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Fox5
26-Dec-2003, 21:16
Just wondering, I'd have expected Halo too since it did on xbox, but the PC version only supports EAX. I checked on dolby's website, and while they make it evident that it is possible to have Dolby Digital in PC games, the only game I saw listed was Joint Operatons: Typhoon Rising. I even found a press release about how Dolby would help developers get Dolby Digital 5.1 sound working in their PC games. It seems strange, especially with the nForce boards out for quite a while now, that there is only 1 Dolby Digital PC game.

Bolloxoid
26-Dec-2003, 21:32
Dolby digital is not an audio positioning engine nor an API. It is a lossy sound compression format.

Nforce boards (and the Xbox) are simply able to perform real-time Dolby digital encoding on the hardware.

Fox5
26-Dec-2003, 23:42
Ok...so what is being used for surround sound then?
And is there anyway to get surround sound on a PC in games without hooking up 2 or 3 sets of stereo speakers?(I dislike that all the games have EAX which doesn't work with my reciever, so I had to hook up a mismatched pair of stereo speakers so I could get at least 4 channel sound)

see colon
27-Dec-2003, 05:09
i think ut2003 (and maybe u2) support dolby digital.
c:

tEd
27-Dec-2003, 14:08
Ok...so what is being used for surround sound then?
And is there anyway to get surround sound on a PC in games without hooking up 2 or 3 sets of stereo speakers?(I dislike that all the games have EAX which doesn't work with my reciever, so I had to hook up a mismatched pair of stereo speakers so I could get at least 4 channel sound)

you should be able to get DD on any game which does use 3d sound with a nforce/2 chipset.

No game actually support DD in the sense that the have pre-encoded DD matrial. As already said the nforce is able to encode 3d sounds into one AC3 stream.

The benefit of this is that you can use any receiver/decoder which support DD decoding for games

Fox5
27-Dec-2003, 14:31
Well, I don't have a nForce, I have a Creative Audigy 2.

tEd
27-Dec-2003, 15:16
Well, I don't have a nForce, I have a Creative Audigy 2.

do you have a receiver/decoder which supports analog 5.1 input?

Fox5
27-Dec-2003, 15:52
It only supports analog 5.1 if it's Pro Logic 2, and I believe that would just be 5.0 anyhow. I don't know how many seperate signals it can accept over the digital input though, but Creative's support on their website made it seem like only a Creative receiver would have that ability.
(I have a Kenwood VR-705)
BTW, I did notice that for some reason, if I leave my settings set to have the sound card handle dolby digital and have my reciever set in pro logic 2, it seems I still get surround sound from dolby digital sources.

Malo
27-Dec-2003, 16:03
No game actually support DD in the sense that the have pre-encoded DD matrial. As already said the nforce is able to encode 3d sounds into one AC3 stream.

really? I thought there were quite a few games slowly coming out that had the specific DD coding?

Try Need for Speed: Underground, I'm pretty sure that has DD in-game.

Fox5
27-Dec-2003, 16:16
Well, the demo doesn't seem to have an option for it, and I didn't see the Dolby logo anywhere in the demo or on EA NFS:U site.

tEd
27-Dec-2003, 16:24
No game actually support DD in the sense that the have pre-encoded DD matrial. As already said the nforce is able to encode 3d sounds into one AC3 stream.

really? I thought there were quite a few games slowly coming out that had the specific DD coding?

Try Need for Speed: Underground, I'm pretty sure that has DD in-game.

there is no specific DD coding in the games sound world. It's not how it works.

I'm pretty sure there is no PC game today out there that has AC3 as the sound source. Maybe for music or for videos but even that i very much doubt.

But frankly what exactly is the difference between DD encoded matrial and not DD encoded matrial. there 's no difference besides that DD encoded matrial uses the ac3 compression scheme while other non DD sounds may be uncompressed or have other compression schemes like mp3 or ogg. The point is that DD doesn't give you any improved quality to non DD sounds.

Bolloxoid
27-Dec-2003, 16:33
really? I thought there were quite a few games slowly coming out that had the specific DD coding?

I don't think so. The game would have to have complete 3D positional audio rendering algorithms (normally implemented in the sound card drivers and partially done in hardware) in the game engine itself, and after rendering the audio scene (in software) the game engine would then have to encode the output into a DD stream in real time (in software) while doing everything else (read: major CPU consumption and latency issues). After that the game engine would have to find a way to output the result unaltered via the digital output on the sound card, not something that all sound card drivers support.

