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Submission details

457 +472/-15 votes

Output to more than one audio device simultaneously

Submitted by liebezeit on November 3, 2008 to Annoyance, Usability

Can't send audio stream to more than one audio device simultaneously.

Allow stream output to more than one audio output device simultaneously, perhaps with (optional) automatic or manual latency adjustment.

The next logical step would be what commenter Webweaver refers to below as "many to many": the ability to map particular applications to particular sets of outputs at particular levels (above and beyond the new "communications" stream).

High

High

Not fixed

Discussion (104 comments)

liebezeit wrote on November 3, 2008, 11:11pm

Changed problem description.

Ensign Joe wrote on November 3, 2008, 11:29pm

In Media Player it's not that difficult but you still have to at least fully stop playpack (Stop-button NOT pause) and restart playback... Really annoying especially for users of USB headsets which work as additional audio device

liebezeit wrote on November 4, 2008, 4:27am

envi, I see W7 apparently supports dynamically switched output in the form of "StreamSwitch". This is wonderful to hear. I will edit my submission to focus on what would be even more wonderful--multiple outputs.

liebezeit wrote on November 4, 2008, 4:31am

Changed title from [Output to more than one audio device simultaneously, and/or dynamically switch output] to [Output to more than one audio device simultaneously].
Assigned to categories: "Annoyance"
Changed problem description.
Changed solution description.

untermensch wrote on November 4, 2008, 8:30am

I use Vista Media Center, and dont want to run my 1Kw AV reciever to watch
the news (audio over HDMI) so I run the HDMI to the TV (only accepts stereo)
and use another SPDIF output device for the AV reciever to watch movies with
5.1/7.1 sound tracks.

It would be awsome if...

1. I could send audio to 2 audio devices simultaneaously, stereo on 1 device
and multichannel on the other.

or

2. allow applications to choose the output device, for instance I could setup ffdshow
to output on the SPDIF device connected to the AV reciever for movies, and
setup Media Center to downmix to stereo and output on the HDMI audio device
for Law & Order reruns.

hpmoon wrote on November 4, 2008, 4:49pm

I agree that simultaneous audio output (e.g., analog audio out and digital S/PDIF audio out at the same time of the same stream) is long-overdue. Adding to the suggestions here, many applications already allow you to set the audio output in the application preferences, so that each application can stream to different audio outputs (e.g., the popular PowerDVD). StreamSwitch will add nothing to those applications, but will still be useful for a unified/mandatory approach to the same.

What will still be lacking is a highly dynamic StreamSwitch feature which could direct the audio stream to different outputs and/or combinations of outputs. For example, I have a video DVR on my computer called Beyond TV, and in some cases I load the client shell onto my desktop computer screen; other times I load it onto my upstairs big-screen HDTV; and other times I load it onto my workout room monitor. All of these locations receive audio from unique ports on my PC; audio should be distributed based simply on what I want to do: Watch upstairs, watch while jogging on the elliptical, watch while working in front of the PC on the "secondary" monitor.

netarc wrote on November 6, 2008, 5:49am

As with WinXP MCE, future versions of MCE should be able to allow audio streams to multiple audio outputs simultaneously ... at the VERY least, a single sound card should be able to output the the audio stream via both DD/DTS and stereo (downmixed) outputs at the same time.

liebezeit wrote on November 6, 2008, 8:50pm

Changed solution description.

Webweaver wrote on November 19, 2008, 9:22pm

We, too, want to send audio to multiple places; at least one-on-many.
Many-to-many preferably.
Scenario-1: on our HTPC, we want HDMI to TV via HDMI cable, want S/PDIF to A/V Rcvr, want Bluetooth headset via blue tooth, want standard stereo out(green jack) to "TV Ears". ALL this to facilitate hearing requirements of our family. (one-to-many).
Scenario-2: many-2-many; Laptop in motorhome for GPS, etc. We want to run a Media player and GPS and audio mapping applications simultaineously; and, get their outputs on standard (green jack) into motorhome radio (aux in); and on Blutooth headset for GPS verbals. At least 2-on-2 global; preferably multiple
1-on-1s.

liebezeit wrote on November 20, 2008, 9:14am

Changed solution description.

mika wrote on November 23, 2008, 8:25am

This is even more important with bluetooth headsets becoming more mainstream. We should be able to hear on mutiple bluetooth headsets from the same source (ex dvd movie playing)

jcydon wrote on December 10, 2008, 3:14pm

This is one of the many reasons why so many users are frustrated with Vista. Why would microsoft take away functionality that was available in older versions of Windows? Multiple sound output is a very common and desirable use. Vista seems like a dumbed down version of previous Windows. Also, why are there so many different ways (at least three I have found so far) to adjust the volume in Vista? Which one are we suppsed to use!?

Dig.Music wrote on December 22, 2008, 12:35am

This is a critical feature as PCs make their way into living rooms as media centers. Please implement the "many to many" fix. It seems to me that all applications should output to all enabled audio devices simultaneously by default. More advanced users should be able to map individual applications to individual devices on the fly through the Volume Mixer.

TechPlayer wrote on January 2, 2009, 8:31am

My requirement is for simultaneous digital surround sound and analog stereo sound for a HTPC. We have an AV receiver for the main viewing area, but also view from an adjacent area where the sound doesn't reach well. For that we have an extension stereo amplifier and speakers.

snord wrote on January 9, 2009, 11:28pm

I also think simultaneous digital / analog sounds should be a requirement. It is very inconvenient to have to go into the MCE speaker(audio) setups each time you wish to toggle between the two. For instance my wife and kids don't like to mess with the AV receiver and the analog just goes to the TV. I like to route to to my receiver when I watch movies. It seems a pity not to have them both "hot". A $50 dvd player has been able to do this for ages but not an expensive media center PC?

liebezeit wrote on January 10, 2009, 1:41am

My use case: I have a bluetooth audio receiver that I would like to use occasionally. I would use it a lot more often if it could stay "hot"...then I could just turn the receiver on. As it is now, it's quit playback, shutdown the app, connect bluetooth, set default output device, restart application, figure out where I was, resume playback....and that REPEAT the entire process to switch back to internal output.....WHAT A USABILITY NIGHTMARE!

johnren wrote on January 27, 2009, 9:22pm

As this pertains to this issue as well as the one located here: http://www.windows7taskforce.com/view/1068, I decided to post this to both.

The ability to output the same stream to multiple audio devices and different streams to different devices is much needed.

In Windows XP, we were able to use the Windows Media Player 9-11 SDK to play sound to whatever soundcard device was set as the default playback device when the application was loaded. This was done using the SoundMapper registry key, see http://andocs.wordpress.com/2007/08/21/choosing...playback-device-in-xp/ for an example. This allowed us to start multiple instances of the same application and have them output different or the same audio to different audio devices.

In Vista, we switched the default audio device using "macros" to bring up the audio control panel and set the default audio device. In this case, the audio was forced to the default audio device that was set when the audio started playing in the WMP SDK instance rather than when the application was loaded. This allowed multiple instances to output to multiple audio sources at the same time.

