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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got an ASUS Xonar Essence STX card coming in the mail. I expect nice things fom it in playing two channel stereo from files by RCA out into a nice system in this desk/workshop/studio room. I'm looking forward to having the ability to listen to music and have music improving the ambience of this multipurpose room where I spend the majority of my time at home. That part is good and I don't want my daily computer sound to play through the amp and speakers involved with it.


This computer has a Creative 5.1 sound system with Dell crummy speakers. I have a volume control on a soundbar right above my keyboard. It's convenient and I'd like to keep using it. The system also has the onboard RealTek sound that I disabled when the creative board was transfered from a previous sytem. I don't really care if it's 5.1 but I'd like to have or maintain the ability to have the sound from online films/newstapes/etc. - the things we hear when we browse news and utube or anything else that generates sound during daily computer use.


In other words I want my cake and eat it too by being able to have the good music playing continually even while I browse my newsjunky sites and hear whatever from them through a seperate computer speaker system.


I've got Win 7 professional 64 bit running but usually use a 32 bit version of IE until those folks in Adobe come up with a 64 bit driver for Flash that works (which CNN uses, if noone else). The Intel board has room to plug in both cards (if the video will allow)


Would I be able to configure two seperate audio streams from one computer either by the use of two onboard sound systems or by obtaining two seperate outputs from the Asus card?


I apologize for the disjointed descriptions above. I wanted to give enough info, as I know it, to describe what I've got and what I want to do.


If it came to it I've got the hardware to put together a whole 'nuther computer to run the ASUS and music files, but I'm hoping that won't be necessary. This room is cluttered enough.
 

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A couple of things aren't clear from the post that would help:

1. What are you using for the source of your music (iTunes, CDs?)

2. Do you already have a 2nd set of speakers or stereo system in mind that you want to hook up?


The simplest way to solve this would be:


1. Return the new sound card, as you won't need it.

2. Windows has a built in "mixer" application that allows you to balance volume between different applications. If you look in the lower right corner of the screen you should see a little speaker icon - click on it and there is a "mixer" button to access it. If it isn't there you may need to go into "control panel". This application brings up an onscreen mixer to set the volume level of music vs. other applications. So for example you can have music playing at a set volume, windows beeps/sounds at another volume, and youtube videos and yet another volume, etc. etc.


Fore example, at the moment I have Media Monkey playing music in the background at low volume, am surfing around the web and looking at the occasional video, etc. All this comes through the same speakers. I keep the mixer up in the background to adjust volumes/mute applications as needed.


This seems to meet all your requirements except using a different set of speakers and being able to control the individual volumes with a single knob on your keyboard (which will be problematic as I don't think there is a way to tell it which source to adjust, it will probably adjust overall volume of all sources at the same time).


If the speaker/stereo setup you want to use has a digital input, you can use the digital output on your existing creative card to feed the 2nd set of speakers and control the volumes of the different outputs with the same Windows mixer applications.


I hope this is helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, I use Windows player instead of the Creative player most of the time. I want to use the Asus to bypass "Windows "System sounds and be independently operated by it's own software while if possible preserving the use of system sounds and/or creative sounds for my computer uses. That's the question - is it possible to do, or would I need to install the Asus into a seperate computer or server that would not be used for net browsing or other computing.


I rip music using DBPoweramp software to FLAC files, and that software is able to rip into most all of the lossless formats. The FLAC files are all stored in a 2tb external drive. For iPod I then convert to Mp3 files using the same software as I only use the iPod on my tractor or sometimes in the car. The Mp3's are on a 1tb secondary drive in this computer. DBPower can put files of any format into any location.


I won't be using iTunes again, ever (I hope
)


I'm currently using FooBar2000 as a player but don't yet have analog output, so music is one thing while computer is another. I'm wanting to combine the two if possible. I'm using an old Pioneer SX950 and a Sony SCE595 CD changer for music in the room but will be upgrading to a more refined amp setup for this new computer audio system.


The thing is that I want to have the ability to listen to music with excellent quality out of a computer so that there'll be no more need to fiddle with CD changing and all that.


