Multi-Channel gaming audio? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 02-03-2012, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Series PCI Express Sound Card.

And

Nvidia GTX 470's

What will provide better audio support to a high end home theater sound system and receiver?

7.2 channel setup.




The creative with its Dolby Digital Live encoding via Optical connection?

Or the graphics card outputting PCM?
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post #2 of 12 Old 02-03-2012, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Does the X-FI encode the EAX 5.0 into the Dolby Digital Stream?
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post #3 of 12 Old 02-03-2012, 02:01 PM
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This probalby doesn't answer your question directly, but... I only have sound cards in systems that I'm not using HDMI output. So, if you are passing your output from your PC via HDMI, I don't see the need for a separate sound card any more. And you can bit-steam audio, provided you have the setup for that.
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post #4 of 12 Old 02-03-2012, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
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So using HDMI, you can get true 7.1 audio from games?
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-03-2012, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SOWK View Post

Does the X-FI encode the EAX 5.0 into the Dolby Digital Stream?

Yes, the X-Fi's mixer works to full effect prior to encoding to Dolby Digital. You will receive EAX effects for the games that use them.

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Originally Posted by SOWK View Post

So using HDMI, you can get true 7.1 audio from games?

Yes, games that support 7.1 audio rendering will allow the graphics card's audio controller to output that audio in real 7.1.


If you still play older games that use DirectSound3D and EAX, then you could just leave the X-Fi in your machine. Just select the X-Fi as the default audio device in the sound section of Windows' control panel when you want to play these older games.
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post #6 of 12 Old 02-04-2012, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SOWK View Post

So using HDMI, you can get true 7.1 audio from games?

Yep.
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post #7 of 12 Old 02-06-2012, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-06-2012, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SOWK View Post

So do new games even use EAX?

Like Mass Effect 3?

I don't think so. The last games I know of to use advanced EAX effects (meaning versions 3, 4 and 5) are some modern Ubisoft games (like the 2008 version of Prince of Persia), and they use it without overtly advertising the feature.

The last game that I know of to overtly advertise and use advanced EAX features is Cryostasis.

Now, keep in mind that Creative-based solutions can come in handy in other areas. For one thing, they have the best OpenAL driver support. Some sound solutions do not have proper driver support to allow for surround sound rendering with select OpenAL-based games. The same goes for old games using DirectSound3D when in the Windows Vista and 7 environment.

As for the newest games, all of them use software solutions based on FMOD, Miles Sound System, a variation of OpenAL, etc. I think purely software-based is the way to go these days. There is plenty of CPU processing power for creating a convincing soundscape with features like reverb, distance attenuation and occlusion, and the results are more stable and enjoyed by everyone.
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post #9 of 12 Old 02-26-2012, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-27-2012, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SOWK View Post

So do new games even use EAX?

Like Mass Effect 3?

No. EAX is not currently developed or supported by Creative. EFX is it's replacement under OpenAL and it is backwards compatible with EAX. New games can use EFX if they use an OpenAL compatible game engine or implement the OpenAL API. Under Windows 8, we will have hardware accelerated audio again, so there will be some sort of resurrection of EAX hardware by Creative.
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post #11 of 12 Old 02-27-2012, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LexInVA View Post

No. EAX is not currently developed or supported by Creative. EFX is it's replacement under OpenAL and it is backwards compatible with EAX. New games can use EFX if they use an OpenAL compatible game engine or implement the OpenAL API. Under Windows 8, we will have hardware accelerated audio again, so there will be some sort of resurrection of EAX hardware by Creative.

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post #12 of 12 Old 02-27-2012, 04:11 PM
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As used in commercial games, EFX was pretty much dead in the water from the beginning. Developers just don't seem interested in it. Unreal Tournament 3 utilizes it to an extent (where X-Fi cards have four effects slots per channel compared to one or two), and it is only for minimal things like added reverb (which in my experience provides unreliable results).

I don't see hardware-accelerated audio going anywhere when it comes to games, even when Windows 8 becomes a ubiquitous OS.
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