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Virtual Audio Streaming adds a virtual sound card to your system

This "virtual sound card's" free trial failed to impress.

ShiningMorning's Virtual Audio Streaming software creates a virtual sound card in your Windows system. It acts as a wrapper on your existing sound card, enhancing its capabilities and making it easy to record and stream whatever audio your system is playing, no matter what the source: microphone, media player, or external device. It also improves sound recording in Windows, even automatically fixing the "no Stereo Mix" problem in Windows 7 and Vista. It's free to try for 30 days, but the trial version places an audio "watermark" on the output.

Virtual Audio Streaming's main window isn't the program's main interface; the System Tray icon's menu accesses all the features most users need most of the time. It's just as well since the main window isn't particularly intuitive or attractive; for example, you have to scroll the Recording box up or down a few millimeters to view it all, even though the interface itself resizes by dragging. Nevertheless, it explained how to set Virtual Audio Streaming as our default device for playback and recording on the Windows Sound properties dialog. We're well familiar with this, yet we couldn't get Virtual Audio Streaming to play audio over our system's speakers, headphones, or any audio output. Our system sound played normally when we tested it in the Sound properties, yet we couldn't get Virtual Audio Streaming to play audio through it. It's easy enough to switch between playback and recording devices from the program's tray menu, but the inability to hear what you're recording is a major setback. Clicking Help took us to the program's Web site and some FAQs, none of which addressed the issue. All our drivers and settings were up to date, leaving us at a loss to explain the silence.

The trial version's annoying "watermark" consists of a digitally distorted female voice interspersed with bursts of intense noise. And the fact is, Virtual Audio Streaming doesn't do anything you can't do with freeware, such as Webcast system audio instead of just your microphone input, or fixing the "no Stereo Mix" issue. Many tools offer superior recording capabilities, too. Keep listening!

Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Virtual Audio Streaming 4.0.

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