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Does anyone know if there exists any software to create a virtual sound card on one computer and send sound data across the network to another computer, where it also appears as a virtual sound card?

What I'm looking for is something like this, in software, via the network:

Computer 1 (Virtual Sound card)             Computer 2 (Physical sound card)
Mic                             <-          Mic
Line out                        ->          Line out

Computer 2's physical sound card would probably be linked to a virtual one that did the I/O over the network, I imagine.

The reason I need a virtual sound card is so that I can set my voice application to use that sound device rather than my system's hardware sound device (ie, Audacity's playback and recording device selection).

Both computers run Windows.

Does this exist? I would prefer free software, if possible.

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5 Answers

You may want to see if pulseaudio meets your requirements.

PulseAudio (formerly PolypAudio) is a cross-platform, networked sound server project. It is intended to be an improved drop-in replacement for the Enlightened Sound Daemon (ESD). PulseAudio runs under Microsoft Windows and POSIX-compliant systems like Linux. PulseAudio is free software released under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License (for the software library portion) and the GNU General Public License (for the sound server itself).

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As far as I can tell PulseAudio doesn't let me create a virtual sound device on Windows. If I were on Linux this'd be perfect, but these applications do not run on Linux (unfortunately). –  Matthew Iselin Sep 6 '09 at 3:46
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you may want to have a closer look at Shoutcast, a media streaming server

and here's a Guide to setup and configure Shoutcast for LAN audio streaming

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I'll give it a go and see what I can pull off. I've updated my original question ("The reason..."). –  Matthew Iselin Sep 6 '09 at 0:35
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If the machines are both macs, you could use SoundFly.

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Rogue Amoeba's Airfoil program can stream to various Airfoil Speaker compatible devices.

With Airfoil, you can transmit any audio from your computer out to compatible receivers. The following products can receive audio from Airfoil for Mac and Airfoil for Windows.

Airfoil Speakers Touch

  • Airfoil Speakers Touch runs on iPhones, iPods Touch, and iPads running iOS 4.0 or higher. Use it to send audio to your iOS device when connected to your local network!

Airfoil Speakers for Mac

Airfoil Speakers for Windows

Airfoil Speakers for Linux

Android Devices

  • Using the third-party Android app AirBubble, Android devices are now capable of basic receiving of audio via AirPlay.

Boxee Box

  • With its newest firmware, the Boxee Box has basic support for receiving audio via AirPlay

AirPort Express

  • With Apple's AirPort Express wireless router, you can send audio wirelessly to a connected stereo. The AirPort Express is made to receive streamed audio only from iTunes and iOS. Using Airfoil, you can send any audio from your Mac or PC.

Apple TV

  • Helping you watch digital video on your TV isn't all the Apple TV can do - it also works as a remote speaker for audio. All models of the Apple TV are made to receive streamed audio. With Airfoil, you can send any audio from your Mac or PC, not just iTunes. 3rd-party hardware icon Buy hardware

Third-Party AirPlay Devices

  • Apple now licenses AirPlay for inclusion in third-party audio hardware, making it possible for these devices to receive audio from iTunes and iOS. Companies like JBL, iHome, Pioneer, and many more have added AirPlay support to their audio receivers.
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I've tried Airfoil and uninstalled it very quickly, linux server is based on binary files, depending on Avahi, build with mono. Even on Windows while trying to loop on same host, I found very big latency. –  dmnc Oct 11 '13 at 20:29
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