Not practical.

Bolloxoid
27-Dec-2003, 16:47
Fox5: You should just take the analog line outputs from your sound card and connect them to the corresponding inputs on you receiver. That's it.

Your receiver does not need any decoding capabilites because the output is not encoded in any way.

MuFu
27-Dec-2003, 16:51
BTW, I did notice that for some reason, if I leave my settings set to have the sound card handle dolby digital and have my reciever set in pro logic 2, it seems I still get surround sound from dolby digital sources.

Well DPLII just takes a 2-channel source and extrapolates multichannel surround w/centre (5.0). That being the case, if your soundcard is outputtting decoded DD 5.1 discretely you're probably losing everything apart from the front two channels. If the source is DD 2.0 you're ok, but you should still stick to using just receiver-based or just soundcard-based decoding and not both.

MuFu.

Malo
27-Dec-2003, 17:15
ok I guess I was wrong about how it all works. Now that i think about it, your defintely correct that it would need to encode the DD on-the-fly then send the data to the decoder again as a DD source. Whereas a DVD is already encoded with all the data it requires and just feeds the data to the decoder.

So when they say a game supports Dolby Digital, what are they talking about then? I know there have been games that have supported it in the past, I'm sure one of the NFS series has.

MuFu
27-Dec-2003, 17:23
There are no PC games that use Dolby technology, let alone DD. Loads of console titles do, but only X-box games can actually output encoded DD. Others have pre-encoded Dolby Surround or DPLII content.

There are THX certified games - sure you're not confusing the two?

MuFu.

Ilfirin
27-Dec-2003, 17:51
The only PC game I've heard of with DD 5.1 encoding is Doom III, which obviously isn't out yet.

Here's a complete list of what games, on what consoles, use what Dolby tech though:
http://www.dolby.com/games/players/

tEd
27-Dec-2003, 22:39
ut2003 for instance has a dolby digital logo on it but it doesn't contain any DD encoded sounds. It's really all marketing nothing more. With the nforce/2 chipset you can pretty much output any sound source in DD. So any game could claim 5.1 DD support as long as they support 3d sound and the nforce/2 chipset .

MuFu
28-Dec-2003, 01:19
ut2003 for instance has a dolby digital logo on it but it doesn't contain any DD encoded sounds.

Heh, the wardrobe in my bedroom has a huge Dolby Digital logo on it but it doesn't contain any DD-encoded sounds either.

MuFu.

Tim Murray
28-Dec-2003, 01:23
ut2003 for instance has a dolby digital logo on it but it doesn't contain any DD encoded sounds.

Heh, the wardrobe in my bedroom has a huge Dolby Digital logo on it but it doesn't contain any DD-encoded sounds either.

MuFu.
Do you have pictures of said wardrobe? I'm tempted to just start slapping Dolby Digital stickers on everything I own.

Fox5
28-Dec-2003, 02:58
Fox5: You should just take the analog line outputs from your sound card and connect them to the corresponding inputs on you receiver. That's it.

Your receiver does not need any decoding capabilites because the output is not encoded in any way.

My receiver doesn't have corresponding inputs, unless you can combine multiple inputs it can only accept 1 digital input at a time or 2 RCA plugs. So it's either dolby digital, dts, or pro logic.

Well, I guess I either buy a nForce motherboard(in which case my current sound card is useless), I buy a Creative sound system in addition to the Kenwood one I have(or I just buy some matching kenwood speakers and hook them up seperately), or I stick with what I have now using my surround sound system accepting the left and right channels(though I usually set it to one of my sound system's modes, usually stadium, since I think having it seperate the sounds...well sounds better than just stereo, even if I can't have that and 96 khz sound) and 2 cheap wireless speakers in the back.

BTW, I've noticed Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic claims to support EAX enhanced HD or something, yet it seems to only have surround sound during cutscenes, and the sound seems prerecorded anyhow.(maybe my ears or the way I have my speakers set up was fooling me, but it didn't sound like the sound rotated as the camera did)

N/M, I thought I noticed a lack of it in the first area, but the rest of the game seems to have it in full. Also, while in halo the 96 khz sounded like crap compared to the stadium mode on my receiver, it sounds much better in KotOR.

zurich
28-Dec-2003, 21:44
Somewhat off topic, but still related.

