PC guys, anyone know how to 'split' audio output?

#1 Edited by JouselDelka (967 posts) -

I want to connect both my speakers and my headphones to the PC, and have music from iTunes playing through the speakers while the Skyrim audio is playing in my headphones.

Am I dreaming of fictional technology?

Here's an impressive explanatory picture I made using an expensive art program

#2 Posted by Toxeia (729 posts) -

Skyrim doesn't seem to support it, but check the program you use to listen to music. If you can find an option that allows you to pick the output, then you can change it there.

For instance, Guild Wars 2 has the option to either use the default audio device, or one I pick. So if you wanted to do that with Guild Wars instead of Skyrim, totally possible.

Something you can do that might work is turn on Skyrim, change your default device, and then start your music. Some programs can't change their output once they've already started. For example, if I'm running Chrome and watching a video here on GB and then change it to display on my TV instead of my monitors then sound should start coming out of my TV. The GB stream continues playing through my headphones though.

Otherwise, it doesn't seem that there's anything you can do about this.

#3 Edited by Green_Incarnate (1788 posts) -

Your picture is confusing, since the audio is generated from those programs not ending up there??

#4 Edited by Toxeia (729 posts) -

@green_incarnate: Swap the images of the games and the sound devices, so like.. PC > Skyrim > Headphones, PC > Music > Speakers

@jouseldelka: Just confirmed, WinAmp does allow you to change the output source via a plugin. I believe it's a default one as well. I'm not familiar with iTunes to know if it can do that though.

#5 Edited by Oscar__Explosion (2231 posts) -

I think this solves you're problem?

#6 Edited by Toxeia (729 posts) -

@oscar__explosion: Ventrilo/Mumble, and some other programs allow you to manually set their output source. That's the only reason you can do Vent on headphones and everything else on speakers. Though if OP only has one sound device then he'll need something like that, or upgrade to some USB headphones.

@jouseldelka: I installed iTunes in a virtual machine. I'm salting the earth and destroying this virtual machine after I'm done with this. And no, iTunes does not support manually setting your sound output. If you get Winamp you can import your iTunes database and use that and then change the output there.

#7 Posted by Szlifier (488 posts) -

I'm doing it since I discovered that I can make separate front and rear outputs. I have set up default device to be speakers in my TV /Monitor thing and the other one to my sound system. The thing is that anyting you want to listen on your secondary output(you can change priority on the fly in Windows 7) must have an audio device selection menu. Dig deeper into Skyrim's settings it might be there. If not then use another music player, since every media player I've used for audio has that setting: Foobar, Winamp, VLC, freaking Windows Media Player!, forget about iTunes.

#8 Edited by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

That's a strange use case. Why not just play them from the same source and mix down the music, assuming that's the issue?

If you're really desperate, as long as you have two outputs that you are using, that show up as separate outputs in your sound properties, you can probably start iTunes with the default output set to speakers, and then while that's running and playing music, switch the default to headphones and start Skyrim. Then, if you keep iTunes running, you shouldn't have to change anything unless you want to start using your speakers again for non-iTunes stuff.

But if you aren't attached to iTunes, get winamp as was said before.

Or stop being a crazy person and just use one for both.

#9 Posted by EXTomar (4627 posts) -

As others have suggested, the programs have to support audio mixing. Although a random game might not do it, chances are whatever you use to play music does support selecting a specific audio output. You probably have to leave the game on "default audio device" but set whatever is handling the music to play on "PC Speaker - Rear" or something like that.

Personally I see nothing wrong with having both play onto the same source. You can adjust the output levels of both but again you are probably going to find more control on the music player than the video game so I'd focus on adjusting the music player to the comfortable level.

#10 Edited by rebgav (1429 posts) -


Enable front and rear devices to playback separate audio streams in the properties for your sound device (default setting is usually to mute the rear output when the front is active) then set whichever you want the game audio through as the default device (right-click volume control icon, 'playback devices') then go to the options/preferences for your music player and tell it to use the other output.

Pretty sure that's all you need to do.

#11 Posted by audioBusting (1488 posts) -

Like everybody said, forget about using iTunes for this. It only supports AirPlay for changing audio output.

#12 Posted by Slaegar (697 posts) -

You can use a not terrible music player like foobar and change the output device.

I tested this by playing a the daily dota I have sitting up with with a random song. Brad's lovely voice came out of my computer speakers and the song came out of my TV's speakers.

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