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Old 03-16-09, 12:39 PM   #1
kila kila kila
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Is it possible to network an audio interface?

If you have a router w/ a USB connection for printers, additional drives, etc., is it possible to have 2 different laptops use a USB 2-channel audio I/O connected to that router? If so, would there be any difficulties in setting this up?

FYI, I'm looking at the Apple Time Capsule for my router. One laptop would be a new Macbook and the other would be my old laptop, running Linux, acting as a music player and not much else. Both would be connecting wirelessly.

Thanks.

Last edited by kila kila kila; 03-16-09 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 03-16-09, 02:41 PM   #2
Bob Ross
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Are you asking whether it would be possible for the two computers to share the one audio interface (via the USB router), so you could listen to music playing on either computer through that one i/o?
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Old 03-16-09, 02:43 PM   #3
kila kila kila
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Are you asking whether it would be possible for the two computers to share the one audio interface (via the USB router), so you could listen to music playing on either computer through that one i/o?
Exactly, yes.

EDIT: Now that I'm thinking about it a bit, I guess it would be hard to implement without some way to switch the audio interface from one computer to the next. One thing I could do is to hard wire one laptop into the stereo receiver since it's going to be stationary, anyway.

With that in mind, does anyone know if you can use a USB audio interface through a wireless router?

Thanks.

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Old 03-16-09, 05:32 PM   #4
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would airport express work for you? I have mine next to the stereo and it uses a wireless connection to play music through the stereo from either my mini or my macbook.
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Old 03-16-09, 05:44 PM   #5
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This definitely wouldn't be possible without there being a method to "mount" the sound card over the network. This means that the sound card would need to
  • Be able to obtain an IP address, thus necessitating TCP/IP support, and
  • Be capable of streaming audio over a network via TCP/IP or any other network protocol.
I don't know any sound cards that can stream over a network, and I definitely don't know of any sound cards that have built-in support for TCP/IP. Additionally, I have no idea on how Windows or any OS (save Linux/UNIX, which have support for network audio via ALSA (correct me; I might be wrong here)) can support a networked sound card and stream to it, though I think developments have been made to solve this recently.

From the bit of research I did, there was a project to virtualize sound cards over IP, but it seems to have died and was only supported under Linux.

Apple has hardware to accomplish this (above post explains), but the only other option that I can think of is remoting into the music server (or laptop) and playing it from there OR setting up an audio streaming server a la SHOUTcast. Another thing to consider is that the Apple support is supported only by iTunes in Windows (I think?) via Bonjour (which is a proprietary protocol owned by Apple to accomplish something similar to UPnP), though I might be wrong about this too.
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Old 03-16-09, 05:54 PM   #6
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Connect one computer to your interface and run Darwin Streaming Server to live stream across your network to the other computer. You may need some virtualization to control the "server" computer but I think this should work in theory. YMMV
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Old 03-16-09, 08:16 PM   #7
kila kila kila
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would airport express work for you? I have mine next to the stereo and it uses a wireless connection to play music through the stereo from either my mini or my macbook.
That's really cool. I just glanced over that when looking through the store without realizing that is exactly what I was looking for.

Thanks.

Last edited by kila kila kila; 03-16-09 at 08:38 PM.
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