I understand the whole DD5.1/AC3/nForce deal, but here's my question.

Doom3 is said to support "5.1 channel sound". Does this mean it will have 6 discrete sound streams for analog connection to a receiver? I highly doubt it will encode on the fly into AC3 for output via an spdif, as that would kill the CPU usage. I currently have an nForce2 hooked up with a digital coax spdif. Despite the MCP-T encoding everything and anything into AC3, will Doom3 still output the channels discetely, a la Xbox?

BTW, divx movies with an AC3 track downsampled into DPL sound great on an nForce board. Its not the same, but better regardless.

Bolloxoid
28-Dec-2003, 23:14
Doom3 is said to support "5.1 channel sound".

That statement does not make much sense. Games do not position sounds in "channels", they position them in 3-dimensional space using 3D sound APIs. The sound card drivers then ultimately decide how the sound is output from any particular speaker (or headphones!). That is the whole point of an application programming interface, to make sound programming independent of any particular hardware configuration. Why should the game be hardcoded to a certain hardware setup?

I think we've seen this before with UT2003. They prominently announced that they support 5.1 Dolby Digital sound and a lot of people wondered what they meant by that and whether they really were going to support DD encoding in their engine, which was thought to be pretty weird. Well, now that the game is out we can go to their web site and see the notes on how DD output requires the Nforce interactive content encoder system. Nvidia is Epic's partner and Nvidia currently provides the only DD encoding sound system there is so it is in their interest to stamp the magical DD logo everywhere. It's the same with Doom I guess.

Mark
29-Dec-2003, 01:18
There are no PC games that use Dolby technology, let alone DD. Loads of console titles do, but only X-box games can actually output encoded DD. Others have pre-encoded Dolby Surround or DPLII content.

There are THX certified games - sure you're not confusing the two?

MuFu.
Prince of Persia: Sands of Time has Dolby Digital... well, the logo is on the back of the box and CD case anyway.

MuFu
29-Dec-2003, 02:13
There are no PC games that use Dolby technology, let alone DD. Loads of console titles do, but only X-box games can actually output encoded DD. Others have pre-encoded Dolby Surround or DPLII content.

There are THX certified games - sure you're not confusing the two?

MuFu.
Prince of Persia: Sands of Time has Dolby Digital... well, the logo is on the back of the box and CD case anyway.

Sure, but the game almost certainly doesn't actually use any form of proprietary Dolby technology (compatibility with Soundstorm chipsets aside). They might as well slap a few ATi Smoothvision logos on there.

MuFu.

zurich
29-Dec-2003, 06:26
There are no PC games that use Dolby technology, let alone DD. Loads of console titles do, but only X-box games can actually output encoded DD. Others have pre-encoded Dolby Surround or DPLII content.

There are THX certified games - sure you're not confusing the two?

MuFu.
Prince of Persia: Sands of Time has Dolby Digital... well, the logo is on the back of the box and CD case anyway.

Maybe for cutscenes?

zurich
29-Dec-2003, 07:18
That statement does not make much sense. Games do not position sounds in "channels", they position them in 3-dimensional space using 3D sound APIs. The sound card drivers then ultimately decide how the sound is output from any particular speaker (or headphones!). That is the whole point of an application programming interface, to make sound programming independent of any particular hardware configuration. Why should the game be hardcoded to a certain hardware setup?


Which is precisely why I wondered what the ambigious "5.1" sound meant.. sounds like Creative Labs marketing speak :P

Ante P
29-Dec-2003, 08:46
That statement does not make much sense. Games do not position sounds in "channels", they position them in 3-dimensional space using 3D sound APIs. The sound card drivers then ultimately decide how the sound is output from any particular speaker (or headphones!). That is the whole point of an application programming interface, to make sound programming independent of any particular hardware configuration. Why should the game be hardcoded to a certain hardware setup?


Which is precisely why I wondered what the ambigious "5.1" sound meant.. sounds like Creative Labs marketing speak :P

Well some games seem to be optimized for 5.1 for an example. I think (maybe pshycosomatic) that the 5.1 option surely ruins the positional audio on my 7.1 system in Max Payne 2. Leaving that option blank makes the positioning clearer.

