Maximum Volume 12db lower in Vista vs. XP?
Jan 4, 2008 at 10:04 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

GotNoRice

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I’m trying to switch over to using Vista64, and currently Dual Boot with XP32.

When I boot into Vista, the maximum volume output is about 12db lower than the maximum volume output in XP. This is immediately obvious, as I have the digital output from my Audigy2 ZS going into the digital input of my EMU 0404, which is actually in another computer at the moment, but is only being used as a DAC. Having patchmix open on that other computer, I can clearly see that the digital audio being sent from the audigy while running vista is 12db lower than while under XP.

Aside from the volume issue, I noticed the audio sounding even worse than normal still, and after opening up the “speaker” properties I could see that there are tone controls that are quite clearly affecting the sound. The max you can adjust either the bass or the treble with either slider is +12db. I’m guessing that isn’t a coincidence, like maybe they reduced the maximum volume by +12db so that tards who max the EQ don’t cause clipping.

Is there any way to simply disable or bypass these horrible tone controls? The idea of my audio being sent through a crappy software EQ makes me sick to my stomach. Also, the 12db volume reduction means I have to turn the volume knob on my little dot up considerably higher, to the point where I can hear hiss when no audio is playing; that’s not gonna fly.
 
Jan 4, 2008 at 8:44 PM Post #3 of 11

Scrith

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Given that my worse audio experiences since joining Head-Fi have involved an Audigy 2 ZS (which badly resamples 44K music to 48K), I'm not surprised that their Vista drivers are screwed up.

Why on earth are you sending music through your Audigy 2 ZS? Can't you just send it directly from Foobar2000 to your 0404? Bypassing your Audigy 2 ZS will probably yield the biggest music audio upgrade of your life (I know it did for me...and I've spent a small fortune on upgrades since ditching my Audigy 2 ZS for an E-Mu 1212M).

That being said, if you must use that complete piece of music audio garbage (yeah I know it is good for game audio), check the driver properties to make sure that all the "audio enhancements" stuff is disabled. I'm writing this from work (where I'm not using Vista) so I can't give the exact wording, but there should be various settings in there to set the preferred output format and all that kind of stuff. I'm guessing that the audio enhancements stuff in Vista (or something screwed up in the driver) is what is causing the drop in volume.
 
Jan 4, 2008 at 9:06 PM Post #4 of 11

GotNoRice

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Scrith /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Why on earth are you sending music through your Audigy 2 ZS? Can't you just send it directly from Foobar2000 to your 0404? Bypassing your Audigy 2 ZS will probably yield the biggest music audio upgrade of your life (I know it did for me...and I've spent a small fortune on upgrades since ditching my Audigy 2 ZS for an E-Mu 1212M).


That is infact what I did for a very long time, but my latest computer upgrade has given me a limited number of PCI slots to work with. Moving the 0404 into a secondary computer represented the least significant compromise out of all the PCI cards I could have potentially removed, since I am still able to take advantage of its superior DAC despite it being located in a physically separate computer.

My configuration changed as follows:
Foobar -> SSRC Resample to 96Khz -> ASIO2.0 -> EMU 0404
To
Foobar -> SSRC Resample to 96Khz -> Kernel Streaming 32/96 -> Audigy2 ZS digital output -> EMU 0404

I didn’t notice any difference when I made that change in XP. In both cases it’s using the DAC in the 0404, so it makes sense that I would see little change. I use the resampler to avoid the audigy doing any resampling, even in my previous setup since I had to have the audio sent to the 0404 via asio the same samplerate as the input from the audigy to make it all work together. I have the audigy set to output 96Khz, the only other option being 48Khz. The audigy only supports ASIO 1.0, which means 16/48 only, which is why I switched to using Kernal streaming. I’m not sure what other issues would cause a degradation in audio quality by using the Audigy as a transport, maybe jitter issues? None the less, the solution has proven to work quite well, at least when using XP.

Quote:

That being said, if you must use that complete piece of music audio garbage (yeah I know it is good for game audio), check the driver properties to make sure that all the "audio enhancements" stuff is disabled. I'm writing this from work (where I'm not using Vista) so I can't give the exact wording, but there should be various settings in there to set the preferred output format and all that kind of stuff. I'm guessing that the audio enhancements stuff in Vista (or something screwed up in the driver) is what is causing the drop in volume.


At first there was only one option, just a single checkbox that said something like “Use audio enhancements”. Checking that box would seem to enable reverb effects from the Creative Audio Console, but otherwise didn’t have any effect on the volume. I had to make a slight change to the INF and reinstall the drivers to allow vista to show the real enhancements tab, which gave me an option to Disable all Enhancements, but that also had no noticeable effect. Regardless of what I have these options set to, the “Tone” controls still seem to be working and my Volume is still ~12db too low.
 
Jan 5, 2008 at 1:40 AM Post #5 of 11

infinitesymphony

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I still don't understand why you're resampling to 96 kHz. It's unnecessary with the 0404 and it's wasteful with the Audigy 2 ZS--48 kHz will be passed without further resampling.

Software resampling is worse than hardware resampling, which itself is not perfect. Unless the new rate is an integer multiple of the original, the process will be somewhat lossy.

About the volume problem... Is everything at a maximum in the Volume Mixer? You've probably checked, but I thought it couldn't hurt to ask.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Jan 5, 2008 at 8:35 AM Post #6 of 11

GotNoRice

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Quote:

Originally Posted by infinitesymphony /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I still don't understand why you're resampling to 96 kHz. It's unnecessary with the 0404 and it's wasteful with the Audigy 2 ZS--48 kHz will be passed without further resampling.


The 0404 isn't even in my main computer anymore, and the choices I have on my Audigy2 ZS for the digital output are 48 and 96khz, why not 96khz? It most certainly does output 96Khz when I set the digital output to 96Khz. This is all also completely irrelevant to the issue I'm having.

Quote:

About the volume problem... Is everything at a maximum in the Volume Mixer? You've probably checked, but I thought it couldn't hurt to ask.
smily_headphones1.gif


Yes, everything is at maximum.
 
Jan 5, 2008 at 9:16 PM Post #8 of 11

infinitesymphony

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It's a strange issue... With a 12 dB reduction, the audio would be only 25% as loud as in XP.
confused.gif


It may only be an issue with the Audigy line of cards, but it's unclear since there haven't been many direct comparisons between Vista and XP volume.
 
Jan 6, 2008 at 12:05 AM Post #9 of 11

GotNoRice

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Quote:

Originally Posted by infinitesymphony /img/forum/go_quote.gif
It's a strange issue... With a 12 dB reduction, the audio would be only 25% as loud as in XP.
confused.gif



Sounds about right, it is very quiet.

Quote:

It may only be an issue with the Audigy line of cards, but it's unclear since there haven't been many direct comparisons between Vista and XP volume.


I'm considering ditching the Audigy2 ZS and just using the digital out of the trash onboard realtek chipset on my Gigabyte P35-DS3R, or I could use an AV-710 that I have, but I don't have an optical cable long enough to stretch between the two computers at the moment.
 
Jan 6, 2008 at 4:50 AM Post #11 of 11

infinitesymphony

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Agreed with Bizzel...

Even though Realtek doesn't seem to have a page for the ALC889A, the number would indicate that it probably supports the Intel HD Audio standard (as opposed to the old AC'97 standard), which means that it should be capable of bit-perfect audio output.
 

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