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The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound) - Page 146

post #2176 of 3099

I am afraid you are correct. The current state of this industry disappoints me. I am used to software releases from other companies and if people would rather use a 3rd party driver pack to get a functional product that really says something. It reminds me a lot of the omega driver for ATI and I am not really interested in that.

 

Can someone review my facts here:

Creative X-Fi Titanium HD does hardware EAX

Creative Z series does software EAX

X-Fi MB is software EAX you can purchase (?)

Asus/Cmedia products do software EAX (either X-Fi MB or completely reverse engineered emulation)

 

Is there any real advantage of having the EAX performed in hardware? Or is perhaps creaf thinking that the CPU overhead is so low it is insignificant? I can see why software EAX might be an advantage, as it would allow creative to fix problems that might not be as easy to fix in hardware.

post #2177 of 3099
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EarwaxDAC View Post

Over a decade ago I owned an Aureal 8830 chipset (TB Santa Cruz). I've been out of the sound card market for a long time and I would like to purchase something that is at least as fancy as what A3D was putting out back then.

 

*truncated*

 

I can get a refurbished Creative X-Fi Titanium HD for $90. I think that's a fair price if creative can publish a win8.1 driver this January.

 

Does anyone have a positive Windows 8.1 story they would like to share? Specifically for the X-Fi Titanium HD?

 

Lets say my price ceiling is higher than that. Is my only other option a ZxR or can I have-it-all with another product from Asus or HTOmega?

 

The Turtle Beach Santa Cruz had some kind of Crystal Semiconductor chipset. It's the Montego cards (except the Montego DDL) that used Aureal chipsets.

 

$90 sounds like a fair price for the Titanium HD to me. I'd consider picking up a second card at that price myself.

 

As for Windows 8.1, I happen to have a license provided by DreamSpark Premium now, so I could test it out...but I'll have to set up one of my computer's extra hard drives to boot it without compromising my Windows 7 installation.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EarwaxDAC View Post

I am afraid you are correct. The current state of this industry disappoints me. I am used to software releases from other companies and if people would rather use a 3rd party driver pack to get a functional product that really says something. It reminds me a lot of the omega driver for ATI and I am not really interested in that.

 

Can someone review my facts here:

Creative X-Fi Titanium HD does hardware EAX

Creative Z series does software EAX

X-Fi MB is software EAX you can purchase (?)

Asus/Cmedia products do software EAX (either X-Fi MB or completely reverse engineered emulation)

 

Is there any real advantage of having the EAX performed in hardware? Or is perhaps creaf thinking that the CPU overhead is so low it is insignificant? I can see why software EAX might be an advantage, as it would allow creative to fix problems that might not be as easy to fix in hardware.

 

That's my understanding of the situation regarding hardware vs. software EAX, yes.

 

As to whether software EAX sounds worse, it likely depends on the game's specific implementation. Some games play nicely, others don't. On top of this, we've got those VOGONS folk saying that certain games don't sound right with anything other than a Sound Blaster Live! under Windows 98 SE with a very specific VXD driver...yeah, even I won't go quite that far.

 

Fortunately, some of the quirkiest games with Creative's software OpenAL renderer + ALchemy (Thief 1 and 2, System Shock 2) got fixed by those games getting native OpenAL support, and the software/hardware OpenAL EAX/EFX experience is far more consistent.

post #2178 of 3099
Quote:
Originally Posted by EarwaxDAC View Post
 

I am afraid you are correct. The current state of this industry disappoints me. I am used to software releases from other companies and if people would rather use a 3rd party driver pack to get a functional product that really says something. It reminds me a lot of the omega driver for ATI and I am not really interested in that.

 

Can someone review my facts here:

Creative X-Fi Titanium HD does hardware EAX

Creative Z series does software EAX

X-Fi MB is software EAX you can purchase (?)

Asus/Cmedia products do software EAX (either X-Fi MB or completely reverse engineered emulation)

 

Is there any real advantage of having the EAX performed in hardware? Or is perhaps creaf thinking that the CPU overhead is so low it is insignificant? I can see why software EAX might be an advantage, as it would allow creative to fix problems that might not be as easy to fix in hardware.

In general the Titanium HD does stuff in hardware that the Sound Blaster Z does in software.

X-Fi MB software is Creative's software designed to work with a different audio processor beside Creative own audio processing chips.

Is the Creative drivers working with non-creative audio processers as good as the Creative software running on Creative's own audio processors??? (wish I knew the answer).