But in any case having games with AC3 sound as the source doesn't seem like a good idea to me. AC3 decompression chews more CPU-cycles than MP3 and such (perhaps not Ogg though, last time I checked Ogg was pretty unoptimized when it comes to decoding). Besides I can only think of neative aspects of having pre-computer surround compared to DirectSound3D/OpenAL (+EAX).

BTW does anyone know if Creative and their competitors still wrap OpenAL commands to DirectSound3D instead of supporting OpenAL directly? (From what I can tell it's mostly just a driver isue.)

As for the criteria of getting a DD sombyl on your game from what I've read all that is required is compability with nForce2 and a small feee. ;)

About AC3 surround streams in the movies/cutscenes in games, well at least there's no such thing in UT2003 and I'm pretty sure there's not in PoP either.

jimbob0i0
29-Dec-2003, 10:23
I'll check with NV for you Ante P but AFAIK the nForce SoundStorm drivers support OpenAL directly (hence why the creative OpenAL32.dll file is a few hundred Kb for creative and several meg for NV)

For DD5.1 with an nForce chipset all you need is a DirectSound3D compatuble game - the drivers take care of the rest.

In 'theory' EAX1/2 should also translate to DD5.1 output from soundstorm but the 'undocumented features' of EAX have caused a lot of headaches for EAX support for NV until recently - the 3.75 (official) have solved pretty much every EAX1 issue and the 4.03 (betas - *unavaliable*) have solved pretty much every EAX2 issue I had previously.....

I'm afraid I have no ETA on the 4.xx series... from current progress of the new drivers and new mixer I'd estimate end of Jan to mid Feb but I've had no specific dates given to me by NV yet other than 'when they are finished' ;)

Reznor007
29-Dec-2003, 11:27
Fox5: You should just take the analog line outputs from your sound card and connect them to the corresponding inputs on you receiver. That's it.

Your receiver does not need any decoding capabilites because the output is not encoded in any way.

My receiver doesn't have corresponding inputs, unless you can combine multiple inputs it can only accept 1 digital input at a time or 2 RCA plugs. So it's either dolby digital, dts, or pro logic.

Well, I guess I either buy a nForce motherboard(in which case my current sound card is useless), I buy a Creative sound system in addition to the Kenwood one I have(or I just buy some matching kenwood speakers and hook them up seperately), or I stick with what I have now using my surround sound system accepting the left and right channels(though I usually set it to one of my sound system's modes, usually stadium, since I think having it seperate the sounds...well sounds better than just stereo, even if I can't have that and 96 khz sound) and 2 cheap wireless speakers in the back.

BTW, I've noticed Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic claims to support EAX enhanced HD or something, yet it seems to only have surround sound during cutscenes, and the sound seems prerecorded anyhow.(maybe my ears or the way I have my speakers set up was fooling me, but it didn't sound like the sound rotated as the camera did)

N/M, I thought I noticed a lack of it in the first area, but the rest of the game seems to have it in full. Also, while in halo the 96 khz sounded like crap compared to the stadium mode on my receiver, it sounds much better in KotOR.

What you are looking for is the analog 5.1 input on your receiver. It might be labeled analog 5.1 or multichannel input.

You then run 3 stereo minijack to stereo RCA cables from the sound card to the receiver, connecting to the proper channel(left/right, rear left/right, center/sub). Then you set your PC speaker config to 5.1 speakers and enable bass redirection and set the crossover to ~80Hz(THX crossover). Make sure you turn up the volume for the center and sub(in the mixer settings of AudioHQ). I had my PC setup this way for almost 3 years, but just now had to switch to digital stereo from my PC because I need the analog 5.1 for my SACD/DVD-Audio player.

Try out any game that supports DirectSound3D and you will have true 5.1 sound for PC games. It's not Dolby Digital, but it is true 5.1.

Fox5
29-Dec-2003, 17:33
Nope, my receiver doesn't support 6 channel analog audio.
I figure I'll just eventually get some matching Kenwood speakers for my PC for the audio, but till then I'll use the crappy wireless speakers I have.(they're fine for most sound effects, just voices and any sound that you can hear traveling from front to back sounds wierd since it's not matched)

Reznor007
29-Dec-2003, 21:25
Nope, my receiver doesn't support 6 channel analog audio.
I figure I'll just eventually get some matching Kenwood speakers for my PC for the audio, but till then I'll use the crappy wireless speakers I have.(they're fine for most sound effects, just voices and any sound that you can hear traveling from front to back sounds wierd since it's not matched)

It doesn't have a 6 channel analog input? Weird...I though practially any recent receiver had them...

