Who Killed PC Audio

Discussion in 'PC Hardware, Software and Displays' started by Davros, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
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    I think VR has a chance to get developers more focused on audio processing as it is a huge part of creating "presence". Hopefully, that focus starts impacting nonVR applications as well.
     
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  2. xz321zx

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    "Path tracing" is a bigger perfomance hog than VR , so audio under a VR umbrella has "crumbs of comfort" written all over it IMO. "Path tracing" is such a hog it killed PC-audio. :)

    Not to mention present day VR is anything but subtle stuff really, making it sort of an antithesis of high-def audio.
     
    #62 xz321zx, Feb 18, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
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  3. rcf

    rcf
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    It makes sense to choose soundcards based on audio features, but it doesn't make sense to choose videocards based on audio features, especially when everybody knows that Nvidia is the leader and offers better and longer support than AMD does.
    Consumers have to be shown what the tech is really capable of before they start caring about it. So it has to be well implemented in games and such games have to be good.
    Half-life with A3D2 and Vortex2 soundcard was getting rave reviews in the 90s even with framerates dropping a lot with 3D audio enabled. But then Creative Labs sued Aureal and killed it.
    But as you've said on another post, VR will require 3d audio and hopefully it will impact nonVR apps.
     
  4. Davros

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    Do you mean wave tracing?
     
  5. xz321zx

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    They are using the "path" term quite commonly now:

    Oddly common in these "tracing" demos is the universal lack of fast-rise-time , "shot-like" transient sounds (could make evaluation easy),
    FPS count on the low side is also common, so, you'd need a quite effective, in fact, several , ridiculously effective shortcuts to see this coming anywhere near an AAA title on the near term.
     
  6. digitalwanderer

    digitalwanderer Dangerously Mirthful
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    I don't know if this applies or not, but I picked my son up a cheap pair of 7.1 headphones for xmas to go along with his new PC build and since then he's actually removed his speakers and let me have them for a sound system downstairs since he just doesn't use them anymore.

    He says the locational sound is so much better, and the details blow him away. I've never really been a fan/believed in multi-speaker headphone setups, but my son now swears by them and I know him well enough to know he's pickier than even I am when it comes to sound in gaming. (Not audio like music though, it's weird. I'm pickier and have the better ear there.)

    I'm not sure if normal headphones do the same thing or what, I never game with them or my volume very loud anymore since I always have a half an ear on what is going on in the house, but thought it worth mentioning since he's become such a proponent of the headphones he got. LOL (They were pretty cheap too, but sort of ugly...glowy LEDs on 'em)
     
  7. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
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    Not many are doing that either, though.

    In my experience, most people have surprisingly low standards when it comes to audio quality.
     
  8. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
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    Put on some regular headphones and listen to the demos on this page. I find the DTS Headphone X implementation to be quite convincing.
     
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  9. Davros

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    the best positional audio ive heard is holophonics
    on the album the final cut by pink floyd you hear a car go past at high speed
    it was so convincing i got up and looked out the window to see who the bloody hell was driving at that crazy speed in a cul de sac.
     
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  10. Davros

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    A3D 2.0 can perform up to 60 first-order reflections. I only remember 1 benchmark it was ut99 no sound was about 50fps and using an aureal vortex card was about 35fps
     
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  11. xz321zx

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    Point is , realistic audio can gobble up whatever flops you throw at it, it is just way too involving, perhaps even more so than gfx , yet it lacks that killer-app just yet, then there is the reproduction issue, largely unsolved still-

    -usually with headphones frontal cues are hard enough , on the other hand on loudspeakers one of the holy grails is "phantom center channel" (center without an actual center speaker, & actually it can be quite scary when it works).
    To me the two are very distinct experience, and I can't even relate to surround much , because stereo is troublesome enough just yet.
    After experimenting for quite a while with "phantom center" (succesfully), bought NAD HP50 headphones, especially because of its "RoomFeel" technology, and while it's good, and some ambience in Resident Evil 7 really stood out (well actually there was a single example of that, a loud distant(!!!) cracking kind of sound ), I think the detaching / separation effect they are after has long way to go.
     
