forcing mono in nVidia shadowplay

Recently I’ve been recording some of my gameplay when playing Overwatch in an effort to see if there’s any obvious places where I’m screwing up, when I noticed something odd when reviewing the recordings. Whilst all the audio for the game as well as the audio from Discord would be coming through both channels in stereo, my voice was only being played back through the right channel. Since I’m not producing videos for public consumption, it really shouldn’t be too much of an issue, but it’s enough to annoy me enough to find out what on earth is going on.

So a quick look into my setup to see what on earth is going on here.

My microphone setup is rather convoluted as compared to the usual USB condenser setups, for the sole reason that I didn’t want to add another USB sound card into my system. I’m currently running a Presonus AudioBox 22VSL, which is a very nice USB 2.0 audio interface which has an MXL 550 condenser mic as my main microphone. In terms of bang for buck at the time, it’s serving me well. The AudioBox software also allows you to change the panning on the fly, which in most software is good enough to get a centred output.

The problem seems to have come up with Shadowplay, nVidia’s inbuilt streaming and recording software. For streaming, Shadowplay is far below par, with OBS knocking it right out of the park in terms of stability and customisation. However for recording game sessions, Shadowplay is actually the better option from my experimentation. The only problem is that Shadowplay uses a direct input from the communication devices to gather the local mic inputs – which the AudioBox software can’t directly utilise.

I did find a solution, and it is a bit of a hack, but it seems to work.

First and foremost, the mic you want to use must be plugged into the no. 1 input jack. I’ll explain why in a moment why this is important, but you can mirror any settings you wish on the hardware and it will be exactly the same.

Second you’ll want to go into your Recording Devices tab of the Sound properties in the Windows Control Panel. Easiest way to do this is to right click on the little speaker in the system tray and select it from there. You’ll get a window like this:

sound

Now there’ll be a couple of devices here, but you’ll want to right click on whatever device is going to be your input device, in my case it’s the AudioBox 22VSL Audio. This will bring up the line properties.

Lastly, select the Advanced tab and you’ll see this screen:

line2

The Default Format section is what’s of interest here, and the setting that’s found here is what needs to be set in order to force applications like Shadowplay to recognise the left channel mic as a single mono input. Here’s the reason why plugging the mic into input 1 was so important. With this option Windows will take only the first input and use it as a mono input. If you have anything on inputs 2 and above, Windows will just ignore them.

Apply all the changes and hey presto. You’ve got a single mono input that isn’t stuck on one channel. While this something that I’ve found that works with the Presonus AudioBox, I can’t guarantee that it will work with other USB ASIO interfaces. I’ll also recommend that you set things back to the previous settings if you want to use multiple inputs at once through ASIO. I haven’t run into issues, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

The ideal solution would to have nVidia implement a Force Mono within the Shadowplay software, but until then, this workaround seems to work. I’ll also point out that I’m running Windows 7, so there may be some differences between this and Windows 8 or Windows 10, so again, your mileage may vary.

–J

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