Asus/Cmedia's GX software is an attempt to do the same job as EAX 5.0, I've heard there is mixed results.

Last I heard is that EAX has been superseded by EFX(?), so unless you like playing older games, I do not think EAX support is a big factor in choosing sound cards.

(There are hardcore Titanium supporters, I'm sure they have their reasons)

When Microsoft Vista came out, the OS came with it's own audio processing features which I assume made it easier to write gaming audio that was not so dependent on which audio processor you were using.

When EAX first came out your computer's CPU had one core and CPUs ran at a much slower speed (as did memory), 

Now that computers are coming with much faster CPUs that have 4 cores or 6 cores or 8 cores and each core is better then older cores. A lot of the audio processing can be switch over to the CPU, so audio processing is much less dependent on a given audio processor.

I'm sure Creative latest SBX software depends a lot more on the CPU's processor, then older Creative software drivers

post #2179 of 3099
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

When Microsoft Vista came out, the OS came with it's own audio processing features which I assume made it easier to write gaming audio that was not so dependent on which audio processor you were using.

When EAX first came out your computer's CPU had one core and CPUs ran at a much slower speed (as did memory), 

Now that computers are coming with much faster CPUs that have 4 cores or 6 cores or 8 cores and each core is better then older cores. A lot of the audio processing can be switch over to the CPU, so audio processing is much less dependent on a given audio processor.

I'm sure Creative latest SBX software depends a lot more on the CPU's processor, then older Creative software drivers

 

Hah, that's a laugh! XAudio2 + X3DAudio, in my experience, provides software mixing and little more, and the Microsoft-provided DSP features in the sound stack don't pertain to gaming, either. It's more stuff like room equalization and loudness correction.

 

Reverb/chorus/environmental effects in current games come more from FMOD Ex and Wwise than the post-Vista sound stack.

 

In retrospect, Creative shouldn't have been pushing canned EAX effects so hard. What they really needed to push was full positional 3D audio not limited to a fixed configuration of speakers, and they blew it so hard that only now is it coming back to the mainstream, thanks to GenAudio AstoundSound.

 

(Now I just hope that AstoundSound's CPU processing codepath allows for the same level of quality as the AMD TrueAudio DSP codepath, because I really don't want to have to make the tradeoff between TrueAudio and CUDA/PhysX/ShadowPlay/all those other NVIDIA-exclusive features.)

post #2180 of 3099

AMD said that you don't need a AMD card to get Trueaudio DSP, they said it will work with any sound card, just disable the sound card effects like Dolby headphone/CMSS3D headphone/SBX before you play a True audio DSP game.

post #2181 of 3099

Ah interesting. I remember now that my 8830 was a Diamond Monster MX300 (the black one) and it stopped working reliably in Windows XP. I suspect I may have damaged this card plugging an electric guitar directly into the line-in.

 

I replaced it with the TB Santa Cruz. I didn't want to buy a creaf product after a friend's SBLive card couldn't be reinstalled without the original driver cd. I played with this card for many years and never missed EAX. I probably gave the TBSC to goodwill when I built this latest system. I didn't know there was a world of people (VOGONS) who would one day cherish this old hardware. Oops.

post #2182 of 3099
Quote:
Originally Posted by genclaymore View Post

AMD said that you don't need a AMD card to get Trueaudio DSP, they said it will work with any sound card, just disable the sound card effects like Dolby headphone/CMSS3D headphone/SBX before you play a True audio DSP game.
So, do you think it'll just be an in-game setting, or will we consumers have to install separate software?
post #2183 of 3099

7.1 analog gaming headsets with 8 (or 16 or 32) little itty bitty speakers in them - derided as they are here on Head-Fi; are we wrong in laughing at them? In the years to come, maybe that's what'll happen: thousands of tiny speaker components will be woven into some advanced lining that replaces our conventional drivers as we know it. Amazing soundstage coupled with perfect dynamics. Drool.

 

There may come a day - perhaps soon - when headphones with multiple drivers actually eclipse our 2ch headphones. Maybe spotty gamers will laugh at us in the future with our stereo headphones?


Edited by SaLX - 12/11/13 at 11:08am
post #2184 of 3099
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post


So, do you think it'll just be an in-game setting, or will we consumers have to install separate software?

