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    Here I am with a brain the size of a planet and they ask me to [mute a microphone]. Call that job satisfaction? I don’t.

    —Marvin the Android

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      I can identify with the author’s mute button woes. I used a Logitech AK5370 for years, and the part I liked best was the lighted mute button at the base of the microphone. When I went to look for an upgrade, I was surprised to find that microphones used by streamers often lack a hardware mute button, or if they do have one, it is located on the body of the mic, making it impossible to use the mute button without making a racket. Some entry-level condenser mics have lighted software mute buttons, but default to unmuted and reset on reboot. Others have a mute switch similar to what you would find on a stage mic that makes a familiar popping sound when used.

      It seems like there should be a market for one – if I had a nickel for every time someone couldn’t find the unmute button on a video call, I would have a lot of nickels. Quite a few dedicated mute buttons popped up for sale since 2020; I would think an all-in-one device like my old mic would be desirable.

      Using the mic case as a capacitive sensor is an interesting idea, and I bet this was a fun project. If that were what I wanted, I think I’d opt for one of the mics that has a capacitive mute button built-in, though personally I would prefer the sense of security of knowing the mic is physically muted.

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        One thing that I didn’t cover in my post was indeed that the mic defaults to unmuted when it’s first plugged in. My taking the pulse line low on start of the microcontroller effectively presses the button once, so it now defaults to flashing/muted. Bonus feature. (-:

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        This seems pretty unnecessary (you could use the mute button in the conferencing app, or use the same touch controller thingy as a HID device plugged into the computer that would mute/unmute the mic’s capture device, which I think even changes the color of the light on it), but it’s nicely done nonetheless.

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          I’d argue that a hardware mute button beats both of those options for usability, especially given how much some of us use it.

          For the first - what if you’re working in another app?

          For the second, you’d need a helper app running on the PC to manage the mute status, which adds complexity and a point of failure. It’s been a while since I last looked at the USB audio class spec, but I’m pretty confident mute status doesn’t go out on the wire, so you’d need another indicator on your button. (Not a bad thing, IMO.)

          Personally I went out of my way to add a hardware mute button to my desk mic, with a nice big red tally light to help me keep track of the mute status. It’s nice to have something that just works and always will.

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            For stuff like this, dedicated buttons beat kludged-together software every time, for me. Yep.

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              For the second, you’d need a helper app running on the PC to manage the mute status, which adds complexity and a point of failure.

              Sure, but not too much of one. It should be possible to make it stupid enough that it never breaks, and set it to always run if the controller is plugged in.

              It’s been a while since I last looked at the USB audio class spec, but I’m pretty confident mute status doesn’t go out on the wire, so you’d need another indicator on your button.

              It is (or it can be anyhow), USB Audio calls out mute and volume as supported kind of “controls”. Of course you don’t need to have any controls for a USB mic, you can let everything be done in software, but the Yeti does expose mixer controls, and I believe (I don’t have access to mine right now, so I’m going on memory) that the mute button on the device itself just sets the gain control to -∞dB and then restores it, and that doing the same thing from the host side will make the light on the mute button turn red.

              I’m not arguing too seriously here, I’m just saying… you could probably get by without opening the thing up, and given my hardware skills, it’s the way I would have gone.

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                It should be possible to make it stupid enough that it never breaks

                Call me a stupid hardware engineer, but in my experience getting stuff like this to be completely bulletproof (eg over suspend/resume etc) can be non-trivial!

                USB Audio calls out mute and volume

                Thanks for teaching me something new today (:

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              Yep.

              I have the same mic. I have a dedicated button on my keyboard bound to mute all mics via pulseaudio. The Blue notices this… somehow and changes the light on the hardware button. I was surprised the first time I noticed.

              It also changes an indicator on my status bar so I know whether it’s hot or muted without looking away from my screen. It mutes every mic attached to the computer, so just in case something has bound to the webcam mic by accident I’m still safe.