This was not officially supported by Windows XP. The issue for us is that in this age of digitial media and connected homes/businesses, with what we were given in XP (semi-programmatic) and Vista (macros), workarounds were created to provide this functionality for applications and customers that needed it, in our case, 10,000+ customers.


If Windows 7 continues with adding support for "Stream Switching" without giving the ability for a program to opt out, a general case, or in our specific situation, have the WMP SDK allow us to set the output audio device for the WMP SDK instance (this is if your statement that Stream Switching won't switch audio for applications that have specified a specific output device) then there will be a bunch of unhappy customers. This also applies to other audio SDKs and applications that do not support specifying an output device and instead always use the default audio device.

This feature was not removed in Vista. Vista just needed a different method for setting the default audio device than XP did. But in the case of Windows 7, this non-intentional, though necessary feature has finally been killed/removed.

Our Connect Feedback for this issue is located at: https://connect.microsoft.com/feedback/ViewFeed...=399755&SiteID=647

I hope my postings to different places aren't bothersome. I'm just trying to make sure the people that need to see this information see it before it is too late and our company and other companies have a lot of unhappy customers.

Thank you,

John

jinskip wrote on January 31, 2009, 3:58pm

I cannot understand why Microsoft has taken away the ability to output analog & digital audio simultaneously in Vista. Why have that done that? This worked so well in WinXP. I'm also sick to death of having to close down whatever application I am using every time I wish to switch to a different sound playback device (ie headphones, digital out to TV, analog out to speakers, digital out to amp). I have been waiting since the launch of Vista for a resolution to this to no avail. Microsoft have told me that they are working on the issue, but how long do we have to wait? I've got so fed up of it all, I've diched Vista and gone back to XP. Shame on Microsoft that old software can do things better than their latest OS.

pippz wrote on March 1, 2009, 4:24pm

Dear GOD IN HEAVEN can you please implement this? My setup is based on two USB-connected speakers behind me and the in-built speakers of my monitor so if I could only get those two to play at the same time, I have kind of surround sound, which is the only thing missing from my otherwise perfect setup!

nikost4 wrote on March 16, 2009, 3:18am

Hi I just watched the "Inside Windows 7: Larry Osterman on new audio capabilities" interview on channel 9 ( http://news.softpedia.com/news/Audio-Enhancements-in-Windows-7-97649.shtml ) and am verry happy with all the changes your making to the windows7 audio subsystem, especialy the live streeming. But I think this is a major feature that is still missing.

Here is how I would go about solving the problem atleast from a UI perspective
First is being able to assign a default audio device on a per ablication bases. I think this could be realy nicely done in the "Volume Mixer" by adding a drop down menu under the mute icon, to choose/display the default audio out curently being used for that program.
The second feature I would like to see added is realy just an extension of the first idea. It consists of a configeration button under the drop down menu. Inside the configeration window you would be able to choose the 1st, 2nd........... default audio out for that program incase the first isn't present. This could be done again using drop down menus, the first would have what ever the default audio device is. The second would say "none" until the user selected thier secondery default device. If one was selected a third drop downe menu would apear saying "none" until the user selected thier tershiry default device and this could repeat until all the audio devices are selected.

The part that I would realy realy realy like to see implemented is outputting the audio to multiple devices symotaniusly. This could be done in a simelar way. So Inside the configeration window you would be able
to choose the 1st, 2nd........... audio output device for that program. This could be done again using drop down menus, the first would have what ever the default audio
device is. The second would say "none" until the user selected thier secondery audio output device. If one was selected a third drop downe menu would apear saying "none" until the user selected their tershiry audio output device and this could repeat until all the audio devices are selected. In addition to this there would need to be a small configeration button beside each of these devices.
This is needed to take into acount the small delays through the different audio pathes. In this configuration window syncrenisation slyders could be introduced to add delay to the particular audio path.
This would allow the user to fine tune the setup to get the best experiance.
I suppose the same could be done for adio input devices this would be useful in letting programs like skype use multiple mics at the same time.

Obviously these additions would be very useful for media PCs in particular when they have to play audio throughout the household. That said I would realy like to see this added to windows7 or its sp1.
Hopefully sooner rather than later

spplutchok wrote on March 19, 2009, 8:28am

Please add this back into Win7. I wear hearing aids that are Bluetooth enabled. I purchased an AZIO Bluetooth USB device that will broadcast stereo sound directly to my hearing aids. The problem is that Vista and Win7 only allow audio output to one device/stream. I have a ATI video card where I use the HDMI video/audio output to my Sony Bravia. The ATI card supports 7.1 sound and is great. I NEED to have my AZIO working concurrently so I can appreciate the great Blue-ray audio as well.

Concurrent audio is a NEEDED feature. Please get it in WIN7!!!

triovela wrote on January 18, 2010, 7:32pm

The lack of this feature must be fixed.

towarf wrote on January 26, 2010, 11:40pm

This IS possible I don't know how yet and am trying to figure it out...here's why....

Under normal circumstances I have to set either my speakers or USB headset as default to make it work. However, skype has a little checkbox for the ringtone to "ring all devices". It works, when a call comes in it rings my speakers AND my USB headset simultaneously.

So, if the skype guys figured out how to access multiple devices, it's possible, the question is how and how can this be applied golbally outside of a specific app?

pyrates wrote on January 27, 2010, 3:56am

Because skype is using the api that Microsoft provides to do this. It's quite common. It's how my suggestion with using virtual audio driver works. The api is published and is not secret.

CraiginNJ wrote on February 3, 2010, 1:43pm

FYI, my application is that my HDMI cable feeds my big HDTV in another room and my analog VGA and audio feed my desktop monitor & speakers. My video is easily fed to both screens simultaneously. Of course I want whichever room I'm in at the moment to get the audio, too, without having to shut off the other room's audio.

It's possible to split analog audio to two destinations with Y-adapters, but that doesn't work for a 50' HDMI cable. (My speakers don't take digital audio and long HDMI's cable runs can't handle splits, either.)

The only workaround I know is Muzychenko's Virtual Audio Cable, but I've read that is blocked by Win7's UAC prohibitation of 'kernal' drivers that don't have $expensive$ digital signatures. (Though audio hardly seems to be a kernal kind of thing.) Since I refuse to disable UAC, VAC is unusable.

If Microsoft or the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or someone (or even a group of individuals) were generous enough to commit to making a recurring annual donation covering the $cost$ ($150-$200?) of the driver digital signing to Muzychenko each year, then we'd all have a 3rd party solution for those people like us that really-really need it without having to have Microsoft make any programming effort at all.

Comment edited on February 3, 2010, 2:43pm

Comment edited on February 3, 2010, 2:44pm

mrceolla wrote on February 3, 2010, 2:59pm

Virtual Audio Cable does seem to work in Win7. I haven't played much with VAC itself, but the AudioRepeater.exe program included in the package does actually work. Not 100% perfectly, but it works. With that audiorepeater program, you select a source (ie. Microsoft Sound Mapper) and then an output (ie. analog audio out). Then it will send all audio going through the Sound Mapper to the analog outputs regardless of what the system default sound device is. This is how I can send music through both digital and analog outputs at the same time. However, my audio will eventually begin skipping and dropping out when this program is running. It doesn't do it often and it could be my configuration, but the dropouts are annoying. I've searched for VAC forums but haven't found any good support out there for this thing.

