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3D Audio in UT2004 (esp. Audigy, X-Fi, OpenAL Soft)

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    3D Audio in UT2004 (esp. Audigy, X-Fi, OpenAL Soft)

    This is a pretty touchy subject so I figured it's worth making a topic for sharing some information and experiences on this for posterity. Creative cards (Audigy, X-Fi series) are especially of interest here as only they seem to be able to provide full EAX3 which this game uses, but solutions like OpenAL Soft are also relevant as this is a way to get HRTF without any hardware needed. I've not tried the latter so far so I can't comment on it.

    In my experience the Audigy 2 ZS, which is the recommended sound card as per readme, is really the easiest way to get the full audio experience in this game (at least in WinXP and 7 x64, can't say how well this card works in newer Windows versions). With headphone mode+CMSS+headphone optimized 3D effects turned on in the driver there is certainly a noticeable 3D effect in the game when using headphones. An important aspect for this stereo 3D simulation is that apart from panning audio cues are used for positioning, for example sounds behind the player's back are muffled in a certain way. Sounds behind walls are muffled as well so I think it can be challenging at times to tell these cues apart, or may take some getting used to. Compared to my onboard Realtek ALC889, which supports EAX3 emulation, it really sounds completely different as beyond reverb and basic stereo panning the Realtek doesn't have much of a 3D feel at all. There are more differences like a doppler effect with several simultaneous explosions that is present with EAX on and off on the Audigy, but not on the Realtek.

    With the X-Fi Titanium, a better card on paper with a reportedly superior headphone CMSS mode, I've had nothing but trouble in this game. It was set to game mode but cracks and pops would occur the whole time, sounds would cut off, menu sounds wouldn't work properly and sometimes the card would just go silent altogether for a few seconds. Now my motherboard (GA-Z68X-UD7-B3) has an annoying NF200 PCIe bridge chip which I suspect it is the cause of this, but I can't say for 100% sure. Two different cards of this same model had issues on an older AMD setup as well, searching online it looks like it was more problematic than Audigy in general for many people. I've also noticed that the troublesome X-RAM (which UT3 uses, for instance) is listed as not enabled with the latest Creative drivers for Win7x64 which is interesting.

    There is also that X-Fi patch which is really a joke with regards to that music they added. It allegedly allows for 128 channels and better positioning in the game, but still I haven't bothered installing it this time as I didn't want to risk not being able to undo it properly. From what I've heard the music can be turned off in the console at least, not as sure about the changed weapon sounds though. The card should certainly be compatible with the stock game anyway.

    It should be noted that EAX only works under 32-bit in this game. It's not entirely clear to me yet if turning on EAX has advantages with sound positioning though.
    Last edited by プロの悪夢; 12-16-2017, 03:05 PM.

    Rapture3D is a commercial software that apparently works similarily to OpenAL Soft. It's currently 30 pounds.

    About the Audigy 2 ZS again, I'll note that the driver situation is far from perfect on that card as well. On Vista/7 they regressed certain features like CMSS2 (not sure what this does differently though) and I couldn't get the 7.1 to headphone downmix to work, which in theory could make the card beneficial for newer games as well. It wouldn't save the 7.1 setting in Windows if I had headphones selected in the driver.

    7x64 is the last officially supported Windows version, but there are the Daniel_K drivers which support 10 as well. He took advantage of the fact that they rebranded the old chip for the Audigy Rx cards. These drivers do support CMSS2 and some other extra things, but EAX is not supported while using OpenAL, which is exactly what UT04 does. I tested these drivers years back but tend do avoid them as CMSS is said to be broken by many.


      Late post/ reply, Possibly unrelated, but hopefully helpful, thought i would add it.

      I recently posted in the UT3 forums something about OpenAL;

      I cannot comment on UT2K4 but i am open to doing a few quick tests.
      Download_AllMyStuff | videos_ofmystuff


        I haven't noticed anything in particular about OpenAL in UT3, except that perhaps the reverb presets don't come across as distinct as in UT04 with EAX selected. Or perhaps there are no such effects at all by design? You mentioned some deprecated features in the latest OpenAL version, but what are they exactly and what are the implications of that in practice compared to just using the one that comes with the game, or the latest version? Are there some effects/features missing otherwise?

        You also mention a DS3D dependancy, I've only discovered this for UT2004 after I made this topic... basically the game, with system driver set to "on", reacts to ALchemy even though it really shouldn't as a "native" (or so one would think) OpenAL game. It goes from obviously software-based sound (on Win7) to HW accelerated, although I can't actually get this to sound correctly on my Audigy 2 ZS, only get cutting off sounds. I speculated that system driver checked uses some sort of OpenAL to DS3D wrapper, while turning it off goes straight to the .dll in the Windows folder. For what it's worth, using ALchemy with system driver checked does fix the broken sound with EAX checked on DM-Goliath, so it does suggest there might be advantages to that system driver... would be interesting to retest this under XP with native DS3D, wish I knew as much back in the day.


          I can’t use the 3D headphones


            i also can’t use the 3D headphones

            I use ukuran kertas a4
            Last edited by reza aldini; 04-20-2021, 10:08 AM.