Master/Minion echo playing through speakers with Roll20


#1

Hi folks. I’m looking for some advice on how to get the most out of Syrinscape in my circumstances.

I’ve been using Syrinscape for some time during games where my group has all been in the same room, and it’s really added a lot of atmosphere to our games. However, it’s gradually become harder for the group to meet up, mostly due to people having kids, and so we’ve switched pretty much entirely to online play. We’ve been using Roll20, in part because it’s free (I haven’t seen any need to upgrade to a paid plan yet) but mostly because it has integrated video chat; so we can still see and chat with each other, and I think that’s really valuable to maintain the social and roleplay aspect of the game.

We’re 3 couples in 3 different households, so I (as GM) and my wife play on 2 laptops at the same table, while the other 2 couples play via 1 laptop each. We have 1 laptop in each location with the speakers and microphone enabled, so everyone can see and hear each other.

In order to regain the audible atmosphere from Syrinscape I’ve subscribed and gotten access to the Master/Minion features, so I can play audio on each laptop remotely. However, this creates a very noticeable echo as the Syrinscape sounds are audible through the integrated video chat in Roll20, which creates a lot of noise and really spoils the atmosphere we wanted to create with Syrinscape in the first place.

I wonder if anybody has experienced anything similar and has suggestions? The most obvious thing I can think of would be to get everyone using separate laptops and headsets but that is a lot of additional setup (and potentially cost) for each player, so I’d like to avoid it.

I’m not that attached to Roll20 but I really like the video chat. I’d be happy to use Fantasy Grounds (or something else?) if there’s a good video chat alternative but I don’t see any reason to expect that to solve the problem. I don’t mind paying a reasonable amount of money to make it work. I’m already paying the SuperSyrin subscription cost, which is fine but, so far, not really getting a lot out of it.

I’d be grateful for any advice.

Thanks.

Harry


#2

Hi @harry_wilkinson,

OK, so I’m an acknowledged Fantasy Grounds Fanboi - I wrote the FG Extension (Plug-In) that allows Syrinscape to be integrated into and controlled by FG (the DOE:Sound Extsnion). I’m also very active on the FG Forums and I also post here reasonably often as well (look me up on both sites if you’re interested).

So, I GM two campaigns with FG and Syrinscape. We use Teamspeak as our VoIP App and the “plain ol’” Syrinscape (not the Master/Minion). We never have any issue with echo.

Do we use video? No, we really don’t miss it. We were using Skype Video in a previous campaign with our set up but because of (existing at the time) bandwidth issues - gotta love ADSL/Dial-Up - we stopped because it became more distracting than it was worth. Now we don’t even consider the need for video - it really doesn’t add anything to the RPG experience and some of the Players say that they prefer not to have video because it allows them to concentrat more on their gaming - and the social aspect is still the same as it always was.

So, my advice: FG is a way better product for on-line Tabletop Gaming - its more mature, its got a better Customer Focus, a better Community, and better features - and with the DOE:Sound automating Syrinscape’s sounds into games is a snap.

Come on over to the FG Forums to talk to others how they use Syrinscape and FG, and gert ahold of @Gwydion or @lordentrails or @rob2ee and ask them - or check out the various Twitch and YouTube vids on FG with Syrinscape.

Basically, come and ask some questions, then make up your own mind - you’ll be glad you did. :smile:

Cheers


#3

I’m happy to chat with you to see if we can figure something out. Like Dulux-Oz, I’m a Fantasy Grounds guy but I have helped others with sound on Roll20. Yours is an interesting issue, though.

I am assuming you are using just the on board speaker and microphone without any microphone attached? I’ve never tried this without a microphone attached, but can you try to enable push to talk so that each laptop is only sending sound to Roll20 when they are speaking? Might eliminate at least some of the issue.

Roll20 doesn’t have “true” support for push to talk, but you can simulate it. See below for an entry from their wiki. Let me know if you want to chat sometime.

