using 7.1 card as audio output

Hi all, intriguing question for anyone who might be interested…

I’m thinking of getting Cubase Elements to use on a spare PC I have…

My main set up is a Macbook Pro using Cubase 8, which is going to be the ‘Master’… this computer has a Focusrite Pro40 as the main audio interface, and very nice it is too. But I’d like to be able to sync it to my PC (the ‘Slave’), and run a second ‘lite’ version of Cubase, mainly for use with VSTis, but also using the VST effects. The issue I have is spending further wads of cash on another ‘big’ sound card.

So, my question is this… if I get a 7.1 surround sound card, would be recognised as a card with 4 stereo outputs? I’m not fussed about inputs, I just want some output separation going into my mixers for incidental synths and so on.

I can’t seem to find the answer anywhere, but I’ve sure found a lot of answers about other surround sound issues that don’t help, having been searching for a few hours today!

Any help would be very much appreciated!


Surround support is something for the pro version of cubase only.
look here:

And sending seperate signals to f.e. both sattelite pairs front/rear on an internal surround card is also nog the same as using a dual channel support, since the sattelite channels do not use the entire frequency spectrum, but only mid/high. But you do have surround cards where you can switch between different output configurations.

Technically you can see that elements is able to assign 24 fysical inputs/outputs, so depending or your choice of card, yes you should be able to assign multiple outputs.
But imho it is not that expensive to get a multiple channel card to achieve what you want to do, and that is a much better option then the using a gamecomputer surround card.

kind regards,

Thanks for the reply.

I have no interest in creating a 7.1 output at this time, but if I needed to I can use the copy of Cubase 8 on my main machine I guess.

The issue I have is that all I want to do is expand the number of outputs on the PC, I don’t need any inputs, I’m not interested in the PC recording anything… I just want to turn it into an 8 output synth bank, possibly with MIDI output options, but that is a separate issue.

I think you may have touched on the issues I thought I might face when you said the frequency response would be restricted on the different output channels. Also I obviously don’t want 4 stereo pairs of the same sounds… that would be pointless!

The issue is one of cost ultimately. Buying a usb sound card with 8 outs is considerably more expensive than a £50 usb 7.1 sound card. In fact I am getting annoyed with even trying to find a 2in 8out sound card. There’s no point in me having 8 inputs etc. if I am never going to use them!

I just guess that your intention is to have those 8 fysical outputs connected to an external mixer so you can do DJ-style mixing ? If that is the case, you really do not need a soundcard with multiple outs, but you need a midi-controller. That kind of controlling can be done entirely in cubase, including extensive mixing that you probably won’t be able to find for cheap in terms of hardware anywhere else. A midi-controller is available for very low cost and can replace a mixer completely. (in terms of this type of functionality)

If you really want fysical connections to 4 different types of gear like monitors, recorders, and so on, that is a different story. Then you are building a studio environment and i would not opt for a game soundcard. That is a waste of money for the rest of your gear. But naturally completely up to you to decide. But for 50 pound you are not going to have many choices.

kind regards,

You will need an ASIO driver that can access all 8 outputs on that card!

You guess wrong.

1 x macbook pro i7 CPU, 16Gb RAM, 2Tb SSHD.
1 x Focusrite Pro40 22 out, 20 in.
2 x Yamah 01V 24 track mixers
5 x External sound modules
3 x line 6 amps/preamps
2 x external FX
3 x Gibson guitars
2 x Fender guitars
many VSTis
1 x Kazoo

20 years of using cubase since v2.0 on the Atari ST.

And now we’re getting somewhere… thanks.

Would the frequencies within the outputs be restricted, or is it the source file/software that restricts the frequencies? As in the response, for example, is 20Hz to 20KHz and the media player sets the frequencies for the outputs?

If there’s an ASIO driver that can recognise the different outputs then all good… but would you know of one?

Forgetting the main part of my setup and focussing on the PC… it has Windows 8… and Cubase Elements… and at this point a Behringer UCA222… Cubase and Windows recognise the card, and uses the appropriate ASIO drivers to run that card. It doesn’t see the S/PDIF as a separate out to the analogue out… and I am thinking this is where the 7.1 card may fall down… although it has 8 outs and an S/PDIF, it will still see them as just 5 lots of the same output. Would the correct ASIO driver separate these outputs, or is that asking too much?

Anyway, I appreciate your help… concise, to the point and succinct. Kudos.

“You guess wrong.”

no problem. I’m just trying to get you on track like anyone else here.
I’m still a bit wondering why you try to get a cheap soundcard doing things it is not meant for, when having such an amount of gear, but that is up to you to decide.

I guess if you do not want the native drivers that come with the soundcard, you quickly end up using ASIO4ALL or if it is a creative soundcard you can use some of the custom drivers that exist for those soundcards.
Just google alternative drivers for creative and you’ll find a bunch of those.

Hope you get it up and running
kind regards,

and i have being rereading the Original post.
What was not taken in to account is the fact that you talk about a master slave concept.

You have heard about Vienna Ensemble Pro ? (probably you will have)
Has the capability of adding extra computers to an existing master setup through LAN.
You do not need another cubase, neither an extra soundcard.
The only limitation is the network bandwith.

It’s a bit higher in price then 50 pound, but this is excellent software.

kind regards,

roel, thanks.

I want to use cubase linked to cubase so I can use the same VSTFX and VSTis that I already have. At the moment, after separating drums, guitars, bass, vocals and fx I have 2 channels free, and I am looking to use a separate PC to utilise the extra processing power so that I can run 4 CPU heavy synths, with separation, and possibly rewire a copy of Reason 5 I have too.

The Macbook Pro is the master, and all I want the slave to do is sync via MIDI or VSL, and have enough output channels for me to have separation on the second 01V mixer. I may also sequence MIDI from the PC in order to save my eyes when looking at the track listing on the Macbook Pro.

Vienna is really too much for me to want to take on board, financially and in terms of what it does. I guess the answer is to hold fire until I can afford another significant multi-out sound card. Having said that I’ve used ASIO4ALL before, but not in this way, so it may be worth my while to give it a try.

Cheers, Jim

If anyone asks this question later I can tell you… using ASIO4all the channels do appear as separate outputs in Cubase Elements.

But can you individually set each channel to record/play?

Presumably, by using two copies of Cubase, you are using System Link to synch them. That uses an input and output S/PDIF|ADAT connection on each, as the other channels on each computer are stored and operated on in isolation from the other machine.

The setup requires specific ASIO drivers. The setup you want might not work as you expect, if at all, with ASIO4ALL and a decoded multi-channel audio card, rather than a true discrete channel card. See the Working with VST System Link chapter on page 966 of the Operation Manual for what is required, and the VST System Link page for how to test.

Please let us know how you go.