I haven't figured out how to downmix 5.1 and send that through analog too, which would be nice, but at least I have a semi-working work-around to my simultaneous digital/analog problem.

CraiginNJ wrote on February 3, 2010, 4:32pm

VAC isn't compatible with *64-bit* Win7's kernal driver signing UAC requirements. VAC doesn't have a kernal driver digital signature because it's too expensive for the author. As I understand it, there's no convenient way to use VAC in 64-bit Win7 without disabling the security requirement that drivers have a digital signature, and in my book disabling security features is a no-no.

Yes, I've been reading today about the issue of 5.1 + stereo simultaneously, too. It has been looking like that's simply impossible because the audio processing has to chose one more or the other, not both. There's even a theory that digital output might flow out HDMI + S/PDIF + TOSLINK all at the same time, which would enable someone to buy an external S/PDIF or TOSLIN to analog L/R converter. (A Geffin 5.1 to analog converter is about $130; plain stereo to analog via geffin is about $80). I have no ability to test S/PDIF or TOSLINK for anything, and have no idea which one I'd have to use in order to have HDMI do whatever it's doing (5.1?) and try to run S/PDIF-to-analog in parallel. Such external converters, though, downgrade the audio quality a little due to digital sampling, so that approach isn't my preference anyway. Since I think I have Realtek in my Asus, I'll eventually get around to trying the Realtek drivers + drop-in hackfile solution for mere stereo via both HDMI + analog (switchable to exclusively 5.1 over the HDMI).

pyrates wrote on February 3, 2010, 5:10pm

You don't need to disable UAC to use virtual audio cable. That's just the people who made VAC misunderstanding how to work with UAC. I had posted a comment on how to enable you to install VAC by allowing developer signed drivers in windows 7, but it was lost when all the comments after march were lost. But that fee to have the driver signed is per year. Considering all they need to do is sell 4 per year, I think they're just being cheap.

CraiginNJ wrote on February 3, 2010, 6:25pm

We don't really know what VAC's costs would be (selling and currency exchange rate fees, tech support labor, incremental development labor, a new $1500 64-bit Win7 testbed PC, etc.). We can only assume that someone bright enough to create VAC has done the math on costs and how many more purchasers it would attract, and compared that to other uses of their time. We can only assume he reached a logical conclusion that, apparently, at this particular point in time, adding a real driver signature isn't the best use of his time and money.

As I read it, without the pricey digital signature, VAC needs 64-bit Win7 to run in "test mode" to disable that security protection, i.e., you have open your PC to the risks of that form of malware. Some people don't care about that risk, some do. I do. (VAC suggests an alternative that requires manual intervention every time the PC starts, but that would be painfully inconvenient for me.)

I hope you'll forgive me for citing "test mode" as disabling "UAC" -- I think of them as all part of the same security system.

Best regards,

Craig

jijotomy wrote on February 3, 2010, 6:59pm

I tried VAC and it works best for audio alone. When it comes to video, the latency in the audio linked to the VAC kills the purpose. If any one knows how to overcome that, please share it.

I don't understand why MS can't include this one tiny but immensely useful feature into Windows 7. Isn't it better to have a basic functionality and then let others improve on it instead of saying, 'we have built the API, so let some one write an application and let other pay to use it'? If MS wants the computers that run their OS to be the epicenter of household entertainment, simultaneous output to multiple devices would be a great tool to have built-in.

And don't tell me it's a tough thing to implement when we can have the video output to multiple monitors at the same time. If they do it for video, should audio be any different?

Comment edited on February 4, 2010, 5:07am

jijotomy wrote on February 3, 2010, 7:01pm



Comment edited on February 4, 2010, 5:08am

CraiginNJ wrote on February 3, 2010, 7:12pm

jijotomy, were you using the old version VAC or the newer one with Kernal Streaming for improved latency? It also claims to support multichannel audio (at least in Vista).

CraiginNJ wrote on February 3, 2010, 7:42pm

Re: my prior posting reference to a Realtek workaround

FWIW, it turns out that my fancy new Asus P7P55D-E Premium uses Via audio instead. Like the Win7 speaker mixer settings, the Asus-branded [Via] Envy HD control panel forces me to pick one output (speakers, digital out [HDMI], or S/PDIF) to the exclusion of others. (It overrides the Win7 mixer, too -- if I have both open and pick a contradictory source in the Win7 mixer, that is ignored.) I wonder if there is a Via/Asus equivalent to the Realtek workaround.

FWIW2, while I was streaming some music out over HDMI the EnvyHD control panel was able to simultaneously send a test sound to the analog speakers without having to switch the default source. (Both sounded great.) So apparently my hardware can handle digital & analog output simultaneously, even from independent sources, if software supported it.

pyrates wrote on February 4, 2010, 3:24am

@CraiginNJ

64-bit signing of drivers is a requirement for any 64-bit windows. The developer is going to have far less sales from ordinary users who don't know how to do the work around to enable developer signed drivers to work. So yes they will lose money. Plus they already have a 64-bit system as otherwise they wouldn't be able to compile a 64-bit version.

Also, allowing for developer signed drivers does not compromise your system in anyway because you still get prompted that it is not a signed driver. The only difference is that you can click on continue to allow it to then load. It's never automatic. It has to get your permission to load it.

@jijotomy

Audio and video are completely separate things when it comes to multiple outputs, so you can't compare them. Video is simply outputting an image to one video port and then the same thing on another video port. Each with their own resolution and whether it is a mirror or an extended desktop. The image does not change.

Audio is much more complicated then that. You are assuming it is simple because you're not the one having to implement it. We know the hardware is capable of it, but there are so many more options and configuration details.

For example if it is ac3 audio with analog out it needs to check how many analog channels of audio the system has and if it needs to, down mix it to the number that the computer has. Then for the digital out, it has to be told if it should send the audio compressed or uncompressed. If it's compressed, it has to be a reciever who can decode the ac3 audio. If it's uncompressed, it will only be 2 channels of audio or if it's hdmi out, then it can be up to 8 channels of uncompressed audio depending on how many channels of audio the ac3 audio had.

Now that is for one sound card. You also gotta deal with dts audio, dolby digital plus audio, etc. Multiply that configuration by the amount of sound cards you got in your computer and it starts to get complicated.

Unless you only want 2 channel audio and never surround sound audio, which is perfectly fine, that's ok. But the only way I'd want it is by that amount of detail in the configuration, no less. The reason why it's simple for skype to implement is because it deals with 2 channel audio only, so of course it can send out the audio on all sound cards because they all support 2 channel audio. It doesn't have to deal with the multitude of audio codecs that the detailed configuration is gonna need.

Plus when setting up a media center pc, I like to upscale my audio by expanding it from 2 channels to 5.1, or if it's already at 5.1 leave it at 5.1, and be automatically encoded into ac3 audio. I do that through ac3filter. But the effect even in windows xp, is that then I only get audio through the digital port, not the analog port when it does that.