Push to Talk
There is an advanced keyboard shortcut to Mute yourself via the Tilde Key(~). Utilizing this shortcut key, you’re able to simulate semi Push-To-Talk functionality. The big difference between conventional Push To Talk functionality in other platforms and Roll20 is you do not want to press and hold the ~ key. Instead, it’s a single press to toggle your mute button on and off.

To enable this, you must first check the Use advanced keyboard shortcuts checkbox under the My Settings tab of the Sidebar. Once enabled, the Tilde Key(~), will toggle your microphone mute on and off. You can use the pink indicator on your avatar to know when mute is currently toggled on. It’s important to note that Push To Talk functionality only works while the browser tab currently running the Roll20 game is focused on your device (meaning that you aren’t currently browsing on another browser tab or actively interacting with a completely different device application).


#4

Thanks guys for helping out here. Knew you two would have the best answers :grin:


#5

@Dulux_Oz and @lordgwydione, thanks for these responses, it’s much appreciated.

On reflection, maybe the video aspect isn’t so critical. It is actually somewhat awkward since we’re all using built-in cameras and microphones so the people sharing a laptop have it sitting far enough away that both can be on-camera, but then that makes their voices quite quiet; and having video on cramps people’s style a bit when they’d rather be lounging in pyjamas :slight_smile:

After chatting with the group a little, if we drop the video chat then I do like the idea of trying out Fantasy Grounds. In particular I like the idea of having so much premade content available, to cut down on prep (specifically Rise of the Runelords). I looked at FG pretty closely some months back but ended up using Roll20 as a starting point, for the low adoption cost and video chat. I’ve seen the DOE extensions before and read good reviews - and watched some of your YouTube videos @Dulux_Oz to get an idea of how it all works. I even perused the code to see how extensions work, although my Lua expertise is pretty meagre. So thanks doubly - or triply - for the advice here, the extensions and the videos.

I think you’re right, @lordgwydione, that push-to-talk would probably do a lot to alleviate the issue. As mentioned, though, in order to get 2 people on camera the laptop tends to be far enough away that I suspect it would be annoying to have to push buttons to talk. Maybe that could be a useful option if we still have issues after trying the FG + DOE sound idea, though. The offer to chat is very kind, thank you; I think we’ve talked ourselves into trying FG for now, so I think it makes sense to do that first and see if the issue persists.

I’m tempted to ask for further advice on what audio chat software to use - last time I used Teamspeak was well over 10 years ago but I remember it suffered from high latency compared with Ventrilo. This is the Syrinscape forum, though, so perhaps I should take questions like that over to the FG forum as suggested.

Thanks again!

Harry


#6

No, @benjamin OK with us talking FG, VoIP Apps and Syrinscape - it all helps in using Syrinscape, so he’s said in the past he doesn’t have an issue with it - of course, if you’ve changed your mind @benjamin please let us know. :slight_smile:

I use Teamspeak, for two main reasons:

  1. It allows me to have two “users” on our game channel; one for me and the other for Syrinscape (& other sounds). This allows the others to individually adjust the volume of my both my voice and of the Sounds to their particular liking.
  2. I can’t get Discord to work properly - it drops out, the quality isn’t as clear (to my ear) that I get via Teamspeak, and its genertallay been a PITA - for me. I know others use it without issue, so its probably something I’m doing, but when it took me 5 minutes to set up Teamspeak without any hassels and when I’m still having issues with Discord then I went Teamspeak. My Players tell me they like it as well.

