I have an Audiotrak Prodigy 7.1 soundcard, and I have been using just a regular 2 speaker setup, but now I'd like to actually upgrade to 7.1 surround speakers. Problem is, I'm not sure how I could have that, and still be able to switch back and forth to another set of two-speaker recording monitors. Basically, I'd like to know how I can have both the 7.1 and the recording monitors connected to my DAW, and toggle between them easily.
The solution I can think of is to simply plug both sets of speakers into a mixer that has two sets of outputs, except that only the front two channels of the 7.1 will be used to plug into the mixer, and then have a set of output take the front two channels of the 7.1 back into the soundcard (and the other channels of the 7.1 connect directly to the soundcard--skipping the mixer altogether).
I run my card directly into my surround amp, which has settings for both the various surround schemes and regular two speaker stereo. That was the simplist way I could figure out. My mixer is on the input side of the card.
Your way of doing it is the best way, but I can't afford that kind of a setup right now. I'll basically have one quality pair of recording monitors for making music, and another set of 7.1 (el cheapo) surround speakers for gaming/movies.