Whatever you want to sound like, on a Mac

If you’ve got the Second Life Voice Beta, you’ll have been freaked out like I have. It’s all a bit weird. People used to stand around saying talking shit before, but now that they have voices, it’s doubly weird. Triply weird. Check it out.

Anyway, voice disguise will be important if you want to even try to maintain some distance between you and your avatar. And you can do it for free with the software that came with your Mac, and the free software Soundflower. It’s a bit tricky with the current beta, though, as SL gives you no choices of sound inputs — it just uses the system defaults.

The process, if you want to test it, is to set Garageband to take your microphone as input, and to use SoundFlower (2ch) as output. In Garageband, make a new vocal track and turn monitoring on. Set up your voice the way you want with the vocal transformer. Male to Female, Female to Male, Monsters, Echo, Reverb, whatever.

You then go to System Preferences and set Soundflower (2ch) as the default input, and your headphones as output. Launch SL. It should get everything from the System defaults and should work well. You will hear yourself all the time, but you’re only public when you’re holding the push-to-talk key and the speaker symbol above your head is flashing. Enjoy!

7 thoughts on “Whatever you want to sound like, on a Mac”

  1. Intriguing… I’ve managed to get this to work with Skype, but not yet with SL, I guess SL eats too many resources… or I have to figure out something still.

    But thanks for the tip, Ali, I almost never use GarageBand and didn’t have a clue about how the vocal tracks there could be mixed… so it was at least worth learning how that piece of software works 🙂

  2. Heh. Interestingly enough I think this information is from me, unless your speaking of some other mac user on voice beta that was doing voice morphing.

    Oh, and nice blog :).

  3. Gwyneth,

    Your mac must really be terribly underpowered.

    I have a Mac as well as other machines and, for me, it works just fine.

    By the way, your predictions about the future of SL after voice are complete bunk… but, you know, keep dreaming. 🙂

    Anony Mouse
    “Catch Me If You Can.”

  4. You can do this without all of the overhead of Garageband. Combine the power of Audio Hijack with Soundflower, and and apply all your nifty VST and AU effects right in Audio Hijack.

  5. This is great. I made it work with Garage Band. But was wondering about Audio Hijack. Can you give more details Phusion? Please. I used the vocal transformer in GB and use Soundflower… Great but if I can do it without the overhead well much better…

  6. anony, you’re right: I did have in 2007 a way-too-underpowered Mac. The trick was to try it out on an iMac and upgrade its RAM to 2.5 GBytes (instead of merely 1 GB) 🙂 With that, all that Ali described on his post worked flawlessly, and it’s cool to be able to add a soundtrack every time you speak in SL :))

  7. Hello experts…i have set up garageband and soundflower as described. I am unable to hear voice in the headphones. Any thoughts?

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