Open Mic Sound Setup Guide - How to Set Up DAW To Work With Zoom On Windows Without OBS And For Free

Yeah despite lots of chat around OBS it really isn’t required in most instances. Certainly shouldn’t be the go to for the first timer IMHO.

In all honesty you can get away without a daw in most instances too… zoom will pick up the AI as an audio input. The disadvantage of that approach is that you can’t mix the channels e.g if you’re using one for guitar and other for mic. Using the DAW ( and I guess OBS) allows you to do this.

Personally I just use a mixer with an AI built in. Easy mixing of multiple inputs, just select it from input list in Zoom. No faffing with OBS, virtual cables, DAWs etc.

Agree with Toby probably worth reviewing alongside our other tech guides for OMs to see what is already there or could be added from this.

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Hi @TheMadman_tobyjenner,

I wrote it because I think all the guides you linked are based on OBS and purchasing a virtual cable from VBAudio.

I found this method simpler for those who do not need OBS features. It took me more than a couple of weeks to figure out OBS and I thought people could use an alternative, simpler method. Happy to remove if it is duplicated by something I missed.

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Like I say it needs comparing with the other guides, not just mine as not all include the use of OBS. If its valid it can be added to the Tech Category. :smile:


You are right, Zoom cannot pick up two channels and OBS is usually offered as the solution but having found OBS is not necessary for two-channel input, I wanted to share.

Probably worth reviewing the non OBS threads here >> Tech Talk - How to setup Zoom / Audio / Video - JustinGuitar Community to see where we can enhance with your suggestion. We already have a few too many probably.

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From what I can see, there is this one for the basic Zoom setup, which neither mentions OBS nor two channels (which is an awesome guide for a first setup):

And this one slowly goes into advanced setups (which is great) but it is not exactly a guide, it starts mentioning OBS for two channels, which is a steep hike in complexity:

The other guides are based on OBS.

I wanted to offer a relatively simple method for two channels, backing tracks and effects.

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Thought I would give your guide a run through and see if it would work with Reaper. I must admit after about a year of even trying to use Reaper via OBS into Zoom for Open Mics I eventually went back to using my AI Mixer and relying on FX (POD Go Gtr and TCH PlayAcoustic for Vox).

So despite following your script I ended up with no sound coming out of Zoom. Maybe I am doing something wrong, so thought I’d share some screen shots.

No 1 Shows Reaper merrily playing drum backing track in project.

No 2 Shows Reaper Audio Device set up Xenyx X1204 as input VB Audio cable as output. The latter automatically switched over from the Xenyx output when I made the Asio changes.

No 3 ASIO4ALL set up as per your guide Just Xenyx In and VB AVC Out

No 4 Zoom Audio Setting as per the guide. Interestingly the Mic monitor does show input being received but I am getting no output from the headphones connected to the AI.

No 5 Verification of Zoom Audio Settings - As you can see the mic levels indicate a signal being received. So as I was not hearing Reaper and the Speaker showed no indication of sound being received I hit the test button and as you can see by the output level, the test worked fine and I got that irritating ditty in my headphones.

All very odd and all appears to be set up as you suggested. So maybe what works for Abelton does not work for Reaper but I would have thought, as you said, should be DAW transferable.

Could not get it working with my Behringer UMC 1820 AI either and that resulted in no Audio being passed to Zoom (as above) despite being set up the same way. Mind you it does not use ASIO4ALL but its own bespoke driver, which may have to another consideration.

Shame really, as we do have a lot of Reaper users on the forum and this might well have been a good opportunity to explore a DAW to Zoom set up.

If anything looks off please shout but I have used up my morning practice time trying to get this to work and will now put it to bed. Back to the mixer for the next OM and keep it simple. But as yours is working I looking forward to some stella FX on your future songs.


Hey Toby,

Unfortunately, I do not have Reaper to try but things that stand out to me from your description:

  • You seem to have VB-Audio Cable B installed as well. Might the sound be going to that at some point?
  • Your Reaper screenshots sound settings “Output range” show “Point 1” and “Point 2” selected separately. In Ableton, that selection is not available at all. Not sure where Reaper would send the sound in this case.
  • Your ASIO4ALL screenshot does not show that VB-Audio Virtual Cable’s OUT as enabled (that part did not fit the screen). You probably have it chosen, but double-checking might be a good idea.
  • The Zoom settings look fine to me. It is odd that Zoom is showing an Input level. If the setup is not working, where is that sound coming from? Does it go up and down in line with your drum track? Could you go back to your DAW, set an external input from your guitar or mic, and see if Zoom’s input level goes up and down as you play the guitar / speak to the microphone?

I indeed use a lot of virtual pedals, amps etc. but my goal with open mics is to demonstrate my (lack of) raw ability so my current thinking is to stick with acoustic but who knows :slight_smile:

I have A & B & the freebie. Never had issues with them co-existing. But I will disable in Win Audio Device mgr to see if that makes a difference.

As I said when I made the changes in ASIO4ALL as per your guide, the Reaper Audio set up was automatically changed to those VBA outputs.

