Split 5.1 rear audio output into 2 separate sets of stereo speakers

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conticreative

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Here is my issue: I have a computer with a dual personality. By day, I use a work profile to sit at my desk and work. By night, I fire up a second profile for Gamin, specifically for Racing Simulation or "Simracing".

Until recently, as far as Audio I was setup as follows:

1) Back of case 5.1 output went to a pair of Edirol studio speakers.
2) Front of case headphone jack was connected to a pair of Bose stereo speakers sitting on my driving cockpit
3) Most of the time however, I would do my gaming using a USB surround headphones

I basically would fire up the #2 Bose only when I( had friends over and they wanted to either try out my rig or in those rare cases when my wife was out of the house and I could run the sound through speakers.

My problem is that the front Jack has stopped working. I ordered the part from HAF but one of the reason the front jack and every single USB post on the front of my CoolerMaster HAF 932 Full Tower have stopped working is that they are so exposed that over time the cables are yanked out by mistake.

Once I get the new part, I'll think of a way to shield that, but also visually don't like the mess of cables.

My solutions would be:

1) Purchase a new Audio Card. I just traded a couple of old nVidia Video cards for a brand new one so I have a few slots open. Problem is I am out of USB internal port on my Asus P6X58D-E (that will be the topic of a different post)

2) I read someplace that by using VAC (Virtual Audio Cable) I should be able to set up my front 2 speakers for my Edirol set and the rear speakers of the 5.1 system as a separate audio "entity" I can choose to send the signal out in stereo to my Bose speakers.

I downloaded VAC and I have no idea of what I am doing. What I am sure of is that there is no clear path to get where I want to go. It sounds possible to remap the back speakers of a 5.1 system to perform as the front speakers of a 2.0 stereo, but I'll be darned if I can figure out how to do it and I am not a virgin when it comes to computer audio. I wrote, composed, played and mastered a Symphony in Sonar once (well, of, just the first 2 movements, but still).

Would anyone have a good idea on how to use VAC or if there is an inexpensive way to connect my Bose speakers without requiring an internal USB port?

One day I may upgrade to a 7.1 system to place around my driving seat, but that day I'll happily remove what I am already using for whatever new device I'll need.

Thank you.
 

ssddx

Glorious
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if you are attempting to make all that into 5.1 surround:
impossible to make it a 5.1, but it sounds like you can certainly make it a 4.0. easiest way would be to plug the fronts into the "front speaker" jack and the rear into the "rear speaker" jack. 4.0 is listed as "quadraphonic" in your sound settings.

if you are attempting to keep a setup where you can swap between each 2.0 set:
i believe vac might offer the functionality to remap outputs like this, but even if it did not you could always get a cheap usb soundcard to plug in the back and have both set up differently which vac would support and likely even windows default audio device would as well. if you do not have any rear usb ports open, a cheap soundcard should suffice to give you the option of picking between soundcard and onboard audio jacks in vac.

if you wanted to use surround at night but stereo during the day:
if you only wanted to use 2.0 during the day, just set your settings to 2.0 and nothing will output from the rear and change it back to quad for when you need all of them.

while i am aware of vac i cannot guide you on how to use it as i do not personally use the software nor can i give you specific advice on everything it can and can not do.
 

conticreative

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Yes, what I am looking for is to have 2 x 2.0 (stereo) outputs out of the back soundcard. At least that would be one scenario. VAC should be able to get that accomplished, but it beats me how.

I am also looking into using a cheap USB soundcard. I don't need great fidelity here. Not even prosumer. I just need it to work halfway decent and reduce wire clutter without also giving away too many USB ports or PCIe slots.

I am also curious to see how VAC works, because in another life I used to make music and I am not ruling out getting back into it. In fact, I have Several USB sound cards available but I don't want to use them because they are bulky and too complex for the task at hand.

Getting VAC to make my rear soundcard to split into 2 stereo streams, each looking like a separate soundcard, would be great.

Thank you.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
well, technically theres another option if you do not mind a hard switch..

3.5mm switch. flip a switch or push a button to swap between A/B sets. very simple but not software controlled (needs you to push button)

 

DrvLikHell

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Jul 17, 2016
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Hey Conticreative I'm posting here just to say thanks a sh!tload for mentioning VAC!

I was also looking for the ability to do Stereo X2 so I get two jacks with identical stereo output, but without using a sound processor to upmix to 5.1 because that sounds like crap. Both of my old sound cards had that option natively (Stereo X2 and Quadraphonic) but my current Realtek HD audio onboard chip thing has no such option. It will upmix stereo to 5.1 but that sounds like wtf on a plate of fried turds. My old sound cards don't have drivers available for Windows 7 so I can't continue using them. I also can't use a 3.5mm flip switch or a splitter of some sort because I want to be able to play 5.1 sound when playing games. I was using a plugin for my mp3 program that allowed me to do Stereo X2 with just that program, but I wanted to have it on more than just that one program.

After reading this post where you mentioned VAC I downloaded it, stared dazedly at all of the crazy options, and started poking around the help file until I figured it out. It's still a little bit of a kludge because I have to keep two instances of the VAC Audio Repeater open, and I have to choose VACs Line 1 "cable" as the output device in any program that I want to have Stereo X2, BUT it works perfectly and I can still have 5.1 surround in any other program, movie or game that I want. I think I can even do it WHILE playing Stereo X2, but I haven't tested that yet.

If you're still looking to make VAC work, all I did was create a VAC "cable" with default settings in the VAC Control Panel and I click set. Then in my audio program I selected Line 1 (Virtual Audio Cable) as the output device in the programs settings. Then I started the VAC Audio Repeater (MME), set Wave in to Line 1 (VAC) and Wave out to my Realtek HD, set Channel config to stereo and clicked start. Then I opened another Audio Repeater (MME) and set it the same on top but set Channel config to Custom and unchecked all the boxes except BL and BR, for Back Left and Back right, and clicked start on that one and then I got stereo sound duplicated on my rear speakers. As long as I leave the Audio Repeaters up and started, any program that I tell to use Line 1 (VAC) as an output device will end up outputting stereo to both my front and rear speakers.

In the future I'll be looking for a way to start the Audio Repeater programs automatically with the correct configurations when I start Windows, but for now I'm not concerned with it since I only restart my computer once every few months, if that. If you or any other retro denzien wants help, PM me, email me, Google me and I'll be happy to help.

Quadraphonic For Ever!
 
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