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Windows 7: Components required for installing audio in multiple rooms?


02 Nov 2011   #1

Win7 Ultimate x64
 
 
Components required for installing audio in multiple rooms?

I'm running with Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, using an HT Omega Striker 7.1 sound card. Its outputs include:
+ 4 3.5-mm (labeled 'Front,' 'Side Surround,' 'Center/Subwoofer,' and 'Back Surround')
+ 1 optical
+ 1 coaxial

From what I've been able to glean from other topics, I'm not really able to use multiple outs at once (unless, I'm assuming, it's the 4 3.5-mm jacks for a 7.1 surround sound setup). So, let's assume I want to hook up speakers for the following:
+ simple 2.1 desktop speakers (currently use Logitech Z4 speakers) next to the computer;
+ a 2.1 or 5.1 setup for the 32" TV hooked up to my computer (right now, the TV itself plays video only; I currently listen to whatever's playing on it through the desktop speakers, since I'm evidently unable to run an auxiliary cable from another jack on the sound card to the TV's 3.5-mm input to play through its speakers) - for this, I'm envisioning something as simple as higher-end computer speakers, that don't require an A/V receiver, but that just plug into an audio output;
+ 2.0 patio/deck speakers, located (obviously) outside;
+ the 5.1 A/V receiver (possibly expanding to a 7.1) in my living room upstairs; and
+ just for shits & giggles, possibly installing in-wall or in-ceiling speakers (2.0) in, say the kitchen or dining room or a bedroom

In addition to all the speakers and speaker wire, I'm curious what sort of device would be ideal for running from one of the audio outputs on my sound card to the aforementioned 5+ zones. I'm assuming the digital optical output is best, but if that one is used, am I still able to use one of the analog jacks so I can have my desktop speakers hooked up there, and then all the other speakers emanating from some sort of amplified distributor located elsewhere?

And, a related question: if I were to want to run full surround sound audio to one of the 5.1 or greater setups, would those speakers still be receiving the true audio quality, or would it somehow be reduced to 2.0 or 2.1, and then simply spread across all 5 or 7 channels?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 Nov 2011   #2

Windows 7, 64 bit Home SP1, Win 8.1.1 Pro 64 bit
 
 

I have that sound card. There are several issues. First, if you are sending video to the TV from the PC, the best option is via HDMI which also includes audio (assuming your Video card outputs HDMI audio). However, I don't think the 8800GT will do this (I have a Radeon HD4850 video card and it does).

Some of what you want to do depends on what type of audio the other devices will accept, but you can only have one type of audio output selected at a time, such as the analog or the S/PDIF (digital or Optical).

As I see it your best option is to run digital to the 5.1 A/V receiver and then distribute the sound from that device to whatever you want.

You can only have one "default audio playback" device set in the Windows Control Panel/Hardware and Sound and finally the Sound Panel. This is the main limiting factor on audio outputs and why I suggested the one to the 5.1 A/V receiver. But, since you wouldn't have PC speaker audio you would have to change the default audio playback device when you wanted the PC speakers.

Basically, "I don't think you can get there from here" or do everything you want.

(I used to live on the other side of the state in KC).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Nov 2011   #3

Win7 Ultimate x64
 
 

You are correct: the 8800GT has 2 DVI outs (or is it VGA? Can't remember at the moment, but it makes no difference), and I have a DVI-to-HDMI allowing me to plug in to the TV. From what I understand, if there is some sort of adapter out there that would enable me to combine the audio & video feed into an HDMI jack, it's not worth my while for this one TV, considering all else I'd like to do.

I'm guessing upgrading my parts (specifically the mobo or sound card) wouldn't help a whole lot? I guess my primary concern with running to the receiver straight out of the computer is simply convenience--having one upstairs & the other downstairs, I'd have to ensure the receiver was turned on to avoid making an unnecessary trip up and down. Or get a really long IR receiver to work with the remote for the receiver.

Thanks for your input!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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07 Nov 2011   #4

Window 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 

Your best solution is probably going to be DLNA. What you're thinking of could be accomplished through software, but you would have to write it yourself, as I know of no such software on the market commercial or freeware. The amount of fiddling and switching settings around would require setting up speaker profiles which could be selected with a few clicks and the stock Windows doesn't really allow for it.

To get audio on the HDMI connected to 8800GT, you need to wire SPDIF_O on the motherboard to the 8800GT SPDIF or Digital Input pins on the 8800GT.

See this guide to figure out how and why...
Guide: 8800GT/9800GT/9800GTX Sound over HDMI (Now including Creative cards) - Overclock.net - Overclocking.net
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Components required for installing audio in multiple rooms?




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