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Can 2 sound cards be used at once in the same rig?

  • Sound Cards
  • Speakers
  • Headphones
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Last response: in Components
May 13, 2003 1:08:57 AM

My pc has an Audigy Gamer in it as well as onboard sound (Asus A7N8X), what I want to do is leave my speakers plugged into the speaker jack on the Audigy and plug my headphones into the speaker jack on the mobo so I can listen to either one without having to swap out one for the other. I have it hooked up that way now and I only get sound from the headphones plugged into the mobo. Is there a way to get them to work simultaneously or does it have to be one or the other?

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May 14, 2003 5:09:09 AM

You can have 2 sound cards at the same time in your PC (there may be IRQ/driver conflicts but these are solvable generally). Remember though that (if I understand this correctly) Windows only allows one output at one time. You must choose which one you're using either in Windows properties (this will be effective in all programs that playback sound) or tell programs to specifically use the one you like (in Winamp you can do this for example, IIRC you can even choose different outputs for mp3s and MIDI files).

Just an off topic recommendation: I'd plug in the headphones to the Audigy because it supposedly has better analog output quality. Although, you'd better audition it yourself and see if you hear any differences. With headphones (specially with better ones) you can more easily compare the quality of various devices than with speakers.
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May 18, 2003 2:10:36 AM

Why not just use a splitter? Split the line out from either sound card (only use one or the other) then plug your speakers and headphones into the splitter.
May 18, 2003 5:41:44 AM

Well, I've noticed that splitters cut the power to both speaker sets. It works okay, though, if you don't want high volume.

My Soyo board had onboard sound, and I had both the onboard sound and an Audigy PCI card enabled. They did not conflict. I had a program for realtime voice communications that I used while online gaming. I noticed that I tended to get stuttering when I ran everything through the Audigy, so I set up the voice communications to go through the onboard sound. Then I plugged the output for the onboard sound into an old set of PC speakers I had. So, while playing a game, both sound cards worked simultaneously, but couldn't share the same output.

You might consider getting a set of USB headphones. I have a set of Plantronics sp500 with mike, and the sound is surprisingly good. It has its own digital signal processor, so it doesn't use my Audigy 2 at all. So the Audigy 2 runs my 6.1 speakers, and the Plantronics do their own thing. The headphones come with software so I can switch between the headset and the Audigy 2 in XP with a click (actually, two clicks) of the mouse button. They do not work simultaneously.

Beyond that, a good but expensive solution is the Audigy Platinum, because the front I/O drive is easier to access than the I/Os on the back...

Anyway, hope that's helps or was at least informative. :wink:

<font color=green>The Netherlands is where you go when you're too good for heaven.</font color=green> :tongue:
May 20, 2003 4:45:17 AM

I've run both two and three soundcards in the same machine, so your setup is entirely possible. Windows can only send input to one output (although I have heard, but not seen or tried, that there is a program that can change that). The way to swap between them is to go into Sounds and Multimedia Properties, or properties from volume control and switch the active driver.

Hope that helps..

Poor windows was not a brave soul. Threatened by the force of General Protection and Major Problem the little OS committed suicide by hanging.