So it is not as simple as you think it is. If it is so important to you, the api's are available. Make it as a plug-in in windows media player, there's one already for winamp and it can play video, or even better, create an audio driver that allows you to specify these kind of options so it's system wide. I know we'll look forward to it when you're done.

jijotomy wrote on February 4, 2010, 4:00am

@pyrates: Thanks for charting out all the complexities with the different audio formats and devices. Whoa, it certainly looks more than what the Windows 7 team can handle! And I was thinking it would have been easier than building the hardware and the API's (pardon me if both are the same).

And I liked the challenge thrown at me. I have a (very old) Lexus 4WD SUV. As a 4WD it can power up all 4 wheels. What if they had told me: 'Hey, we have built the hardware for 4WD in your car. To activate it, you may either install a controller at your local mechanic or better build yourself one. Let's know when you built one so we may also know how to do it"!

@noone: Is there a job vacancy for defending Microsoft in these pages? I'd like to apply for part time.

msthilaire wrote on February 4, 2010, 7:05am

Here's one potential workaround that I've been using:
http://www.vistaaudiochanger.com/

It doesn't allow simultaneous, but you can at least automate the switching of channels based on applications and use hotkeys ( which means it's sciptable with stufff like autohotkey ) to switch on demand or when performing certain tasks.

If anyone finds some sort of powered device that will take optical in and split it into optical out (with no loss of resolution) and analog ( 2 channel is fine ) let me know!

blanco815 wrote on February 5, 2010, 3:26pm

@ msthilaire: I read about this on either this or another forum. I resisted doing this for months thinking that I would find some software workaround but after following this forum finally decided on this for now. I split the digital audio out signal from the computer with a coaxial splitter ($15), you can get an optical splitter for about $6. I ran one digital signal directly into my home theater amplifier and the other into a Gefen digital audio converter (http://www.gefen.com/kvm/dproduct.jsp?prod_id=5980). I am only using Dolby 5.1 so this works fine for me. The output from this device is anaolg L/R audio which then also goes into my amplifier to privide the signal to the other zones which needed an analog signal. Problem solved for now. The setup was effortless and it worked exactly as billed with no problems. Hope this helps until there is a solution from Microsoft.

msthilaire wrote on February 6, 2010, 6:48pm

@blanco815: I was hesitant to go this way because I'm worried the optical signal would be too weak after splitting. I saw a lot of reviews on the splitter indicating it didn't work, but after reading them a second time I think half of them were trying to use it in reverse and/or maybe had some other issue.

I like the Gefen unit because it's powered, and very reasonably priced, no switching, etc. I too need RCA output since thats what my Niles multizzone amp needs.

I ended up buying an optical splitter for $4, Gefen DAC $54, and a 3' optical cable to couple the splitter with the DAC. All from Amazon.com, I think final total with shipping it'll be around $75.

I'll let you know how it goes, looking forward to having music in my media room and in the rest of the house at the same time again.

Now if I can only get my Auzentech Prelude to output DTS or DD without hiccups, but thats a whole other story.

pyrates wrote on February 6, 2010, 7:42pm

That may work for plain stereo audio, which is uncompressed 2 channel audio. But when you send it a compressed audio codec like ac3 or dts, it will only come out of the digital link because it doesn't look like it does any kind of decoding and then down mixing of the audio to stereo for the rca output. So when you watch a movie with surround sound, you're only gonna get it out of the digital link from the Gefen DAC and not the analog one.

msthilaire wrote on February 7, 2010, 6:20pm

Hmm that could be a problem if I set the default to be DTS on the audio console.... I'll make sure to test that out.

Currently DTS doesn't work very well (choppy audio) with my sound card though, so it will only become an issue when they finally fix the drivers.

CraiginNJ wrote on February 18, 2010, 7:12am

FYI - VAC 4.10 (Virtual Audio Cable), released a couple of days ago, appears to have added a digital signature. http://software.muzychenko.net/eng/vac.html
So I can now try the trial version and see if it satisfies my need to simultaneously output to remote HDTV via HDMI and to local speakers via analog jacks from my new Win7 64-bit PC.

lflier wrote on February 27, 2010, 2:49pm

I've struggled with this for a few hours and here's what I discovered. Some of this has probably already been discussed, but I'll list it all here anyway:

1. Windows XP allows you to output sound to more than one audio device
2. Vista and Windows 7 do not (which is why we're having this discussion)
3. It is possible, in some applications, to workaround this problem by setting the output device directly from the application. For example, I can set the Windows 7 default device to SPDIF and have Windows Media Player send its signal to the speakers (Options\Devices\Speakers\Properties). Magically, WMP playback now occurs through both the default output device (SPDIF) and the speakers. [Which leads me to believe that what we want Windows 7 do wouldn't be difficult to implement.]
4. Sadly, this workaround doesn't work for applications that don't allow you to define the output device. Like iTunes :-(
5. Another workaround for my application (I want to output to two separate AV receivers) is to us a product like M-Audio's new "Transit" USB device or their older (but sweet sounding) Audiophile 2496 PCI card. Both of these devices allow simultaneous analog stereo and SPDIF output. I have the 2496 card in another computer and I've confirmed that it works in Windows 7; I've read elsewhere that the Transit also works. I'm only interested in stereo right now. I'm not sure how these products would do with 7.1 audio.
6. A third way to do what I want to do is to use a splitter on the SPDIF output. I haven't tried this, but I'm tempted. RiteAV sells an optical splitter and TOSLINK amplifier that might work. I've heard that the optical splitters weaken the signal, but maybe with the amplifier I could get it to work. I have a long run to the second AV receiver and I'm worried that the signal will be too weak when it reaches the other end. If I get this to work, I'll post an update.

CraiginNJ wrote on February 27, 2010, 3:44pm

FYI, I tried VAC 4.10 and I could get it to work fairly well in one particular configuration. However, there was a slight timing lag in the audio and audio quality was slightly degrated due to digital sampling, so I've decided to wait for a better solution without those side effects.

lflier's summary is very good. Note, however, that it is not good to split an HDMI output that will need to go another 50' (using a special cable) to a remote room. Over distances like that, any weakening of the signal from splitting (or even a manual HDMI switch) can destabilize the signal. What we really need is a Windows "feature" to drive audio to two outputs simultaneously (one analog and one digital) ... without resorting to digital sampling to generate the second signal.

pyrates wrote on February 27, 2010, 9:43pm

Just a correction:

@lflier said:

1. Windows XP allows you to output sound to more than one audio device

This is not true. If there are 2 sound cards or 1 sound card and a usb headset with a mic, it will not work. Choose either the sound card or the usb headset.

What changed starting with windows vista and continued with windows 7, was Microsoft separated the audio outputs on a single audio device, so you can select which one you wanted to use. This has the benefit of them creating an api that allows you to specify to send audio out to more then one device or more then one output on a device and in a certain way depending on what the audio device or output was. For example, send ac3 audio compressed over the digital output but send it uncompressed over the analog output but at 6 channels. Then on the usb headset send the ac3 audio uncompressed but down mixed to 2 channels so it's stereo. This wasn't possible before.

