Using a Blue Microphones Yeti USB microphone. In earlier versions (early this year) we had zero issues using this mic into OBS as the captured audio source with the Polypop vCam. In the last couple versions, including the current (as of this writing) version 0.99.249.0, it still occurs.
Our stream starts with an intro/standby scene that might be 5 minutes to 15 minutes or more in length. Next scene selected via hotkey goes live to a couple cameras and the Yeti. Might (usually) add in a third camera via another hotkey. At some point normally a couple hours in we'll switch to an intermission scene via another hotkey with a countdown clock for about 20 minutes (sometimes more), and then a previous hotkey to go back to the live scene with the two (or three) cameras. Then another hotkey at the end to switch to an ending stream scene thanking people for watching. Another hotkey starts and stops the stream. All that is done in Polypop. The Yeti is added as a captured source in OBS for the Polypop vCam, and is setup with the same hotkeys to mute and unmute the microphone depending on which hotkey is pressed. Polypop is not actually doing the streaming (it used to until just last week) due to audio issues involving clipping and static with the YouTube feed. OBS allows for a compressor and limiter on the microphone, which solves that problem. For a couple weeks we used Polypop only, but the audio problem was difficult to overcome so went back to Polypop via OBS.
The issue is that after the intermission scene in the last couple Polypop versions (both standalone and via OBS) the Yeti was just gone. Not muted, not turned down, just gone when going back to the Live scene. This didn't used to happen, but started a couple-three Polypop releases ago. Between that and the audio clipping issue, we went from Polypop only to Polypop+OBS again. Well tonight it still happened again. I removed the yeti entirely from Polypop (it isn't even listed in the Library anymore) and it still happened anyway. I also saw some weird mute/unmute behavior in OBS during this time.
The stream ended some hours ago. Instead of tearing down everything and putting stuff away after folks left, I started up just OBS and duplicated as best I could the Polypop scenes and did an OBS only stream. I had it running for almost 2 hours, switching scenes, letting it sit Live for 40 minutes, then the intermission scene for 20 minutes, and back to Live again, and other combinations of scenes besides that. It all worked correctly and as expected. No weird mute problems, the Yeti didn't disappear requiring me to disconnect/reconnect it to restore functionality, everything just worked. I did this because I wasn't sure exactly where the problem might be (Polypop, OBS, or Windows 11) so I tried just OBS and Windows 11 to see if the problem persisted. It doesn't, so I know the issue involves Polypop somehow.
Reading the release notes for Polypop x.249, I saw this line:
*Fixed issue causing audio to mute in some cases when outputting using multiple active outputs
We do use mutliple audio outputs in a technical sense as we have a bluetooth speaker to play sound effects locally (via a Streamdeck XL) and that is captured in Polypop or in OBS if we're using that to send those sounds over the stream as well. We also techically have multiple USB microphones as two of the cameras include them (though we aren't using them in Polypop or OBS).
I'm thinking that "fix" is incomplete in this version since I don't have that issue when just using OBS. I also went through a couple times and checked all the hotkey and timer sequences to make sure nothing was doing anything "funny" with the microphone or other audio devices in general.
I really like Polypop and everything it offers. WYSISWYG scene assembly, simple controls, and vast functionality in one simple to use interface. It makes the software only as complex to use as a person makes it. All the included transitions and 2D/3D options are wonderful. But we ended up with almost an hour of dead air due to the mic failure again, and I wasn't watching it like a hawk since the release notes said that issue was fixed so I let it happen.
Microphones used to work fine, and then somewhere around version x.230 or x.232 this issue crept in, and because of it we can't continue to use Polypop. I'm forced to try and replicate all the scenes and timers and other effects in OBS now and honestly I just don't know how I'm going to do it. Our people like that way things look and work now with the stream (thanks to Polypop) so I need to duplicate as closely as possible if I can. OBS can be a complex beast if a person isn't careful, and I'm honestly not as familiar with scenes and some of the plug-ins I'll need to use to make this all work in something approximation of what Polypop can and does do.
But if I can't count on Polypop audio being solid every time then I don't have much choice but to stop using it. This isn't a dig or criticism of Polypop as I really do honestly like using it, but I also need my stream to work for my people, and I have to do whatever is required to make that happen.
Somebody needs to take a good, deep, and long look at the audio functionality again to see why this issue still sneaks in and causes problems. I can send over the Polypop save file with all the settings and scenes and sequences if needed to see if it is truly a software issues or if it is possibly due to some strange and unforeseen problem created in a sequence or something else I did on my end. I don't think it is anything I did, and everything else works perfectly in Polypop including multiple stream functions (thanks for that BTW), so I'm at something of a loss to explain the failure myself.
I'm going to do more testing using unpublished streams just to confirm everything works in OBS alone after I do my best to duplicate all the the Polypop stuff in OBS, and I'm honestly expecting to not have any issues with it based on the testing I did earlier tonight in an attempt to narrow down where the problem is.