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Is this what onboard sound is like?

Last response: in Components
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November 4, 2011 8:22:41 AM

I just built my first new rig since the Pentium 4 era, leaving my crappy Sound Blaster 5.1 behind. The technical quality of the sound coming from my new onboard 892 chip is much better, but playing with headphones in (for example) Half Life 2, the directional mixing of the sound is terrible. If something happens to my right, in-game, sound only plays into my right ear. No corresponding softer noise in the left speaker at all. I don't know about you, but that's NOT how my ears work in real life, and that wasn't how my Sound Blaster played it, either. I find it unbearably annoying, I could never stand sound playing into one ear and not the other, like listening to music with a single earbud, drives me nuts.

So here's my question: is this what the rest of you hear when you play games? Is this intentional or is it just bad design and something I can solve by getting a discrete sound card? Or is there a software solution, alternative drivers or something?

I hardly know anything about audio tech. Looked for answers on my own already but don't really know where to begin.

More about : onboard sound

November 4, 2011 8:46:40 AM

I have Realtek 892 onboard and don't have a problem like that at all with headphones. Surround is fine with me. Maybe not as good as an add-in sound card but still........
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November 4, 2011 8:53:41 AM

DelroyMonjo said:
I have Realtek 892 onboard and don't have a problem like that at all with headphones. Surround is fine with me. Maybe not as good as an add-in sound card but still........


So lets say you're in a game, you throw a grenade then turn 90 degrees left or right; when the grenade goes off you hear it with both ears?
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November 4, 2011 2:50:49 PM

Do yourself a favour and get an Asus DG sound card.
ASUS XONAR_DG 5.1
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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November 4, 2011 3:51:57 PM

Are there any driver settings you can play with, like headphones versus speakers?
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November 4, 2011 5:23:28 PM

DXRick said:
Are there any driver settings you can play with, like headphones versus speakers?


I've tried hard to find some. It seems exactly as though the software is treating my headphones like speakers, there are no references to headphones in the HD Audio Manager except the toggle for "headphone virtualization," which doesn't solve the problem. I can't find any way to make it distinguish between headphones and generic "stereo."


davcon said:
Do yourself a favour and get an Asus DG sound card.
ASUS XONAR_DG 5.1
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Pretty much planned for that all along, so it's probably what I"ll do. The ASUS DS and DX are available down the street for $40 & $65, respectively, and the Auzentech X-raider and X-Studio for $30 and $40.

Unless I upgrade from my old Logitech 5.1 speakers or basic Sony headphones I doubt I'd notice much difference between any of them.

*Edit: scratch the DX. Unless I want to permanently limit my main PCIe slot to 8x, I've got exactly one free standard PCI slot. I also wonder how much noise you get from having a PSU directly below.
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November 8, 2011 7:19:21 AM

After messing with the Realtek for a bit longer and trying out 3D Soundback, which didn't solve my original problem but did solve the new problem of Realtek not using my surround speakers when playing 2 channel music or videos, I spent the $30 on an Auzentech X-Raider 7.1.

It was a bit subtle at first, because of other differences between my old garbage Sound Blaster and the two new cards, but it definitely IS doing what I wanted: treating headphones as headphones, using BOTH channels to play positional sound instead of, say, a sound from the left playing in the left speaker only, at least as long as the "7.1 Virtual Speaker Shifter" button is activated in the Xear3D control panel. I tested each sound chip in Half Life 2: Lost Coast and Painkiller.

Additionally, the X-Raider is automatically using all the speakers in my 5.1 set for stereo music and video and has a MUCH better control program. Problem solved as far as I'm concerned. Glad I didn't spend more time messing with the crap onboard chip.

*Edit: oh, and volume is much improved, too.
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November 8, 2011 7:22:51 AM

Best answer selected by magneticballs.
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November 8, 2011 10:04:25 AM

For cans you need a headphone simple. Onboard audio don't have that.
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November 9, 2011 1:19:16 AM

gnomio said:
For cans you need a headphone simple. Onboard audio don't have that.


A headphone simple? What's a headphone simple?
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November 12, 2011 6:50:17 AM

magneticballs said:
A headphone simple? What's a headphone simple?

Sorry meant headphone amp lol typpo
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