Fox5
29-Dec-2003, 22:44
Yeah, it is. The receiver I just got for my dad had 6 channel(I thought about asking him to trade, but my receiver seems better than his, or at least is more familiar to me). The instruction manual for mine lists the VR-715 as having that, but I have the VR-705

tb
29-Dec-2003, 23:03
No game actually support DD in the sense that the have pre-encoded DD matrial. As already said the nforce is able to encode 3d sounds into one AC3 stream.

really? I thought there were quite a few games slowly coming out that had the specific DD coding?

Try Need for Speed: Underground, I'm pretty sure that has DD in-game.

there is no specific DD coding in the games sound world. It's not how it works.

I'm pretty sure there is no PC game today out there that has AC3 as the sound source. Maybe for music or for videos but even that i very much doubt.

But frankly what exactly is the difference between DD encoded matrial and not DD encoded matrial. there 's no difference besides that DD encoded matrial uses the ac3 compression scheme while other non DD sounds may be uncompressed or have other compression schemes like mp3 or ogg. The point is that DD doesn't give you any improved quality to non DD sounds.

And thats the bad point. A soundcard should be able to output a dd(ad3) or dts stream(don't speak of 7.1...). So you would only need one digital connection between the soundcard and the receiver and you would have 5.1 sound. But today you have to use 4 or 6 analoge connections to use the soundcards analog output and have some kind of 5.1 soound :(

Thomas

Nappe1
30-Dec-2003, 13:28
So when they say a game supports Dolby Digital, what are they talking about then? I know there have been games that have supported it in the past, I'm sure one of the NFS series has.

negative.
none of NFS series games has have Dolby Digital capabilities. But NFS3 had Dolby Surround ( a way to represent 3 to 5 analogic channels in two physical analog channels. ProLogic and ProLogic 2 are result of more development on signal processing and so are downward compatible) software encoder. But it wasn't really good.

Also NFS2 / NFS2SE had most of music tracks encoded as Dolby Surround / ProLogic / ProLogic2 compatible signal.


In any case, you can do pretty amazing stuff even with just good old Dolby Surround setup. (3 speakers: left, Right and Rear.) as long as material is good and Dolby Surround mixing is done properly. Prologic (four channels: Left, Right, Rear and Center) makes stuff even more impressive and in ProLogic 2 (five Speakers: Left, Right, Rear Left, Rear Right and Center) things get even better. All of these support using LFE, which is low pass filtered combined physical left and right channel.

How Dolby Surround/ProLogic mixing is exactly done then? well, there's dozens websites given better information, but basically, rear channel is 90 degrees delayed Left + Right. Center is intersection(Left, Right) with 7200Hz filtering. (Low pass, if I recal right.) In ProLogic2 there's some way to get Left and Right channels in rear too, but Dolby isn't really willing to talk about it until you have a lot of money to spend on ProLogic2 License.

I don't know if anyone was interested, but there you go. ;)

hey69
01-Jan-2004, 02:52
i must say that i have my xbox hooked up to my sony dolby prologic setup and all games/movies sound fine in real surround (not in DIGITAL) but is is nice surround!

reciever is analog prologic. lef rig backleft backrig center
xbox connected with left rightautdio cable to sony and configured as dolby surround in the dashboard

Fox5
01-Jan-2004, 05:14
Hey, is the soundstorm chip on the nforce/2 a seperate audio chip, or does it work in conjunction with an existing one?

jimbob0i0
01-Jan-2004, 14:42
Hey, is the soundstorm chip on the nforce/2 a seperate audio chip, or does it work in conjunction with an existing one?

It's incorporated into the southbridge (MCP-D or MCP(2)-T)....

This is due to the high bandwidth requirements - being on a straight PCI bus wouldn't be possible... it uses about 200MBps of bandwidth at full steam (if memory serves) and thus the hyperlink transport is essential. Not to mention the fact that PCI time divides the bandwidth across the slots anyway.....

