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Mike Rivers Mike Rivers is offline
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Default Multi-Channel "Multimedia audio" for Windows

Is there such a thing? Surely there must be, with all the games with
surround audio, and all the consumer grade sound cards with multichannel
outputs. But what applications play this stuff?

The reason why I'm asking is because I'm trying to find a good answer
for someone on the Mackie forum who wants to know how he can get stuff
coming out of the rear speakers that he has connected to his Satellite
Firewire audio interface. It has six outputs, and they all show up and
work in a real DAW application. I've confirmed that with my Satellite.
But I don't know what I might have, for example, as a DVD player, that
would take advantage of outputs 3-6. In the Windows Sound control panel,
there's a "Speakers" menu that lets me select 5.1 surround and I did
that. I stuck in Ethan Winer's Tele-Vision CD, selected the cello
extravaganza, selected 5.1 surround, and I still get no outputs beyond
channels 1-2.

I'm using Media Player Classic, which uses the VLC MPEG-2 codec. Maybe
that's not capable of giving me surround sound. I just don't know
anything about these things. I tried using Media Player 9, but that
tells me that it doesn't have the proper codec to play a DVD. Obviously
I have a suitable codec, but Media Player (and Microsoft's decoder
checker) can't seem to find it. No big deal. I don't care if that's a
Microsoft quirk. I'll let that pass (and please, you do, too).

I'm not going to go out and buy something to do this - heck I don't even
have surround speakers anywhere. But if the answer is "you need to buy a
real DVD player application" then that's what I'll tell this guy. But
what do all the game players use?



--
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double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo -- I'm really Mike Rivers
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Richard Crowley Richard Crowley is offline
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Default Multi-Channel "Multimedia audio" for Windows

"Mike Rivers" wrote ...
I'm using Media Player Classic, which uses the VLC MPEG-2 codec. Maybe
that's not capable of giving me surround sound. I just don't know anything
about these things. I tried using Media Player 9, but that tells me that
it doesn't have the proper codec to play a DVD. Obviously I have a
suitable codec, but Media Player (and Microsoft's decoder checker) can't
seem to find it. No big deal. I don't care if that's a Microsoft quirk.
I'll let that pass (and please, you do, too).


But that would seem to be more a function of the "sound card" and
its bundled drivers, utilities, and toys (vs. a function of the "sources"
like Media player, etc.) I would think that the plastic consumer sort
of sound cards ("Sound Baster, et.al.) would have synthisizers to
create "suround" sound out of conventional stereo sources.

I'm not going to go out and buy something to do this - heck I don't even
have surround speakers anywhere. But if the answer is "you need to buy a
real DVD player application" then that's what I'll tell this guy. But what
do all the game players use?


The games have real multi-channel outputs, don't they?
(i.e. not just 2-channel stereo like a CD or an MP3)


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Mike Rivers Mike Rivers is offline
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Default Multi-Channel "Multimedia audio" for Windows

Richard Crowley wrote:

The games have real multi-channel outputs, don't they?
(i.e. not just 2-channel stereo like a CD or an MP3)


Yes. When I was shopping for a new computer, I saw lots of garden
variety audio hardware that had three pairs of line outputs. The
Satellite has six real 1/4" TRS jacks for outputs. In a DAW, I can
assign tracks or mix buses to those outputs. I can see what I'm doing,
and it works just like I expect. But this guy I'm trying to help isn't
looking at using it in a DAW environment, he wants to use Windows Media
Player.

So what I'm looking for is what the Windows Sound equivalent is to
selecting the output destination for a track in a DAW.

I didn't mean to confuse anyone with the MPEG-2 and DVD diversion. That
was just a source that I could play using a "media player" that
presumably provides six channels of audio. I was just trying to figure
out how to make them come out the six holes in the Satellite and
couldn't see anywhere in Windows to do that.



--
If you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring and reach
me he
double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo -- I'm really Mike Rivers
)
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Richard Crowley Richard Crowley is offline
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Default Multi-Channel "Multimedia audio" for Windows

"Mike Rivers" wrote ...
Richard Crowley wrote:

The games have real multi-channel outputs, don't they?
(i.e. not just 2-channel stereo like a CD or an MP3)


Yes. When I was shopping for a new computer, I saw lots of garden variety
audio hardware that had three pairs of line outputs. The Satellite has six
real 1/4" TRS jacks for outputs. In a DAW, I can assign tracks or mix
buses to those outputs. I can see what I'm doing, and it works just like I
expect. But this guy I'm trying to help isn't looking at using it in a DAW
environment, he wants to use Windows Media Player.

So what I'm looking for is what the Windows Sound equivalent is to
selecting the output destination for a track in a DAW.

