Currently, I have a pc that outputs sound through an onboard realtek chip to two desktop speakers near my monitor in one part of the room. In the other end of the room, I use an hdmi connection from my ati card to output video and sound to an amp, projector, and screen, mainly using windows media center on windows 7 for dolby digital/dts.
This has worked decently, except I am really tired of constantly having to switch audio devices in the control panel everytime I want to hear system sounds near my desktop speakers (using the realtek analog outputs) or to switch to the ati hdmi output for video and audio to my amp. I have tried a lot of different little scripts to make the switching easier with my remote and hotkeys, but it never seems to work reliably no what I try.
Basically, I am wondering if there is a sound card I could try that would allow at least a 2 channel analog audio to desktop speakers and also a digital audio connection to the receiver without having to switch audio devices either in the control panel or the sound cards own software.
I have heard a lot of varying reports about this in windows 7 and vista, with many sound cards and devices it seems not possible at all, but with others like the soundblaster xfi, some say it works, and you can just leave analog as the default sound device in windows and the spdif/optical out will still function without having to do any switching.
I realize I would have to run a digital cable to my amp besides the hdmi from the ati card, that's fine, as I use a ps3 for bluray and dolby hd.
Note I don't really want simulatenous analog and digital audio to play at the same time, I just don't want to switch settings constantly.