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can a single PC support 2 separate audio setups?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
In my home office I currently have a PC with motherboard audio connected to a 5.1 system for PC sound. But I am also planning on getting an entirely separate (and higher-end) 2.1 sound system (including an AVR) for the TV in the same room. There might be times when I want to play audio (or video and audio) from the PC on the 2.1 rather than 5.1. If I add a separate soundcard, can the PC run both the motherboard-based audio and the add-in soundcard audio? Not necessarily simultaneously, but without doing something like uninstalling and reinstalling drivers every time I want to switch?

Thanks in advance to anyone that might help.
post #2 of 16
Yes you can use both. You would have to manually switch in windows.
post #3 of 16
You can send different audio streams to different sound devices simultaneously using the Squeezebox server software. Basically you set up up on a PC and have several Softsqueeze instances running that each output to a different soundcard. It can all be controlled via a web interface. Check you my previous thread on the topic:

Code:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1350118#post20749408
post #4 of 16
Also suggest you have a look at J. RIver Media Center. It has a good deal of functionality in controlling multiple audio zones.

-Suntan
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the replies. I was starting to look for a soundcard when I ran across this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829128002

...which made me think, do I even need a soundcard? Could I instead just run from USB either direct to the AVR (if I get an AVR that accepts USB), or from USB through the above device, and then to the AVR? Does USB sound output basically have the same quality as I would get from the motherboard audio (which I think is supposed to be decent by PC standards, based on Realtek ALC892), or is USB sound independent and lower quality?

Thanks again.
post #6 of 16
What about the new AMD 7000 series GPU??? They are supposed to have multiple discrete audio outs.
post #7 of 16
I picked up this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829118013

based on some advice from AVS on dual output for my TV speakers for TV in WMC and for 5.1 for movies in XBMC, and it can output 2 different audio feeds (one from HDMI and one from USB, in my case).

you stiull need to either use an audio manager that lets you choose the source or switch the audio source in windows...it will not necessarily run simultaneous. But i can vouch for performance.
post #8 of 16
Windows 7 does not support multi-audio output. As far as I know, it doesnt matter what hardware you use, you will still have to manually toggle between sound devices when you want to change it.

I wanted the same thing but cant seem to get
It to work. I do have a motherboard that technically supports it, but win7 doesnt, so im out of luck. Win xp supports it.
post #9 of 16
right, they won't output at the same time....but on here there have been little apps or eventghost keys that can do a simple switch of the audio out being used....otherwise like I do WMC uses one device and XBMC uses another driving different audio outs.

so....the method is out there, just need a bit more info on his needs as far as applications sending the music/audio/video.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone. I have done a little reading and the consensus seems to be that USB SQ sucks, so that option is out. BUT, I have discovered that my motherboard actually has S/PDIF coax and optical outs! It looks like I can hook up the AVR to those, but the 'Realtek HD Audio Manager' in the control panel makes it appear that I can't get sound simultaneously from both the analog 5.1 jacks and the S/PDIF...I don't really need simultaneous sound per se but it would make it easier to switch sound from desktop 5.1 to AVR 2.1. SO...I've also had the idea of running the AVR from the S/PDIF and the desktop 5.1 from the front headphone jack (I'm assuming the former would have better signal quality, and I want better SQ to the AVR). (Looks like the Realtek HD audio manager supports simultaneous audio from front headphone jack and rear connections).

At this point I only need to find something that will accept a single 2.5mm full range jack and output separate front, rear, center/sub to the desktop klipsch.
post #11 of 16
Windows may not support it but it can be done in software as per my above post. I've tested this setup in Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit using HDMI and analog audio playing different streams at the same time.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by doozer12 View Post

Windows 7 does not support multi-audio output. As far as I know, it doesnt matter what hardware you use, you will still have to manually toggle between sound devices when you want to change it.

I wanted the same thing but cant seem to get
It to work. I do have a motherboard that technically supports it, but win7 doesnt, so im out of luck. Win xp supports it.

hmmm...maybe I'll test with headphones to the front jack
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

Windows may not support it but it can be done in software as per my above post. I've tested this setup with HDMI and analog audio playing different streams at the same time.

I don't need different streams. I just want a single stream to 2 different systems, ideally without having to change settings anywhere, other than switching the AVR to that input, or using the power button on the desktop 5.1.
post #14 of 16
Squeezebox server allows you to sync all the Softsqueeze (or hardware squeezeboxes) via the web interface or using a smartphone/tablet app. The best thing about this setup is that its totally free to install and test.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
OK thanks everyone! I did try both USB and front 2.5mm jack headphones...could not get simultaneous sound with the 5.1 from the rear analog jacks, even though the realtek software seemed to allow for it. So, once I have all the hardware and cables, I'll try the Squeezebox software as suggested. Thanks again.
post #16 of 16
Let us know how it works for you. I will look into it as well. Good luck!
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