Like the laughter track piped into your favorite sitcom, a soundboard can be a useful complement to your next Skype podcast, webinar or video chat. This auditory aid will help emphasize specific points, cues audience participation and adds a little pizazz to even the most monotonous subject. Simply holding your mic to the speaker that's broadcasting your soundboard, however, often produces nasty audio feedback and may cause degradation in the quality of the sound. Instead, reconfigure your computer's recording device so Skype broadcasts the same audio that's also playing over its speakers.
Incorporating Soundboard Software on a PC: Enabling Stereo Mix
Launch your PC's Sound options. To get there, point to the upper-right corner of the screen and move your mouse downward, select "Settings" when the Charms bar is exposed and then click "Sound."
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Select the "Recording" tab in the Sound window that appears in order to switch to the Recording screen. If you typically use your microphone during Skype communications, it's likely the microphone is currently selected as your default recording device.
Right-click anywhere within the list of recording devices and enable both the "Show Disabled Devices" and "Show Disconnected Devices" options.
Select "Stereo Mix" -- which is disabled by default but should now appear in the list of available devices -- to enable it. Provided your sound card supports it, this option will now share any audio that is played over your speakers -- making it ideal for recording your voice in combination with other audio elements, such as the soundboard.
Incorporating a Separate Soundboard Device or Soundboard Software on a Mac: Using an Auxiliary Cable
Plug one end of an auxiliary cord into your sound source. If, for example, you're using a software-based soundboard on a Mac computer, this simply means plugging the cord into the computer's headphone jack. If, on the other hand, you're using a separate soundboard device altogether, plug the cord into its headphone jack or Audio Out port.
Plug the other end of the auxiliary cable into the computer's microphone input jack.
Switch your computer's recording device from "Microphone" to the "Line In" setting. To do this on a Mac, launch System Preferences and open the "Sound" option. On a PC, expose the Charms bar by pointing your mouse to the top right of the screen and dragging downward, select "Settings" followed by "Sound," and then switch to the "Recording" tab in the window that appears.
If you've right-clicked the recording options in your PC's Sound menu and still don't see the Stereo Mix option, it may be the result of outdated audio drivers. Try launching your machine's Device Manager, expand the "Sound, Video and Game Controllers" category, double-click on the sound device and then update the driver using the Driver tab. If Stereo Mix remains missing even after this update, your sound card may simply not support the feature. In this case, use an auxiliary cable as an alternative method of playing your soundboard audio bytes over Skype.
Take care in adjusting the volume of your soundboard so you don't end up bombarding your audience with excessively loud clapping or deafening music. Select "Skype Test Call" from your contact list and follow its audio prompts to record and then playback, then adjust the incoming volume settings -- using your computer's Sound menu -- as needed.
Information in this article applies to devices running Windows 8.1 or Mac OS X Mavericks. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.