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Sound hardware acceleration by integrated sound cards on Windows 7

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October 6, 2010 12:18:16 PM

I've read that Windows Vista and 7 stopped supporting hardware acceleration of DirectSound/DirectX Audio. Many of the old games (most of them released in the 90's-early 2000's) that I used to play in Windows XP support hardware accelerated EAX 1 and/or 2 thru DirectSound.

I would like to know if there will be significant performance issues (speed and quality of EAX sound effect emulation) in these old games under Windows 7 if I enable EAX in the game settings.

My laptop's motherboard has an integrated Realtek sound card. I am using Windows Update provided drivers. Should I install Realtek 3D Soundback (supposedly enables Realtek cards to support sound hardware acceleration under Windows Vista and 7) or is there a better way to enable sound hardware acceleration for old games in Windows 7?

Realtek 3D Soundback description from its website:
Quote:

"Realtek 3D SoundBack restores audio effects, including surround sound, reverberation, and spatial effects, for legacy game titles when running on Windows Vista."
a b $ Windows 7
October 6, 2010 3:23:01 PM

Soundback is basically the same as Alchamey or GSDX: A directsound wrapper. There will be a VERY slight performance hit, but other then that, there shouldn't be any significant issues. There are the odd games that don't like using directsound wrappers (The only one I know of is Crimson Skies), which you'll need to disable soundback for.

I would assume Soundback also restores EAX 1+2 effects, as Realtek offered support for those standards a while back.
October 6, 2010 4:46:44 PM

does it also work for simple applications??? lets say eg. windows media player? or does the soundback still go through windows vista/7 audio KMixer?

apparently additional resampling is carried out at anything with volume set lower then the unity gain (100%)
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a b $ Windows 7
October 6, 2010 7:26:55 PM

Windows Vista/7 already has an internal Directsound wrapper built in, so anything that uses vanillia Directsound functions will have audio. The only extra thing SoundMax gives is the ability to map EAX calls into something that can be played back in Vista/7 (probably OpenAL, maybe XAudio?)

Outside of EAX, it has little to no value. Creative does the same exact thing through its Alchemy program, and C-Media chipsets/soundcards use GSDX for the same purpose.
October 7, 2010 4:51:16 PM

gamerk316 said:
Windows Vista/7 already has an internal Directsound wrapper built in, so anything that uses vanillia Directsound functions will have audio. The only extra thing SoundMax gives is the ability to map EAX calls into something that can be played back in Vista/7 (probably OpenAL, maybe XAudio?)

Outside of EAX, it has little to no value. Creative does the same exact thing through its Alchemy program, and C-Media chipsets/soundcards use GSDX for the same purpose.

Could Windows 7, without Realtek Soundback, correctly do EAX sound effects in these old games (with or without hardware acceleration)? Note that many of the old games I play weren't designed to support OpenAL.

Will installing Realtek Soundback have better EAX 1 and 2 support (in terms of game performance, correct emulation and quality of EAX 1 and/or 2 sound effect emulation)? My only concern is EAX 1 and 2 support (with or without hardware acceleration) and not any other features like hardware accelerated surround sound, etc.

a b $ Windows 7
October 7, 2010 5:44:04 PM

Quote:
Could Windows 7, without Realtek Soundback, correctly do EAX sound effects in these old games (with or without hardware acceleration)?


No. EAX is a custom wrapper that is not supported by Microsofts internal Directsound wrapper.

Quote:
Will installing Realtek Soundback have better EAX 1 and 2 support (in terms of game performance, correct emulation and quality of EAX 1 and/or 2 sound effect emulation)? My only concern is EAX 1 and 2 support (with or without hardware acceleration) and not any other features like hardware accelerated surround sound, etc.


It should; Realtek (and every other soundcard maker) supports to EAX 1+2 specification, so 3dSoundBack should restore EAX compatability with a high degree of accuracy. You'll know the second you start an EAX game, if you can't select the EAX option.
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