Now the reason why the products M-Audio's new "Transit" USB device and Audiophile 2496 PCI card can output to more then one output is because they used the above api to achieve that. So it can be achieved in the driver, which means less latency, or using the api to build it into windows which means there may be some latency added. And I don't mean to do it as VAC did.

With the VAC solution, try the kernel mode application and see if that gets rid of the latency.

CraiginNJ wrote on February 27, 2010, 10:45pm

pyrates: I already had tried VAC kernal mode and it would not work in my 64-bit system with my audio hardware. MME mode worked even with as little as 100ms latency (KM could only do 50ms better -- not much difference, but still too distracting when both sets of speakers can be heard at the same time). Maybe it needs to be closer to 25ms to avoid that echo effect? (I haven't tested with videos, but I assume it needs to be more like 25ms to avoid being out of sync with video.) In any event, digital sampling doesn't preserve the same audio quality, so I'm not using VAC.

msthilaire wrote on March 1, 2010, 12:53am

I am now using a splitter and the DAC from Geffen and can report that it works perfectly well so far with some limited testing.

I don't have the ability to test with DTS or Dolby so I don't know if the split optical signal going to my receiver will be happy or now. If only my sound card would actually output DTS/DDS in win7-64 like it's supposed to ( Auzentech Prelude ), supposedly it's an xfi driver problem or something.

pyrates wrote on March 1, 2010, 5:08am

@msthilaire

That's a codec issue, not a windows 7 driver issue with dts/ac3. Check out ac3filter. That allows you to set whether on the digital out you output ac3/dts compressed or uncompressed as 6 channel on the analog output.

rb1980 wrote on March 14, 2010, 6:43am

MS, please add this feature! I need to send the sound from my audio application to 2 different USB based wireless transmitters that feed amps in different zones.

kcchesnut wrote on March 18, 2010, 7:48pm

I need to output to simultaneous audio devices at the same time for a treadmill desk. So there are 2 workspaces (using my laptop at a sitting desk, or using the keyboard/mouse/monitor setup at the treadmill desk). So i'd like to have audio come out of the notebook speakers when i'm sitting, and also out of the monitor with the audio supplied over HDMI. Right now, I have to manually switch default devices (laptop speaker or treadmill monitor).

Better yet, I need an API to let me control the default input and output devices. Then I could write an app that would know when i was using the sitting keyboard/mouse or the treadmill keyboard/mouse and it would automatically setup the appropriate speaker and microphone device. If I was sitting, it would send output to laptop speakers and get input from internal microphone. And if I was at the treadmill desk, it would automatically switch over to sending audio to the monitors speakers over HDMI and the USB microphone array setup on it. I use speech recognition while sitting or walking ... so 2 mics as well.

I switch between sitting and walking multiple times throughout the day, so having to manually adjust the default audio devices each time is not convenient.

CraiginNJ wrote on March 18, 2010, 8:03pm

kcchesnut: I recommend you consider a KVM switch instead. HDMI KVM's are very expensive, DVI KVM's are pretty expensive, but VGA KVM's are reasonably priced. I personally use an ioGear GCS1802 rather than cheaper ones. (Chosen for technical feature & reliability reasons I won't go into here, but I've tried a few over the years.). This model also has speaker & mic jacks so you can switch your computer between two sets of keyboard / video / mouse / USBperipherals / speakers / mic. (Or just bypass the KVM for devices that don't need to be switched.)

kcchesnut wrote on March 18, 2010, 9:11pm

CraiginNJ: I don't see how a KVM will let me keep using the internal speakers and internal mic on my laptop? If I had a tower, sure.

CraiginNJ wrote on March 18, 2010, 10:12pm

If you prefer your laptop's internal speakers, mic, and keyboard, then I can see how you wouldn't like the idea of a KVM. I'd recommend the better quality of external ones, but I certainly respect your preference which is certainly simpler. That leaves you with the issue of audio output. I'd imagine another alternative with good audio quality that you won't like is to add external analog speakers at your desk and a Y-splitter to direct your audio to both those and your treadmill's speakers. I imagine you're already using the simplest option: just plug in the treadmill's speakers into the laptop's audio jack when needed. (That seems an easier & higher-quality solution than any currently available software solution on Vista or Win7.)

kcchesnut wrote on March 18, 2010, 10:45pm

CraiginNJ : right, i dont want to add anymore external speakers or mic.

but your KVM idea gave me an idea. i'll ignore that the HDMI cable is doing audio. instead, i'll use a USB sound card for the mic/speaker output to the treadmill. i'll have the USB sound card set as the default device(s), and then i'll enable/disable it in software or hardware. when its enabled, all the audio will be from the treadmill side. when its disabled, it will rollover to the internal mic and speakers while sitting. so far, my attempts at disabling the device in software have met with 'access is denied' ... but i have a couple other tricks to try. otherwise, i can do it physically. i dont want to physically plug/unplug the sound adapter everytime, so then i could use a KVM switch. when i switch it to computer B (which doesnt exist), i'm assuming the device should become disabled on my laptop. switch the KVM back, and it should become the default device(s) again. and it looks like some of the KVM switches accept keyboard commands, so i might be able to switch it from my software app. ugly, but i think it will work. Thanks

bp22 wrote on March 24, 2010, 2:14am

There is an easy workaround for Realtek audio devices in Vista and Windows 7:

http://neosmart.net/downloads/guides/Vista_Sound/rtkhdaud.zip

Extract to C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\ and reboot. I confirm this works in Win7 Pro x64. Note that you will only get 2-channels to the digital output, but that's fine for music.

Original guide found here:
http://neosmart.net/blog/2006/vista-sound-drivers/

stonzTwo wrote on April 7, 2010, 10:46pm

I completely agree that something needs to be done about this. I have an HTPC connected to my TV via HDMI, and speakers in the adjacent room (via headphone jack) for listening to music and such. It's a pain in the rear to have to switch the audio device depending on what room I'm in- I want to be able to walk back and forth and still hear my computer!!

JDHatman wrote on April 12, 2010, 5:48pm

Please do something. I have my desktop permanently hooked up to my home theater system. Most of the time I use the desktop speakers. However, many times I use the HDMI audio output so that I can have audio in the living room. It's a pain to have to set the default audio device every time I want to switch to one or the other. Argh!!!!!!!

-Jason

stygian wrote on April 20, 2010, 9:03am

I'd like to add my voice to this. I have an HTPC connected to the TV via VGA + stereo output, and optical out to the surround sound (both from the onboard soundcard). I wish to use the stereo speakers on the TV for regular use (for simplicity's sake & the Girlfriend Approval Factor :) ), and be able to switch on the surround sound and get 5.1 when I watch a DVD. And I would like to acheive this without having to spend several minutes working through the Media Center audio settings wizard (and interrupting the movie playback when I've forgotten to switch before starting the movie)!

