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I'm trying to get Windows XP to recognize my ProFire 610 as a 5.1 device, but I'm not having much luck. Some individual applications will treat it as 5.1 (for instance, WinAmp), but the system as a whole thinks it's only stereo.

Short of calling M-Audio tech support, I've looked everywhere to see if I can do this. I've even tried using Jack and a trial of Virtual Audio Cable with an M-Audio FireWire 410 that I had on loan before getting the 610. I couldn't get either Jack or VAC configured properly.

Using WinAmp isn't a problem, but I also have a small app that reads a proprietary audio file, and outputs that as a 5.1 stream to the default sound card using OpenAL. OpenAL doesn't seem to throw up any errors, but the sound still comes through in stereo.

Is what I'm asking even possible? If so, any help would be appreciated.


I must not have been clear enough when I first posed the question. I'm using 5.1 files. My proprietary files are 5.1, and I generate 5.1 wav files from those proprietary files to play back in WinAmp. No special codecs that need licenses or anything like that. WinAmp sees that the wav files are 5.1, and I tell it to use the 610, and it happily outputs in 5.1. I do the same thing for my app that reads the proprietary files directly, it doesn't complain about not having 5.1, but still only outputs in stereo.

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The root problem is that the drivers for the 610 don't ID it as a 5.1 device, even though it has six analog output channels.. maybe eight, I've forgotten. It's advertised as multiple stereo channels. Winamp apparently is clever enough to map the six channels of 5.1 into those stereo channels. Apparently nothing else you've tried is.

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Let me answer your question, with more questions...

First, How do you want windows to recognize it? A "5.1" device is merely seen as 6 audio-out channels.

Second, How do you know it's not working as designed? When playing music or whatever that is 2-channels (common stereo which most things you play on your computer are)... it only picks 2 of the 6-channels to play on. (typically the front left/right) Yes, you can probably change the channels that are the "primary output"... but the result is the same.

There are different software applications that will attempt to virtualize the 2-channels of audio into 6-streams appropriate for a front/back/left/right/center/sub setup... like winamp... and also various DVD/blue-ray playback applications. And there are applications that can read an actual 6-channel source, and playback directly to 6-channels in windows. Most (if not all) of the latter example require special licensing from THX or Dolby to decode their special codecs that contain all 6 channels. Some of the software packages out there come in a standard version (without the special codec) and a premium version (with) that will have some additional configuration options that let you assign the channels properly to your sound-system.

There is no perfect solution (for windows at least) that will take a 2-channel audio source, and map it to your 5.1 configuration. Windows (by-itself) is only capable of mapping 1 channel to 1 channel.

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