Itâ€™s been about a month now since we made the big switch from Ventrilo to Mumble and I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts and help guide others in making the right choice for their VOIP needs. Firstly, know that Iâ€™ve been using Vent for about 6 years, so switching to Mumble wasnâ€™t easy, but there were a few distinct elements about it that got me hooked.
It seems prudent to talk about audio quality first since thatâ€™s undoubtedly what most people are curious about. In comparison to Ventrilo, I would say Mumbleâ€™s clarity is better. Voices are crisp, clear and sound much more human than Ventâ€™s ever did. It also doesnâ€™t have that annoying sound effect every time you push-to-talk. I will admit however, that that was kind of hard to get used to. I was so accustomed to having an audio notification every time someone said something that when it wasnâ€™t there I kept thinking I was disconnected from the server. It took about a week or so before I was really comfortable with it being gone, and in fact, I actually find it much better. In the past that sound effect could actually impede clarity if you pushed to talk while someone else was talking.
Mumbleâ€™s notification system is a game overlay. Now I actually have this disabled at the moment because I know everyoneâ€™s voice in our server, but I could see this being extremely useful for PUGs or ringing when you have no idea whoâ€™s who. Please note that with it enabled, it will come up in applications like Adobe Photoshop and anything else resource heavy.
Latency between whatâ€™s said and when itâ€™s heard is extremely fast. I did some testing with my roommates and when he spoke in his room, it was almost instantly being said in mine. Very impressive and whatâ€™s even better is that this can be configured how you want it. If your network isnâ€™t the best, you can make packet latency higher to return yourself to a more Vent-like approach.
Look and feel. I have to admit that Mumble doesnâ€™t look very cool. I mean Vent wasnâ€™t winning any awards either, but Mumble especially looks kind ofâ€¦opensourcey. Now that Iâ€™ve been using it a month though, Iâ€™m growing to like it, but that was definitely something I kept noticing. Fortunately you can download or make your own skins for it! Which I thought was really bad ass because I totally want to make a sick Spawn Room one. In fact, if you have any suggestions for a good skin, post a comment and Iâ€™ll see what I can do.
Finally, I wanted to mention hosting. I purchased my Mumble server from the one and only Apoplexy Industries, for 15-20 bucks cheaper than Ventrilo (per year)! Awesome. But this is where it gets kind of sketchy because the configuration of Mumble isnâ€™t exactly user friendly. I had to dig for a while to figure shit out and it required me to edit files, and make more users and blah blah blah. So if youâ€™re not exactly tech savvy, you may want to find someone who is before purchasing your server. On a more positive note, getting everything set up with the default settings is a breeze.
Mumble is great. So far I really like it and I think it competes well with Ventrilo, even with its flaws. If I were to recommend them to a room full of potential VOIP buyers, I would recommend Mumble over Vent for almost all of them. Hereâ€™s how Iâ€™d break it up:
Ventrilo: For casual gamers looking for a popular VOIP platform, with a decent interface. These people are the ones that donâ€™t care a whole lot about maximum performance and wonâ€™t need split second orders to be executed in a fast-paced environment.
Mumble: For hardcore gamers, raiders, scrimmers, and those in need of a performance VOIP service. Iâ€™d also recommend it to normal computer users that are more tech savvy and those looking for a cheaper VOIP option. You will get a better service, with better audio quality and quicker response times. Itâ€™s probably the best choice for FPS gamers, StarCraft 2 players, World of Warcraft raiders, and other fast paced games. If you’re looking to switch, seriously consider Mumble.
Update: Don’t forget, if you want to test out Mumble, hop on Spawn Room’s and give it a whirl. We don’t bite. :)
Other Tags: VOIP, Mumble, Ventrilo, hosting, AI