Geddy wrote on April 20, 2010, 11:39am

Me too. There are endless posts on forums on the net where people are very frustrated by this. Microsoft needs to get into the 21st century. HTPC's are common we need software support.

ristiisa wrote on April 21, 2010, 7:58pm

I would absolutely like and use this feature.

yagya wrote on May 3, 2010, 6:49pm

hell im am just fed up up of changing audio devices each time i hc to use a headphone ang again change to use speakers please fix it as it is making my life very difficult. this one thing ruined the whole fun of windows 7 to me xp was better as it wasnt that cumbersome

yagya wrote on May 3, 2010, 6:49pm

hell im am just fed up up of changing audio devices each time i hc to use a headphone ang again change to use speakers please fix it as it is making my life very difficult. this one thing ruined the whole fun of windows 7 to me xp was better as it wasnt that cumbersome

fiver wrote on May 6, 2010, 2:43am

If any developers here know enough about low level system audio, please contribute to the pulseaudio project.

The latest stable build that runs on Windows only supports one sound card. It is several years old, and since then pulseaudio has made a number of internal architectural changes and it is not building on Windows at all.

I am convinced that it would not be terribly difficult to get Pulsaudio building under Cygwin if there were just a few more good people working on it.

PulseAudio will solve all of these problems.

Also, @CraiginNJ: Please read the manual for VAC. There is no digital re-sampling and no loss of quality. I don't know why you think this but it is incorrect. There is a problem with your system or a problem with your VAC configuration.

CraiginNJ wrote on May 6, 2010, 7:15am

fiver, there's a discrepancy between your assertion and my observations: The only mode that worked for me (MME) has "sample rate" and "bits per sample" settings. The Kernal Mode might be what you're thinking of, but even if that had worked in my configuration it has those same two settings. It is hard to imagine why such settings would be present or why there was a noticable delay (latency) in duplicating the audio if it weren't doing re-sampling. Whatever the mechanism is, though, I assure you besides the delay, in my tests I definitely observed a noticable loss in audio quality (less vibrant/crisp).

Regarding your other point, I admittedly don't understand how a Linux app running through a Windows translator could offer a solution to the need for duplicated audio when the obstacle in Windows (if I didn't misunderstand others' comments) seems to be at a deep, security-protected Windows kernal level.

Comment edited on May 6, 2010, 9:17am

swordams wrote on June 6, 2010, 1:30pm

It makes more and more sense to do this as time goes on. PCs are powerful enough to run media applications, games and productivity software simultaneously, and more people connecting their PC to their home entertainment systems. Almost every new home computer comes with an HDMI output. It's so easy to connect a PC to a television. Why not allow users to watch a movie with audio on their televisions while another user plays an game on the desktop monitor, for example?

tiagoney wrote on June 22, 2010, 2:28am

My case is: I have my computer (a Notebook) conected to a fullhd lcd tv wich is also sometime used as a monitor.

The point is:
- I want to be able to use the TV to pass my blueray movies (with sound) through HDMI
- I want to listen to music, play games and/navigate the internet without that same sound going through the HDMI cable, but through my speakers set instead.

tiagoney wrote on June 22, 2010, 2:31am

My case is: I have my computer (a Notebook) conected to a fullhd lcd tv wich is also sometime used as a monitor.

The point is:
- I want to be able to use the TV to pass my blueray movies (with sound) through HDMI
- I wanna listen to music, play games and/navigate the internet without that same sound going through the HDMI cable, but through my speakers set instead.

Chosing which application sends audio through which audio device would solve the problem.

KHWOODIE wrote on July 21, 2010, 7:29pm

In addition to the issue of of not being able to output to more than one audio device simultaneously MS needs to consider adding video to this issue. I have been pleasantly surprised at the number of websites providing various audio/video feeds. Recently discovered Daryl Hall's great website showcasing old and new talent from his post and beam farmhouse studio. Got to see Todd Rundgren and Daryl do Expressway to your Heart. Go To: http://www.livefromdarylshouse.com/ If my wife wants to see this on the TV via my WiFi setup and my son wants to watch an Blacked Out football game in the computer room I have a house up in arms. MS
has to consider the video requrement with the audio issue.

pyrates wrote on July 22, 2010, 12:35am

Video is completely different and I don't think you understand your setup. I don't understand it either. How do you have a computer connected to your tv that is in a different room via wifi? If it's just a long video cable, then don't have the video output configured in mirror mode. That can be changed in display settings. That's easily done and you can do it right now.

If you're trying to share one computer with 2 people at the same time who want to watch different stuff, I suggest you get a separate media center pc instead. Watching stuff on the web is designed for the computer and not a tv.

shannon wrote on July 27, 2010, 8:41pm

I had an XP MC PC, and loved the feature of being able to output to two or more audio devices simultaneously. Very disappointed that it is not available in Windows 7. My computer is in my office, but connected to my TV (HDMI cable) and receiver (SPDIF) in the rec room. It is a real pain to have to switch over from my office speakers to the receiver every time, especially when it wasn't an issue with XP. Why are we taking a step backward?

pyrates wrote on July 28, 2010, 1:43am

Actually you couldn't in windows xp. What you could do was output to multiple audio devices on 1 sound card, which is what you have. Windows 7 separates it in order to allow for each output device on a sound card to have a different configuration. For example one could be for outputting uncompressed stereo audio while another is for compressed 5.1 ac3/dts surround sound.

If you want both stereo with no surround sound, give this a try:

http://www.fox-magic.com/vac.php

shannon wrote on July 28, 2010, 5:38am

pyrates, I am a little confused by your post.... perhaps I wasn't clear with mine. I simply stated that with windows xp, sound would be coming SIMULTANEOUSLY through the speakers connected in my office (to the 1/8" lineout on my computer), AND through the speakers connected to the receiver (connected to the digital output on the computer). With no fussing around. Great feature, when listening to music, I could be in either room, and voila, SOUND. Out of the box.... I don't think this point can be refuted.

Then there's Windows 7... I must go to my computer and switch outputs, depending on which room I'm in. This seems ludicrous to me, and a step backward.

There are so many things I like about Windows 7, but not this.

Thanks for the VAC suggestion. I will check it out, however it appears there is a license fee. It would be nice if Microsoft actually gave some indication as to whether they plan on looking at this or not before I fuss around with third party software.

In other posts I've read around the internet, it appears that this was also a VISTA issue, and some users seemed to be given the idea that Microsoft was working on this issue.

pyrates wrote on July 28, 2010, 6:12am

shannon, the analog output and the digital output are 2 separate outputs. They're on the same sound card, but they're 2 separate outputs. The reason why they were separated starting with vista is because before you could not have settings for each one, now you can. One such setting is that the digital output can be set to pass compressed 5.1 audio while analog can only pass stereo output.

Another reason why they were separated is so that you can designate one audio output with a mic for communications such as voip and another audio output device for sound. The api's are there for any application to designate a specific audio output like skype currently does. It can even designate 2 or more audio output devices. But the default audio output is limited to one audio device. An example of this is when you're listening to music and someone on skype calls you, the music you were listening to on the default audio output is lowered automatically until the skype call is over.

