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Update on MP3 zoned audio

Micah

Active Member
I think it's about time for an update on this Audio PC I'm struggling to get going.

Some of you probably know that I originally bought 4 of the same type soundcards. Problem #1, to be sure. First off I couldn't get the 4th card to list in Girder or Winamp. Despite multiple formats, driver versions, and install/re-install of hardware, it wasn't happening.

So I took out one soundcard and tried using the onboard audio as the 4th. YaY! It works...kinda. Now the 3rd soundcard only has it's input volume control listed in Girder even though it was selectable as an output in Winamp. Hrm...ok. Using the onboard audio worked, so let's try another soundcard with a different chipset. 4 days later and a little bit poorer I now have a Chaintech 7.1 soundcard.

So we've got 2 AOpen AW850s, a Chaintech 7.1 and onboard audio. Fresh install, and hey! Everything works! Woohoo! ...oh wait, one of the Winamp outputs isn't set to use the 2nd Aopen card. Gotta fix that you know. Well crud, now the comp freezes when trying to use the 2 AOpen cards. Hrm... Couple of formats later, yup it ain't happenin'.

I know, let's go get another soundcard! Couple days later, trip to Best Buy pay they're insane markup on computer hardware. Alrighty, now we're cookin' with gas. We've got 1 AOpen AW850, 1 SB Audigy LS, 1 Chaintech 7.1, and onboard audio.

Everything's different, we can't possibly have any problems now. WRONG!

Fresh install of Windows and Winamp, we've got a new problem, only it's software this time. Despite having copied multiple instances of Winamp and being able to run each independatly and at the same time something strange has occured. All the different copies are using the same plugin file. Change the output in one changes the output in them all. Well that's not right, let's try a fresh install of everything again. We'll get this sorted out.

Windows is installing...do do do...huh, my CPU fan doesn't seem to be moving much air. Let's check it out while it's still spinning. Nope, not much air at all. Well Windows is still installing and there's not much for me to do, so let's take it off. Grab my trusty Leatherman, get out my philips blade.... do do do.

***SCREEEEEECH***FAP FAP FAP***

hrm, my screwdriver seems to have slipped and broken off a bunch of the blades. Good thing there's another fan under that one. Oh, no wait. The blades that broke off have gotten themselves lodged under the other fan and broken some of it's blades. Well there's still some flow, it should be all right.

WRONG!

Now my APC is stuck somewhere between format and fresh install and overheats within 20 seconds of bootup.

New Zalman cooler on the way!

If it were easy, I'd be able to do it. :D

Oh, but I have found the speakers and receiver I'm going to buy if I can get the computer part running. Heck, maybe even if I can't get it running!

Sony STR-DE185

AudioSource IC8S Round Ceiling Speakers
 

jrfuda

Active Member
Man, and I thought Murphy (of Murphy's Law) had a beef with me. You sound like his new favorite!
 

Micah

Active Member
yeah, ok, I'm a dork, but I think I may have made up for it. :)

I discovered why I couldn't get the different Winamps to use different plug-ins, by accident, after a few days of break and a fresh install of Windows. Are you all ready for this? It's a doozy!

When winamp is first run, it creates a default playlist. Said playlist was copied along with everything else into the zoned winamp directories. Said playlist also has an icon that looks VERY much like the winamp.exe icon.

What I was doing (and smashing my head against the wall over) was trying to run the default playlist (called winamp.???) which would run the installed copy of Winamp and not the copy in that zoned directory. So everytime I'd try running a different copy of winamp (zone1, zone2, etc.) I was actually running the same installed copy because that's what was associated with winamp playlists. Yikes, what a pain!

But here's where I may have made up for it. I can successfully get the 3 non-AW850s to work perfect together. The second I try to play anything on the AW850 the computer freezes right up.

I haven't been doing full installs of the software and all that junk that comes with these soundcards. I've only been loading the drivers through the Device Manager. What I've noticed though is that the AW850 loads up it's own mixer along with some other stuff while the other three cards load just the drivers. I'm wondering if that mixer isn't the cause of my troubles.

I intend to find out! One more trip to the computer shop, and one more soundcard to purchase!

By the way, anybody know where I can unload 5 aw850s? :D
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
Put them up in the for sale forum and see if you get any bites :) How much do you want for them? I assume they are PCI?
 

jrfuda

Active Member
Micah said:
I haven't been doing full installs of the software and all that junk that comes with these soundcards. I've only been loading the drivers through the Device Manager. What I've noticed though is that the AW850 loads up it's own mixer along with some other stuff while the other three cards load just the drivers. I'm wondering if that mixer isn't the cause of my troubles.
I had the same problem with a cheapo sound card I installed on one of my PC's (I think it was a Mad Dog something or other I got for <$20). Anyway, It kept crashing my system. Finally I uninstalled it and told it to go to windows update to find the driver. Installing the driver it found there installed it without the mixer and fixed the problem, now I only have the regular old windows mixer.

Before that, I had tried installing the drivers from the CD or from a download from the manufacturers site, either method installed the crappy mixer, and it could not be removed... Installing an old driver and trying to install the windows update driver on top of it left the old mixer on as well.

The only way to do it was to install the driver directly from windows update as shown below (although this shot shows an update driver dialog rather than an install driver dialog, there 'bout the same).
 

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Micah

Active Member
ahh, I've never noticed that box before. Would've been a good idea. But I guess I'm from the "If it's working, tinker until it's not, then upgrade" camp and shonuf, I've gone and bought a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz. I'll try tossing it in tonight and see if it doesn't do what I want it to do the way I want it to do it.

Good, good stuff!
 

jrfuda

Active Member
Micah said:
By the way, anybody know where I can unload 5 aw850s? :)
Maybe you should post 'em in the for sale forum for a couple of weeks, and whatever's left after that, ebay 'em!

I've seem them as low as $8.25 plus shipping online, so you'll have to price 'em low to move 'em! You might have more fun tieing 'em to some firecrackers and/or converting them to modern art or something, though.

Maybe use them as clay pigeons.
 

Micah

Active Member
I got it! I got it! I got it!

4 soundcards running in perfect harmony in one box. Of the 5 AW850s I bought I am now using NONE!

Soundcard setup is now:
1 VIA onboad audio
1 Chaintech 7.1 PCI Soundcard
1 SB Audigy LS
1 Turtle Beach Santa Cruz

It's a thing of beauty to be sure. Now that the computer portion is done, time to start cutting holes in the ceilings and adding speakers.

WooHoo!
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
but but, if you try jrfuda's suggestion, and it works, you have 8 :) Isn't it worth a try? :D If you are running XP, create a system restore point, and try away, if things go bad, move back to the restore point.
 

Micah

Active Member
Believe you me, E, my fingers twitch just thinking about having 8 zones. That's be so cool! But then I remember...I live in a 2 bedroom 1 bathroom condo. I've only got 5 rooms in my whole domicial! (well 6 if you count the half bath downstairs).
 
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