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selectable audio output (w/o changing default audio output) for Vista Media Center

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Vista Media Center gives me the option to select either my speakers or my "Digital Output Device" (SPDIF). However, selecting either one changes my default audio output device for all of my Vista applications. I don't want to do that.

I want to leave my default audio output device set to my speakers, but I want to have Media Center use the Digital Output Device (SPDIF). After all, isn't this why the MMDevice API exists ? However, I'm guessing Vista Media Center doesn't use this "new" feature.
http://blogs.msdn.com/larryosterman/...23/473351.aspx

Any ideas? Any plug-ins available that support this?

FWIW: I'm using a the embedded HD audio device on my Gigabyte p35-ds3p motherboard (realtek Azalia chip, ALC 889A) with the most current drivers. Thus, there is a single "sound card" but Vista lists the outputs as two different playback devices (Speakers and Digital Output Device (SPDIF)). Also, I'm not using any third party decoders; just the "stock" software. Thanks in advance for any help.

NOTE: I'm not as interested in "simultaneous" audio output to multiple devices (analog + digital) as much as I'm interested in selected audio output appropriate for the application (i.e. Media Center --> stereo receiver).
post #2 of 11
I will monitor this thread. I have always wanted this too. I would like my movies to go out over the SPDIF connection and have all other sounds go out over the HDMI interface (thats what my TV is hooked to).

I am pretty sure if I select HDMI rather than SPDIF in Windows as the default, then PowerDVD will use whichever one is the default and not stay locked on SPDIF for example.

So there may be all sorts of places that need to 'get it' in order for us to have the output where we want it.
post #3 of 11
I researched this a lot when I was thinking of doing the same thing and I found that there is no programatical way to change the default audio device in Vista.

The only solution I found was using a problem like win batch that would do the mouse and keyboard strokes necessary to change it, but this is far from ideal.

I gave up and decided SPDIF would have to be good enough until new Video Cards are released that support more audio formats over HDMI.
post #4 of 11
In my case I want the audio over HDMI to my TV for general use. So DVR playback and some PC applications just use the PC speakers.

For hard driving sound I want it to go to my receiver which only does SPDIF.

My MB does do high end audio over HDMI but that would only worsen the problem. I don't want to have to turn on a power expensive amp just to listen to some cheap audio over my TV's speakers.
post #5 of 11
x-meridian card was necessary for me because i couldnt get what you wanted. Now I have simaltaneous output of spdif and 7.1 analog so all ihave to do switch inputs on the receiver.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi ya'll,

Thanks for the responses. They confirm my suspicions; namely that there is no easy way to do this.

I've seen "confirmation" that applications can select a non-default audio device. However, this capability doesn't appear to be part of Vista Media Center.

I've also seen "confirmation" that other applications (outside of Vista) can't change the "default" audio output device. I even looked into writing a simple script to do this so it would run just before Vista media center. Doesn't appear possible with the available "public" APIs.

My conclusion is that if the application doesn't support selecting an audio device then you can't do it (w/o modifying the application). I guess I'm still wondering if a Vista media center "plug-in" could modify the applications behavior this way.

It seems buying an extra sound card is a crap shoot. Works for some, doesn't work for others. (Glad it work for you, karos. BTW, I looked into the X-meridian sound card but the corporate web page states "As of June 2007, this soundcard is no longer in production due to limited chipset availability."). Seems like the simultaneous digital + analog output depends on some magic between the drivers with the sound card and mother board drivers. Just seems like there are many threads where someone bought an extra one to address this problem only to have it not work out. I wish there was a reliable way to buy a second card and be sure it would work.

Sigh. Any other ideas?
post #7 of 11
Old thread I know, but I am researching this issue, and I thought I would share what I found.
As near as I can tell, this feature has been purposefully disabled because of DRM nonsense. One way that I have found to utilize multiple sound outputs (I have only one sound card, but it lists the HDMI connection as a separate device) is to set my speaker default to HDMI, then start Vista MCE, then set the speaker default to desktop speakers. This causes only the MCE to pipe out to the HDMI, and everything else to pipe through speakers. However, MCE reverts back to default if the PC goes into hibernate or sleep.
If anyone knows how to create a script to set speakers, restart MCE and set speakers again that only runs after sleep mode, do tell. Alternatively, anyone who knows how to lock down the API before sleep mode occurs cold write a hndy program and save us all the trouble.
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsnipe View Post

Old thread I know, but I am researching this issue, and I thought I would share what I found.
As near as I can tell, this feature has been purposefully disabled because of DRM nonsense. One way that I have found to utilize multiple sound outputs (I have only one sound card, but it lists the HDMI connection as a separate device) is to set my speaker default to HDMI, then start Vista MCE, then set the speaker default to desktop speakers. This causes only the MCE to pipe out to the HDMI, and everything else to pipe through speakers. However, MCE reverts back to default if the PC goes into hibernate or sleep.
If anyone knows how to create a script to set speakers, restart MCE and set speakers again that only runs after sleep mode, do tell. Alternatively, anyone who knows how to lock down the API before sleep mode occurs cold write a hndy program and save us all the trouble.

In my case I set the default sound in windows to HDMI which only goes to my TV (no pc speakers). I have set PDVD to go to SPDIF. This works for me because I don't play movies through VMC.
post #9 of 11
You could look into EventGhost. Claims the ability to "control the soundcard", is Vista compatible and also free:

http://www.eventghost.org/wiki/EventGhost:About

In XP with Girder I was able to switch my default audio device w/my remote but can't recall the exact details, I was just goofing around with a trial copy of Girder at the time.
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsnipe View Post

Old thread I know, but I am researching this issue, and I thought I would share what I found.
As near as I can tell, this feature has been purposefully disabled because of DRM nonsense. One way that I have found to utilize multiple sound outputs (I have only one sound card, but it lists the HDMI connection as a separate device) is to set my speaker default to HDMI, then start Vista MCE, then set the speaker default to desktop speakers. This causes only the MCE to pipe out to the HDMI, and everything else to pipe through speakers. However, MCE reverts back to default if the PC goes into hibernate or sleep.
If anyone knows how to create a script to set speakers, restart MCE and set speakers again that only runs after sleep mode, do tell. Alternatively, anyone who knows how to lock down the API before sleep mode occurs cold write a hndy program and save us all the trouble.

DRM has nothing to do with audio output to multiple devices. Applications have the ability to output to multiple devices if programmed in that manner. The default device is not allowed to be changed by an application to avoid the "file extension" type wars (where each application sets itself as the default playback for a file against user wishes sometimes).

The choice to playback to the default device or not lies in the application as well. MCE and Windows Media Player (for vista) both playback to the default device. Windows Media Player in XP has the option to play to another device.

-Rian
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrchung View Post

DRM has nothing to do with audio output to multiple devices. Applications have the ability to output to multiple devices if programmed in that manner. The default device is not allowed to be changed by an application to avoid the "file extension" type wars (where each application sets itself as the default playback for a file against user wishes sometimes).

The choice to playback to the default device or not lies in the application as well. MCE and Windows Media Player (for vista) both playback to the default device. Windows Media Player in XP has the option to play to another device.

-Rian

Incorrect my friend. If you look at Vista's mixer panel it separates out each progams sound level into it's own channel. It would be a trivial thing to allow routing to another device from that panel. In fact for my model of sound card (an earlier software version actually, but for vista) there was a driver that specifically allowed for device routing. This feature was later removed. By your own words such features existed in XP (within wmp), but are not in Vista. Why is not available if not for DRM? It certainly wasn't an oversight on MS's part, it was purposefully excluded. If you can come up with any other reason besides drm nonsense, I would like to hear it.
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