When I boot into windows xp pro 32 sp3 the windows sound scheme is distorted. If I use the preview button in ControlPanel>Sounds>SoundsTab then all the scheme sounds are distorted. If I navigate to (root)\windows\media and play those same sounds in WMP11 they are played faithfully.
The distortion appears to be a gross elongation of each sound.
When I play a browser based game such as 'Pirate Galaxy' (Java wrapper for C++ code) the sounds in the game are distorted. If I load up 'EVE' (stackless Python - I think) then sounds are not distorted. WMP11 plays all .wma .mp3 and other formats without fault. Likewise, WinAmp has no dificulties, and nor does YouTube in both IE8 and FireFox. Its just this blasted soundscheme sounds and a few browser based games.
The OS is a clean install with all up to date drivers and patches, running on a very stable northwood C core P4 3.0 HT (not o/c'd ever) in an ASrock P4i65g with 2x 1Gb PC3500.
The sound chip driver is one downloaded from ASrock's site as it was a more recent version for that Mboard than the one on the driver disc. I have tried both of them, the original and the update as well as using Ccleaner after uninstalling both and then seeing if WinUpdate offered one (it did and it gave the same result). I am convinced it is not the driver at fault, nor do I think it is the sound chip.
dxdiag gives no errors
hardware acc is full
sample rate is max
Weirder still is that having run the dxdiag the sound scheme is all sweetness with no distortion at all, that is until dxdiag is closed when the sound scheme returns to its usual slow sound distortion. If I reboot when dxdiag is still open, again I get the usual 'slow' sounds. The same thing occurs when running WMP11 (even just open and minimised and nothing playing) - sounds become normal until WMP11 is closed when the sound scheme gets distorted again.
I thought it might be an uninstalled system codec but the symptoms persist when using both CCCP and Matroska codec packs (iirc, these include/replace the system defaults).
So I am further convinced it has something to do with the way WinXP is dealing with sounds outside of the DX environment, not the sound chip drivers nor the sound chip itself - like I said this one has me really stumped.
One of the reasons for the clean install of XPSP3 was that this behaviour had reared its ugly head a few weeks ago on a mature (bloated) install of XPSP3 after an 'update tuesday' and I got to the point of throwing hands in air and going for a clean start.