This was the main reason why NV (insiders) were laughing so much at the PCI SoundStorm rumours a little while back. HOWEVER SoundStorm (at this point in time) is effectively being discontinued. There is no ongoing hardware R&D at nVidia and the fact that Creative have bought the Sensaura IP just makes it harder. The motherboard partners told NV that they did not see enough interest in soundstorm from consumers for them to want to include it on their boards - hence there is no SoundStorm APU in the NF3 series.

If there is enough interest when PCI-Express begins to build up it may be looked at again then - no promises though I'm afraid.

If you want it then make sure you petition the mobo manufacturers!

For more info see here (http://www.nforcershq.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=31254), here (http://www.nforcershq.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=32961) and the pdf I wrote here (http://www.nforcershq.com/soundstorm/nforce-letter.pdf).

On-board the motherboard you *will* see a second audio chip - usually a realtek alc650 but some boards are now shippingwith the improved alc658 AFAIK - which is used as a DAC however since the signal-to-noise ratio and overall quality of the DAC isn't great (think just above SBLive! if implemented correctly) you will get the best performance by using a Dolby Digital compatible set of speakers and using the SPDIF out - letting the SoundStorm APU encode everything to DD.

NB. C-media will soon be claiming Dolby Digital encoding for their chips (they recently released a www.cmedia.com.tw/news/2003CES/joint%2520press%2520release.pdf+cmedia+dolby+digit al+encode&hl=en&start=1&ie=UTF-8]press (http://216.239.39.104/search?q=cache:uM_A6a_6y7kJ:[url) release[/url] on it) but DON'T BE FOOLED..... the encoding is done on the CPU and then streamed over the SPDIF out.... 'Only' 7% used of a P4 3.06GHz system - bah!

Any more info ask... and *if* I can tell you I will.

Fox5
01-Jan-2004, 17:18
Shame nvidia is dropping soundstorm, that 1 feature made it really attractive as a HTPC or hardcore gamer's pc.
The integrated graphics isn't really a loss though, looking at current motherboards the IGP adds at least $20, but you could get a Geforce 4 MX 440 for $30, which would crush the performance of the IGP, and I believe ATi has some integrated video chips out now that are radeon 8500 performance.

BTW, if C-media can do the encoding on the cpu, couldn't an external program be made that works with any audio card? I'm surprised Creative hasn't done something like that.

(Just a note, I already bought an audigy 2 before I considered that I could get a motherboard with soundstorm for under $100)

Snyder
01-Jan-2004, 22:55
Hey, is the soundstorm chip on the nforce/2 a seperate audio chip, or does it work in conjunction with an existing one?

It's incorporated into the southbridge (MCP-D or MCP(2)-T)....

This is due to the high bandwidth requirements - being on a straight PCI bus wouldn't be possible... it uses about 200MBps of bandwidth at full steam (if memory serves) and thus the hyperlink transport is essential. Not to mention the fact that PCI time divides the bandwidth across the slots anyway.....


I have read this explanation in different places now but I'm not sure I understand it. Why the huge bandwidth need? Does DD encoding need frequent access to considerable amounts of RAM? Otherwise I can see no problem for a PCI card, as multichannel sound can be output already by most cards, only just not as a compressed AC3 stream.

Fox5
01-Jan-2004, 23:49
Boy, to think, nvidia even made a song for the soundstorm.
http://www.nvidia.com/object/LO_20020711_6530.html
If I was a sound card producing company trying to overtake Creative, I would probably buy out nvidia's soundstorm ip, and bring it as close to Creative's cards as I could but always have the advantage of dolby digital encoding.(because by the time integrated audio gets up to that level again, we probably won't need dolby digital encoding.

BTW, I've noticed that the new nforce2 shuttle motherboard I ordered has a SPDIF out, yet it only notes having the MCP, not the MCP-T or soundstorm, but nvidia's website only lists motherboards with soundstorm as having a spdif out.

jimbob0i0
01-Jan-2004, 23:54
Bandwidth requirements are due to 256 2D streams, 64 3D streams and control data all going to the APU....

That's an accurate figure as it's come direct from NV audio driver team.

The song is AWFUL ;)

As for NV IP - it's not just their IP but Sensaura and Dolby to name two well known parts.... and Sensaura tech is now owned by Creative :(

Fox5
02-Jan-2004, 00:06
Bandwidth requirements are due to 256 2D streams, 64 3D streams and control data all going to the APU....

That's an accurate figure as it's come direct from NV audio driver team.



