Using a 5.1 soundcard as seperate cards?


New Member

I'm building an Audio PC to create zoned audio throughout my household (ideas kind of taken from the great guide in the howto section here!).

However I need 5 zones and my motherboard only has 3 PCI slots. I have some spare 5.1 sound cards lying around. Is it possible to do some sort of hack or some sort of driver/program that will let me treat each of the 3 sections of the 5.1 sound as a seperate card each copy of Winamp can output to?

This would be a brilliant way of creating zoned Audio. I'm not worried about the syncronised audio though so it doesn't matter I lose the line-in..

Welcome to CocoonTech!

I believe JRMC can do this, create different zones using different outputs. There are several people doing this already, I am sure they can provide you with more info. Also keep in mind that you could get a cheap external USB soundcard if you had to.
I'm using a MAudio Delta 410 sound card for this. You can assign each of the audio outputs (10) to it's own signal - or pair them together to create stereo, etc. For software, I'm using JRiver Media Center. It supports multiple audio zones (one for each room, etc) very easily.

Very nice setup and works very well. Let me know if you need more information.
Cool. I was doing a little bit more browsing and came across this post on a forum that mentions about multi zone on winamp on a multichannel card. however it's very vague and doesn't answer much but that might be a hint to that it's possible?

JRMC free won't do that though will it? I need something ideally i can control via the browser from a remote pc but I may need to fiddle a lot to manage that what with the multiple winamps and stuff that would have to be setup. might be able to easily do it by telling winamp to launch and play a playlist from a shared drive via the command line though.
Currently I don't control JRiver remotely via browser. Mine is controlled through IR (my HVPro interprets the IR, and sends serial commands to the PC to control it). I've been considering adding this function and will be researching it soon - but haven't done it yet.

I tried making multiple winamps work with multiple zones. It was a headache for me (I did get it working but I didn't like the amount of effort to control it). I spent $20 (I think) to buy JRiver and have been very happy with it. You can build smartlists (builds playlists on the fly - for example, I have one for a combination of 4 or 5 star rated music for myself and my wife that hasn't been played in at least 6 weeks; or another that if it's jazz music - randomly picks an album to play, but plays the whole album normally, etc) that make it worth the money to me :D
I downloaded the trial of JRMC and had a play.

I can get two zones working (onboard audio and a caudio 5.1 card) however the 5.1 card can only seem to be set as one zone. If I try to use direct sound out and set it as 3 seperate channels i either get the same on each channel and get 3 songs playing at the same time on all 3 speakers(!) or I only get sound from the front output depending on what i play with in windows audio setting panel thing.

any ideas?
Well if you want a quality setup then I would suggest getting the Delta 410 PCI sound card. It has 10 channels (5 zones) of audiophile quality for less than $100 on Ebay new.

I concur with John - the 410 is very nice card - excellent quality.

Some things to check with your card...
- are the outputs of the card being recognized as multiple outputs by your OS? It's up to the card/driver to support this function - not JRMC. If not, check into the documentation of the card how to get this function to work. You can check quickly (Windows) by going into the Sounds Control Panel and looking at the playback devices - you should have several there).
- If windows recognizes your outputs as multiple output devices, then you need to look at JRMC. For each zone, make sure you specify a different audio device.

Hope that helps
Hmm OK. I didn't really want to be going spending too much money on additional cards, etc. It's annoying I currently have my onboard sound which I'm sure supports 5.1 and an additional cheapy 5.1 sound card but I can only get 2 independant channels because I can't work out how to do this split thing from the software or drivers for the cards. In theory I'd be able to get 4 stereo and 2 mono pairs (plus 2 LFEs from the two bass outputs). :lol: