKAWAY PIPELINE
Download and install the new Windows 10 compatible version of Breakaway Pipeline:   http://claessonedwards.com/download/BreakawayPipeline_installer_4.15.exe  It will detect the old Pipeline (which is not compatible with Windows 10). Answer [YES] when asked if you want to uninstall the old Pipeline. Allow the uninstaller to reboot the computer.  If the Pipeline installer does not automatically resume after the reboot, launch it manually and following instructions to complete the installation.  Run the Pipeline Control Panel to configure the Pipeline(s).
CHECK OUT THE LATEST UPDATES TO THE BREAKAWAY PIPELINE AT THE LINK BELOW

If you need to send audio to or from another program on the same computer as BreakawayOne, also download our Virtual Audio Device, “Breakaway Pipeline”.

 Download Breakaway Pipeline

 

For System requirements and the Quick Start Guide: Click here

here are some other products from breakaway:
- breakaway has a free audio spectrum analyzer here: BREAKAWAY RTA_Download or here BreakAwayRTA_download
RIGHT CLICK on the header and choose I/O settings to select the sound card to use to monitor the audio spectrum
you do not have to actually use this app, it only has to loaded on the desktop to get rid of the static on the pipelines




The AudioResampler is a BREAKAWAY PRODUCT and it is free for all to use.


( I added extra Pipelines by using the BREAKAWAY PIPELINE CONFIGURATION tool...see pic further down the page )



You may find some advantages to changing some of the pipeline configure settings...
Go to the start menu and RT CLICK on the Breakway config app, 
and select RUN AS ADMIN, and click on YES when
the windows permission screen pops up:

Here are the config settings that seemed to work best for me:
to change, highlight each pipeline and then click on "set" to lock in the new settings after changing them to the values you see here
1. SR from 11025 to 192000 - on each pipeline
2. Format range from 8 to 32 - on each pipeline
3. uncheck Volume control - on each pipeline
4. after all pipeline settings have been changed - then click the Restart button, to "reset" the pipelines...
NOTE: no breakaway product can be running nor can any program be using the pipelines
while attempting to change the values on this config screen



Use Breakaway Pipeline 1 instead of the WS AUDIO DEVICE(or any other virtual sound card you may have installed).  NOTE: The WS AUDIO DEVICE was suggested in previous instructions and video tutorials for both FLdigi and MUMBLE.  The BREAKAWAY PIPELINE is far more advanced and higher in performance than any other virtual sound card we have tested to date.

FLdigi will now send its cw over BREAKAWAY PIPELINE 1 and
MUMBLE will receive FLdidi’s cw audio tones on BREAKAWAY PIPELINE 1


On FLdigi:



Select under Windows DirectSound Devices - Breakaway Pipeline 1





Do the same thing in your MUMBLE INPUT settings screen.


Select BREAKAWAY PIPELINE 1 in MUMBLE INPUT




The latest version of Fldigi has an audio output volume control as shown below.  To make sure that you do not send too high of a volume over BREAKAWAY PIPELINE 1,  to the mumble input, all you have to do is adjust the Tx level attenuator on FLdigi,  until the volume sent from FLdigi to the MUMBLE input is appropriate and will not cause distortion in general or a loud popping sound on every first cw element after a pause in sending,  which allows the MUMBLE AGC circuit to reset to its default level. SEE THIS VIDEO TO WATCH THIS PROCEDURE: HERE

NOTE: -15.0 seems to provide the "ideal" amount of signal to the mumble input
- the most power that can be used without activating the mumble agc circuit


If you would like to hear your FLdigi sidetone, 
SINCE, you are sending the audio from FLdigi to a virtual sound card, 
you will need to add a "listening tap device" to this FLdigi audio and send it to your "real" computer sound card so you can monitor it...

there are several programs that will work very well:
The easiest is SM5VXC's SOUND TAP program...see description below...

