Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Is it possible to have two sound cards functioning in a single PC?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Is it possible to have two sound cards functioning in a single PC?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I just have a question that popped into my mind today. Is it possible to have to sound cards in your PC?

They don't have to be able to function at the same time, I don't see that being possible and working well, but could you have two different sounds cards from two different companies and switch between them seamlessly? I plan to make a new PC for myself in a couple months or so and would like to know if there is a real chance that I could have one sound card dedicated for gaming and one dedicated for music. I know it isn't cost efficient, but I want to go maximum baller mode with my soon-to-be PC and make it not only a powerhouse but something I can brag about in the most absurd of regards. 

post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phestezeo View Post

I just have a question that popped into my mind today. Is it possible to have to sound cards in your PC?

They don't have to be able to function at the same time, I don't see that being possible and working well, but could you have two different sounds cards from two different companies and switch between them seamlessly? I plan to make a new PC for myself in a couple months or so and would like to know if there is a real chance that I could have one sound card dedicated for gaming and one dedicated for music. I know it isn't cost efficient, but I want to go maximum baller mode with my soon-to-be PC and make it not only a powerhouse but something I can brag about in the most absurd of regards. 

If you are using Windows it is easy to use two sound cards in the same pc. You will have to go into the control panel/Sound and change between them as your default choice. It's really easy to do. Only thing you would need to check is if you have enough of the proper slots available on your motherboard. You also should probably disable your onboard sound through the same control panel unless it is your intention to have all three available.

post #3 of 14
JRiver Media Center can probably handle this quite nicely with its Zones feature.

I don't understand the reasoning behind why you want two cards though.
post #4 of 14

You can always buy a DAC for music and unplug the device once you start playing to use onboard settings. 

post #5 of 14

It's no problem at all, in my Windows gaming-box I have three soundcards for different uses plus my guitar amplifiers audio interface is also recognized as a soundcard. The only problem is that of the mind ;-)  Usually more serious audio programs let's you choose which soundcard to use for that particular program, so you don't even need to change Windows-settings.

 

In the Linux box I have two soundcards, it's as easy or mabe even easier as Linux is very configurable under the hood. But right now I only use one of them, the Essence ST :-)
 

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by xeizo View Post

It's no problem at all, in my Windows gaming-box I have three soundcards for different uses plus my guitar amplifiers audio interface is also recognized as a soundcard. The only problem is that of the mind ;-)  Usually more serious audio programs let's you choose which soundcard to use for that particular program, so you don't even need to change Windows-settings.

 

In the Linux box I have two soundcards, it's as easy or mabe even easier as Linux is very configurable under the hood. But right now I only use one of them, the Essence ST :-)
 

The Essence ST is one that I have been eyeing for a while now, and have heard some great things about it. What do you think of it so far? Any glaring issues? 

And thanks for the expedient replies, ladies and/or gentlemen. Much appreciated. 

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phestezeo View Post

The Essence ST is one that I have been eyeing for a while now, and have heard some great things about it. What do you think of it so far? Any glaring issues? 

And thanks for the expedient replies, ladies and/or gentlemen. Much appreciated. 

 

I'm very happy with the ST, I use it as a pure Stereo-DAC for music listening, that means I don't use the built in hp-amp. The Windows-box uses a Soundblaster Z which is preferrable for gaming.

 

Right now, as I'm writing this, I'm listening to Steven Wilsons new "The Raven That Refused ..." and it sounds awesome! Both analytical and musical with extremely low distorsion, and great soundstage: width, height and depth! The sound was near perfect - but slightly dry - with the original OP:s, no dryness anymore after changing OP:s!

 

Sound chain: CD -> FLAC in K3b -> DeadBeef 0.5.6, ALSA -6dB, 192kHz upsampling "Secret Rabbit Code" SINC_BEST_QUALITY, Ubuntu 13.04 "Daily" -> Xonar Essence ST w. 3xLM4562NA/NOBP(brand new chips, all three) -> RCA-out -> Sony TA-FB940R integrated discrete MOS-FET stereo amplifier(from 2004) -> Sennheiser HD600  :-)

 


Edited by xeizo - 4/24/13 at 11:23am
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by xeizo View Post

 

I'm very happy with the ST, I use it as a pure Stereo-DAC for music listening, that means I don't use the built in hp-amp. The Windows-box uses a Soundblaster Z which is preferrable for gaming.

