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I have seen software for Linux systems that allows me to send the audio from one system to another over the network, is there such a software (a driver likely) for Windows, specificly XP but Vista and Windows 7 would be best.

I'd like to stream audio (ALL audio, not just mp3s, etc) from my laptop to another computer over the network. I know that Windows Remote Desktop can play audio over the network pretty easily. Is this part of .Net that I could just code a simple app that streams the audio without RD'ing in? I also don't want to run it over an extra physical wire if possible.

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  • I have a similar situation where I want several computers in my house to play the same audio with low latency so they would all be in sync, and have yet to find a solid solution.
    – duckworth
    Jan 12, 2010 at 20:02
  • If you want to use your PC both as a server AND as the controller and you have a rather simple/passive renderer (aka network player without much controls/display), take a look at the "play-to" feature of windows 7 and up. Limited to WindowsMedia-Playback, but well... groovypost.com/howto/… Jun 17, 2014 at 18:09

8 Answers 8

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Airfoil will let you stream audio from Windows/Mac to Windows/Mac/Airport.

Send any audio from your PC to AirPort Express units, Apple TVs, iPhones and iPods Touch, and even other PCs and Macs, all in sync!

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  • 4
    "Before purchase, noise is overlaid on all transmissions longer than 10 minutes." Jul 31, 2014 at 16:38
  • Purchase a license key for just $25. Jan 5, 2015 at 16:02
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I don't know for sure... but here are some thoughts. The difficulty in sending your laptop's audio over lan is that windows does not provide natively a 'channel' or something to listen on that a software developer could use to implement something. In essence, I believe a successful solution has to be either:

  • a full-fledged virtual audio driver.

From what I understand, this seems like a complicated fare: Try making a fake driver that will support a plethora of inputs (mp3s, surround games and movies, various bitrates and sample rates, simultaneous applications), while also taking care of encoding, transmitting with low latency, receiving on the other end, that works well and is stable with various version of windows, all that with a damn low profit incentive given only a minority of people would be interested to buy it. Sounds like a bad business plan to me.

Have you tried pulseaudio on windows? Apparently it is cross-platform.

OR

  • a real sound card whose driver is designed to allow applications to record its output.

A few years ago, Creative Labs had a pretty good 'what you hear' channel that applications could record on. I remember playing audio over sound card hardware effect such as reverb and recording it in realtime in my audio software using this "what you hear" channel. Technically, Shoutcast will be able to select this channel as the input and stream all your laptop sound. I don't have a Creative card anymore, so I don't know how well this works nowadays. Plus, I imagine you want to use your laptop's built-in audio, which likely would not have that feature, but an external Creative Audigy might!

OR

  • Audio Over IP / Audio Over Ethernet dedicated hardware.

More expensive and complicated than you current best bet: a physical audio cable to your main computer....

OR

  • The quick fix.

Plug the output of your laptop back into your laptop's linein with a mini <1 ft cable. Without a doubt, shoutcast can stream your sound card's line-in. The downside with this method is reduced audio quality with 2 superfluous DAC/ADC.

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  • In case anyone is wondering: With WASAPI, one can actually record from output devices. That means the “What you hear”/“Stereomix” loopback input is no longer required. IIRC, it’s available starting from Windows Vista.
    – Daniel B
    Jun 3, 2015 at 18:42
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This answer is a little late but I figured I'd post it in case someone is looking for a solution in the future. There is a piece of software called Airfoil that has this exact functionality. It also lets you stream to PCs, MACs, Linux, iPhones, iPod Touches, Apple TV, and more.

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I'd take a look at the "Play To" feature that is present in Windows 7. The little I've played with it, it was performed awesomely. Here's a little write-up with more info.

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  • I tried this once but my all my media is on a network drive and I remember running onto issues.
    – duckworth
    Jan 12, 2010 at 19:59
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VLC can be run as a server (on your laptop) and a client (on your HTPC) to stream video or audio. Just use the Media menu (helpfully placed where File menu is in most apps) and select Streaming, then select all the files you want to stream, click Stream and you'll get options of how to stream it.

When it's started, start up VLC on the HTPC and direct it to the laptop's IP and port and it should play.

This forum post explains how to do it.

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    That's not a very good solution because from what I can tell, it uses VLC as the player essentially, rather than streaming all sound output from all of the laptop's programs. Jun 4, 2013 at 18:18
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    "I'd like to stream audio (ALL audio, not just mp3s, etc) from my laptop to another computer" - This solution does not answer the question
    – Brandon
    Sep 20, 2017 at 4:31
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You htpc likely has a line-in jack on the audio card. Just run an audio patch cable there from your source computer's speaker jack.

Here's an example

That cable is only 6ft, but you get longer ones or combine it with an extension cable.

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  • More info on the line-in solution here: cavemonkey50.com/2006/02/two-computers-only-one-set-of-speakers Jan 12, 2010 at 19:16
  • In my case, the reason I came to this question was because the audio driver on my PC Motherboard had gone bad due to inadequate power management (I put an RX 570 on a DG41RQ). And since I didn't want to buy a USB sound card, I tried this. Currently I am using HDMI audio to a TV.
    – Ulterno
    Jul 26, 2021 at 9:21
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Try https://github.com/duncanthrax/scream for a simple VirtualAudio driver. This might not be as good as Airfoil, but has very low lag time, hence usable for videos (VLC with timing adjustment). Using this between 2 Windows PCs using an Ethernet cable gave ~500ms lag, so not for gaming.

I tried Airfoil and while it does have a lot of features, the amount of lag (~3 seconds on direct Ethernet) when sending audio from Airfoil to Airfoil Satellite (Windows) is too high to make it useful for anything other than music(sound only).

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Here's a solution that worked for me from Ubuntu to Windows 10 without trouble:

# Windows (receiver) side:
.\ffplay.exe -nodisp -ac 2 -acodec pcm_u8 -ar 48000 -analyzeduration 0 -probesize 32 -f u8 -i udp://0.0.0.0:18181?listen=1

# Linux (transmitter) side:
pactl load-module module-null-sink sink_name=remote
ffmpeg -f pulse -i "remote.monitor" -ac 2 -acodec pcm_u8 -ar 48000 -f u8 "udp://<RECEIVER IP HERE>:18181"

For this you need to download ffplay included in ffmpeg.

The latency is several seconds right now though so will not work for many use cases. Might be fixable with some tweaking.

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