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Schizo Desktop IV: Audio

I have an of­­fice. It's like a home of­­fice but it's in an­oth­er place. It's just mine, so I get the peace and qui­et of a home of­­fice but al­­so get to go out­­­side to get there. It's a good set­up.

BUT I have two com­put­ers there. Well, ac­­tu­al­­ly I have like 10, but I in­­ter­act with two. One is my per­­son­al desk­­top com­put­er, the oth­­er is my work lap­­top. and I want to use the same pe­­riph­er­als in the same way with both of them. That's why I have the world's most com­­pli­­cat­ed schizo desk­­top set­up.

This se­ries of posts will doc­u­­ment it, the why and how of it, and the var­i­ous things I've learned along the way, along with mak­ing you want to buy weird chi­­nese gad­get­s.

Today: Audio

As in the rest of this se­ries, some­thing that usu­al­ly is very sim­ple be­comes a bit com­pli­cat­ed be­cause I want to use the same pe­riph­er­als with two com­put­er­s.

In the case of au­dio it's even worse be­cause I want to use dif­fer­ent de­vices de­pend­ing on con­tex­t.

The Requirements

  • I want to list­ed to both com­put­ers with­out head­set­s, be­cause I don't like wear­ing head­sets for long.
  • I want to be able to lis­ten us­ing head­sets if I want to, to take ad­van­tage of noise can­celling and to be qui­eter.
  • I have a good mi­cro­phone, I want to use. I don't want to use the bad ones, like my we­b­cam's, or my note­book's.

The Hardware

  • Speak­er: a lar­gish speak­er with a 3.5mm jack, hang­ing from the bot­tom of my desk, in­vis­i­ble.
  • Mi­cro­phone: a XLR con­denser mi­cro­phone (means it needs 48v phan­tom pow­er!)
  • Head­set: Blue­dio Hur­ri­cane H2 (with ca­ble!)

The head­set and mi­cro­phone switch com­put­ers as de­scribed in a pre­vi­ous post BUT how does a XLR mi­cro­phone con­nect to a com­put­er?

You need an au­dio in­ter­face. I have a su­per cheap chi­nese one:

The v8 live sound card

This plugs to a com­put­er via USB and works as a sound card, with in­put and out­put.

BUT it's not just a sound card, it's a mix­er. It has con­nec­tors for:

  • 2 Con­denser mi­cro­phones (yes, with phan­tom pow­er)
  • 2 "Ac­com­pa­ny" in­put­s, which are stereo line in­puts
  • Blue­tooth in­put
  • Mon­i­tor: this is a stereo out­put that is a mix of all in­put­s, so you can lis­ten to ev­ery­thing that's go­ing on.

It has vol­ume con­trols for "ac­com­pa­ny" / "mic" / "mon­i­tor" and a cou­ple nice LED feed­back light­s.

It al­so has a bunch of ef­fect­s, like re­ver­b, echo, sil­ly sound­s, etc. which I don't use.

That au­dio in­ter­face is the hub of my au­dio set­up. Usu­al­ly it's con­nect­ed to my work com­put­er with the mi­cro­phone, but I can switch it over to my per­son­al PC.

My per­son­al PC is con­nect­ed to it via BT, and the mon­i­tor out­put is con­nect­ed to the speak­er.

The head­set is a sep­a­rate usb de­vice for per­son­al pref­er­ence.

The Software

Not much need to do any­thing spe­cial with two ex­cep­tion­s:

  1. Dis­able all the au­dio in­ter­faces I don't want to ev­er use.
    • HD­­MI au­­dio out­­puts
    • We­b­­cam's mi­cro­­phone
    • Head­­set's mi­cro­­phone
  2. Use rofi-­sound-pick­er to choose where the sound goes. I use it most­ly to switch from speak­er to head­phones.

Rofi Sound Picker

The Routing

In work mod­e:

  • Both PCs sound via the au­dio in­ter­face and the speak­er con­nect­ed to its mon­i­tor out­put:
    • Per­­son­al PC via BT
    • Work PC via USB
  • Mi­cro­phone is con­nect­ed to the au­dio in­ter­face and is used by the work PC (and se­lect­ed in team­s/­zoom/etc as in­put)
  • Head­set is con­nect­ed to the work PC and I can change to it us­ing the rofi-­sound-pick­er

In Per­son­al mod­e:

The same as work mod­e, un­less I want to record some­thing, in which case I switch all the au­dio to the per­son­al PC and just pick and choose.


This is worth it even if all I got was both PCs com­ing out of the speak­er. The rest is good and a bonus.

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