Well, doesn't the Audigy 2 have all that same stuff and works fine in a PCI slot? I'm fairly certain it has 64 3d streams, though not sure about 2d.

Nvidia is silly not to at least offer the soundstorm in their nforce 3, the fact that many motherboard makers did include it in their nforce and nforce 2 boards shows that there is a market for it, even if they just used the current soundstorm they have, it is still better than all other integrated audio, and better than or equal to probably any add in card short of the audigy 2, and it's the only chip to offer dolby digital encoding, even if that feature is only useful to maybe 10% of the people who frequently upgrade PCs.(the rest either don't have surround sound systems or have ones capable of accepting 6 analog inputs, which according to the creative website can be passed over the spdif out so it only uses 1 cable anyhow)

jimbob0i0
02-Jan-2004, 01:10
To make it nice and clear the motherboard partners specifially told NV they did not want soundstorm in the NF3 as they perceived a lack of consumer demand for it. Why they thought that who knows? My pet theory is cost - it's why they chose crud realtek ALC650 codecs instead of teh decent sigmatels in the NV reference boards anyway.

The thing is I believe Creative do a *lot* of skimping on how the audio is presented to the card and *lot* of filtering on what actually gets sent to the card. Potentially there is 6 channels each of 64 streams plus 2 channels of 256 streams ...

Then there is hardware environmental effects to be applied.

All of this at 16bit 44KHz (minimum dependant on settings in application)... it's one heck of a lot.

It is *not* NV not offering soundstorm - it is the motherboard partners who actually produce the boards who have said they don't want it... and thus there is no reason for NV to invest in it then - they do not produce their own stuff and without the partners it is wasted money.

Fox5
02-Jan-2004, 02:25
Well, supposendly Shuttle was interested.
And I still say there were companies interested since many boards did include soundstorm. And I just can't see too mcuh cost being added in producing a reference board using the existing sound storm for the motherboard partners who do wish to include it.

And supposendly the audigy 2 can do 24 bit 96 khz 5.1 channel, though when comparing my speaker system hooked up over the digital connection compared to over the analog(just for 2 speakers), the digital sounded much better while I don't think there was any improvement for analog versus normal sound quality. Don't know if that would be the sound card or my receiver though, but only over the digital connection does my receiver report a 96khz signal is being received.

Besides, even if creative does do a lot of skimping, so can nvidia. The audigy 2 is currently the best sounding card, and it got there somehow.(though I think it's about a year more advanced than the soundstorm is)

Fox5
04-Jan-2004, 02:14
Hmm, just wondering, how do they decide if a movie gets to bare the dolby digital label? I've seen dvds that say dolby digital stereo, and it just seems wierd since I'd imagine a stereo signal is the same over a digital connection or over standard audio plugs, and dolby digital compression shouldn't be needed. I know my receiver can certainly accept digital inputs that aren't dolby digital.

zurich
04-Jan-2004, 08:26
It's a shame Soundstorm died.. though I still plan to build an HTPC around one.

Well, hopefully it'll live on atleast for another few years in the Xbox..

DemoCoder
04-Jan-2004, 09:38
My setup in Pioneer Elite 49TXI receiver which can switch multiple optical inputs and multiple component input sources. I plug XBox, PS2, and HTPC into it, output component video to Sanyo PLV-70 projector. 7.1 speaker setup.

If I had to deal with switching 6 wires from 3 difference sources, I'd be screwed in a wire jungle. To me, DD/DTS output is a must.

jimbob0i0
04-Jan-2004, 13:01
Hmm, just wondering, how do they decide if a movie gets to bare the dolby digital label? I've seen dvds that say dolby digital stereo, and it just seems wierd since I'd imagine a stereo signal is the same over a digital connection or over standard audio plugs, and dolby digital compression shouldn't be needed. I know my receiver can certainly accept digital inputs that aren't dolby digital.

Dolby struck ONE HELL of a deal with the DVD consortium while the DVD-video was being standardised - it cennot bear the name DVD-Video without a Dolby track on it.....

A Dolby Digital track on a DVD is 'up to' 5.1 channels (6/7 channel tracks are made by matrix decoding on the rear L/R channels) - so it could easily be 1.0 or 2.0 or 2.1 etc etc up to that value - the number of channels effectively is the same in the 'encoded signal'.... Hence all movies have a Dolby logo on them and hence why a stereo movie/concert etc has a 2.0 DD track on it - although it might have a raw PCM stereo track too which technically sounds better if you have suitable kit....