    #71 xz321zx, Feb 19, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017
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  12. Malo

    Malo Yak Mechanicum
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  13. ToTTenTranz

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    I used the Roccat Kave 5.1 together with a Creative USB X-Fi 5.1 for about 4 or 5 years, until a couple of weeks ago when they broke from wear. I bought a Logitech G933 to replace them, which is a wireless stereo headset whose software suite comes with DTS Headphone X fake surround.

    Let me be clear: in terms of sound location in the horizontal plane, multi-driver headphones are untouchable.

    Yes, DTS Headphone X or Dolby Headphone (fake 7.1 to stereo) do a rather good job at giving the right "hint" for direction. But it can't shake away the feeling that it's a fake hint, and that takes away a bit of immersion.
    My Kaves with 2 drivers-per-ear presented an uncanny feeling of horizontal direction and the "phantom center" was so damn accurate I could swear I had a speaker glued to my forehead.


    There are two problems with multi-driver headphones, though. The first is that they'll be useless when you have a game that offers good HRTF sound (check out the new HRTF mode in CS: Go), and although horizontal direction with HRTF is still not as good, you do get vertical direction with that. Sure, you can just find a way to output the same signal to all drivers into each ear, but they'll be reaching your inner ear at different times through different "biological filters" (outer ear) so the result is just bad.

    The other problem is that since they're trying to fit more than one driver into a single earcup, the driver needs to be small, and each driver's circuitry/magnets also needs to be more compact. And since the drivers are probably the most expensive components in the whole headset, they're putting cheap drivers in there so the cost doesn't balloon too much.
    So the drivers are small and cheap, which means the sound won't be great, mainly in the bass department and that takes away immersion too.

    So on one hand you get the best possible sense of horizontal direction. On the other you get overall low quality sound and incompatibility with HRTF sound solutions with vertical direction, which will probably get a boost due to VR during the next few years.

    This time I preferred having a headset with good overall sound stage and good bass for explosions and the like. Also, the sheer convenience of not having to pass a humongous amount of cables through my desk from head to soundcard and from soundcard to PC is a big plus. I'm getting too lazy not to get a wireless headset. In older games without dedicated HRTF/BRTF sound for headphones, I will miss the top notch sound location the Kaves gave me, though.
     
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  14. xz321zx

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    Coarse 'sound direction' maybe, but location certainly not (there is no focus), the plus side of phantom center with loudspeakers is that you can focus on it, drawback is that the sweetspot is small. With a multichannel headphone (if that's a thing), obviously there is no sweetspot, but the frontal source you can focus on , is still in your head (or very near). It's a very hard problem , they still have front/back inversion issues on headphones afaik. Though maybe you can "learn" it in a multichannel headphone.
     
  15. ToTTenTranz

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    How come you're commenting on something you're not sure it exists?

    I've had both the Zalman 5.1 and the Roccat Kave 5.1, both are models with multiple drivers inside each earcup, properly positioned around the ear.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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    I've heard on teh intarwebz more than a few times that those multi-driver phones are silly gimmicks. But you say you really liked them? Interesting. I should read more about them.
     
    #76 swaaye, Feb 24, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
  17. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
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  18. xz321zx

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    The last mention of multichannel headphone in audio engineering journal (aes) is from 2003 , and it's also a lone entry.

    Also by the looks of it , each driver can't be exactly on-axis , so there will be off-axis colorations and what not (non uniform diffraction?). There are much better ways of doing this IMO. ( By the way , I was wrong there are subtle sweetspot issues with headphones but in a different way).
     
  19. swaaye

    swaaye Entirely Suboptimal
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  20. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
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    Right now, though, companies are investing heavily in all of these audio middleware solutions that can create a realistic audio environment. Maybe VR fizzles and the investment and support dries up, but just the promise of VR has been enough to have these solutions exist in the first place which is pretty awesome IMO.
     
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