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Old 23rd August 2012, 06:13 PM   #1
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Default digital 8ch audio, pc-to-pc

I have two PC-based audio systems, one for gaming/videos/casual use and the other for audio playback.
Currently I've hooked the general one up to a pair of stereo speakers via 3.5mm and the audio one up to my amp using HDMI.
What I'd like to do is be able to use 8ch output of my general PC switched into the same HDMI. That is to say, I want the ability to flick a switch enabling me to mix my audio and gaming, and output that over HDMI to my amp.
The most obvious way to me (and since I'm not that finicky about the quality of the audio from the general PC) is to use one of those M-Audio multichannel analogue in cards, convert back to digital, mix with the audio player and output over HDMI.
But I can't help feeling that this is a bit mad - why convert to analogue and re-convert to digital? The two systems are only about two feet from each other. Surely there is some more elegant solution? Google is doing me no good
I'd also like to stress that I want to retain the option of a sole audio-over-HDMI to the amp for that 'bit-perfect' (or as near as) peace of mind.
I'm using Windows on both but considering switching to some Linux for the audio machine, so if there are platform-tied solutions that's fine, I have some leeway.
All suggestions welcome!
Thanks
K.
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Old 24th August 2012, 12:47 PM   #2
tmavr is offline tmavr  Barbados
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Under linux there are many sound servers and music servers
They can create virtual audio paths , support multiple streams, multi room, parallel broadcasting etc.
You can then patch them like in a sound console
But your ordinary win software would n’t be usable…

So just get a live linux cd, boot it up, and try to hack around. It does not even require an installation.
If you are up to the task and have time to read and study, that that’s the way to go.
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Old 24th August 2012, 04:15 PM   #3
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Sure, but I was wondering about hardware. Surely there is some kind of digital bus I can take from one computer to the other?
Obviously HDMI is out because of HDCP. I wondered about I2S but know nothing about it, and there seems to be very little out there. Does anyone know more or can point me to somewhere I can read up a bit?
Thanks,
K.
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Old 25th August 2012, 07:36 PM   #4
phofman is online now phofman  Czech Republic
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In linux you can use jack for transporting audio samples over network, see e.g. WalkThrough/User/NetJack - Jack Audio Connection Kit - Trac . I do not think this is a viable option for you since you are planning on keeping the windows PC for gaming (which makes sense ).

Does your AV receiver feature analog multichannel input? IMO the easiest way is to switch between 5.1 and HDMI inputs on your receiver.
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Old 27th August 2012, 05:02 PM   #5
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phofman - brilliant, thank you. I notice there are Windows builds, so I'll have a play around with them!
As for analogue mixing - yes, that is the other option. I just thought it'd probably be more expensive to build a mixer as well as add 8ch analogue out from the audio system is all.
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Old 27th August 2012, 09:01 PM   #6
phofman is online now phofman  Czech Republic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by withnail View Post
phofman - brilliant, thank you. I notice there are Windows builds, so I'll have a play around with them!
Well, I do not think you could make any windows game output sound via the windows build of jack.

Quote:
Originally Posted by withnail View Post
As for analogue mixing - yes, that is the other option. I just thought it'd probably be more expensive to build a mixer as well as add 8ch analogue out from the audio system is all.
I thought you would be using an AV receiver, most have input selector. All you need is switching between HDMI input and multichannel analog input.
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Old 27th August 2012, 09:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phofman View Post
Well, I do not think you could make any windows game output sound via the windows build of jack.



I thought you would be using an AV receiver, most have input selector. All you need is switching between HDMI input and multichannel analog input.
Yes, but I wanted specifically to mix them - to listen to both on the same system simultaneously, which is why I was trying to get a digital feed to mix it digitally.

I see what you mean now about Jack - few games etc will allow a choice of sound device. I would want it more generally anyway, browser sound etc. I assume there's no way to route the generic windows directsound output to Jack?
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Old 27th August 2012, 10:46 PM   #8
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Looks like VSTHost and VAC may come to my rescue here... am digging, will shout if I get something good working. So far the following looks possible:

Directsound > VAC > VSTHost > ASIO4ALL > Jack.

We'll see if it works, and how bad the latency turns out to be...
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Old 28th August 2012, 09:21 AM   #9
phofman is online now phofman  Czech Republic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by withnail View Post
Yes, but I wanted specifically to mix them - to listen to both on the same system simultaneously, which is why I was trying to get a digital feed to mix it digitally.
OK, you know why you need it.

Quote:
I see what you mean now about Jack - few games etc will allow a choice of sound device. I would want it more generally anyway, browser sound etc. I assume there's no way to route the generic windows directsound output to Jack?
I do not think there is a direct way. Yes, VAC looks viable Discussion of the jack audio server and jack applications . I have no idea about latency, you will have to try
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Old 28th August 2012, 12:49 PM   #10
marce is offline marce  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Surely there is some kind of digital bus I can take from one computer to the other
Ethernet
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