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I want to play my bass guitar along to YouTube videos on my Windows 7 PC and hear the combined mix via my Bluetooth headphones. I have two problems. I have tried a tiny USB Bluetooth adapter, it works and connects to my Bose QC35 headphones, and I hear the PC audio fine, but for some reason it only plays the PC Audio to my headphones, and the bass guitar, which is plugged into the PC front MIC socket, still comes out the speakers. I'm pretty PC literate but can't find a fix in the settings. I then tried a BT adapter that is USB powered, but connects to the headphone socket for audio input. That's getting a LOT of background noise from the headphone socket. The next problem is a delay of around a second on the bass, with the bass plugged into the mic socket on the PC. PC is an i7 ATX desktop with 8GB RAM so it's quite pokey, but I'm obviously going about this the wrong way.

Will a cheap USB guitar input box like the Behringer UM2 work for this? Or a separate sound card? I don't want to record, and as long as the sound is clear and not noisy, with no latency, I don't need to tweak it. All I want to do is play along to YouTube videos on my PC and hear both the video audio and the bass guitar through the BT headphones only. Without spending a fortune :). Thanks in advance.

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  • Can't call this an answer, but I just heard about this today - Voicemeeter Banana - (bizarre name;) I haven't tried it as I'm on Mac, but seems to be the right kind of thing & is donation ware, so you can trial it. You may not be able to reduce the bass latency without a more 'pro' i/o solution, but it looks like it may handle the routing.
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 7, 2017 at 7:35
  • I'm afraid that whatever you'll do, latency introduced by BT will be unacceptable. Nov 7, 2017 at 8:59

4 Answers 4

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Wouldn't you need an audio interface? I know when mine is plugged in and turned on all computer sound is routed through it, including any plugged in instruments. You could maybe add a headphone type Bluetooth adapter to one of the "outs". For example my focusrite scarlet has two headphone Jacks that I'm certain could do this with a simple Bluetooth adapter. I may have even tried it. Would also eliminate delay

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Firstly- no approach using bluetooth is viable. Your target latency is less than around 12ms, and bluetooth will introduce 30-40ms (or more) by itself.

The typical way to do this is with an audio interface. You mentioned the Behringer UM2, which may work, but I have heard of driver issues regarding Behringer devices- they used to recommend 3rd party generic drivers for some of their devices because the OEM driver was so bad. I got a Focusrite interface instead, and it does exactly what you need it to do. You can direct monitor to hear your bass, or you can run your bass through a DAW if you want, and you can listen to audio from other programs on your PC while doing either. The Scarlett Solo is the minimal interface to do this.

Another option would be to use a pedal, amp, headphone amp, or bass effects processor that has a headphone output and aux input. For example, the Darkglass Alpha Omega Ultra pedal (expensive!)

One major downside to this approach is that if you ever wish to record, you will still need to buy an audio interface anyway, unless you get a device that also functions as an interface (which is rare).

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  • My go-to is a small mixer, such as a Yamaha MX-6. The guitar and computer audio plug into the mixer inputs, headphones plug into the output. Of course that doesn't account for BT, but as noted in this thread, BT is pretty much a non-starter anyway.
    – Duston
    Jun 6, 2023 at 13:34
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I think the problem is that you are dealing with two different media sources. The streaming from youtube is going to be treated differently from what is driving your mic input, and latency is going to occur even if you switch to a USB input for the guitar.

It is possible there is some mixing software that will combine the streaming from your browser on youtube with the input to your sound card from the mic input, but something that specific may be hard to find.

I think your simplest solution would be to download the audio from youtube locally to your computer and use playback from software such as media player or Audacity to play along with.

Depending on what browser you use to access youtube there are add-ons, plugins or accessory programs that can capture or download the audio from youtube. I can't comment as to the legality or rights issues of using such plug-ins as I haven't looked into it, so do your research first if you want to take those issues into consideration.

Most of the tracks available on youtube would be available for purchase, or even available for free from the respective artists if you want to be sure an be legit about downloading them.

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I have Audacity and besides it being a great, free DAW, I record the audio from free YouTube videos with it. I can then save as MP3 or WAV or other formats. I have no interest in sharing or selling any of this music, as I only use it to jam to or add tracks to for practice. You can record directly into the program while it's playing (I don't use that function however) and I've noticed a latency setting for it.

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  • This doesn't address how to combine bass guitar and PC audio into Bluetooth headphones
    – Edward
    Jun 4, 2023 at 2:14

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