The VAC suggestion can be tried for free. If you use winamp to listen to music, you can download a plugin that allows you to select which audio device you want to use and all you gotta do is install 2 of those plugins. Then just set each one to a different audio device.

shannon wrote on July 28, 2010, 6:19am

One other oddity.
I mostly listen via Itunes in my office, and Windows Media Center in the rec room. So I thought I would set the default output to "Speaker" (which would be great for Itunes) and set Windows Media Center output to be SPDIF.
However, I quickly found out that changing the output in Windows Media Center also changed the DEFAULT setting. I don't think this is the way it is supposed to work. I tried the same thing with Windows Media Player, and it did NOT change the default setting.

And... unfortunately, you cannot change device in Itunes, so I cannot approach it from that angle.

davepl wrote on August 13, 2010, 7:42pm

What a waste. I retired my old Gateway Destination that I bought in probably 2005 and supported this right out of the box. I replaced it with a 12GB, i7, 64-bit Win7 machine and have LOST this valuable feature.

LarryO, who once requested a repro of where this ever worked, there it is: the Gateway Destinations you could buy from the Gateway store 1 mile from campus (it's Panera Bread now...) with the Soundblaster Audigy 2GS (I think).

I actually wrote the first prototype of Windows Media Center back in '95 and demo'd it during the keynote at Networld+Interop in 1996: Thus I have a sentimental reason for wishing this thing actually worked well enough to use. My particular scenario isn't common (routed video & audio to multiple TVs, some of which are digital and some of which still need analog), but I'm obviously not alone.

I guess its back to XP for now, and the extra 8.5G of RAM sitting in the machine will just generate heat :-(

neonafk wrote on August 19, 2010, 7:37pm

Why did windows disable this? Ugh. Anyone have a solution yet?

mrceolla wrote on August 19, 2010, 11:24pm

This is the only solution I have found:

http://www.gefen.com/kvm/dproduct.jsp?prod_id=5980

I use an external SoundBlaster that has both coax and optical digital outputs. One output goes to my main receiver, the other goes to this converter. I then pipe the analog output of this converter back into my main receiver in order to feed audio to zones 2 and 3. (my receiver will only ouput analog to other zones which is why I needed the functionality described in this thread)

The one downside to this method is that the analog ouput of this device is noticably lower for Dolby Digital than it is for PCM audio. I didn't have that problem when using the anlog output of the external SoundBlaster with XP.

Comment edited on August 20, 2010, 1:28am

mati wrote on September 1, 2010, 2:09am

I don't quite understand the VAC solution:

Is it routing digital signals ? (between say the outputs of WMP & Inputs of sound cards)
Or
Is it routing the actual analog audio signals between outputs of One sound card to the Input of Another.

If it handles the digital stream (option 1) then why is it not a perfect perfect solution ? (although unfortunately it costs money).
If it routes analog signals then it degrades the quality, the more it routes. and it would not be useful if the Sound cards are USB.

Anybody can clarify the above ? , Thank you



pyrates wrote on September 1, 2010, 2:58am

It's digital. It's not a perfect solution cuz it costs money.

mati wrote on September 1, 2010, 9:56am

So .... is this actually the only mission of this entire discussion ? - convince Microsoft to incorporate VOC functionality into Windows 7 ?

Did anybody try VOC to his satisfaction ? Their free version allows for only ONE cable and would not allow a mix.

bmguyii wrote on October 5, 2010, 4:27pm

This seems like a complete no brainer for MS.
I have hdmi audio to my receiver/TV and need to get the same audio stream output over RCA to Zone2. This way I can play music inside and out on the patio.

Where are the open source / freeware developers? Why are the audio companies not jumping on this?

neonafk wrote on October 5, 2010, 5:58pm

So,

I fixed this problem...

You all have an optical out on your motherboards correct??

http://www.amazon.com/Cables-Go-27027-Toslink-Splitter/dp/B0002344GG

Split the optical out, and then you have 2 outputs for sound...

Take the Optical sounds and "downgrade" them to analog...

http://www.amabilidade2002.com/toslink.htm

something cheaper can be found, idk where the link is,

There you have it, and if you convert both signals, you have two output devices you can run analog signals on!

enjoy

MrShaper wrote on October 13, 2010, 5:04pm

i still dont get

I want to have sound from a Browser/Media Player or what ever it is on my Boxes.
At the same time:
i want the sound from a game, something else where i cant say in the App wich dounddevice to use on my USB headset.

On WinXP this worked when i switched the sounddevice.
On Win7 it switches all the sound from all Apps (game, browser, media player) to the new default sounddevice

Can you tell me howto fix this i am not happy in going backwards from Win7 to WinXP ... but i cant find a solution... and i realy need it !!!

awoodby wrote on November 30, 2010, 4:18pm

I too would REALLY appreciate being able to use headphones, then turn on stereo to play music for guests, without a complicated setting change.

There's no reason we can't output on both at once, please make it so!

drumgiles wrote on November 30, 2010, 5:10pm

I run a multi-zone sound system in my house with 3 amps, all connected via TOS link to avoid Analogue delays and inteference (not to mention TOS cable is much cheaper and easier to thread thru walls!)

I want to add a PA system for my electric Drum kit which only supports Analogue inputs. I therefore need to output analogue aswell as optical from my main PC (which hosts my music library).

I assumed that I would simply be able to do this (like all my other devices - the sky box, the TV media box, the DAB receiver etc...) And therefore just bought a brand new PC to do music editing on with the drum kit - but it doesn't work unless I manually change the output device.

Thank you to all of the suggestion above, I'm sure I'll get around it by following one of them BUT I'm very surprised that it doesn't just work. I'm in the I.T. business and hate having to hack around with things that "should just work".

Please Microsoft, sort this one out - it does seem pretty fundamental...

awoodby wrote on November 30, 2010, 5:15pm

There's an app
"default sound switcher"
that just puts a systray icon to allow you to switch default sound. Should help a LITTLE, but still not great.

also, I'm going to try "Virtual Audio Cable", an app that may allow routing through IT as a default device and maybe it can output to multiple outputs?

Will post my results.

By the way, if you look at "most popular submissions" every one in the top ten is still listed as unfixed, so i'm not very optimistic about this board helping :)

drumgiles wrote on November 30, 2010, 5:23pm

Thanks for the tip and the optimism.

Yep, I can do that but I'm keen to be able to keep the main system playing music whilst I'm playing the drums through the PA (on my headphones, mainly ;)

And yep, I also spotted "Virtual Audio Cable" and was going to see if that one worked. I'll do the same.

SBK wrote on December 20, 2010, 7:01pm

This problem makes Windows 7 a problem for anyone who is considering a home theater system, with any quality amplifier that requires both digital and audio inputs for different zones, Typically Zone 2 requires analog, whereas zone 1 should be digital. The fact that Microsoft is not even listing this on their website as a problem, told me to short and/or sell my Microsoft stock, as Home Theater is the future, and instead buy and invest in Apple and Google.

Virtual Audio Cable works, but it is clumsey and does not work for iTunes, nor for other apps that do not allow you to designate the VAC as the audio device.