I and went through various DAC reviews before deciding that the soundcard would fill the bill, based mainly on the review by John Atkinson of "Stereophile" magazine here: http://www.stereophile.com/content/a...stx-soundcards


If it turns out that I have to keep my music system seperate from my daily use computer I will, but this room is a complete gunsmithing workshop that also contains an elaborate small item photo studio setup. I like to try to limit the number of cables and outlets where I can because the wires are already a nightmare and outlets are a premium. I've really made this 28' x 16' downstairs family room into a multipurpose shop-in-the-house, and I want to improve the quality of the sounds in here.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by krs /forum/post/19548457


Yeah, I use Windows player instead of the Creative player most of the time. I want to use the Asus to bypass "Windows "System sounds and be independently operated by it's own software while if possible preserving the use of system sounds and/or creative sounds for my computer uses. That's the question - is it possible to do, or would I need to install the Asus into a seperate computer or server that would not be used for net browsing or other computing.


I rip music using DBPoweramp software to FLAC files, and that software is able to rip into most all of the lossless formats. The FLAC files are all stored in a 2tb external drive. For iPod I then convert to Mp3 files using the same software as I only use the iPod on my tractor or sometimes in the car. The Mp3's are on a 1tb secondary drive in this computer. DBPower can put files of any format into any location.


I won't be using iTunes again, ever (I hope
)


I'm currently using FooBar2000 as a player but don't yet have analog output, so music is one thing while computer is another. I'm wanting to combine the two if possible. I'm using an old Pioneer SX950 and a Sony SCE595 CD changer for music in the room but will be upgrading to a more refined amp setup for this new computer audio system.


The thing is that I want to have the ability to listen to music with excellent quality out of a computer so that there'll be no more need to fiddle with CD changing and all that.


I and went through various DAC reviews before deciding that the soundcard would fill the bill, based mainly on the review by John Atkinson of "Stereophile" magazine here: http://www.stereophile.com/content/a...stx-soundcards


If it turns out that I have to keep my music system seperate from my daily use computer I will, but this room is a complete gunsmithing workshop that also contains an elaborate small item photo studio setup. I like to try to limit the number of cables and outlets where I can because the wires are already a nightmare and outlets are a premium. I've really made this 28' x 16' downstairs family room into a multipurpose shop-in-the-house, and I want to improve the quality of the sounds in here.

I think you misunderstood - The windows mixer application isn't part of Windows Media Player. It is just a utility that lets you individually adjust the volume of any application running on your computer. This will just be your volume control. It can also control the different outputs available to your system (i.e. computer speakers will have a slider separate from the music speakers for overall volume, and each application will have its own slider as well). You can use this utility with any music player you happen to like (Media Monkey, FooBar etc.)


With this utility, there is no interaction with Windows Sounds, etc. if you use a 2nd output. It just allows you to adjust all of the volumes from a single spot. The audio path is is still completely independent.


Having two sound cards in the same computer may be problematic with driver conflicts, etc. It might work just fine with both installed, I have never tried doing 2 cards in one computer.


If the card is already ordered, I would recommend giving it a shot to see if you can get Windows to recognize all of the outputs properly. If it doesn't work you still have options.


The best may be to replace the existing sound card with the ASUS card, and use the digital output of the ASUS card to run the "computer" stuff. Analog outputs to receiver. The downside is you would need powered speakers with digital inputs. Does your current speaker system have a digital input? Some creative systems 5.1 systems have them.


If you aren't concerned about quality you could get something like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-S150-...0795001&sr=8-1


There are several options (much cheaper than a 2nd computer) that would fit the bill.


For sure you can accomplish what you want from one computer, it may just take some trial and error to get it all working as you like it.


Also glad to hear you are iTunes free!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah, we've had the small speaker on the taskbar since what, Windows 3.0? I just think of anything that Windows does relating to causing sound to emit from connected speakers (or buzzers and tiny horns that beep) as Windows playing media but not necessarily the much advertised set of features included nowadays with Win7 (was it here in XP?) making thing easy for consumers that has been labeled as "Windows Media Player". I have that, but have never used that.


