Gear checklist for your pre-built Virtual Studio device
1. Pre-built Virtual Studio device
This guide assumes you're using a pre-built Virtual Studio device, with the included audio interface. If you're not sure whether you'd like to buy a pre-built device or build your own, return to Step 0: What is the JackTrip Virtual Studio?
In addition to the Virtual Studio device itself, you'll need a few basic components:
2. Power Supply
The Virtual Studio needs power. This part is important to get right, in order for the device to perform well and to avoid damaging any of the internal circuitry. You can't use your phone charger!
You need a USB-C power supply appropriate for your region, which provides 3 amps of current. Some Options:
- Raspberry Pi's official 4B power supply ($8 - PiShop)
- CanaKit's power supply is another good option ($9.99 - Amazon)
- For an extra $1, you can buy CanaKit's power supply with switch ($10.99 - Amazon)
3. Ethernet cable
The Virtual Studio doesn't work over WiFi. Unfortunately, wifi is just too slow. For this reason, the device doesn't even come with a wifi adapter; you'll need an Ethernet cable instead.
You need a Cat5E or better Ethernet cable. Here are a few options known to work well:
- 5ft Cat6 Ethernet Cable ($2.49 - Sweetwater)
- 10ft Cat6 Ethernet Cable ($6.67 - Amazon)
- Cable Matters 10ft Cat6 10-pack ($28.99 - Amazon)
- If you need multiple Ethernet cables
- Cat 6 Ethernet Cable 75 ft Flat with Clips ($21.99 - Amazon)
- If you need a LONG Ethernet cable to reach your router
- Monoprice sells quality Ethernet cables with a lifetime guarantee in many lengths, for very reasonable prices.
4. Headphones & adapter
You'll need headphones to hear the people you're connecting with!
Using Virtual Studio with speakers is not supported- you'll likely create a feedback loop, which will be very loud. In addition, wireless headphones of any kind are not supported.
You will need a pair of wired headphones that are able to connect to the device's audio output via unbalanced male RCA jacks. Most wired headphones use a 3.5mm unbalanced male TRS plug, so you will likely need an adapter. The following are known to work well:
- Hosa YMR-197 RCA Adapter ($4.95 - Sweetwater)
- UGreen Adapter ($9.99 - Amazon)
- CMPL 5-pack adapters ($11.99 - Amazon)
For best results, you want headphones that are wired and do not have a microphone. This rules out many gaming headsets and earbuds that come with phones, as they frequently include headphones that have an embedded microphone, or are wireless.
There are a LOT of compatible headphones, here are some examples:
5. Microphone & cable
You need a microphone so that the people you're connecting with can hear you! There are a few options for how to plug in microphones, which you can choose from based on your needs.
Microphone Option 1: USB Microphone with headphone monitor
Note: "Connecting Headset" in picture above indicates that this mic has a headphone monitor
USB microphones are typically louder than dynamic microphones because they are powered through the USB cable. This can make them a versatile choice for many applications, including playing with large instruments like Cello, Upright Bass, and Bassoon that may be difficult to capture well with a quieter microphone.
USB microphones are supported, as long as they have a headphone monitor. We will use the headphone monitor to connect the microphone to the input on the VS device, so make sure the USB mic you want to use has one!
Examples of USB microphones with headphone monitors:
- Aokeo AK-60 Condenser Microphone (Amazon)
- Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone (Amazon)
- Blue Yeti Nano (Amazon)
- Rode NT-USB Mini USB Condenser Microphone (Sweetwater)
You'll also need a simple 3.5mm (AKA 1/8") stereo audio cable to connect the headphone monitor to the device input:
Microphone Option 2: Dynamic Microphone
Dynamic microphones work well for singers, who can hold the microphone right up to their mouth, as well as for smaller and higher register instruments, like Violin, Flute, Trumpet and Clarinet. The catch is that we need a very specific cable in order to use these microphones.
Most dynamic microphones have XLR connectors, so you will need to use a cable to convert from XLR to 3.5mm stereo.
You need to use an analog microphone or cable with a 3.5mm unbalanced stereo male TRS jack:
- Cable Matters (1/8 Inch) Unbalanced 3.5mm to XLR Cable ($9.99)
- Hosa XVM-110F Mic Cable ($10.20 - Sweetwater)
Please note: it's extremely important that you use an unbalanced audio cable; otherwise, you will likely suffer from this common problem.
Here are some common dynamic microphones that we've found to work well:
Microphone Option 3: Using a Mixer
Using a mixer allows you much greater flexibility in what kinds of microphones you can use. If your favorite microphone requires phantom power, or you'd like to use multiple input devices simultaneously (like microphone + keyboard), you should use a mixer.
Check out our guide for using a mixer here: Virtual Studio: Using a Mixer
You should now have all the right gear! You're ready for Step 2: Plugging it all in.