How to play Piano with the help of Banana or Potato in Zoom

Banana and Potato
Two ways to teach Piano lessons remotely…

Yesterday I had a problem. Because of pandemia, my son’s piano lesson had to be organized remotely with Zoom conferncing system, but how to capture good quality piano sounds? We temporarily solved the problem with the teacher using a condencer microphone to capture sound, but we thought that there should be direct way if you use midi-instruments as we use.

So, I googled if somebody has same problem, find some good ideas, sleep over night, and when I wake up in the morning, I know how may I do it. And here is the solution. I found couple of virtual mixer and audio router software, that can do the job. First one is Banana and other one is Potato🙂 There is also basic version of these mixers called Voicemeeter, that may also work. All these three mixers are Donationware. It means if you find them useful and use them regularly in the future, it is advisable to donate some money to the developer. The idea of virtual mixer is to re-route audio-sources inside your computer’s operating system, so that you can pick up your midi sounds from DAW-software and your voice from microphone and direct them to Zoom and your headphones.

First I downloaded Banana to my computer and installed it. Then I have to reboot my computer and configure audio drivers (I choose VoiceMeeter Aux Input). Then I open VoiceMeeter Banana software and configure audio inputs (Hardware input 1 = headphones microphone input), and outputs (A1 hardware out = headphones). Next I start my favorite DAW-software (I use Acid Pro, but it could be any other than can play your midi instrument’s sounds) and configure Audio Device settings (I choose Voicemeter AUX Virtual Asio). Then I open Soft Synth Piano inside my DAW and connect midi-keyboard to my computer using usb-midi cable. Now I’m ready to play, just open zoom and make conference call to music teacher. In Zoom, you have to choose Join with computer audio, then select a Microphone: VoiceMeeter Output, and select a Speaker: VoiceMeeter Input. You can control your audio input’s volume using DAW’s volume control for midi-instrument and VoiceMeeter Banana’s Fader Gain slider for your voice.

This method works for Windows-computers, if you have Mac or Linux, you have to try using open source virtual mixer Jack Audio Connection Kit. There are also some commercial solutions for Mac available, Audio Hijack and Loopback.

Maybe I’ll make video tutorial for that banana-method later…