Home audio distribution – a solution… ish

Quite a while back I posted on my difficulties in getting a Win7/8 PC to act as a hub for distributing audio through-out the house…

http://hayesjupe.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/home-audio-distribution-another-thing-that-seems-to-be-way-harder-than-it-needs-to-be/

I ended up going down the route of 3 x USB sound cards plugged into a USB hub, hanging off a Intel NUC, then running VMware workstation – assigning a USB sound card to each VM… and voila…. at least in my head.

In reality, this did work-ish, but the audio would skip regularly and the resources required to run that amount of VM’s was a bit beyond the NUC.

After giving it a rest for (quite) a few months due to rather extreme work and family commitments, I got a second wind today and started searching around on a different tact.

Knowing that WMP can specify an output source, I tried to run multiple instances…. no go

But then I found http://www.lukepaynesoftware.com/other/

So now I run 3 or 4 instances of media player, each with a different output and one internet radio station using the “default” audio device.

Performance wise, the NUC handles this ease… I don’t have the hassle of VMware (and quandary as to why allocating usb devices to specific hosts is not a feature of hyper-V…. device re-direction is useless in this instance… as it is for usb hardware license dongles as well…)

Its not perfect by any stretch – as each instance of WMP needs to be configured each time the box is restarted for any reason (such as patches), the WMP config shows that each instance is playing out the same output (when it isn’t) and I can only run one internet radio station at a time – but, its quite a good solution compared to the complete lack of other alternatives out there.

Thanks luke payne. (whom I assume has a brother/father/cousin called max)