Oops bad cut but yes it was enabled. Input disabled and as you can see the USB Codec Out was disabled.

Yes it corresponds with the drum track. So yes I agree odd.

Will revisit in a day or two, as I might be needing a stable/unchanged audio set up for recording. So am putting everything back to its normal settings.

Maybe another Reaper user can try and replicate and we can see what the outcome is.

If it corresponds to drum track, I think your whole setup works and it is only a Zoom issue that it does not come out of speakers. Did you try connecting to the same zoom call from another device to check if others are hearing it?

Yep took Reaper out of the loop and reconnected the set up I used for the OM and all working normally. That’s with the VB Audio B from OBS and using the same AI.
ie AI → OBS → Zoom. All good.

Hi Serhat & Toby,

Just jumping in here as this topic definitely interests me too :slight_smile:

If I am understanding correctly, Toby’s issue is that what you have stated above Serhat, i.e. what’s being played (with effects added via Reaper) and the Reaper drum track are not being heard back by Toby, despite it being sent to Zoom (hence Zoom showing an input level but Toby not hearing it).

Do I have that right, Toby?

What Zoom’s getting could be quickly checked by using the test mic option to record what’s being input (although picking you’ve probably already done that :slight_smile: )

If so, then that corresponds with my question when I read through your guide, Serhat. Do you hear what is being processed and played within Ableton? If I am following the chain correctly it appears to be as follows:

Input chain
Guitar/mic → USB Audio Interface (AI)
AI → Ableton (monitoring on)
Ableton mixes guitar+effects/mic+effects/backing track → VB-Audio virtual cable
Virtual cable → Zoom mic input
Zoom mic input → out to other Zoom attendees

Output chain
Zoom speaker out → AI
AI → headphones/speakers

However, there doesn’t appear to be a step in the chain that sends what is coming from Ableton back to the AI as Zoom’s speaker output doesn’t include what it receives as an input (unless you are testing the mic and it’s delayed then anyway).

So, perhaps Ableton sends audio to two separate outs? i.e back to the AI and the Virtual cable simultaneously?

Or do you have the Voicemeeter Banana virtual mixer included in the chain (but not noted), that’s taking the virtual cable and outputting that to both Zoom and the AI?

I hope this makes sense and sincere apologies if I have missed something obvious here! (as most likely I have!! :laughing:)

Yes, I made sure by torturing my wife in the form of joining the meeting and confirming she can hear the guitar and me without relative delay in either.

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Sorry I did not understand this.

No, I do not know what Voicemeter banana is and no mixers are involved.

I think Ableton sends the audio as Mono and I’m redirecting this to Zoom with the help of ASIO output control. So Ableton is the mixer in this setup.

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:joy: The things our better halves have to put up with! :wink:

Thanks for clarifying a couple of points and sorry for not being clearer.

So, what I was getting at is are you (via your speakers/headphones) hearing back the effects and drums/backing track which are being processed in Ableton?

This I guess is especially important if you’re using a backing track, but also nice to hear how the guitar sounds with the effects rather than just the dry signal/acoustic strumming.

I appreciate those on Zoom should be hearing what your sending, I just wondered if you’re hearing the same? :slight_smile:

Maybe not critical if playing an acoustic and not using a backing track though perhaps :slight_smile:

PS thanks for putting this together, it is a super helpful resource and will definitely help with refining a clear, easy path for setting this sort of thing up! :star_struck:

Ah I get what you are saying now. How do I monitor my backing track?

Haven’t figured or even thought of that. There goes my next challenge.

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Ah cool! Okay, that’s perhaps where Voicemeeter app might come in? I have set this up before and had it working. If you’re interested, I could send a couple of screen shots once I’m home tonight.

In saying that, there could be an easier way without adding another piece of software into the mix? Perhaps someone else will chip in with some handy tips!

Thanks again for all your work on this! :smiley::+1:

If you manage to figure it out Serhat that would be quite handy for me actually! As at the moment I struggle with Reaper->OBS->Zoom, for some reason during my last performance audio quality was awful! However I am still yet to test @jkahn advice about changing power mode on my laptop, which btw JK while plugged in turns out I was on battery saving mode all the time! Very bizarre, wonder if that will solve my issue?


@adi_mrok I almost got it to work! For some reason, Zoom is not picking up midi tracks from Ableton but it is picking up everything else while I can monitor myself from the speakers. I’ll have to look at midi later.

I’ll update the guidelines later when I’m confident with everything but for now, here is how:

On Asio, choose both the USB out (for monitoring) and the virtual cable (to send to zoom) as outputs:

Go to Ableton Audio settings. It will now show additional output options, choose 3/4 as well:

With this setup, 1/2 becomes the USB (Audio Interface) out, and 3/4 becomes the virtual cable.

Back to Ableton’s Session View, add a new Audio track. Set its Audio From to Master, Audio To to 3/4, Monitor to In:


This track will take the sound from the master track and will send a copy of it to Virtual Cable, which Zoom will be listening to.

I tried adding a backing track as an audio file, added some VST effects to the guitar, and Zoom records all of it while I am able to listen to myself and the backing track through the speakers.

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