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Redirecting Audio from PC to PC? 76

Atlantis-Rising asks: "I have two PCs in my standard setup- one is a 1U server (Running windows XP), and the other is a Windows XP Media Center PC. When I purchased the server, I didn't think I'd need a soundcard, and so I made no provisions for this when I was planning my system, and so it has no audio. After buying the server, my main desktop died and I decided to use the server as my main desktop machine, and I'd really like audio. However, my Media Center PC is hooked up to a wonderful speaker set, one that I'd not like to duplicate. I therefore wonder if anyone on Slashdot knows of a way to play the audio from one PC on another? I know about buying a USB sound-card, and I'd rather not do that. I also know that I can use RDP to connect the media center PC to the server, but I'd rather not do that either, for graphical performance reasons. Are there any other solutions out there, Slashdot?"
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Redirecting Audio from PC to PC?

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  • nc (Score:4, Informative)

    by jon787 ( 512497 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @09:02PM (#14450570) Homepage Journal
    Netcat can do wonderful things that should never be done over a network.
    • I bet /. will pay more in bandwidth to answer this question than it would cost to buy a soundcard

      Just buy a super cheap sound card and run the audio out to the line in on the entertainment box. you'll get better performance that way anyways
  • Virtual sound card (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GQuon ( 643387 )
    Relevant thread: Free workaround for listening to server audio from client []

    Then there's the possibility of setting your server up as a SoutCast-like server.

    I've got no personal experience with it though...

    I would've bought a cheap sound card...
  • Easy (Score:3, Informative)

    by secondsun ( 195377 ) <> on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @09:05PM (#14450590) Journal
    You should give esound a try.
    • You should give esound a try.

      Or you could try repeatedly slamming your testicles in the refrigerator door, which is a great deal more rewarding and results in less long term pain.
      • Why do people harsh on the eSound daemon? It works really well for me. I'm using it on the Linux side for a complete remote desktop solution including sound. I can use MPlayer, Xine, XMMS, and RealPlayer just fine this way. All this and over 802.11b... I think eSound is "the bomb".
  • by $exyNerdie ( 683214 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @09:08PM (#14450608) Homepage Journal
    Just get the Windows Media Encoder 9 Series and you can broadcast the streaming media over the network ies/encoder/default.aspx []
    • Requirements for "Capture and Broadcast of audio files" per Microsoft's site:

      2000 MHz processor or higher, such as an AMD Athlon 64

      Windows XP Professional x64 Edition

      512 MB of RAM or higher

      Supported audio and video capture device

      Pay special attention to the last line.
      • Requirements for "Capture and Broadcast of audio files" per Microsoft's site

        Exactly. "Pay special attention to the first line." You looked at the requirement for capture and broadcast. You can broadcast from media files already saved on the disk and thus no need to capture live media. I have it setup and working. If you need more information, post your email and I will send you the instructions on how to do it. It is so easy, you just need to install the encoder and spend about 5 minutes configuring it.
  • Hey there,

    For a while I used [] ,it takes a bit to figgure out and get working properly, but after that it works great and sounds like what you need, as all you really seem to want is a way to remotely change songs.

    • Problems with Streamsicle, as of the last time I used it:
      No transcoding, so good luck streaming any high-bitrate mp3's.
      No easy way to password protect the server, although it is
      doable, just not elegantly. This should be a standard, gui
      feature in any mp3 server. If you don't mind paying a little
      for a more elegant solution, try Andromeda; I think the site's []
  • A good question to ask is, whether you want to play music over the network, or if you want all sounds streamed (music,events,games,etc). The first is going to be vastly easier for you to accomplish. Off the top of my head I can think of audioplayers/jukeboxes, like mpd (although that may be unixesque systems only).