I didn't mean to confuse anyone with the MPEG-2 and DVD diversion. That
was just a source that I could play using a "media player" that presumably
provides six channels of audio. I was just trying to figure out how to
make them come out the six holes in the Satellite and couldn't see
anywhere in Windows to do that.


I think that would be a good question for one of the "sound card"
newsgroups. I suspect that most of us here aren't into the "fru-fru"
consumer sound cards with all the artificicial synthisis rubbish, etc.
There's probably a nice gaudy SoundBlaster product that does
just what your friend is asking for. Or maybe even a 3rd party
surround synthizer that could be plugged-in.


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Mike Rivers Mike Rivers is offline
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Default Multi-Channel "Multimedia audio" for Windows

Richard Crowley wrote:

I think that would be a good question for one of the "sound card"
newsgroups. I suspect that most of us here aren't into the "fru-fru"
consumer sound cards with all the artificicial synthisis rubbish, etc.


My, but you've been crotchety lately, Richard. My question isn't about
sound cards or synthesis, it's about Windows audio applications. If you
can't talk about that, then cool it and let others offer what they know,
if anything. I'm trying to approach this from a professional direction
and I would appreciate the courtesy of a professional answer (or none at
all if you don't have one).



--
If you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring and reach
me he
double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo -- I'm really Mike Rivers
)


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Richard Crowley Richard Crowley is offline
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Default Multi-Channel "Multimedia audio" for Windows

"Mike Rivers" wrote ...
Richard Crowley wrote:
I think that would be a good question for one of the "sound card"
newsgroups. I suspect that most of us here aren't into the "fru-fru"
consumer sound cards with all the artificicial synthisis rubbish, etc.


My, but you've been crotchety lately, Richard. My question isn't about
sound cards or synthesis, it's about Windows audio applications. If you
can't talk about that, then cool it and let others offer what they know,
if anything. I'm trying to approach this from a professional direction and
I would appreciate the courtesy of a professional answer (or none at all
if you don't have one).


Sorry if I'm not making myself clear. I think what you are asking for is
some method of taking conventional 2-channel audio sources and
making them come out of the 5.1 channels of speakers on a computer.
(Whether just routing the 2 channels to multiple outputs, or creating
some kind of artifical "ambience" or whatever)

If that is your question, I am saying I believe that is a function of the
*sound card and its drivers*. It is NOT a function of the source
(the media player, etc.) and it is NOT a function of the operating
system (unless it is part of one of the special "media" versions of
recent OSes like Vista which I am not personally familiar with)

If that is NOT your question, then I misunderstood and I apologize.
However if that IS your question, then I think you are looking for
a solution in the wrong place (and I'm not refering to newsgroups)
And that is my professional answer. I wasn't intending to come off
as crochety.


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Mike Rivers Mike Rivers is offline
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Default Multi-Channel "Multimedia audio" for Windows

Soundhaspriority wrote:

I think you are hoping that a Windows mixer with 6 channels of routing can
be made to pop up. But this is not a native Windows ability. Native Windows
support AT THE GUI LEVEL (pardon caps) is mono/stereo.


Yes, it would be nice if the mixer accommodated six channels, even just
as a fixed gain router. That's indeed the function I was hoping was
buried somewhere and I just didn't know where it was.

The multichannel functionality you seek will not
appear in the native Windows mixer panel.


What, then, is the significance of selecting "5.1 Surround sound
speakers" in the Advanced Audio Properties window of the Sound part of
the Windows Control Panel (or any of the other selections there, for
that matter)? Even when this is selected, the "Speaker volume" window
only shows two sliders. It must do something.

But at the ASIO driver level, multichannel is supported. There simply isn't
any routing/interface that comes with Windows to work it. All that is 3rd
party. Take a look at my first post and see if it means any more to you.


I understand what you wrote, but since ASIO isn't part of the Windows
sound "system" I figured that it didn't apply to my question. So how do
people play surround audio from their SoundBlaster cards? Does it have
an ASIO driver that Media Player recognizes? It's my understanding that
the Windows "sound" applications work with the default device that you
set up from the Control Panel. If I make that the SoundMax chip on my
computer's motherboard, that's where the audio comes out when I play
something with Media Player or WinAmp.

If I set it to the Mackie Satellite, then playing something with Media
Player or WinAmp comes out the Satellite's main stereo outupts (1-2).
The Windows control panel doesn't know about any other outputs that are
(physically) available on the Satellite. That could be a matter of how
the Satellite WDM drivers are written. That's a Mackie thing beyond
which we have no control. Are (for example) WDM drivers for a
SoundBlaster Audigy written so that six outputs are available to
Windows? And if so, where do they appear so they can be used?

