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I'm using M-Audio M-Track Eight (as an external sound card) to play and record an audio file to a device from a Windows7 PC. Right now, I'm able to use only 4 input and 4 output ports for playing and recording. Softwares like audacity show only paired up ports (1/2, 3/4, 5/6 and 7/8). The following are the screenshots of the same:

Out devices

In devices

I would like to use all 8 output and 8 intput ports to play and record files simultaneously. I would like to know if:

  1. this is because of the stereo setting? (If yes, how different will Mono setting be?)
  2. is this a feature of the product itself?
  3. is this how it is supposed to be used? if not, how can I get 8 separate input and output ports instead of just 4?

Any information, advice or leads would be of much help. Thanks in advance!

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My initial thought was, does it matter really? Because you can separate the stereo tracks after recording, you hinted to this in Q1. If you run two (unrelated) mono tracks through a stereo stream, then you still have two mono tracks, i.e. Q1; it makes no difference. But you can record mono inputs to mono tracks in Audacity, if this is what you want.
If you are recording from Audacity to a recording device, then it's simple; you can map each mono track to a different mono output from the track's dropdown menu.

I'm not really clear on how you are using the device. I would need to know more about what you are doing to advise you further.


Update: I now realise that the problem is the OP can only output a stereo mix from Audacity when they actually want 8x output channels to route tracks to simultaneously. But Audacity only has a stereo output mix, as is discussed here. I suppose this could be changed by anybody with the know-how, as Audacity is open source software.

So a software upgrade is needed for the OP. The standard routing capabilities in most professional software is 32 input and 32 output channels, as is shown in Magix's Sound Forge Pro 11:

(I'm not on my multi-ch system, so only Codec 1 & 2 are selectable)
enter image description here enter image description here

If I switch on the two system output channels, then we can see four selectable channels for each of the 32 output channels.

enter image description here

This is what you need, but in stereo mix software like Audacity, instead of 32 channels you only get 2, so you can only map the output channels to left or right(Channels 1 & 2). This is why your eight outputs are only selectable in pairs.
So simply put, you can output to a selected pair:

  • A stereo track
  • A mono track to both Left and Right
  • A mono track to either left or right
  • Two mono tracks, one to left, the other to right

I don't know of any free or open source multiple output audio editors, I only use Audacity to sample/capture software audio, which it's really good at.

So, in summary you need an audio editor or DAW with multichannel support throughout. Simple to find in a paid, professional application. A lot harder to find in a free or open source application.

  • Like how you pointed out, I understand the mono recording part. I'm sorry if I made my questions a bit ambiguous. To make it clearer, the thing I am concerned about here is not the output file but the physical connections/channels at my disposal. It appears that even though I have eight different ports on my external sound-card, I'm able to use only four of them. because Windows maps the channels as pairs say 1/2, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8 (whereas I would like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8). I have updated my post above by attaching a couple of screenshots of Audacity. Hope this helps. – skrowten_hermit Feb 20 '17 at 11:08
  • A bit of research led me to Virtual Audio Cable (VAC), a software which can route/redirect audio through a desired path digitally/virtually. But its free version can support only a max of 3 such channels. I need at least 8. Any alternate way to achieve this? – skrowten_hermit Feb 20 '17 at 11:58
  • Ok, I think I get what you're saying now, you can only select one pair at a time. Is that it? In that case you need to upgrade to a software capable of outputting to more than two tracks simultaniously. forum.audacityteam.org/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=77531 – Marc W Feb 20 '17 at 18:13
  • Yeah. Simultaneous as well as separate. The link you shared talks about unavailability of Audacity's multi-channel output feature. The sad part is Audacity and pymedia, the applications I have tried so far, show up paired channels/ports (like shown in the screenshot), which makes me suspect Windows is the culprit. Do you think Linux will have a solution for this? – skrowten_hermit Feb 21 '17 at 7:19
  • Yeah, that page is pretty damning. I'm not sure about how sound drivers interact with the software, I'll have to look into it properly one day. But it wouldn't be a Windows problem and I don't think it's a driver problem, it's a limitation of the software(Audacity/Pymedia). What sound driver are you using in Audacity? – Marc W Feb 21 '17 at 15:50

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