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Ventrillo Questions And Answers For Cavi Students

Q: What is Ventrillo, anyway?

Ventrillo is a voice communication program that connects people in a conference call over the Internet.

Q: Do I really need to install and figure out how to use Ventrillo?

Yes. Though attending lectures isn't mandatory it is strongly encouraged, and a portion of your grade will be based on group participation.

Q: I can't find the link to download it.

Go to and search for the word Download. Under a heading level 2, you will find links to download it for Windows, both 32 and 64-bit as well as Mac.

Q: I've installed it, now what?

Listen to Shawn's tutorial at and/or follow the quick setup instructions at If you are impatient, remember that the program has no menus; activate all features by pressing their corresponding buttons with the spacebar. Unlike many applications, Ventrillo's online help is actually most excellent and definitely worth your time.

Q: Can you clarify the difference between voice and speech?

When Ventrillo uses the term voice, they are discussing human speech. Voice is you talking to others on the server, and them speaking out loud as well. Speech, on the other hand, refers to text-to-speech, which in Windows is generated by Sapi. This is separate from your screen reader's speech, and its rate and volume can be adjusted independently. When Ventrillo is working, you might have audio from others speaking on the server, your screen reader and the Sapi text-to-speech all vocalizing at the same time!

Q: I get stuck in the hotkey field in the voice tab of the setup dialog.

This happens because Ventrillo can assign any key you press as the hotkey. So press the setup button, and when its dialog appears, use your mouse cursor to navigate to the OK button, and position it there. Now navigate with tabs to move your focus as usual until you arrive at the hotkey field. Press the right control key, but don't use any review keystrokes to check it. The very next keystroke you issue must click the OK button. This is why you moved your mouse cursor there first. So use your screen reader's hotkey for doing so. You'll exit the setup dialog and your right control hotkey setting will stick.

Q: I'm having trouble getting my mic volume to set correctly.

First, remember if you have Skype open, it can mess with your mic levels. Right-click on Skype in your system tray and choose Quit. Use the windows volume control in this way. Select Options from the menu bar. Arrow down to Properties. A list of wave devices on your system appears. Select one, and pick the radio button labeled "adjust volume for recording". You can then check one of your recording inputs, for example you might have both a mic and an audio input, or you might have a "stereo mix" and an audio input. Many laptops have built-in microphones. If you have a USB mic, it needs to be connected before it will even show up as a wave device. Not all mics are created equal, and you may need to set the volume on several, using several wave devices, if they exist on your system, to get the levels you like.

Once you've fiddled with the volume for recording, and know how to continue doing so, you can leave the volume control window open and alt-tab back to Ventrillo. In the setup dialog, on the Voice tab, shift tab backwards until you reach the "test with codec" button. Pick a codec, tab over to "Test with format", select a format and tab past the "test with monitor" button because that feature is completely visual. Press space on the "test with test" button. At this point you are stuck in the dialog box, the OK and cancel buttons have disappeared. Test with test, is a toggle; if you press it again, OK reappears and you can get out of this dialog.

But while the "test with test" feature is toggled on, you can press your right control hotkey, hold it down, and speak. When you lift up the key, your voice will be echoed back. You can do this repeatedly while fiddling with your mic volume to get the levels right.

Q: How do I know if I am connected to the server?

If you press connect, and it changes to disconnect, that doesn't imply you are actually connected. It simply means that Ventrillo is trying to connect. Once you actually connect, you will either hear a sound or SAPI text to speech will say "connecting to server" A tree view of channels will also appear.

Q: But I'm still not connected!

Perhaps your account has not been created. Perhaps you typed in the Cavi server name wrong, or perhaps you didn't pick port 4031 which is used by the Cavi server. Also be sure your router gives you outbound access to TCP and UDP port 4031 and UDP port 6100. If this is all Greek to you, speak with your ISP or track down a local expert.

Q: I'm connected but I cannot change channels.

If you are not permitted to change channels, you are connected to a guest account because your own account hasn't yet been set up. Contact a Cavi instructor.

Q: How does this chat thing work, anyway?

Tab to chat, press space on the button and a separate chat window appears. You can alt-tab between it and the main Ventrillo window. In the edit field you can type a message to send. When you press Enter, it is sent and text to speech reads it out loud. As new messages arrive, they are also echoed via text-to speech if you have checked the Use Text to speech box in the chat window. You can also review the chat window with the arrow keys, or a Braille display.

Q: I have a question not answered by this FAQ.

Try the official Ventrillo FAQ at:
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Page last modified on March 01, 2012, at 12:43 AM