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GAMING

How To Set up a USB Microphone for Cloud Gaming

Cloud technology is taking the gaming world by storm, allowing anyone with a decent internet connection to play the latest games at the highest quality settings on any device. But sheer performance is only half the equation. A huge part of the gaming experience is interacting with other people—and for that, you need to be able to communicate.

Whether you’re playing co-op with a friend, coordinating a raid with your guild or lying your face off in Among Us, you need to be heard clearly. While gamers worldwide love Blue USB mics for their plug ‘n play ease of use and top-notch sound, setting them up with a cloud gaming service involves a few extra steps.

In this article, we’ll show you how to set up your Blue USB mic with a cloud gaming service so you can be heard loud and clear every time. But first, it helps to learn a bit about how cloud gaming works.

GAMING ON CLOUD NINE

One of the coolest innovations of the century so far, cloud gaming is growing more popular by the day. This burgeoning technology allows you to tap into a network of remote servers (the “cloud”) to play the latest games in ultra-high quality without having to buy your own high-end gaming PC or next-gen console. That’s right; all you need is a fast, stable internet connection and you can play virtually any game you want, right from your own device!

Here’s how it works, in a nutshell: 

  • Your computer or mobile device connects to a remote network of high-powered servers designed to run games at ultra-high quality settings.
  • You play with your own keyboard and mouse, controller, VR equipment or mobile device, and your inputs are sent over the internet to the server.
  • The server sends back audio and video feeds from the game with ultra-low latency, so you can play as smoothly as if the game was installed on your own computer.

As the technology has progressed, dozens of cloud gaming services have sprung up, including  Xbox Game Pass, Google Stadia and Playstation Now. Most of these services offer a curated selection of games, but there’s one that works a little differently: Shadow. This relatively new service gives you remote access to a high-end Windows 10 gaming PC (your very own “Shadow”) where you can install your own games and software, giving you the freedom to play anything you want without worrying about taxing your device or taking up hard drive space.

Due to the nature of cloud gaming technology, getting a virtual machine to recognize a USB microphone and pass audio to the server isn’t as simple as plugging it into your rig like you normally would. Fortunately, Shadow provides options for “forwarding” your audio to the server. Read on to learn how.

DOUBLE-CHECK YOUR LOCAL SOUND SETTINGS

Before changing any settings in Shadow, make sure that your USB mic is set up correctly on your own computer. This way, if anything goes wrong, you’ll know the problem isn’t on your end. 

First, open the Blue Sherpa app (or Logitech G Hub if you’re using Yeti X) and make sure your mic’s firmware is up to date. While in Sherpa or G Hub, make sure all of your mic settings (such as input gain, output volume, pickup pattern and audio format) are set correctly. After you’ve done that, check your sound settings in your operating system just to be sure that everything’s nominal. Here's what to do in Windows and macOS:

Windows

  1. Open the Settings menu, go to the Sound page and verify that your Blue USB microphone is selected as the input and output device.
  2. Under Related Settings, click on “Sound Control Panel” and find your mic on the Recording tab.  
  3. Right-click on your microphone and select “Properties,” then go to the Levels tab and verify that the volume slider is all the way up and the “Mute” option is not checked. 
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 in the Playback tab.

Mac

  1. Open the System Preferences menu and click on “Sound.”
  2. Go to the Input tab, select your Blue USB microphone from the list and verify that the input volume level is all the way up.
  3. Go to the “Output” tab, select your mic from the list and verify that the Balance slider is in the middle (not set to left or right).
  4. Verify that the Mute option next to Output Volume is not checked.

Use the Microphone menu in Shadow to enable your Blue USB mic.

METHOD 1: HOW TO ENABLE YOUR MICROPHONE IN SHADOW

Once you’ve confirmed that your microphone is working correctly on your computer, you’ll need to change a couple of settings in Shadow to “forward” the audio to your cloud PC. Here’s how:

  1. Start Shadow, then open the Shadow Quick Menu using Alt + Win + O (Windows) or Cmd + Option + O (macOS).
  2. Navigate to the Microphone tab .
  3. Click the checkbox next to “Enable microphone.”
  4. Find your Blue USB mic in the list of available inputs and check the box next to it.

You can also set up your Blue USB mic in Shadow by enabling USB peripherals.

METHOD 2: HOW TO SET UP YOUR MIC AS A USB PERIPHERAL IN SHADOW

You can also set up Shadow to recognize your microphone as a USB peripheral, similar to a headset or game controller. If you use this method, be sure to disable your microphone in the Microphone tab first. Here’s how to set up your mic as a USB peripheral:

  1. Open the Shadow launcher and click the Settings icon.
  2. Click the checkbox to enable USB peripherals.
  3. Start Shadow, then open the Shadow Quick Menu using Alt + Win + O (Windows) or Cmd + Option + O (macOS).
  4. Go to the USB Peripherals tab, find your Blue USB microphone in the list and check the box next to it to forward your mic audio.

Now that your mic is all set up to work seamlessly with Shadow, you can get back to the fun part: screaming at your friends over the internet!