    The second option is going to be a lot harder to accomplish, especially if you need to play sounds without a lot of latency. I only know of unix type software (esd,mas), and even then they are not
    • No, I do want to stream all audio. What I have now is VNC, and a mapped network drive (mapping the music folder on my main desktop to a Z drive on my media center PC) that allows me to remotely change songs/etc that I'm playing on the Media Center PC. It's not a perfect solution, but it actually works quite well for me. Latency isn't really a big issue- I'm looking more for things like IM alerts, mail sounds, stuff like that. Plus, it's all gigabit wired, so I have no bandwidth issues either. (Not that I'd
    • there's also NAS in UNIX too, btw. I can't remember any windows solutions off of my head, but the Apples let you play music (from iTunes, etc) over a network to remote Airport stations (which have sound jacks on 'em) - so it's gotta be possible in the real world.
  • Isn't that just loud as hell? When I configure rackmounts in my office, I usually use earphones bacause they are so loud. Oh, and drowing out noise with more noise is not a good idea hearing-wise.
    • Yes, it is loud as hell. I throttle the CPU to 15 percent load, max, when I'm not actively playing games or something else that needs it, because that keeps the fans spun down to their minimum load. It was actually a really bad decision to buy this PC. (Dell SC1425). At the time, it was a good idea, but then my needs changed... and now I'm stuck with a loud as hell server in my room. Luckily, I have long cables, and it's in what amounts to a closet. (with proper airflow of course, but it dampens the sound s
  • I had a similar situation a number of summers ago when both my brothers and my own computer occupied a KVM switch with one set of speakers. I'm assuming that you already share files over your network, because otherwise this solution is useless unless all your music is on the media center PC. This Winamp plugin [] will allow you to control Winamp on your media center PC through an internet browser. Simply type in the internal IP and you're all set (once of course you set up the plugin to begin with; a fairly
  • by JohnFluxx ( 413620 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @09:22PM (#14450687)
    Maybe VLC will do what you want.
  • On my home net, my ancient laptop serves files, including oggs. There's no point in streaming the audio--I just mount the filesystem from my PCs and mythtv box and play them as though they were local--the point of a networked filesystem. I can't imagine why you'd not be able to do the same thing in your setup.
    • He didn't ask about streaming music. He asked about playing sounds remotely. Your solution does nothing to, say, play the sounds from a game on a different machine.
  • I am listening to a music stream from that old laptop in the corner (which is running mt-daapd) to this newer one running Rhythmbox. Works like a charm!
  • by djtempest ( 945235 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @10:19PM (#14450965)
    This will work fine... Since you don't have a sound card you will need a virtual soundcard [] works great. Then you set up a shoutcast server [] and a copy of winamp with the shoutcast dsp encoder. once you get shoutcast running and broadcasting over your network you just tell it to take it's input from the virtual audio cable. You need to fiddle with the windows mixers to get all the sounds sent out the vac. on the speaker machine tune into your stream with winamp and that should be all you need to do. Use a low bit rate so the encoder doesn't tax your CPU. I recommend the aac+ @24k. This sounds great and won't tax your cpu much at all. good luck! -DJTempest>
  • Using JACK I regularly stream realtime audio (iTunes, QuickTime) from my PowerBook running OS X Tiger to my Debian Linux server where my speakers are attached with minimal latency.

    There's a good port [] of JACK available for OS X and jack.udp [] readily compiles on OS X. I use Audio Hijack Pro [] as my JACK source to grab audio from applications and send them to JACK which then uses jack.udp to send via the network.

    Of course if you're running Linux on your workstation, everything you need should be included in y

    • What sort of latency is there with this approach? I bought a Mac Mini on a whim when I saw a decent sale price on it. I was thinking about perhaps buying an Airport Express and using the Mini as a DVD player (there's no discrete way to route audio cables to my stereo due to the layout of my condo) but it seems that that's a completely unworkable solution due to shortcomings in the Airport Express.

      • Allow me to start off by being a bitch;
        "What sort of latency is there with this approach?"
        What sort of machine are you running? What sort of network cards & network speed? What sort of network congestion? What sort of tasks are you running on your systems?

        Jack.udp itself is exceedingly low latency. I would be truly suprised if you found a lower latency streaming method. Take care to setup jack to use smaller buffers to reduce its latency.

        On the other hand, I'm not sure how well jack.udp maintains s
      • With 2048 byte packets and using Jack OS X's audio output device I get a very slight echo between my local speakers and the remote speakers. The latency is very good with this setup. Definitely sub 50 milliseconds as I don't notice any lip sync issues. I do my video playback from my Linux server directly but do

        Because I do other things on my wireless network besides audio, I like to use an 8192 byte buffer to greatly reduce the chances of underflows and I use Audio Hijack Pro to give me single click swi

  • by metalpet ( 557056 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @11:18PM (#14451236) Journal
    It would be quite easy to achieve what you want on linux, thanks to various sound drivers that are designed to allow streaming to another computer.
    On Windows however, the sound drivers are discouraged from doing things like that. In fact, some applications will refuse to output sound if the driver isn't "approved" by Microsof, pretty much specifically to block this kind of setup.
    Still, if someone was buy the DDK and write an unsigned virtual sound driver for windows, most applications out there would accept it for now (except for DRM-enabled things.)
    • It would be quite easy to achieve what you want on linux

      God I wish this were true. Yes, in theory all the pieces are available to make this work and it probably does work for the handful of skilled Linux users who have time to tweak all the necessary bits and pieces. I've been using Linux as a primary pc at home and at work for years and I still dread setting up sound to work as well as I'd like. I know it can be done and I've done it. But I know I'll have to figure it all out again when I have to rebuild
      • you have two choices:

        1: emulate the dsp device to skype with arts by executing it as:

        artsdsp -m skype (it might be -w, its been a while)

        2: disable arts and set knotify to use madplay to output sound
      • Is this something particular to KDE? I dunno I've never used it. Maybe it's something already "fixed" in my distro? I've been using RH, and now Fedora, since RH 5. As far as I can remember sounds in applications has been one of the (few) things that has just worked the way I expected without fiddling.
      • Use a modern distribution, one that has software mixing using dmix and dsnoop enabled. Or you can do it yourself, its a little tricky, but not outside the range of the average poweruser. (Your better off with a better distro, though).

        Then, pipe all your legacy OSS apps through AOSS (sadly, skype IS a legacy app). Supposedly, the Skype people are working on native alsa support; AFAIK, thats the last OSS app I use.

