Sound Blaster Direct Sound doesn't remain enabled

NW Music Listener

Novice Member
I have a dedicated music server from which I get S/PDIF output to my DAC. Optical output from the motherboard produces junk, so I use a Sound Blaster Audigy RX 7.1. With Direct Sound enabled, my system sounds great. Unfortunately, the card sometimes disables Direct Sound for reasons unknown, and it's a pain to check periodically. I'm hoping either to learn some way to lock on Direct Sound, perhaps through the registry, or replace the card. Obviously, I have no use for any card's onboard DAC or music processing, but I'd pay what I need for a card that produces the best PCM stereo output and doesn't require attention.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
Does your music player have the option to lock the output for example in MPC-BE you can go into its settings and under
1 - select audio then audio renderer
2 - select MPC audio renderer and click on properties
3 - under sound device select the optical output
4 - set the WASAPI mode to exclusive

This will prevent anything other than MPC-BE from accessing the the Audigy while its in use, of course this may not be the source of the problem.

From what I can see the Audigy RX 7.1 is not officially supported under windows 10 and is known to be unstable.

Does the PC need to run Windows ?, you could try Linux Mint on the PC, I believe Creative cards are supported via open source drivers. Use Rufus to write the ISO image to a USB drive and you can boot/install from that.

If you must run Windows this cheap Asus card with optical should suffice & there is the more current Creative Sound Blaster Z or the Sound Blaster AE-5 but that seems a lot to pay for just an optical output.

Another option, get a HDMI audio extractor which has optical output use that with your PC GPU HDMI video output. Also get a dummy HDMI video device to fake output.

The in windows open sound settings and go to app volume device preferences at the bottom, in here you can override what music software audio output will be used so simply select the HDMI output and let it carry the audio.
 

NW Music Listener

Novice Member
My apologies: the Sound Blaster option is called Stereo Direct, not Direct Sound. I don't even see why this option should apply to digital out, but it seems to.

My music server runs Windows. It sits in a storage room and has no monitor, keyboard or mouse. I control it from my main PC via Remote Desktop and it runs nothing but MediaMonkey. It's a nice solution.

I might try a different card. Digital output from the motherboard sounds terrible, so I know there are differences.
 

next010

Distinguished Member
My apologies: the Sound Blaster option is called Stereo Direct, not Direct Sound. I don't even see why this option should apply to digital out, but it seems to.

My music server runs Windows. It sits in a storage room and has no monitor, keyboard or mouse. I control it from my main PC via Remote Desktop and it runs nothing but MediaMonkey. It's a nice solution.

I might try a different card. Digital output from the motherboard sounds terrible, so I know there are differences.


A 'direct mode' exists on the Sound Blaster AE-5 & its described purpose is to give the purest output with no audio processing. I use analogue headphones and cannot hear any difference with it on/off.

Have you tried turning off direct mode in the SB control panel what happens ? it should still output audio over optical.
 

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