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:

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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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  • Remote Desktop Session host configuration is only for server hosts and not client hosts. You should not have to enable anything on the Win7 enterprise host you are connecting to.

    Thanks.

    Shuba

  • I have two Win7 Pro 32 bit machines.  I am accessing one with the other.  However, I cannot get the audio from the remote machine to play on the local machine.   Any reason for this?  I have tried every setting I can think of.

    Thanks

  • Is there a way to get the audio capture from the local machine to play at the remote machine?

  • I followed the instructions but still unable to Remote Audio Recording.  I have a Windows 7 machine ( client ) and a Windows 2008 machine ( Server ).  In the client machine audio recording is working perfectly OK. Following are the details.

    Windows 7 enterprise

    In the Remote Desktop connection , under  Local Resource settings . I selected

    Record from this computer.

    Windows server 2008 R2 Enterprise

    In the Remote Desktop Session host configuration , under Client settings

    Audio and video playback

    Audio Recording

    By default It was disable , I uncheck to enable.

    The problem is when I remote to the server (  i.e. Win 7 to  20008 R2 server ) ,  I found that under Recording , it remains No audio devices installed.

    How can I enable Remote Audio Recording ?

  • I have a W7 Home client and a W7 Pro 64 bit server connected but I am not able to get neither the audio and the mike listening from the server. I have the RDC properties correctly set (as in the top picture) and the audio and mike perform well on the server.  Please help

  • Hi, Emiliano,

    The full set of Experience features (including bidirectional audio) are available only when you're connecting to Windows 7 Ultimate or Enterprise, not when connecting to Pro.

    Hope this helps.

    Christa

  • @ ankbora : I have exactly the same configuration (Win 7 client connecting to Win 2008 server) and exactly the same problem.

  • Why is the remaining obvious option "record on the remote computer" missing? Is there a work around that will let me start a recording from my microphones (connected to the remote host computer) without being there? I only need to have the computer be able to control its own sound card while I access it from afar. (I don't simultaneously need to hear the sounds on my computer - that may be more complicated I realize.) If I choose not to use the audio features of the remote desktop connection, it would seem that the audio functions of the host computer should work fully.

  • Remote audio playback will not work when RDP into a Windows 7 Professional 64 bit computer. I have tested with using both Windows XP pro 32- bit with the Remote Computer sound setting as Bring to this computer selected on the Local Resources tap of Remote Desktop Connection and with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit with Play on this computer selected in the Settings under Remote Audio on the Local Resources tab. In both cases the sound plays locally but does not play on the remote computer.

    Any ideas?

  • I have a Win7 Ultimate machine in one part of the house RDPing into a WinXPSP3 machine in another part of the house. They are on their own LAN segment (gigabit.) When the XP session is full-window on the Win7 machine, the audio is choppy. When the XP session is minimized, the audio still plays, but without skips. The Win7x32 machine has 4GB of RAM. Any ideas why the audio is so choppy?

  • If I remotely logged into my work desktop and listening to training audio remotely, is the audio also present on the work desktop? I would not want to disturb my colleagues who are at work and sitting close to my work desktop.....

  • Perfect, just what I needed to know - ta

  • Hi, i want to setup Remote Desktop Connection  

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