soundcard which can output for 2 sets of speakers?

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soundcard which can output for 2 sets of speakers?

Postposted on Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:27 pm

Hey everyone,

Right now I have a set up where my PC has one video out to my monitor, and one to my TV across the room via HDMI.
I use a creative soundblaster T5400 system as the surround sound for the TV (I rewired the speakers so they could reach and position properly around the TV)
It has been working great for the past 5 years or so I've had it, but I'm going to get new sound equipment soon.

The plan is to get a home theater receiver and new speakers, and I would like for it to accept digital audio out and HDMI from the PC.
Also, I'd like to have separate speakers for the PC too. Probably just a 2.1 set up.

The problems I feel I'm going to face are:
-How would I switch between output on the PC 2.1 speakers for when I'm at the PC, to the digital out for the home theater when I'm watching a show? My soundcard is a soundblaster audigy 2, which has a digital out, and the regular speaker outs. My guess is I'd have to switch to "digital only" in my volume control for the home theater sound to work.
-My current video card (NVIDIA 9500GT) outputs only the video (I use a DVI to HDMI cord to the TV, and no sound goes to the TV), so how would the home theater receiver know to accept the video from HDMI, and sound from digital in at the same time? I realize HDMI should carry both audio and video.

Thanks in advance
Phat_J
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Re: soundcard which can output for 2 sets of speakers?

Postposted on Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:12 am

Welcome to the Techreport Forums!

I'll take the first crack.

I need to know two things though:
1. What motherboard is in your system
2. What operating system are you using

In Windows 7, it is trivial to assign programs to different audio devices, be they the HDMI output on a video card, the digital output on a soundcard, etc. I'm currently using the onboard Realtek as a digital 2.1 output to a surround sound receiver for my system, but I can easily switch this to analog for a headset as well as to the monitor's speakers (which I don't, as they're awful).

It also seems that you're trying to use a computer both as a workstation and as an HTPC concurrently. I don't think that this is a bad idea, but understand that it's going to require more management on your end for everything you do; everytime you switch from one function to the other you'll have to change settings, but this is very doable.

To switch between sound on the PC and digital out for a show, try using just one application for show viewing, and assign its audio output to the digital output only. If your board has a digital audio out I'd suggest using it for this purpose; it should also be able to pass encoded surround sound tracks directly to the receiver if the files have them.

With your video card outputting only video over the digital link, I'd suggest not hooking it up to the receiver at all, and just using the digital output on your motherboard as above. Otherwise the receiver may be confused as to what it's supposed to be looking for, but you shouldn't otherwise experience a problem. The main issue will be with HDCP and audio- if you intend to play Blu-rays or other HDCP encoded content, this solution will not work; you'll probably want to upgrade to a video card that can handle audio over HDMI as well.
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
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Airmantharp
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Re: soundcard which can output for 2 sets of speakers?

Postposted on Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:37 am

Ok great it doesnt sound too complex ...

My motherboard is a Gigabyte G31M-ES2L and my operating system is XP Pro

I have been using my setup as an HTPC / desktop type thing for ages now, but I realized I'd like to have speakers at the computer too since I do some photoshop, audio, and video stuff.
Phat_J
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Re: soundcard which can output for 2 sets of speakers?

Postposted on Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:18 am

You'll have to dig, but I'm pretty sure you can output both an analog signal to your 2.1 speakers and a digital signal to your receiver at the same time from different outputs on your motherboard; you should also be able to use the Audigy 2 for analog if you like.
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
For sale!|24/2.8 IS USM
|
Airmantharp
Maximum Gerbil
 
Posts: 4697
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2004 9:41 pm

Re: soundcard which can output for 2 sets of speakers?

Postposted on Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:02 am

Cool, good to know. I'll try it when I get my new set up.Thanks
Phat_J
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