Best Sensaura Implementation

Discussion about old sound cards, MIDI devices and sound related accessories.

Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby ZanQuance » 2018-4-24 @ 21:11

Sensaura info does the job;attached below.
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Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby swaaye » 2018-4-24 @ 23:28

GTXP driver 2.00 on 98SE. I installed the A3DAPI 3.12 myself.


Code: Select all
Sensaura Information © 2001 Sensaura

Device   Hercules Game Theater XP(tm)

Windows   Windows 98 SE
Sensaura®   1.10 (2101) 4.12.01.2101
DirectX™   0801
DSOUND.VXD   4.09.00.0904   Microsoft Corporation
DSOUND.DLL   4.09.00.0904   Microsoft Corporation
DSOUND3D.DLL   4.09.00.0900   Microsoft Corporation
EAX 1.0   Yes
EAX 2.0   Yes
I3DL2   Yes
Voice Manager   Yes
Sensaura Voice Manager   Yes
ZoomFX™   Yes
Virtual Ear™   Yes
CRLDS3D.VXD   4.12.01.2101   Sensaura Ltd.
CRLDS3D.DLL   4.12.01.2002   Sensaura Ltd
AUDIO3D.DLL   4.12.01.2007   Sensaura Ltd
A3D.DLL   4.12.01.2007   Sensaura Ltd
A3DAPI.DLL   3.12   Aureal Inc.
CWCDSND.VXD   4.12.4023   Hercules (R)
KMIXER.SYS   4.10.2223   Microsoft Corporation
WDMAUD.SYS   4.10.2226   Microsoft Corporation
PORTCLS.SYS   4.10.2223   Microsoft Corporation
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Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby squiggly » 2018-4-25 @ 00:14

Mine came a few days ago. I'm going to try it on a Dell p3 with win2k.
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Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby Gahhhrrrlic » 2018-4-26 @ 16:01

Update:

I finally received all the components I was waiting for to fully build my P2 rig so I got that all running last night. Currently I have a SB Live and a Santa Cruz running in this machine with the Santa Cruz being the primary card. I downloaded the last VXD drivers (4081 drivers in a 20 MB setup file). This installed a basic control panel and diagnostic utility.

I then used the 3 dll files provided in this thread by Zanquance to enable A3D 2.0 and EAX in 3 titles (well, 2.5 titles, as one of them doesn't support both at the same time): Half-Life, Unreal Tournament and Tachyon: The Fringe

I was using a 2 speaker setup for all this.

First observation is that I noticed a difference in sound quality in all 3 titles, despite being unable to properly describe what that difference is.

In half-life, I ran the practice level and noticed a lot of... something going on. There were a ton of effects trying to work like reverb and reflections but it was hard to figure out what was going on because the sound kept changing with very subtle movements from one area to the next, as though I was transitioning between different audio regimes. Also the volume was all over the place. Sometimes the woman speaker sounded loud and next to one ear while at other times it just sounded muted and non-specific. Mostly the audio was pretty low volume and this was the case for all games actually.

In UT, the stock files produced a wicked (bad) reverb during the opening cinematic. When I put the new dlls in, everything got pretty quiet and the reverb was gone but so was most of the flare in the sound. In-game I noticed nothing particularly remarkable about the sound quality, suggesting that perhaps I'd broken the Sensaura support?

Tachyon sounded pretty good, all things considered but I don't have a recent frame of reference to compare what it sounded like before and I didn't have time to swap to the SB Live to see what that was like.

2 questions I have:

1) Is there a better control panel for the Santa Cruz, which gives me control over the 3D elements, like tuning the headphone sound envelope, some demos maybe and settings for the proprietary Sensaura features like the ZoomFX, etc? Right now, the panel I have pretty much sucks and doesn't let me do much more than set the equalizer and a couple other things.

2) I take it that each game is finicky with regards to how it is configured to use this card correctly. I will have to do my own experiments in this regard but for now, at least for HL and UT, is there a known driver/dll configuration that is known to work properly, so I have a means of doing a proper comparative test? In general, what is the dependent variable when setting up a game? Which file(s) do I need to plug-n-play different versions of and is it always in the game root directory? I'm just trying to establish a modding procedure so that I can run with this independently, determine what works and report back.
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Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby swaaye » 2018-4-26 @ 18:54

I've heard the extreme reverb in UT with other sound cards. I think with a Audigy or Live.

I tried UT with the GTXP drivers 2.00 and 6.09 and both sounded pretty much the same. No reverb problems, but some sounds are very quiet. Seems like sound level rapidly attenuates with distance. Can hardly hear sounds beyond yourself.
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Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby swaaye » 2018-4-27 @ 00:14

Switched to the Philips Seismic Edge. It does UT much better. I like this card. It has a nice sound to it. It has WDM and VXDs available too and the WDMs seem to work best.

Honestly I have a hard time noticing any special wavetracing stuff in Half Life compared to the usual positioning that all cards do. I can't tell the difference between the CS4630 VXD and WDM drivers. The VXDs are supposed to be the only way to get Sensaura chaotic wavetracing.

The Hercules GTXP does have excellent sound quality though. Very clean and when the 3D audio works well it's very nice. I can see why so many people said good things about it in its day.
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Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby squiggly » 2018-4-27 @ 02:28

swaaye wrote:S
Honestly I have a hard time noticing any special wavetracing stuff in Half Life compared to the usual positioning that all cards do.