Of course programs such as Sound Forge or Nuendo allow flexible
assignment of audio to any available outputs, and with ASIO, all of the
outputs are available.



--
If you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring and reach
me he
double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo -- I'm really Mike Rivers
)
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Mike Rivers Mike Rivers is offline
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Default Multi-Channel "Multimedia audio" for Windows

Richard Crowley wrote:

Sorry if I'm not making myself clear. I think what you are asking for is
some method of taking conventional 2-channel audio sources and
making them come out of the 5.1 channels of speakers on a computer.


That may indeed be what the person who had posted the question on the
Mackie forum wants to do. I'm pulling his teeth slowly now. But I
thought I'd get a better understanding of how multiple audio outputs
could be used in Windows multimedia applications if I put it in the
context of something practical, in this case, playing a DVD with a
surround audio track.

If that is your question, I am saying I believe that is a function of the
*sound card and its drivers*. It is NOT a function of the source
(the media player, etc.) and it is NOT a function of the operating
system


But they're all related. The sound card driver must be capable of
telling the operating system that the insatlled audio hardware has six
outputs available. That's what drivers do. The operating system has to
be capable of making those outputs available to the application. That's
what operating systems do. And when the application knows that it has
six outputs available, it needs to know how to route each of six audio
channels to its appropriate output. That's what applications do.

My sense, from what Bob writes, is that the driver simply isn't letting
on that there are more than two outputs, so nothing else knows any
different. Maybe there are some drivers that do. I of course know that I
can use all the outputs with my "real" audio programs, at least those
that can use the ASIO drivers for my hardware. What I'm looking for is
what people who are playing movies with surround sound on their
computers are using, and how they're setting it up.

I have no problem with the answer: "Mackie never intended the Satellite
to be used with Windows multimedia applicatioons in the same way as a
consumer sound card. It's a professional device intended to be used with
professoinal applications. Only two channels are supported by the
Satellite WDM driver." But I don't want to say that unless I know it's
the whole story, and it's not easy, even for an accused semi-insider
like me, to get a direct answer from Mackie until I collar someone at an
AES or NAMM show.




--
If you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring and reach
me he
double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo -- I'm really Mike Rivers
)
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Mike Rivers Mike Rivers is offline
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Default Multi-Channel "Multimedia audio" for Windows

Soundhaspriority wrote:

Just to put it in different words, Microsoft provides a programming system,
not a solution, for the above. Try installing the complete Audigy package --
I'm sorry I can't tell you what's in it because I haven't had it in a system
for a long time.


I don't have an Audigy either. I just used that as an example of
something common, that common people would use to play their DVDs and
games with surround sound, if they have more than two speakers installed.

The Mackie Satellite has never really had a mixer application since it
doesn't really have anything to mix with software. All the controls
necessary for level adjustments are knobs on the box.

I guess it's a dead issue, or a dead horse.


--
If you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring and reach
me he
double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo -- I'm really Mike Rivers
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Neil Gould Neil Gould is offline
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Default Multi-Channel "Multimedia audio" for Windows

Mike Rivers wrote:

If I set it to the Mackie Satellite, then playing something with Media
Player or WinAmp comes out the Satellite's main stereo outupts (1-2).
The Windows control panel doesn't know about any other outputs that
are (physically) available on the Satellite. That could be a matter
of how the Satellite WDM drivers are written. That's a Mackie thing
beyond which we have no control. Are (for example) WDM drivers for a
SoundBlaster Audigy written so that six outputs are available to
Windows? And if so, where do they appear so they can be used?

You are very close to the answer, here. While WDM drivers are capable of
multi-channel I/O, it is up to the application to take advantage of that
capability and make them available to the user. Basic Windows applet
functionality may not have that capability (I didn't know about the Win98
Gold version, but I'm not surprised). Advanced audio applications are
expected to provide multi-channel capability, and thus have no problem doing
so with the same WDM drivers used by Media Player et al.

Best,

Neil




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Mike Rivers Mike Rivers is offline
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Default Multi-Channel "Multimedia audio" for Windows

Soundhaspriority wrote:

If the Satellite has a multichannel driver, it's not dead. A mixer is not
the critical issue. BTW, I was just looking at http://ac3filter.net/ . They
advertise an upmix to multi function.


Mackie has finally spoken. The current version of the WDM driver has
only two outputs. It looks like ac3filter can work sort of as a patchbay
and make the two channels coming come out any of the six outputs, but
only if the Windows driver knows that those other four outputs are present.

But the easiest way would simply be to buy a modern package like Nero, and
let it do all the work.


It seems that what he wants to do is play MP3 files, not DVDs. He just
wants to hear something coming out of the rear speakers. I dunno, maybe
they're in another room.


--
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me he
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