What I'd like is to be able to have music playing from across the room uninterrupted by anything I might do with the computer. As in an elevator there is no need to switch off the elevator music in order that the button for the eighth floor be activated, so would I like my chosen musical selections to be entirely free of interruption by my viewing and hearing a short video in the news from CNN.com or any other sound dependent thing that I may click. Those other things, whatever they may be, would play sound through a seperate desktop set of speakers such as one of the little setups sold by many makers, probably one of the small 2.1 sets by Cambridge Soundworks.


As it happens I've been exposed to that very Logitech set that you linked to and can verify that you're right to say that any user of that product would need to be VERY VERY unconcerned about quality...
It sounded horrible even on a voice news report!


As I think about what you've said it occurs to me that the Windows mixer DOES have an option that might be OK if it can be adapted to my need, although I'd have to throw out the uninterrupted music requirement. It is the feature that senses communication activity (a phone call) and will lower or cut off computer sound while that communication activity takes place. If that could be arranged to allow my preferred music as default sound to play until interrupted by my having chosen to hear that proverbial CNN news report MAYBE I could live wih it if I wouldn't need to do anything to have it take place.


I've only seen that the feature is available and haven't tried it. Nor do I have a clue as to how to go about trying to make it work in the way I've described, or if it can be done at all.


Another system wouldn't involve any money outlay. I've got enough pieces here to put together two working computers running either XP or a version of Win7 if need be but I'd prefer not to have to give up the space it'd take.
 

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_______________________________________

What I'd like is to be able to have music playing from across the room uninterrupted by anything I might do with the computer. As in an elevator there is no need to switch off the elevator music in order that the button for the eighth floor be activated, so would I like my chosen musical selections to be entirely free of interruption by my viewing and hearing a short video in the news from CNN.com or any other sound dependent thing that I may click.

_____________________________________________

That is EXACTLY what happens if you use a different output for your "music" speakers from your "computer" speaker. The ONLY thing that will change the music from constantly playing back is turning the computer off. You can have the computer playing back CNN videos, or whatever and the music will just keep on going on the other speakers.


You will set your music application (Foobar etc) to play back through the ASUS card analog output, and the "other stuff" to playback either from the creative card if you get them to work together, or the digital out of the ASUS card.


The only reason I mention the mixer is you wanted a volume control on your computer, and that is all it would do. If you don't want to use it it would work equally well to just adjust the volume knobs on your receiver and speakers manually.


_______________________________________________________

Those other things, whatever they may be, would play sound through a seperate desktop set of speakers such as one of the little setups sold by many makers, probably one of the small 2.1 sets by Cambridge Soundworks.

________________________________________________________


That would be a nice choice for the "other" speakers. The only reason I linked the Logitech was they were the first ones that showed up that didn't need analog outputs. There are many options of quality speakers with digital or USB inputs.


I think you are overthinking this a little bit. Windows handles multiple audio streams simultaneously very well. I do exactly what your are talking about all the time, but just all through my single Klipsch 5.1 system.


The only difference is you want two sets of speakers, which presents a possible hardware conflict if you need two sets of analog outputs. It is easily solved by using a digital output for one of your speaker sets if the two cards won't work together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gzerro /forum/post/19552785


_______________________________________


"I think you are overthinking this a little bit".


Probably. I tend to do that, particularly when on unfamiliar ground.


"That is EXACTLY what happens if you use a different output for your "music" speakers from your "computer" speaker. The ONLY thing that will change the music from constantly playing back is turning the computer off. You can have the computer playing back CNN videos, or whatever and the music will just keep on going on the other speakers. Windows handles multiple audio streams simultaneously very well. I do exactly what your are talking about all the time, but just all through my single Klipsch 5.1 system".

There! That's what I was asking, as the title is worded: "Two different audio outputs from [one] computer?" You're saying that Windows CAN play the two different and seperate output soundstreams simulteneously. I would not need two anolog output streams; one digital and one analog is fine.


I knew that mixer can keep track of more than one sound SOURCE but it wasn't clear to me that it can also direct those out at the same time in more than one direction. I've got no way to try it out so I asked.


