Locator: Sound List Editor > Tools > Outputs/Devices .
Use of Output Groups is optional. If you only need to play audio to the Windows Default Playback Device, you can ignore Output Groups and Devices feature.
The program can be pipe audio to many different zones simulataneously and each zone can have its own audio programming. By default, Sound Mill will play a Sound Item on the Windows Default Playback Device specified in the Windows Control Panel (WCP, Figure 2). However, if you want to pipe sound to different zones by using multiple soundcards , for example music to the lobby PA during intermission and production sounds to the stage speakers, this feature has the functionality.
In general, if your audio device output(s) are listed in the Windows Control Panel > Sound > Playback tab (see Figure 2), they should be accessible to Sound Mill . Some multi-output soundcards may be listed simply as Output-1, Output-2, etc. If the output ports are not showing up in the WCP Sound applet, the device may need a device driver install or update. Check the soundcard manufacturer's website to see if there is a driver update to support Microsoft Windows Audio Session API(WASAPI). Also, remember that the device must have a device driver that supports your target Operating System ( Windows® 10/8/7 ).
Also see our Web page on Multi-Zone Outputs Systems to see some sample hardware configurations you can employ at different price points -- from professional systems to hobbyist. USB external soundcards give very good results for a low cost solution (under $10 each).
Locator: Sound List Editor > Tools > Outputs/Devices > Devices .
When you start Sound Mill , it will auto-detect all connected devices (soundcards). Every detected device has a System Name as assigned by Windows and a Logical Name. The System Name is usually the name of the sound card or an output port name on multi-output soundcards (ex. "Sound Blaster X-Fi 24", "C-Media USB Audio Device", "Output port 2", etc.). When multiple USB soundcards are connected, the System Name usually has a number added to the name (ex "USB Audio Device(2)"). You can assign a Logical Name to each device to more easily identify which speakers are hooked to the device (ex. "Lobby PA").
If you are using USB sound cards, be sure to read the section on USB Sound Card Considerations.
Some multi-output devices need a special driver installed so that the Windows OS will recognize all the output ports. This is usually installed by Windows Plug and Play the first time the hardware is detected. If not, see the device manufacturer Website for instructions regarding special drivers.
Each device has a unique Device Id which is how Sound Mill identifies the device. It is a hash value derived from the Device System Name which is assigned by Windows. If you change a device name in the Windows Settings (or Windows Control Panel), Soundmill will recognize it as a new device since the name determines the Id.
Due to a Windows API limitation there is a minute chance that two devices could get Duplicate System Names. See the page on Renaming Devices for the simple solution to this issue. Go to Tools > Outputs/Devices > View Outputs and Devices to check for duplicate names.
Clicking Edit Devices will pop-up the Device List Editor (Figure 3).
This device will play audio through whichever device is selected as the Default Playback Device in WCP Sound applet (Figure 2, green checkmark).
The Devices List will be cleared and re-populated with all detected devices (connected soundcards). Any devices that are NOT attached to the computer will be removed from the Devices list. If any old devices are removed, then Output Groups will likely need to be edited if they reference a removed device. If you only want to delete a couple devices, you may just want to edit the Devices List and Remove them manually. Do not use this function while automation scripts are running or it could cause unpredictable results.
It is recommended that you keep the USB connection ports of all devices as consistent as possible. You generally do not need to restart the program after a Reset, but it will depend on the soundcard devices (and Operating System version). Always recheck you Device and Output Groups after you have performed a Devices > Reset .
When you start the program, all current connected devices are acquired (discovered) and made available for use in your Output Groups. Re-acquire Devices will re-discover any newly attached or detached devices since you started the program. This allows you to rediscover devices without having to close and restart the program. This is useful in enviroments where USB soundcards are being plugged in or removed at unpredictable times. It may take Windows a few seconds to recognize newly plugged devices. avoid using this function while automation scripts are running or it could cause unpredictable results.
Locator: Sound List Editor > Tools > Outputs/Devices > Output Groups .
You configure Output Groups that can contain one or multiple devices. Each Output Group has a sequential index (0 ,1, 2, etc). The Play Modifiers panel lets you assign an Output Group for each Sound Item by the Output Group index. Then when the Sound Item is played, it will be played on every device listed for its Output Group (see Figure 5). The groups may be reindexed after closing the editor when you add or remove groups. For example, so if you reorder the list or remove any groups, some group indexes will be reassigned.
Clicking Edit Output Groups will pop-up the Output Groups List Editor (Figure 4). Select an Output Group in the list to perform these actions on the selected group.
On reset, a new set of Output Groups is created as follows:
Device visibility to Windows often depends on a hardware device driver. If your device is not showing in the list , check the manufacturers Website for updated drivers. Sometimes there is a separate device driver specifically for Windows. If the device does not show up in the Windows Control Panel > Sound applet (Figure 2), it will likely not be detected by Sound Mill .
You can view the full configuration of Output Groups and Devices by clicking Tools > Outputs/Devices > View Outputs and Devices (see Listing 1). You can then save it to file or print it. If a device is not detected as a connected device, a Not Connected indicator (* NC) will appear next to the device. Windows Default Playback Device is not counted in the Total Devices count (as it is not a physical device).
Listing 1. View Outputs and Devices================= Output Groups ================= Total Groups: 5 (Group 0-4) ___________ Group 0 Name: Stage Towers Contains 1 device(s). Device 1, Stage Towers, Id: 937430947834167215 ___________ Group 1 Name: Lobby PA Contains 1 device(s). Device 2, Lobby PA, Id: 574271480106272358 ___________ Group 2 Name: Lobby PA and Courtyard Contains 2 device(s). Device 2, Lobby PA, Id: 574271480106272358 Device 3, Courtyard, Id: 886462652073781555 ___________ Group 3 Name: Courtyard Contains 1 device(s). Device 3, Courtyard, Id: 886462652073781555 ___________ Group 4 Name: All Speaker Zones Contains 3 device(s). Device 1, Stage Towers, Id: 937430947834167215 Device 2, Lobby PA, Id: 574271480106272358 Device 3, Courtyard, Id: 886462652073781555 (*NC) = Device Not Connected / Not Initialized =========== Devices =========== Total Known Devices: 3 Total Connected Devices: 3 Windows Default Playback Device: Set to: Stage Towers ____________ Device 0 Logical Name: Windows Default Playback Device System Name: Windows Default Playback Device Id: 0 Connected ____________ Device 1 Logical Name: Stage Towers System Name: Speakers (2- Generic USB Audio Id: 937430947834167215 Connected ____________ Device 2 Logical Name: Lobby PA System Name: Speakers / Headphones (Realtek Id: 574271480106272358 Connected ____________ Device 3 Logical Name: Courtyard System Name: Speakers (Generic USB Audio Dev Id: 886462652073781555 Connected