        As long as you are using either pure Alsa, or AOSS for OSS apps, you won't get stupid sound-card
    • It would be quite easy to achieve what you want on linux

      Tempted as I am to use my mod points and give this a +1 funny, I will instead respond with a question. Have you, in fact, done this? If so, please post a howto somewhere so that we can all take advantage. My main workstation is now an ltsp terminal for a hot (in more ways than one) linux box that lives in a closet, and after some thrashing about sound works, for some things, well enough to get by.

      Mysterious things happen with no sound card in the ser

  • for my own situation, i have two machines side-by-side. one is a rackmount linux server and one is a windows game-playing machine (also using a monitor switch to dual-monitor the windows box). if both sound-cards use spdif connexions, then i highly recommend taking the spdif-out from one box and wiring it to the spdif-in on the sound card that has the speakers. alternately, if you have sound cards that only have one-eigth inch headphone jacks, take the line-out from one and get a patch cable to the line-
    • Wasnt the point that he didn't have a sound card in his server..?
    • I can't believe the number of useless comments I'm seeing here from people who are giving suggestions that don't apply to this guy's computer situation.

      To the person who suggested using JACK on OS X: He isn't using OS X! He's using Windows, so let's get some Windows utilities suggested, eh?

      To the parent, who suggested plugging an audio cable from the server's audio-out to the media center's audio-in: His server doesn't have a sound card! That's the entire problem he's trying to solve. He wants somethin
      • If the problem is no sound card, external USB sound cards are $20. Thats what we call "no excuses". I got mine at a sale for $12. 24/96 and 8 channel output. What more do you want? Wait, your computer doesnt have USB? Try upgrading from a 486. Cant do cabling? Now we have an issue.

        Look, there's no way in fucking hell you're going to get windows doing this. We all want our Pinto's to fly and do 180 on the highway, but its just not going to happen. There used to be some esound-based virtua
  • by neocephas ( 840876 ) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:01AM (#14451441)
    I usually use MPD [] (Music Player Daemon) on my Linux and NetBSD boxes so I can play audio remotely (or locally too). MPDv2 is suppose to support Windows, but it isn't out yet. Another trick that I've used for Linux/BSD -> Windows is that I ran a esound server (esd -public -tcp -port 6666) on the Windows computer and used mplayer (mplayer -ao esd) to send the audio output to the remote windows computer. It's very fun to send Avril Lavigne songs to the university's clusters' computers to piss off your hard working friends :).

    Anyway, a quick google came up with PlayerPal [], which runs on Windows and seems to be what you want. In fact, it seems to do a lot of things that MPD and its various clients do. Good luck.
  • Check out DAAP (Score:1, Redundant)

    by darnok ( 650458 )
    iTunes (the version that runs on your own PC, not the download shop) uses the DAAP protocol to act as a music server. Fire up iTunes with your music collection on one PC, then fire up iTunes on another PC on the same network and you can see and play each other's music across the network from within iTunes.

    Better yet, there's DAAP servers available that mean you don't need a GUI based tool such as iTunes to share the music around. I run mt-daapd on a cheapy Linksys NSLU2 disc server (which runs Linux under
    • Isn't there some number-of-connection limit that's been imposed in iTunes, in the recent versions? Like each client can only take seven remote connections per day or something like that?

      I used to really like the DAAP server functions in iTunes, but Apple (at the behest of the music companies, I am fairly certain) pared the usefulness down and down, until they imposed this limit. I was never clear on whether it was a seven-client limit, or a seven-connection limit.

      Anyone care to clear this up? Because you're
  • Trying to stream from one PC to another is not a good idea. Latency will be an issue, for a start.

    The simplest solutions are the best. Get an audio switch box. You can get one that has six phono plugs for surround sound, or even just make one. If you have digital audio, even better... No latency, good sound quality, easy to switch over. Hell, get a basic mixer if you need both on at the same time.
  • Maybe Slimserver [] is what youre looking for. They have real nice clients in hardware which are also available in software and you can also use it to play streams. Great piece of software and its free!
  • Check out remote desktop to the system that has the sound. There is an optrion to redirect sound. You need to be logged on to it and then remote desktop into is as the same user. We use this for one guy in HR. His normal location is at another plant and his system is just so-so but that's where his telephone is. When he is on-site here he uses a really good system and he can play voice mail on his usuall systemn he is remote desktoped into.
  • Alright, he has two computers. One is a rack-mount server with no audio. The other is a HTPC with a nice set of speakers. The only thing I can figure with this is that he had a third computer that he was using as his desktop. Additionally, he doesn't want to purchase a USB sound card.

    He doesn't want to use RDP due to graphical performance issues which leads me to believe that he is intending to play games rather than listen to music (Since listening to music does not require graphical performance).

    I ha
  • Could you have a few more silly I don't want that because in the question? You are tying slashdot's hands because you were too cheap to get a $25 sound card for that sled-server. The graphics considerations? How about a gigabit LAN? I use Nero 6.6+'s media server no problemo. Since you probably would not want speakers for whatever reason how about some Bluetooth headphones; 40 ft. ;259 channels scrambled and no wires. Oh yeah...why are you not using the media center music server? My last idea I swear

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"