[RESOLVED] multiple sound cards/outputs requried

Weeboll

Weeboll

NO MONEY NO SKI
#1
i currently use my pc as my HTPC with the sound card plugged into my main living room hifi. but with the pc in the adjacent office there are often times when we use the pc to watch dvd's, listen to music/webradio etc in the living room and play games or use the pc as a telephone in the office which currently requires me to unplug the speakers and replace with headphones...

i'd like not to have to do this anymore! one solution is to rig up a switch box which is easy enough but still means only one source.

what i would like to do is complement the motherboard sound with a dedicated sound card to the living room but have the following questions - can i have two soundcards working together that way - will i have to direct software to specific cards so that skype uses one and pwoerdvd uses another and what if on occasion i want to switch over and use powerdvd in the office and windows media player in the living room.. how easy is it to switch sources, can i have two copies of windows media player running - one playing to the living room and the other to the office?

is there some nice software that i can pull up from the task bar to assit in switching sources etc.. will xp media centre edition do any of this for me?

i'm sure others have run into the same issues.. obviously one solution is a dedicated living room HTPC but thats not an option with current funding!

and finally if a soundcard will do, what sound card - will having two software codec cards in on pc stuff things up and so i need a decent h/w one. i'm currently thinking of an sb live or audigy 2 which i'm hoping will get cheaper with the release of the x-fi..

help and suggestions please!!!

Thanks

WB
 
ThreeOnTheTree

ThreeOnTheTree

New Member
#2
I'm not sure, but I don't think PCs let you run multiple sound devices. Even if you can get 2 cards working together, it's very unlikely that windows will let you send different sounds to different sound cards. It has just now gotten easier to run multiple monitors in windows and that took a very long time to get right, so I'm very doubtful multiple sound cards will work at all. Such features would have to be written into windows drivers, and I've never heard such a thing being offered.
 
equinoxe3d

equinoxe3d

Active Member
#3
an i have two soundcards working together that way - will i have to direct software to specific cards so that skype uses one and pwoerdvd uses another and what if on occasion i want to switch over and use powerdvd in the office and windows media player in the living room.. how easy is it to switch sources, can i have two copies of windows media player running - one playing to the living room and the other to the office?
Yep, two soundcards will work, but the ability to use one or another is dependant of the application used. Skype and WMP allows you to choose which soundcard to use, but PowerDVD does not (at least in version 4), so it should use the default soundcard (probably the one specified in the Sounds section of the Control Panel). So basically it will work, but switching sources will be done in each app, and some apps that won't let you choose which card might behave differently with two of them, like defaulting to one in particular. WMP and many other playback software doesn't allow two instances running at the same time, so you'd need two different players if you want to play content at the same time through both soundcards.


is there some nice software that i can pull up from the task bar to assit in switching sources etc.. will xp media centre edition do any of this for me?
I don't know much about MCE but since the output soundcard is usually defined by the app used I'd venture to say there's probably not a fast way of doing that, outside of changing the output source in the app in question.


and finally if a soundcard will do, what sound card - will having two software codec cards in on pc stuff things up and so i need a decent h/w one. i'm currently thinking of an sb live or audigy 2 which i'm hoping will get cheaper with the release of the x-fi.
Any soundcard should do, we used a 2-soundcard computer setup for a party
at work (for the DJ software) and we used the onboard sound with a cheap $10 soundcard. Just choose a card in regards to the output, i.e. you're probably best to have the better add-on card routed to your sound system.
 
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Weeboll

Weeboll

NO MONEY NO SKI
#4
thats fine, i'll use the best sound card for media player and powerdvd 6.0.. ah except stiill no option to select device for powerdvd that i can find, looks like i'll have to use the default windows sound card for windows media player etc and only route skype and other specifics where possible to the onboard sound.
good old winamp 2.xx allows multiple instances though i'd have to select the audio device each time cos it will only default to one unless i have two seperate instances installed in different locations with different configs possibly.

its a bit poor that pc's can't handle this more easily, i can't beleive i'm in such a small minority user group that its not worth catering for!

how do venues with multiple sound setups handle this e.g. bars with different music playing in different rooms or showing the match in one room via projector and piping out music in another room.. must be a slicker way to control!
 
equinoxe3d

equinoxe3d

Active Member
#5
Weeboll said:
how do venues with multiple sound setups handle this e.g. bars with different music playing in different rooms or showing the match in one room via projector and piping out music in another room.. must be a slicker way to control!
I guess usually different CD players altogether, or often multiple audio systems. Some of those places still aren't very computerized yet. I haven't seen many multi-soundcard setups except in musician/recording rigs, or for the party I mentionned eariler, because it was pretty much necessary to choose what to play next with headphones, while the main track is out on the speakers.
 
deltree_windows

deltree_windows

Computer Newbie
#6
Weeboll said:
good old winamp 2.xx allows multiple instances though i'd have to select the audio device each time cos it will only default to one unless i have two seperate instances installed in different locations with different configs possibly.
yes you can do that. i have winamp 2 and winamp 5 installed in parallel. they maintain their own settings
 
P

peejayer

New Member
#7
multiple sound cards/outputs requried

This is amazing! What Weeboll proposed in 2005 as a reasonable expectation of computers (simultaneous handling of multiple audio sources and destinations) still seems not to be readily available. His description of desired tasks is exactly what I am trying to do 4 years on, without success. Custom computer builders give me blank looks. Apple offers no solutions. Again, amazing.
Am I missing something?
 
equinoxe3d

equinoxe3d

Active Member
#11
Well, it was slightly tricky to achieve multiple streams on Windows XP, but nowadays you can get it easily with just lowly onboard sound and Windows Vista/7 ;)

If you have Realtek onboard sound, open the Realtek HD Audio Manager and click on the "Device advanced settings". Choose the output option below :



Once applied, a second analog output will appear under your playback devices :



Just point your secondary audio app to use that output and you're done :)

By default, that secondary output is piped to the internal audio header on your motherboard (usually linked to the front headphone jack of your computer case). If you want to use one of the other rear jacks, first plug in your device. You'll have a new audio device notification and in the Realtek Audio Manager the corresponding jack will appear on the diagram. Right click on it and choose "Connector Retasking..." and check "Headphone" to send the second output through it.

That's for Realtek ALC88x onboard audio, I'm not sure if VIA or older onboard solutions have a similar feature. Heck, maybe it even works on XP v:eek:v
 

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