How do I connect the MixAmp to my PC?
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Simple USB Method:
The ASTRO Gaming USB MixAmp can simply be connected with the supplied USB cable, enabling
both game audio and voice communication with a single connection. Although this is a simple and easy way to connect,
by combining both of these audio streams together on one cable, the MixAmp™ will not be able to function as a “Mixer”.
That is, the BALANCE control will not function.
Using the MixAmp to its Full Potential: Connecting Two Audio Sources
By connecting game audio and voice communication separately (using the USB cable for power/voice, and a separate cable for main/game audio), the MixAmp™ becomes an audio hub that enables full control over voice-to-game balance in hardware, even when you are playing a game. Most voice over IP (VoIP) programs have a provision to use a USB device as their voice input/output option – if you have such an option, select the ASTRO Gaming USB MixAmp as your audio device.
Step 1 - Connect the Main (Game) Audio
As it does for console games, the MixAmp™ will give any connected PC the benefits of Dolby Surround and high-quality
amplification without using processor cycles or internal hardware. There are many different ways to connect your
new MixAmp™ -- we’ll list the connections you can use (in the preferred order of quality).
A) Coaxial Digital - (cable not included)
Connecting to the MixAmp’s™ rear COAX input: this type of connector is very durable and long runs are reasonably inexpensive. Many PC motherboards and sound cards come standard with a coaxial digital output, and we recommend using your MixAmp™ with this type of input. You may need to adjust your PC’s Audio Properties, and enable Digital I/O (usually a check box). Consult your motherboard user’s manual for further information.
B) ToSlink Optical Digital - (cable not included)
Connecting to the MixAmp’s™ rear OPTICAL input: Many PC motherboards and sound cards come standard with an optical (Toslink) digital output. You may need to adjust your PC’s Audio Properties, and enable Digital output (with XP, this is usually
a check box). Consult your motherboard or soundcard user manual for further information.
C) RCA Analog
Connecting to the MixAmp’s™ rear LEFT/RIGHT inputs: use this connection if you don’t have an available digital connection. The MixAmp™ supports Dolby Pro Logic II, giving you full surround sound even with an analog connection. You can use the optional 3.5mm-to-RCA cable to connect your MixAmp™ to the AUDIO OUT on your PC.
Important: If you connect to an analog 2-channel output on your PC motherboard or soundcard, you will need to adjust the PC’s volume control in addition to the MixAmp’s™ MASTER VOLUME control. Start out with the PC’s volume control at least halfway up.
You may get an unacceptable amount of hum and background noise if your PC is at or near 100% volume, depending on the quality of your PC’s audio. Lowering the PC’s volume slider slightly and raising the MixAmp’s main VOLUME level generally works the best. Try several different settings to find the best sound quality.
Step 2 - Connect the Microphone
Setting up the MixAmp™ as a USB Input/Output Device The second step in connecting your new MixAmp™ is to attach
the included USB cable to an available USB port on your PC. This will provide continuous power, and also act as a conduit
for your voice communications channel. Upon connection, your computer will indicate that the ‘ASTRO Gaming USB
MixAmp’ has been found, installed and ready for use. The MixAmp™ is driverless and installation is automatic.
Using Windows XP
After installation, right click on the Volume icon in your system tray and open the ‘Adjust Audio Properties’ box on your
desktop. Navigate to the Voice tab, and confirm that both Voice Playback and Voice Recording are set to the ‘ASTRO
Gaming USB MixAmp’. If not, change this using the drop down menu on each of these categories.
Next, click on the Playback tab, and confirm that your ‘Default Device’ is either set to your soundcard or onboard audio
solution for Sound Playback. This will enable the MixAmp to be the default device for voice in/out and your soundcard for
game audio and give you full hardware mixing control via the BALANCE dial.
Important: Alternatively, you may set the Sound Playback to the ASTRO Gaming USB MixAmp if you DON’T want to
connect an extra audio cable and DON’T want to use the mixing feature of the MixAmp™. A single USB cable is all you’ll need for this type of configuration. Simply mix game and voice volumes using the software for your audio and voice programs.
