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Mumble vs Ventrilo vs Teamspeak

Times have changed
I remember the days when your only option was to type to your friends in-game if you wanted to communicate, that was unless you had a second phone line separate to your dial-up modem that you could talk to them on. What a revelation it was when Roger Wilco came into being, giving us the first VOIP style application to let us speak to our multiplayer comrades and coordinate our Warcraft 1 strategies!

Times have changed and now we have a number of VOIP application options and raising the question, which is better?

Clear the field
To clear the field a bit let me first do a Ventrilo vs Mumble comparison, a quick test showed me that the Venrilo server was measuring 22ms and the Teamspeak was measuring 45-60ms. No wonder Ventrilo users rage furiously to the Ventrilo developer (singular). We’re looking at nearly a 1.25 second difference here in audio!  This was just mind blowing. In an FPS game this can be the difference between (virtual) life and (virtual) death! I therefore remove TS from the playfield.

Many gamers these days are constantly bickering over which tool is better – Ventrilo or Teamspeak. Others who like to keep their VOIP sessions a bit smaller and more personal tend to utilize Skype. However, a few are catching on to this new kid on the block known as Mumble.
So that brings me to Ventrilo vs Mumble;

Mumble vs Ventrilo
Mumble is an open source, low-latency, high quality voice chat application primarily intended for use while gaming. Even though it says it’s “intended” for gaming, it can be used by anyone. It won’t suck up your bandwidth like Skype will. There isn’t much of an interface to Mumble as the developers prefer a clean, easy to use and fast layout. While out of the box it looks quite simple and will just ‘work’, it is still highly configurable once you get into the options.

You have to remember that the server is doing the majority of the work and heavy VOIP can cause a game server to lag as it takes up quite a bit of bandwidth and some CPU time, so the final showdown needs a bit of an introduction. From my machine I have the following measurements: Mumble showing 30-45ms and Vent claiming 22ms. Let’s get straight to the point. Latency for Ventrilo was comparable with Skype. Mumble has the advantage here. It’s slight, but every bit is critical. In the audio quality realm it’s very close, too, but Mumble has actively working background noise filtration and is much clearer with multiple people speaking, this can be the difference between hearing your teammate the first time and losing critical time asking.

Mumble 1.2 is now capable of using CELT, which halves the audio buffer size to 10ms, resulting in even faster communications. It also sounds about 400x better on the default settings. I compare Mumble 1.2 to Ventrilo and wonder how the heck we put up with it for so long.
The Mumble development team pride themselves on having the best sound quality, in the fastest time with a largest amount of speakers, so with every new update to the application they continue to improve on this and continuously out-do the competition.
The conclusion is pretty simple. If you want the best you can get right now for VOIP you better look at Mumble. Not many hosting companies offer it yet, there’s not much more to ask for – you get great audio quality and latency, in game overlay is a part of Mumble, directional audio hooked into games, nested channels, awesome multiplatform support, multiple authentication & security options, animated avatars, multi-voice recording and the list goes on.

Want a Demo?
Still not convinced? If you live in Australia then you’re more than welcome to try it out on the Leetspeak demo server, log a support ticket and we will quickly get back to you with the login details in no time, then you and some friends can try it out, free of charge.

Comparison Chart


Mumble

Ventrilo
Latency Extremely low: communications happen in milliseconds, not seconds. High: even low-ping servers have a 1-2 second delay due to the Ventrilo protocol
Platform Support Windows, Linux, and OS X Windows, partial OS X support (some codecs not available), no Linux support
Authentication Certificate and password-based authentication. Strong certificate authentication ensures account security and user authenticity. Password-based
Voice Quality Great – Mumble uses the cutting-edge CELT codec for maximum clarity. Good – Ventrilo uses several codecs, such as Speex and GSM, though not all codecs are available on all platforms.
Normalization Automatic. Mumble adjusts volume automatically so you don’t have to set up complex filters or tweak individual volume levels to get everyone sounding right. Manual.
Noise canceling Automatic Not available
Push-to-talk Available Available
Positional Audio Available – hear your teammates as though they are speaking from their relative position in-game. Not available
Linked channels Available Not available
Temporary channels Available Not available
User groups Available Not available
Overlay Great – customize position, font, color, and even add custom user textures. Poor – Overlay obscures a significant portion of the screen, not customizable.
Text messages Per-channel and per-user (private messages) Not available
Administration Done in the client. Add channels, manage users, and modify permissions in realtime. Requires external web interface.
Access Control Great – powerful ACLs allow for fine-grained control over all aspects of the server. Coarse – users are either administrators or normal users.
Volume Attenuation Mumble will automatically lower other system sounds when someone is talking. Play with music and game sound on – you’ll never miss a message. Not available
Customizability Very high. Create custom layouts or skin the client to match your preferences. Not available
Maximum users Unlimited 8 for free server; unlimited with licensed server
Comments & Channels Rich text – include images and links as desired Plain text
Scriptability Great – Mumble is scriptable from many languages, including C++, Java, .NET, Python, PHP, Ruby, and Objective-C. Not available
Logitech G15 Support Available Available
Proxy Support Available Not available

 

 

 
 
               
 

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