Mike Slinn
Mike Slinn

Sending DAW Output to OBS Studio Using RME TotalMix

Published 2021-11-08.
Time to read: about 3 minutes.

This article is categorized under Media.

RME TotalMix provides routing and mixing functions in software for RME audio interfaces. I use an RME UFX on my main DAW, and an RME UC for mobile recordings. TotalMix works with all RME audio interfaces, including the popular BabyFace.

This blog post briefly outlines how to capture a live performance on video, using your studio-quality microphones while enjoying the real-time effects and mixing capability of your favorite DAW software. You can also use this setup to make a high quality video capture of karaoke, that is, singing along or playing along with pre-recorded music. The recorded music could either be mixed using your DAW, or by providing it to OBS Studio as a Media Source.

Nothing described in this blog post is specific to any particular DAW software; I mostly use Pro Tools and Ableton Live, but Cakewalk, etc would work just as well with these instructions. I tested this with Windows 10. Apparently TotalMix on Mac does not mute some inputs properly when loopback is enabled, or something like that; I am unclear exactly what the problem is.

No changes to the system hardware or software are necessary to send DAW output to OBS Studio if you use an RME audio interface, most especially no physical or virtual cables are necessary.

What If I Do Not Have an RME Audio Interface?

If you have an audio interface made by another manufacturer then you will probably need to use a virtual audio cable, such as VB-Cable or HIFI-CABLE & ASIO-Bridge. Both programs are available for Windows and Mac. Online help for those programs are available on the VB-Audio forums.

The way for TotalMix to route the DAW output channels to another stereo input is called ‘loopback’. This YouTube video shows how to configure TotalMix to use loopback, but unfortunately the video stops short of actually showing how to work with the routed audio. Read on and I will tell you the rest of the story. It is quick and easy!

Signal Paths

The following diagram shows the important signal paths for this setup.

Step by Step

As shown in the video, set up an unused TotalMix output which will be sent to OBS Studio. Let’s use the AES output for that. The steps are:

  1. Open the AES tools (click on the little wrench icon) and enable loopback, like this:
    Unfortunately, TotalMix will not show loopback signal at AES input. (Hey, RME, please do something about this!)
  2. In OBS Studio, make an input for TotalMix AES.
  3. Set the mix levels in OBS Studio.

That is all, you are done! The processed audio from your DAW will now be mixed with the other audio and video streams you set up. I use a Camlink 4K to stream video coming from my Sony Alpha 7 Mark iii camera. OBS Studio mixes all the audio and video streams, and the combined live media stream can be sent to Instagram, YouTube, Facebook etc, and/or it can be saved as an mp4 or mkv. I prefer to save as mkv.

Hot Key

BTW, I set the hot key for recording the mix using OBS Studio to Ctrl-Shift-Z (File/Settings/HotKeys).

Test Recording

Here is a quick test recording that I made using the above setup, of an extemporaneous composition, while writing this blog post. Notice the echo and reverb effects on the audio; those were added by Pro Tools. I wore headphones so I could listen to the audio without worrying about feedback or adding extra echo.