Playing Spotify music via Mumble

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tags: · tech ·

After years of chatting in Mumble while playing games, I wanted a way to provide a soundtrack. I polled my friends and came up with the following criteria:

  • Collaborative playlist

  • Wide selection of music

  • High-quality sound

  • Suppressible

  • Run from my normal workstation (Win8) alongside my normal copy of Mumble

After ruling out several options, the solution was clear: Virtual Audio Cable + Fidelify + Mumble portable mode.

First, you’ll probably need to buy Virtual Audio Cable. It’s worth every penny. I originally thought of just injecting a music stream into my microphone via VAC, but then individual listeners couldn’t selectively mute just the music without muting me too (suppressible). You end up just creating a single line in VAC (with volume control enabled) that Fidelify outputs to and Mumble listens on.

Spotify removed all of their options for specifying which audio device to play sound on. Fidelify is an alternative Spotify client that allows you to specify your audio device. Pick the VAC line you created for your output and you’re good to go. I created an Open Playlist on Spotify and shared it with all of my friends, so they can add music to the playlist to suit their tastes.

Finally, you have to launch Mumble in portable mode. This will ensure that your second copy of Mumble has its own settings and configuration. Create a second Windows account on your PC. Then, run Mumble with the following command:

runas /user:spotify "c:\Program Files (x86)\Mumble\mumble.exe -m -s"

That will launch a second copy of Mumble as the user “spotify” or whatever you named your second account. On Windows 7, I could just launch this from a shortcut. On Windows 8, I actually have to open up a command prompt and type this in every time. Log in to your server with this Spotify Mumble account, and put your Spotify account into a special protected channel. Link that special channel with your main channel in Mumble to bridge the audio. Set the Spotify Mumble program’s Audio Input to your VAC line, and set the Audio Output to something else and set the output volume to zero (so you don’t hear everything twice). Set the input transmission type to continuous and adjust the quality until you have good sound and high quality. Remember that this can soak up bandwidth on your Mumble server, if that is a concern.

Any time I want to globally mute the music, I can either pause Fidelify or simply unlink the channel in Mumble, then relink it when I’m done.

One big issue is skipping songs, which is still a manual process for the Fidelify operator. Fidelify also has been waiting for an update for a couple of years now, and has a few quirks/bugs (like not being very random on random and crashing sometimes).