Using Windows Vista
Upon installation, right-click on the Volume icon in your system tray and open the Audio Devices sub-menu.
Under the Playback Tab, set your soundcard or onboard audio solution (NOT the MixAmp™, in other words) as the default
playback device by right-clicking on the icon and selecting ‘Use this as my Default Playback Device’ in the pop-up menu.
If there is a green checkmark next to the currently selected default device, you will not be able to select it, since it is
Important: Windows Vista will set the ASTRO Gaming USB MixAmp as the default playback device when the MixAmp™ is first installed, which will combine voice and game sound at your PC and negate the MixAmp’s hardware mixing capabilities (and the function of the BALANCE control). Follow the above instructions to reset your default playback device to a soundcard or onboard audio output.
Alternatively, you may leave the default playback device set to the ASTRO Gaming USB MixAmp if you DON’T want to connect an extra audio cable and DON’T want to use the mixing feature of the MixAmp™. A single USB cable is all you’ll need for this type of configuration. Simply mix game and voice volumes using the levels in the software for your audio and voice programs.
Next, click on the Recording Tab and confirm that the ASTRO Gaming USB MixAmp is set as the default device (should
display a green check mark) -- this should be automatic upon installation. If not, right click on the microphone icon that is
associated with the ASTRO Gaming USB MixAmp and select ‘Set as Default Device’ in the pop-up menu. You can also set
your microphone recording level through this menu. Be sure to click ‘Apply’ to change the settings before you exit.
Connecting with the 3.5mm cable
As an alternative to the preferred USB connection, on the rear of the MixAmp™ you’ll find a PC MIC output, which can be
used to pass your microphone output signal to your computer via an analog connection. If you have USB voice recording
enabled, you don’t need to use this port.
To use this connection, plug the 3.5mm-to-3.5mm cable from this output to your PC’s LINE-IN jack. This is usually indicated
with a line-in (arrow) icon, or a blue 3.5mm jack.
(Really) Important: Set the voice input in your audio or VoIP software to recognize the LINE-IN port as your incoming voice signal. The ASTRO MixAmp™ outputs a full strength “line level” signal, and if it connected to the microphone input, your computer will amplify the signal much more than necessary, causing static and interference. If your computer doesn’t have a “Line In” connection, use the Microphone port, and set the incoming voice level to a low setting and be certain that ‘+20dB Boost’ is set to OFF (unchecked).
When using Voice Over IP (VoIP) software in this configuration, you will not be able to adjust the voice/game
balance using the BALANCE dial. Voice communication software and game sounds are mixed together at your PC
-- make any adjustments within your software. The BALANCE dial mixes game sound with voice communication coming into either the USB port or the Daisy-chain connector only.
(Also sort of) Important: If you are using a non-ASTRO headset, be sure to use the optional Dual Jack-to-3.5mm
4-pole Adapter to integrate the microphone function of your headset with the MixAmp™. Otherwise, your headset will function normally, but without the microphone feature.
Step 3 - Connect an External Audio Source
With the MixAmp™, you can mix an additional external audio source (like an mp3 player) into your games. Use the 3.5mmto-
3.5mm cables to go from the headphone output of your player to the MP3 input on the back of the MixAmp™. This
enables you to instantly inject your own soundtrack - and keeps your mp3 player within arm’s reach for easy adjustment.
Be creative! The mp3 input isn’t just for music players -- you can connect any device that would normally output to a
standard set of headphones by using this port. Some of our customers have attached baby monitors, used the MixAmp™
as a portable electric guitar amplifier, and connected to timer devices in tournament settings. Imagination is your only
Important: This MP3 input is NOT connected to the balance function on the MixAmp™. You’ll need to use the volume
control on the player itself in order to find the right balance of music to game sound. Also, if you are connected to other MixAmps™ in Daisy-chain configuration, don’t worry about bothering your teammates with your music - they won’t hear it.