After hours of debugging with a voltmeter, I have discovered a major flaw with the Fortissimo 1 sound card. Please check yours with this simple process:
Plug your receiver into the Fortissimo's front speaker ANALOG output. Play an MP3. Move the balance bar from left to right. You may notice sound doesn't stop the left nor right speaker, but you hear a "simulated stereo" come from both speakers at all times. I've tried different ground points etc. but no luck.
Now for those of you who use the optical out this is not a problem. Optical out works just fine. In my case I use both, the optical out is for the HTPC setup, but analog feeds my whole house stereo system (I can play music without my HTPC receiver being on; also I need analog as it feeds a different receiver downstairs).
Major disappointment-- how could they lay out the board schematic wrong? Is this why the Fortissimos went on fire sale last year? Or is it just my Fortissimo that is hosed?
It's been a long time since, so I don't really remember the details. I still have the Fortissimo 1 card, but now I use mostly M-Audio AP2496. However, for quite a long time I used the Fortissimo (optical out only though).
When I first installed the Fortissimo (under Win98SE), I did some testing of all the outputs, including analog, and noticed something similar to what you describe. I even phoned Guillemot tech support about it. They said something about setting for 2-channel stereo verus 4-channel output, and something about the balance adjustment not working under some of these settings or on some output combination.
Sorry, I can't be more specific, this was back in January and I don't remember it quite well. I know that after the information I received, I was able to set it correctly. Try some variations of settings and maybe you get lucky to get it work.
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