Another great program to use, is PEDALBOARD2, which is a free VST HOST and also allows
you to use any VST PLUGIN if you are interested in applying AUDIO DSP to the FLdigi or MUMBLE
output audio... you can see an article and video for setting up pedalboard2 



A very high performance method, but requires more setup, is AudioResampler, using KS(kernel streaming)
NOTE: - not all sound cards will allow KERNEL STREAMING for more than one program's audio to the soundcard
- your sound card may not allow you to hear both the audio from PIPELINE 1 and the MUMBLE OUTPUT
- if you find out this is the case with your sound card, then use multiple AudioResamplers like this:

FIRST:
Change the MUMBLE INPUT TO BREAKAWAY PIPELINE 2
Change the MUMBLE OUTPUT to BREAKAWAY PIPELINE 3

SETUP 3 INSTANCES OF AudioResampler with the settings as you see here as a starting point to try first:
- for the last one here in OUTPUT (Realtek HD Audio output) you will select the name of your computer soundcard - 

then hit the start button on all 3 instances of these AudioResamplers
because of the singularity of using KS(kernel streaming mode) we can only have one
BREAKAWAY PIPELINE streaming audio to the soundcard. You can however
have mulitple applications in KS MODE streaming through any of the pipelines and between pipelines.

so in the example above we are sending audio from FLdigi to pipeline 1...
then from pipeline 1 it goes both to pipeline 2 AND pipeline 3....
pipeline 2 is the INPUT OF MUMBLE, and PIPELINE 3 is sending all the audio it hears
to the computer sound card, so since pipeline 3 can have multiple applications sending
it audio via KS mode....we are able to send the audio both from MUMBLE and FLdigi to this pipeline
and any audio that is on pipeline 3 will now be heard on our soundcard using KS MODE
which allows for very low latency and delay in the audio chain with high performance


although somewhat complicated to set this up, the AudioResampler method does have the best performance
and it will remember all 3 of these settings for all 3 instances the next time they are loaded again
Both the BREAKAWAY PIPELINES and BREAKAWAY AudioResampler use very sophisticated algorithms to match the input and output sample rates for whatever audio programs are connected to the PIPELINES,  providing exceptional audio performance.

NOTE: When in KERNEL STREAMING MODE using this method, your computer soundcard will be locked
to PIPELINE 3. If you have any other browsers open or other audio on the computer
playing, it will be diverted from the soundcard to one of the pipelines....and you will not be able to hear it.
Therefore, remember to turn off any audio players or browsers or any other audio - etc - while iCW IS ON.
When you log out of iCW and turn off the AudioResamplers, your audio will automatically be restored
to its normal settings and your computer audio will be available again as before.

Here is a copy / paste from a blog post about the advantages of AudioResampler having adaptive resampling:
FROM:
"This project will, among other things, help you find the optimum block size for your sound card. 
The optimum block size is achieved when you have the lowest jitter (20% is ok, 50% or above is bad)
 and if you have jitter as low as 20% you should be able to just use 2 buffers with kernel streaming.

It is also a nice, light, multi-instance capable audio repeater with meters 
and my high quality asynchronous adaptive sample rate converter.

Oh, and it's free too.

Enjoy!

///Leif"
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all in all, if this multiple AudioResampler method seems too complicated, then i would recommend

using sm5vxc's SOUND TAP program, HERE

[sm5vxc's SOUND TAP is a very easy to use program and will not disable the audio from the MUMBLE AUDIO OUTPUT]
SOUND TAP also has fair low latency performance, so there will be acceptable delay from the time you TYPE in the cw sending screen of
FLdigi until the time you actually hear it on your soundcard via this method of monitoring your FLdigi sidetone

NOTE: FLdigi has built into its code a 100 millisecond delay. It is not instantaneous like other cw sending program such as CWtype.
this method described will work with CWtype too however, but CWtype's audio quality and sample rate are much lower than FLdigi's .



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