Hope that helps. Any other questions, just ask (here or over on the FG Forums)

Cheers


#7

Nope we are more than happy for you to talk Syrinscape and FG integration here. This kind of stuff helps everybody trying to set up their virtual games. Plus @Dulux_Oz’s DOE has really helped to make integrating Syrinscape and FG a seamless experience :slight_smile:

Fun fact: We should have a demo video coming out soon, showing off all of the cool aspects of Syrinscape Online with Ben and myself playing a game with Doug from FG and a few other great folks


#8

Absolutely keep asking here! I’ve tried Teamspeak and Discord for VOIP and for sending sounds. I use all kinds of sounds with Syrinscape as my staple. I have other sounds I use too that I tend to set up in a DAW (Ableton Live Lite). I also stream so it gets more complicated. My weapons of choice are Voicemeeter Potato (Virtual Sound Mixer) , Discord for player voices and for a text channel for pre-game stuff like character creation, etc. and I use Cleanfeed to send the sound effects (like Syrinscape) to the players. Like Dulux-Oz, I tried Discord as a VOIP and for sound effects but was never happy with the quality. I liked teampspeak, but migrated to discord as I just like the interface a whole lot better.

Lots of choices! I have youtube videos on setting up cleanfeed if you’re ever interested…


#9

Well we’ve just finished our first online session without using video chat, and it was pretty good! I ran the regular Syrinscape player (not Master/Minion) locally and piped the output to VoiceMeeter Banana as a virtual input, combining it with the regular microphone input there as VoiceMeeter’s output. I tried using that as an audio input in Google Hangouts (which we’re all familiar with) but the audio quality was very poor and didn’t do Syrinscape’s fine musical works justice at all, so I ran a local Teamspeak server and we all connected to that, with much better results.

We still used Roll20 this time because we’re all familiar(ish) with it and by avoiding the built-in Roll20 chat we were able to solve the bulk of the problem. It was still a little bit echo-ey in Teamspeak unless everyone enabled the ‘echo cancellation’ feature (obvious really!), and I think the root of the issue is/was that we had people using microphones and speakers (not headsets) with relatively unsophisticated voice chat software that doesn’t deal well with feedback from the speakers to the mic on the same machine. If we’d had everyone in separate rooms, using separate machines and headsets then I bet this would not be an issue at all - and I bet that’s a pretty common situation for many people in online play. So it seems to me that routing all the audio through a single app was pretty vital to getting this to work well so that the echo cancellation could be sensibly applied to the entire audio stream. Maybe Syrinscape will integrate chat features and echo cancellation into the Master/Minion app at some point? You folks seem to have some expertise in handling multi-channel audio :slight_smile: I’d prefer a simpler setup but this is fine for now.

One notable thing we didn’t do is use Fantasy Grounds this time. I would still like to switch to FG so that I can use the off-the-shelf RotRL module and save myself a lot of prep time, but it’s a pretty steep learning curve. It seems like a lot of experienced players use FG and recommend it so it seems like it must be perfectly fine once you get used to it. Now that we have the audio working pretty well I will try to learn a bit more about using FG for next time; since it’s on seasonal sale now seems like a good time to buy a license.

Thanks again for the advice.

Harry


#10

Glad you got things working better @harry_wilkinson :smile:

For the record, I’ve got some FG Tutorial Vids up on YouTube (seach for Dulux-Oz, you’ll find them) and if you go looking there are other Tutorial series on YouTube as well. Damn’s are good, as are Xorn’s, and people say they really like mine, so take your choice.

You can also drop into the FG College Discord group - those guys will take you through using FG hand-in-hand, so if you prefer a “live” learning experience to a recorded one…

@lordgwydione: I just had a major “personal moment” (:wink: :wink: ) when I saw VoiceMeter Potato (as you know I use Banana) - I wasn’t aware it was avaliable, so thanks. :innocent:


#11

I’ll definitely be making further use of the tutorial videos, thanks!

I wasn’t sure which VoiceMeeter product to use, but went for Banana since it seemed to be the newest version that I could expect to be stable. It looks very feature-rich if you want to do a lot of audio mixing, but I’d think the use case here is much simpler. What makes the new version ‘Potato’ appealing?


#12

All the extra mixing channels (you know, “more is better”, “bigger is better” “boys with their toys)” :yum:


#13

Yes. It’s helpful to have more channels particularly when streaming.