What’s New in Remote Audio for Windows 7?

What’s New in Remote Audio for Windows 7?

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As the developer that handles RDP’s audio features, I thought I’d take a few minutes to introduce some of the new audio features in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. We’ve been busy introducing a lot of features over the last year, and I’m happy to say the upcoming release will include the most significant improvements in remote audio since the feature was first introduced in Windows XP [Fixed from Windows 2000.  Thanks, Nik]. Among the new audio features are the ability to record audio to a remote session, and more control over the way RDP adjusts the audio quality.

Audio Capture

If you take a look at the “Local Resources” tab in the Remote Desktop Connection options, you’ll see the remote audio drop down box has been replaced with a button that says “Settings…” Clicking this button reveals the following:

image

Now not only do you have the option to “Play on this computer,” but you can also “Record from this computer.” This feature allows you to use voice recognition, voice chat, and other software that requires a microphone.

Please keep in mind that audio capture must be enabled in the Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration on the server before it can be used.

Audio Quality Modes

Remote audio playback has always tried to automatically adjust its bandwidth usage based on the current network conditions. This allows audio to work pretty well on anything from a 56k modem up through 10 gigabit Ethernet connection, but this flexibility comes at a cost. Adjusting the bandwidth on the fly requires the server to delay audio a little longer for processing before sending it to the client, which can cause the audio to be out of sync with the images on the screen.

Sometimes, you know you are on a network that’s fast enough to handle the best quality audio always. For these cases, you can now change the audio quality mode. This tells the server to assume the network can handle the best quality audio, and to send it as soon as it’s ready. Since the server processing doesn’t delay the audio, the synchronization between audio and video are much improved, and the audio sounds better too.

Enabling this feature requires changes to both the server- and client-side configuration. On the server, the easiest way to enable this feature is from the Group Policy editor. Go to Computer Configuration:Administrative Templates:Windows Components: Remote Desktop Session Host:Device and Resource Redirection. The policy in question is “Limit audio playback quality.” Set this to “Enabled,” and then set the “Audio Quality” option to either Medium or High.

On the client side, you need to add the audioqualitymode setting to the RDP file. The three possibilities for this setting are:

  • audioqualitymode:i:0   -> Dynamic quality
  • audioqualitymode:i:1   -> Medium quality
  • audioqualitymode:i:2   -> High quality

Dynamic quality uses the old behavior and attempts to provide the best quality with the available bandwidth. Medium uses a single audio format, which allows reasonable quality, low latency, and doesn’t use too much bandwidth. On the other hand, high quality uses uncompressed audio for the best sound quality while also having low latency.

This provides just a brief introduction to some of the new features in Windows 7 Remote Desktop Services. Stay tuned for posts with more in-depth information about managing and using these new features.

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  • Hi!

    1. The audio feature was first introduced in Windows XP (not 2000)!

    2. "Remote Audio Recording" section has very huge icon! (Like joystick but not microphone)

    WBR,

    Nik

  • Hi Nik,

    Thanks for your feedback. You're correct, we didn't introduce remote audio until Windows XP. I think I got confused, since you probably could install the updated RDP client on Windows 2000 and hear audio when you connect to a Windows XP computer. Anyway, we're updated the text to reflect this correction.

    I'll keep your comment about the icon in mind as well.

    -Eric

  • I do hope that this feature will be available to XP and vista clients as well. I do belive that the development related to it works on them as well.

  • I have patched the Seven RDP, and now its works on XP with audio bi directionnal

  • How does one get this to work in Vista/XP?

  • 1. I'm not able to get audio recording redirection and Plug & Play devices redirection working on Windows 7 Professional; are these features supported on Windows 7 Professional?rofessional?

    2. Similarly, is

  • Hello Al,

    Audio Recording redirection and PnP redirection are only available when you connect to Windows 7 Enterprise/Ultimate machines.

    Thanks.

    Shuba Iyer [MSFT]

  • Shuba, thanks for responding.

    Any reason for not supporting these 2 features on Windows 7 Professional? Or are there certain registry settings that need to be enabled to support these features?

    Besides these 2 features, are there any other remote desktop features that are not supported on Windows 7 Professional?

    Thanks

  • Probably because all of these nice features RDP on mac OSX cannot play ANY sound from Windows 7.... just nothing. You guys need to work on compatibility as well...

  • oups..little explanation.... The setup is = VMWare vSphere 4 server with virtualized 64Bit Windows 7, sound card provided by RDP session remotely. This setup perfectly works with XP, W2003 but not on Windows7. I able to see that volume goes up and down but hear nothing at all.

  • I am able to remote to my Vista 32 bit machine and then to the Windows 7 64 bit machine from my XP Pro machine at work, but am unable to directly RDP into Window 7 box.

    Any ideas?

  • Double on the Mac OSX RDP Client 2.0.0 (080530) not getting any sound from a windows 7 64bit machine.  The windows 7 machine is Enterprise edition and runs on a vSphere 4 farm.

    Everything else works great.  I can watch the "remote audio" output device light up with activity when voicemails are playing from my exchange inbox... but no sound!

    We allow all types of OSes here just so long as they can RDP back to a windows remote desktop for development... well that's only great if I can hear my voicemails from Outlook 07!!  

    From what I can tell, it matters not the RDP client settings I choose for the sound... send to my mac is the right setting and works well with Windows XP and 2003 server computers I have sessions too... just not Windows 7.

  • Here you could find how to get it running on Windows Server 2003:

    http://onadvancetoujours.blogspot.com/2009/12/windows-7-rdp-remote-desktop-protocol.html

    Regards

  • How do you enable the recording 'server-side' when connecting remote desktop to a windows 7 enterprise host? I can't find the "Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration" tool on this OS.

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