SBK wrote on December 20, 2010, 7:49pm

I just reviewed the other solutions what appears is most viable is the person who posted and will try the one to split the digital output, send one to the amplifier, Zone 1, and the other to a digital to analog audio converter, and back into my amplifier to Zone 2. Thank you for your input and experiences.

Hopefully Microsoft or a sound card mfgr will come up with a less mickey mouse solution.

k3_4u wrote on January 5, 2011, 12:52am

i think this software might help

http://hotfile.com/dl/93761638/29be06c/win7audiochanger.rar.html

its also a script made exe file

peterwalker78 wrote on January 30, 2011, 8:33pm

If you have a realtek soundcard, there is a file you can google for - rtkhdaud.dat - that if you drop it into your 'C:\Windows\System32\Drivers' folder, and reboot, will enable simultaneous output when analogue device is selected. This is hack rather than a fix, but it just proves how easy it would be for Microsoft to fix this.

pyrates wrote on January 30, 2011, 9:29pm

Actually what it means is that realtek used the api's provided by Microsoft to enable simultaneous output for the sound card.

But can someone confirm if this works if you're outputting ac3/dts compressed audio through the coax/spdif audio port and regular stereo is able be sent on there and all of that is still coming out of the analog audio ports?

peterwalker78 wrote on January 30, 2011, 10:14pm

Well whatever it means, I'm just glad there's a way that I can work around the problem that seems to have been introduced in Windows Vista, and carried forward to 7. I don't know about the external SPDIF connector, as I am using the internal SPDIF pins - connected to my GPU. I now get sound out of my PC speakers and my HDTV simultaneously.

I can also confirm that audio outputs to both analogue and digital simultaneously in both WindowsXP and Linux just fine.

rolts wrote on February 3, 2011, 8:13pm

Ran into same trouble. I want to send digital signal through HDMI to HDTV and also want that analogue signal remains active. Because I hate the idea of explaining to my spouse why music sometimes won't come out from PC into analogue amplifier. And I also hate that I have to set it manually myself. As poster above (drumgiles), I'm also working on the technical side of IT industry and hate hacking around things that should just work.

Supporting multiple devices pushing out same audio stream seems like a pretty elementary thing i'd expect from a modern OS today. As I'm not the only one integrating different devices into home theater system and preserving previous investments in sound system.

FrenchSteve wrote on March 29, 2011, 7:17am

My choice was Windows for my Home Theatre installation and I created 2 Audio zones, one 5.1 for movies with digital input and one 2.1 for music with analog input. I now bitterly regret my choice and I could have bought a simple blue ray player for the price of my windows licence !!!

BMN wrote on April 17, 2011, 5:02pm

yes this damnit.
xp had it easy with headphones and speakers both on (none to hear the singing..or any amount of shouting that happened to be going on just outside the bedroom--granted we moved (again??) and there is no longer a 'bedroom' for any one of us 'cept perhaps maybe ma^^;;)

BMN wrote on April 17, 2011, 5:04pm

yes this damnit.

xp had it easy with headphones and speakers both on (none to hear the singing..or any amount of shouting that happened to be going on just outside the bedroom--granted we moved (again??) and there is no longer a 'bedroom' for any one of us 'cept perhaps maybe ma^^;;)

now it's either one or the other. and despite da touting All his choices as the next generation of 'de highest tech like eva', things still stuff up, someway somehow multiple input usbs or sound devices just don't work =.=

BMN wrote on April 17, 2011, 5:04pm

yes this damnit.

xp had it easy with headphones and speakers both on (none to hear the singing..or any amount of shouting that happened to be going on just outside the bedroom--granted we moved (again??) and there is no longer a 'bedroom' for any one of us 'cept perhaps maybe ma^^;;)

now it's either one or the other. and despite da touting All his choices as the next generation of 'de highest tech like eva', things still stuff up, someway somehow multiple input usbs or sound devices just don't work =.=

pyrates wrote on April 17, 2011, 5:52pm

Actually if you plugged in multiple usb audio devices, like usb headsets, you'd still have to select which one to use in windows xp. All 7 and vista did was separate it further by separating the analog audio outputs and the digital audio output. Reason being so that you can set the digital audio output to send compressed audio such as dts and ac3.

SBK wrote on April 17, 2011, 6:17pm

The best Windows 7 fix that I found was to buy from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002KY4SQ6 , a Digital to Analog Audio Converter, that takes the SPDIF output from my Windows 7 computer, and split one digital signal for my Onkyo receiver digital input, and convert a second digital signal to analog output for input into the Onkyo's analog input. My Computer has an HDMI output, so in order to play my HDMI video, I first tune into PC (set to receive HDMI signal), and then switch to another input that has no video, such as CD or PORT, where I have hooked up my SPDIF and analog audio signals. This then plays my HDMI video and my SPDIF and Analog audio. The biggest hassle is that I must reset my default audio output on my Windows 7 computer to SPDIF, away from HDMI, if I want to output to my audio to all speakers.

Aranax wrote on April 30, 2011, 11:54pm

Spent two days to solve similar problem. Here is my configuration:
Windows x64 7 SP1 with latest drivers and updates installed.
Realtek HD Audio chipset
Stereo speakers via rear panel analog output
Headphones via front panel analjg output
AV Receiver via digital SPDIF output (48Khz).
K-lite Codec Pack 7.1 (32bit) with latest Media Player Home Cinema. (ffdshow audio configured for pass-throuhg AC3, DTS and encode other streams to DD).

I'm using a non-English Windows 7 so I noticed some problems in displaying output devices in different aplications (MP-HC, World of Warcraft ect.). Non English output device names simply missing in lists so i renamed them to "Speakers" and "Receiver" and this little problem with swithing output devices was fixed. I think this one doesn't exist in English Windows 7 ever.

lflier wrote on February 27, 2010, 2:49pm how to force WMP to use non-default output devices. I tested it with WMP (linked to Default or Speakers or Headphones). Its works fine. Same way MP-HC was linked to Receiver (Options - Output - Audio Reender). 1 little addiction i noticed - SPDIF should be used in monopoly mode only, rather Speakers (Default device) not.

mika wrote on May 1, 2011, 10:50am

How the hell do I unsubscribe from email updates?!

aneumann wrote on September 14, 2011, 2:39am

This is really damn annoying

ulcjonkyoyz wrote on October 2, 2011, 3:05pm



Comment edited on October 27, 2011, 6:37am

neelrocker wrote on January 3, 2012, 2:35pm

Please Microsoft consider multiple active simultaneous audio outputs (same device) and devices.

I use analog output from my soundcard for desktop speakers and my wireless headset uses a built-in soundcard (the wireless emitter USB dongle is a soundcard), which means I constantly need to switch default device between soundcard and headset, which is obviously a pain.


As a side note: does anyone know where we can still download win7audiochanger ? It has been removed from any file sharing link I visited :/

Finiderire wrote on February 1, 2012, 5:43pm

+1

A little "Add a Device" button under the Device in Volume Mixer would be a good thing.

Rene wrote on May 3, 2012, 10:00am

Very annoying. Every time i want to test a movie i must go to configuration ...... etc. etc.

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