Windows 7’s listening recording device feature
One thing I love about new Windows releases is the small features that rarely make it to any marketing materials. Vista is just loaded with these but I’ve never gotten around to making any posts about them. Now that 7 (albeit in beta form) is available, there’s lots of new things to discover.
That said, I was perusing the sound control panel earlier today and noticed this gem in the recording properties for my LX-3000 headset:
So when I turn this on, anything I say into the headset is then outputted by the speakers. There’s plenty of possible uses here, and like the description says in the window, you could hook up an audio player to an audio input and use this to have it output to a USB headset or speakers. I know a lot of devices can already do this when you install the device specific software, but it’s nice to have a generic solution available. I’m sure there’s lots of other scenarios where this might be useful too, besides the sheer entertainment value of hearing your voice boom out from your speakers (yes, I tried it – for testing of course).
Behind the scenes, I don’t believe there’s anything new here as the WASAPI (Windows Audio Session API) introduced in Vista supports this sort of messing around with audio endpoints but there was never any UI or non-programatic way to do it.
Another option for this sort of feature that’s been available for a long time is the Audio Repeater utility included with Virtual Audio Cable. I’ve found plenty of weird and wonderful uses for VAC over the years, but that’s another blog entry.