Also this is why DD and not DTS in the mainstream standard in many ways.. DTS is 5.1 at all times unless it is DTS-ES in which case it is 6.1 discreet tracks with the rear centre also matrixed into the rear L/R? channel so DTS decoders don't lose anything and some equipment rather than using the rear centre channel uses a cheaper method of matrix decoding on the rear L/R to produce the rear centre. This works but can have 'bleeding' across the channels at times - hence teh discreet channel is better. A 'DTS-only' DVD such as The Haunting (the 6.1 DTS-ES discreet sounds GREAT btw... great show off DVD for DTS...) still has a Dolby track on it to conform to the 'standard' (although in this case it's a 2 channel track encoded to prologic over DD just to comply with the standard... no one would ever seriously use it without being laughed at...)

I hope that covers your query over teh DD symbol on stereo tracks suitably.

Fox5
04-Jan-2004, 16:05
I always assumed that DTS was the inferior compression method, as the Playstation 2 is able to do DTS encoding in real time in games, but not Dolby Digital.

Dave Baumann
04-Jan-2004, 16:58
AFAIK DTS has superiour audio quality as the source is uncompressed - DD is compressed, but that allows you to fit more DD tracks per disk.

jimbob0i0
04-Jan-2004, 17:22
DTS is DEFINATELY superior......

The 'game' DTS is a bit different (in bit rates and number of channels used) to the 'movie' DTS and there are two versions of movie DTS - 1.5Mbps and 758Kbps .... and both have come out superior to DD in 'golden ear' tests...

There's loads of info at the appropriate sites.....

Oh and Dolby published a whitepaper/PDF questioning the DTS method and quality (essentailly attacked heavily DTS and claimg DD over it...) - you can find this on the Dolby website....

DTS produced a whitepaper refuting their claims....
Dolby produced a whitepaper attacking again....
DTS produced a whitepaper refuting and correcting...

No more was heard - was quite funny to the movie/audio community at the time :P

jimbob0i0
05-Jan-2004, 18:46
That statement does not make much sense. Games do not position sounds in "channels", they position them in 3-dimensional space using 3D sound APIs. The sound card drivers then ultimately decide how the sound is output from any particular speaker (or headphones!). That is the whole point of an application programming interface, to make sound programming independent of any particular hardware configuration. Why should the game be hardcoded to a certain hardware setup?


Which is precisely why I wondered what the ambigious "5.1" sound meant.. sounds like Creative Labs marketing speak :P

Well some games seem to be optimized for 5.1 for an example. I think (maybe pshycosomatic) that the 5.1 option surely ruins the positional audio on my 7.1 system in Max Payne 2. Leaving that option blank makes the positioning clearer.

But in any case having games with AC3 sound as the source doesn't seem like a good idea to me. AC3 decompression chews more CPU-cycles than MP3 and such (perhaps not Ogg though, last time I checked Ogg was pretty unoptimized when it comes to decoding). Besides I can only think of neative aspects of having pre-computer surround compared to DirectSound3D/OpenAL (+EAX).

BTW does anyone know if Creative and their competitors still wrap OpenAL commands to DirectSound3D instead of supporting OpenAL directly? (From what I can tell it's mostly just a driver isue.)

As for the criteria of getting a DD sombyl on your game from what I've read all that is required is compability with nForce2 and a small feee. ;)

About AC3 surround streams in the movies/cutscenes in games, well at least there's no such thing in UT2003 and I'm pretty sure there's not in PoP either.

I got an answer from NV for you...

<NV Guy>: soundstorm/nforce along with Creative's driver, is the only hw native implmentation. Everyone else is software emulation.
<NV Guy>: they aren't all done that
<NV Guy>: that way
<NV Guy>: they do the same sorts of things we do
Jimbob: ah so creative *don't* wrap all their calls to DS?
<NV Guy>: for the stuff the hw can truly do we go direct
Jimbob: ah right i c
<NV Guy>: for the stuff that needs additional handling (EAX?) it goes to DS.
<NV Guy>: make sense?
Jimbob: gotcha
<NV Guy>: no need to reinvent the wheel

Does that answer your question Ante P?