The way AMD explained it, it be coded into the game and not software that you install, It might be a game setting in the games that will use it.

post #2185 of 3099

True Audio requiores DSPs, it's not just a software that runs off your CPU. It doesn' t run off Nvidia hardware yet either. Right now it's running off Tensilica cores that are both on the the PS4/Xbox One and AMD cards which means drivers. Hopefully global middleware support will not wait too long.

 

What True Audio doesn't do is hindering the type of soundcard you use since it resides in the I/O of your RAM. 

post #2186 of 3099

From what I understand, the point of TrueAudio is to offload the audio processing to the GPU.  The benefit of this is that developers no longer have to worry about audio processing stealing precious CPU cycles - they can now leverage the GPU to do that work. 

This should encourage developers to spend more time/effort on in-game sound, and it should also encourage the use of more audio middleware in games.  An example of audio middleware is that "AstoundSound" plugin.

 

 

 

So I think it's either some kind of API, or some kind of dedicated audio processor on the GPU. Sort of what Mantle is to graphics, TrueAudio is to audio.  Both are simply tools, designed to more efficiently use GPU hardware.  The hard part is getting developers on board and actually using the tech.

 

Since the PS4 has TrueAudio capability, that should hopefully encourage more widespread adoption.

 

 

Here's an interesting article on it.  Maybe people who now more about PC audio can read it and extract a better explanation of what it is.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7370/amd-announces-trueaudio-technology-for-upcoming-gpus


Edited by chicolom - 12/11/13 at 1:17pm
post #2187 of 3099

But why not offload the work to the CPU as opposed to the GPU? These days CPU's have 4 or more cores, and in a lot of games they are underutilised.

post #2188 of 3099
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaLX View Post
 

But why not offload the work to the CPU as opposed to the GPU?

 

Isn't that how it's done already (on the CPU)?

post #2189 of 3099
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaLX View Post

7.1 analog gaming headsets with 8 (or 16 or 32) little itty bitty speakers in them - derided as they are here on Head-Fi; are we wrong in laughing at them? In the years to come, maybe that's what'll happen: thousands of tiny speaker components will be woven into some advanced lining that replaces our conventional drivers as we know it. Amazing soundstage coupled with perfect dynamics. Drool.

There may come a day - perhaps soon - when headphones with multiple drivers actually eclipse our 2ch headphones. Maybe spotty gamers will laugh at us in the future with our stereo headphones?
I don't really think so... There are some elemental physics boundaries to overcome. Full-range sound from small drivers placed further from our eardrums than IEMs. Dampening resonance in a relatively small space between drivers. Sound waves not overlapping and causing beats/natural notice cancellation (driver variance tolerances would have to be way tighter than current stereo headphones).

There may be even more challenges (like acceptable price) to prevent widespread adoption, but even then, multi-driver headphones would lag behind the freedom of virtual surround. An 8 driver/channel headphone can only produce 8 sound directions, compared to the near-unlimited channels and 3D directionality possible with Virtual Surround. I'm not saying that multi-driver headphones can't possibly be good, I'm just saying virtual surround DSPs are far more practical.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fegefeuer View Post

True Audio requiores DSPs, it's not just a software that runs off your CPU. It doesn' t run off Nvidia hardware yet either. Right now it's running off Tensilica cores that are both on the the PS4/Xbox One and AMD cards which means drivers. Hopefully global middleware support will not wait too long.

What True Audio doesn't do is hindering the type of soundcard you use since it resides in the I/O of your RAM. 
Yes, the Tensilica Cores. What I heard is that while both consoles are using AMD CPU's, PS4 will use TrueAudio while the Xbox1 will use something called "sphere"
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicolom View Post

Isn't that how it's done already (on the CPU)?
Surround processing is currently done either on CPU or dedicated soundcards. The Tensilica processor on AMD graphics cards (and hopefully on the PS4 version) are separate and take the load away from CPU and GPU. Then, you just have to worry about DACs, Amps, and stuff.
Edited by Evshrug - 12/11/13 at 3:09pm
post #2190 of 3099
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

I don't really think so... There are some elemental physics boundaries to overcome. Full-range sound from small drivers placed further from our eardrums than IEMs. Dampening resonance in a relatively small space between drivers. Sound waves not overlapping and causing beats/natural notice cancellation (driver variance tolerances would have to be way tighter than current stereo headphones).

Naw - we'll have neural probes and sh*t attached to our brain stems (with revolving radars attached to our skulls). In the 22nd Century, they will look back at us on Head-Fi and giggle and point. Our ears only do the hearing - our brains are our DACs really (whoa). Best to bypass the ears and interface wit da brain. So there.

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