 

Right now, as I'm writing this, I'm listening to Steven Wilsons new "The Raven That Refused ..." and it sounds awesome! Both analytical and musical with extremely low distorsion, and great soundstage: width, height and depth! The sound was near perfect - but slightly dry - with the original OP:s, no dryness anymore after changing OP:s!

 

Sound chain: CD -> FLAC in K3b -> DeadBeef 0.5.6, ALSA -6dB, 192kHz upsampling "Secret Rabbit Code" SINC_BEST_QUALITY, Ubuntu 13.04 "Daily" -> Xonar Essence ST w. 3xLM4562NA/NOBP(brand new chips, all three) -> RCA-out -> Sony TA-FB940R integrated discrete MOS-FET stereo amplifier(from 2004) -> Sennheiser HD600  :-)

 

Damn, it sounds like you got yourself quite the nice set up. Was it difficult to get it all to work so well? 

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phestezeo View Post

Damn, it sounds like you got yourself quite the nice set up. Was it difficult to get it all to work so well? 

 

Now with the answer in hand it is easy to get it up and running, the hard thing was to eventually find the sweetspot for the hardware/software investment. Running the above doesn't cost that much money but sounds very good anyway, to just throw money at the problem is way easier  :D

 

Assuming one knows how Linux works, the only critical part is the upsampling, partly because many software upsamplers doesn't sound that good and also because it requires some cpu-power, but the upsampler in DeadBeef sounds flawless imho and the power of a five year old Quad-core at 3.2GHz is enough to get totally glitch-free playback when upsampling. Also it's vital to play back in ALSA instead of Pulseaudio because Pulseaudio often degrades the sound, DeadBeef have a simple option for just that. I've experimented with upsampling in Pulseaudio itself, but that is way to processor heavy. Anyway, the upsampling itself doesn't add much of an improvement so one will do just fine without it, but even if small it is the only part which is difficult in any way  :)

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by xeizo View Post

 

Now with the answer in hand it is easy to get it up and running, the hard thing was to eventually find the sweetspot for the hardware/software investment. Running the above doesn't cost that much money but sounds very good anyway, to just throw money at the problem is way easier  :D

 

Assuming one knows how Linux works, the only critical part is the upsampling, partly because many software upsamplers doesn't sound that good and also because it requires some cpu-power, but the upsampler in DeadBeef sounds flawless imho and the power of a five year old Quad-core at 3.2GHz is enough to get totally glitch-free playback when upsampling. Also it's vital to play back in ALSA instead of Pulseaudio because Pulseaudio often degrades the sound, DeadBeef have a simple option for just that. I've experimented with upsampling in Pulseaudio itself, but that is way to processor heavy. Anyway, the upsampling itself doesn't add much of an improvement so one will do just fine without it, but even if small it is the only part which is difficult in any way  :)

This set up of yours sounds like something that I will hopefully be able to mimic to a, preferably, successful degree. Got any tips or tricks for it all? 

post #11 of 14

Not quite the same, but I swap between a usb dac (that goes to amp and then headphones) with onboard audio (optical output to a 5.1 Pioneer speaker set) on my computer.  Windows will allow you to choose which device to output sound with in the control panel so it's pretty simple.

post #12 of 14

I've got THREE sound cards installed in my retrogaming PC (albeit not all functioning at once due to driver support and their purposes in that machine), so it's certainly possible.

 

For modern stuff, you could probably even leave the integrated audio codec enabled along with any sound cards installed, without having to worry about a resource conflict or anything like that.

 

Just point your applications to use whatever input and output devices you like - for instance, setting a sound card as the default audio device for games, but setting another sound card or a USB DAC as the output device for a media player or VoIP app.

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

I've got THREE sound cards installed in my retrogaming PC (albeit not all functioning at once due to driver support and their purposes in that machine), so it's certainly possible.

 

For modern stuff, you could probably even leave the integrated audio codec enabled along with any sound cards installed, without having to worry about a resource conflict or anything like that.

 

Just point your applications to use whatever input and output devices you like - for instance, setting a sound card as the default audio device for games, but setting another sound card or a USB DAC as the output device for a media player or VoIP app.

Thanks for the reply, this was very useful. 

post #14 of 14

edit. Gaah! Wrong thread, post removed!  rolleyes.gif


Edited by xeizo - 4/26/13 at 1:15pm
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Is it possible to have two sound cards functioning in a single PC?