I was going to use a DAC to take the digital output to an external sound system and leave the existing soundcard alone to use for "other stuff" as we've called it. But a DAC with the output quality of what is described and graphically documented in the "Stereophile" review ain't cheap. The low relative cost of the Asus board made it a pretty easy choice for deriving anolog signal out of the computer system.


I'd not expect Windows to provide for more than a computer sound ability but if you say that it can I'll try it out before going further in purchasing or deciding on any seperate method. Something tells me that trying to have seperate streams from the same board won't work whether one is digital and one analog or not, but that can wait for the Asus documentation.


I didn't say but this is all driven by seeing some of the tube equipment being produced in China. I read a review of a Shanling MC3000 "music center" and was intrigued by the raves and the specifications. I won't need the CD player or iPod docking of that particular piece but there are many other products by that factory and as many or more from other makers.


Forty plus years ago I'd have described my listening preferences as of the "audiophile" sort, but the equipment that I read of and would have liked to listen to were very much out of the question to purchase. There was a well equipped college listening room for music students that I was able to use,; it gave me the 'destructive' exposure to how good equipment can sound. In the interim of career, marriage, children (and grandchildren), etc. my music interests were set aside, nearly forgotten. Now with less to do I think of the things left behind and find that for at least this one a possibility of reconnection exists, and is affordable.


So then, thank you. I'll come back and let you know what's developed.
 

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krs wrote:


I knew that mixer can keep track of more than one sound SOURCE but it wasn't clear to me that it can also direct those out at the same time in more than one direction. I've got no way to try it out so I asked.

_______________________________________________________


Yes actually Windows will route different applications to different outputs just fine. You just need to tell configure your applications to tell them which one to use.


Glad you asked, that's what the forums are here for.


Good luck!
 

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Gzerro - How?


I'm a 25 year IT guy, and I can't figure out how to change the output audio device other than going into Control Panel and changing it.


For example, I have HDMI sound, Coax Digital sound, and the traditional output jack. I've yet to find a way to get (for example) Windows Media Center to use the digital output and eveything else the HDMI.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilbur_the_goose /forum/post/19556621


Gzerro - How?


I'm a 25 year IT guy, and I can't figure out how to change the output audio device other than going into Control Panel and changing it.


For example, I have HDMI sound, Coax Digital sound, and the traditional output jack. I've yet to find a way to get (for example) Windows Media Center to use the digital output and eveything else the HDMI.

This is not a problem with Windows, but with applications. Choose one that let you select desired output device. You are not forced to use Windows Media Center at all.
 

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As ap1 said, the application needs to support it, which most music players do.


I just checked Windows Media Player and it seems to want to over-ride the windows default setting, retarded.


I use MediaMonkey for music playback, and it can be configured to work as the OP wants. A quick search on the FooBar forum seems to indicate it is supported in that app as well (which is what the OP uses).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gzerro /forum/post/19557600


As ap1 said, the application needs to support it, which most music players do.


I just checked Windows Media Player and it seems to want to over-ride the windows default setting, retarded.


I use MediaMonkey for music playback, and it can be configured to work as the OP wants. A quick search on the FooBar forum seems to indicate it is supported in that app as well (which is what the OP uses).

I did pick up on your mention of "MediaMonkey" in post 2 above, Gzerro, and had decided to try that rather than try to make this work with Windows provisions. Foobar is free too but I'm not seeing an ability to do this even though it's an easy to use player. Either way I'll need to get to know some new software - old dog, new tricks.


Windows has always frustrated me when I'd like it to do a new trick.


It's all waiting on the Asus board which hasn't arrived as yet. It's not the best time to be ordering things except for some nice discounts.
 

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I had my old computer [Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit] connected from sound output on motherbord via audio cable to desktop stereo [for general listening] and, via a splitter, to my home theater [for serious music listening]. Worked great. Got new machine [Windows 7 Pro 64 bit]. When I re-hooked up the audio cable to the new machine, I got generous feedback [hum] along with the music. Get the feedback even when the computer is shut off. Confused, because the setup worked perfectly on the old machine. Any ideas?
 
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