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Multichannel Audio

Rogier Tuinte

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Anybody successfully realised a multichannel audio playback with Watchout v5 and Windows 7?

I'm trying to realise a 8 channel audio project.

We've 2 different sound cards.

M-Audio Firewire 410

Motu 828 MKII USB

Both sound cards worked before with Windows XP and Watchout v4


Within Windows 7:

If I use the test button in the Control Panel, it does work - Windows can access all channels but,

Windows Media player and other applications give an error message when trying to playback multichannel audio files using the FW 410 Multichannel device if it is in 10-channel shared mode.

Watchout giva a Directshow media error


Audio playback with the Quicktime player is not working when the audio settings in the control panel is set to multichannel and the quicktime audiosettings is set to 7.1


Does anyone have any suggestions on an audio interface capable of 7.1 surround which works with Windows 7 and Watchout v5?

Or am I doing something wrong?




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Hmm, while using the onboard sound card with 7.1 everything works...

So it seems that there is something with the drivers for the external sound cards.


Maybe it's something with DirectSound devices that does not appear to work properly??

The problem occurs with common applications such as Windows Media Player, but also with audio production apps that can use DirectSound

The sound cards work with professional applications while these offer alternatives like ASIO.



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We just went through this same issue. Windows 7/Watchout/MOTU combination doesn't work. There is some issue with the drivers hooking up with Watchout and MOTU. Jim Kellner has done some investigation of this. We have gone to using older XP machines to run audio (5.1 and 6.1) with the MOTU 828MK2 and Fire wire Traveler while keeping our visual material on Windows 7 machines. That has been very stable.




James Hanrahan

LCTM Industries, Inc.

2102 Harbor Drive

Annapolis, MD 21409




Tel 410 626 8620

Cel 410 703 4081

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  • 4 weeks later...
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I have done several 7.1 audio shows with WatchOUT 4.x using MOTU MK3 Ultralite Hybrid as the audio interface on Windows XP machines. (I don't have 5 yet)


I had zero issues.


I nothing BUT issues with Windows Vista and 7!


For XP:

The audio was created in ProTools and each track exported as a stem. The stems were imported into Audacity and a 32bit 8 channel .wav was created.


The audio supported a of a person speaking and sound effects. I chose to separate the audio and video tracks for stability. (According to Dataton WatchOUT does not like decoding surround audio and video on the same machine... better to separate unless you need microscopically synced audio... WatchOUT did a great job playing back the audio and video as separate sources but keeping them in sync.)


I ran 2 full systems (main and backup) each had a controller, 5 display machines, and a dedicated audio machine.


And I had beautiful 7.1 audio with no problems!


I DO NOT believe this will work on Windows Vista or 7 because of the changes in the way the operating system interacts with the hardware. Something about the changes in the Hardware Abstraction Layer or the presence of or the lack of (I don't know the details, I am just guessing that it has led to this:) has made it either impossible or unnecessary for manufacturer's to write the drivers that WatchOUT needs for this type of playback.


I am no expert but in my head is this:

WatchOUT uses DirectSound for audio playback.

Almost any hardware can interact with DirectSound on a basic stereo 2 channel audio output setup.

7.1 requires special drives for decoding for DirectSound.

General 7.1 decoding in Windows Vista and 7 is no longer driver/DirectSound based meaning there is no longer a need for hardware to have DirectSound drivers to do surround.

Therefore surround audio with Windows Vista/7 and WatchOUT is not possible.


I have no idea if this has changed in WatchOUT 5 but during my conversations with Dataton while trouble shooting my setup I was led to believe that WatchOUT 5 will continue to use DirectSound for all audio in the near future.


I dug and dug for driver solutions to make this work on Vista/7... and after talking to MOTU, M-Audio, and a few other external audio card manufacturers, and spending a lot of time on hardware forums, I went back to Windows XP for my operating system and all my surround audio troubles went away.


I would love to hear details of file type/audio encode and machine setup for the RME FireFace UC success with Win7!


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My experience was exactly the same as Brian's - we couldn't get multi-channel audio to work at all with V4.3 and Windows 7. We eventually used V4.3 with Windows 7 on the display (visual) machines, and, for audio, pretty vanilla XP dual cores that we purchased from Showsage a few years ago paired with a MOTU 828. That was rock solid. File format is very important - 32bit floating point WAV - if I remember correctly. We came out of Digital Performer, but also experimented with Audacity. The trick is to remember if you are using discreet multi-channel instead of surround you have to hard pan your tracks into the surround channels, then remember that the order of tracks is determined by the surround decoder. We were able to do this for some single channel effects that were coming out of speakers placed in scenic elements.


We've just installed V5 on the Windows 7 machines - the visuals are great, but have not tried the audio side yet. Neither have I installed V5 on the XP machines. I'm intrigued by the news that RME interfaces work, though I hate giving up my reliable old MOTU gear (RME is about twice as expensive).


We have had a few instances of Watchpoint launching more than one instance at a time - which is odd. I hope to put in some more time during the week.


Jim Kellner said they were trying to sort out the audio issues - I don't know if that meant they were working on a solution or just trying to figure out the cause.


Best of luck!



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Sorry to also join in the agreement here. I have had bad experience of 4.3 & Win 7 & 10 channels of audio playing back across 5 machines (as stereo files).

I also agree that a seperate XP machine for the audio would be a better workaround. Sadly though another WO licence, a new PC and multichannel sound card are an additional cost not in the budget. I look forward to some real life advice on successful hardware configurations that work with 4.3/4.5 & Win 7.



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