Did you try it with a real Vortex2 in addition to the GTXP?
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Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby Gahhhrrrlic » 2018-4-27 @ 13:39

Gahhhrrrlic wrote:Update:
In half-life, I ran the practice level and noticed a lot of... something going on. There were a ton of effects trying to work like reverb and reflections but it was hard to figure out what was going on because the sound kept changing with very subtle movements from one area to the next, as though I was transitioning between different audio regimes. Also the volume was all over the place. Sometimes the woman speaker sounded loud and next to one ear while at other times it just sounded muted and non-specific. Mostly the audio was pretty low volume and this was the case for all games actually.

In UT, the stock files produced a wicked (bad) reverb during the opening cinematic. When I put the new dlls in, everything got pretty quiet and the reverb was gone but so was most of the flare in the sound. In-game I noticed nothing particularly remarkable about the sound quality, suggesting that perhaps I'd broken the Sensaura support?

Tachyon sounded pretty good, all things considered but I don't have a recent frame of reference to compare what it sounded like before and I didn't have time to swap to the SB Live to see what that was like.


So I tried HL again, this time going through the opening tram cinematic, with the same files, and it was pretty bad. Disabling A3D in the settings resulted in nice clean audio but with no effects. With A3D on, the effects were clearly there but the intercom voice was absent and there was a ton of scratchy noise constantly. I an wondering if this is the version of HL to blame (1.0.0.5) ?

I played UT again but removed the sound dlls from the game folder, allowing it to revert back to whatever was in the system folder I guess, and it sounded like it was working. I got all kinds of new echoing that seemed like it might have been the chaotic wavetracing. The positional sound was working although it was hard for me to tell if it was any better or worse than DS3D. In fact sometimes the volume was so low on positional sounds that people appeared behind me that I didn't hear until they fired a rocket up my ass.

Tachyon continues to sound good but you're in space so I don't see how I can tell the difference if there can be no reflections of any kind. The positional audio works but again, I can't tell which API is producing it based on quality alone. I did pick the A3D 2.0 option from the menu though.
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Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby ZanQuance » 2018-4-27 @ 18:34

Sorry you are all running into issues, I would love to help solve some of them but I had to put my Win98 machine up and finish a work deadline this week...I will try and help when I can.
Just as a suggestion update HL to version 1.1.10 (1.1.12 gives me issues) it seems to work best with the DLL's I posted, make sure the A3DAPI.dll is version 2.25 for most games and not the 3.12, it causes alot of the afore mentioned issues (sounds dropping, bad reverb effects ect...).
Also make sure EAX is not enabled in HL otherwise it uses the coarse EAX 1.0 reverb changes and wont smooth room transitions like A3D and Sensaura do.

@Gahhhrrrlic
I am not sure if there were any other control panels, I just use the default installed one.

If the volume/sounds seem distant and low then switch the AUDIO3D.DLL to version 4.12.1.2006, and see if this helps the game.
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Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby eeJay » 2018-4-27 @ 20:01

Hi guys; joining this discussion.

I have 2 Sensaura capable cards: Terratec DMX Xfire 1024 (if anyone needs the original driver CD image, please let me know) and a recently acquired Diamond Monster mx 400.

Unfortunately, I'm having difficulties finding drivers for the mx 400. Version 1.00 on driver websites is incomplete (missing files in the .exe archive), while I've managed to frankenstein together the 1.02 version (it was also missing some uninstaller files).
Also, no luck with the Internet Wayback Machine.

Unlike the DMX Xfire, the Diamond control panel doesn't allow you to disable MacroFX.
While MacroFX sounds really cool when it works (for instance, when the moving objects come very close to you in the Sensaura Donuts demo), it seems to be incorrectly implemented in most games, sounding WAY too loud all the time.

Otherwise, the output on the mx 400 is a lot stronger than on the DMX - the main reason I bought it.

If anyone has the original drivers for the Diamond or any suggestions on how to disable MacroFX, I would be very grateful.
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Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby swaaye » 2018-4-27 @ 20:15

squiggly wrote:Did you try it with a real Vortex2 in addition to the GTXP?

Not lately. But I have two Vortex 2 cards and have played Half Life, Sin, Heretic 2, Elite Force and some others on it. They are great cards. It's unfortunate that they don't really have EAX support (2048 driver has too many problems).
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Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby swaaye » 2018-4-27 @ 20:18

Gahhhrrrlic wrote: I an wondering if this is the version of HL to blame (1.0.0.5) ?

I'm using HL GOTY which is 1.0.0.9. Maybe try that patch. I haven't had any major problems with the Santa Cruz or GTXP and Half Life.

Gahhhrrrlic wrote:I played UT again ... The positional sound was working although it was hard for me to tell if it was any better or worse than DS3D. In fact sometimes the volume was so low on positional sounds that people appeared behind me that I didn't hear until they fired a rocket up my ass.

That is my experience with UT99 as well. Sounds are almost inaudible at distance. Version 436.

One problem with positional sound in general in games I often notice these days is sound "points". Like there will be a sound source just floating in the air and you can walk around it. In System Shock 2 there is a street in the beginning with "street noise" floating in the middle of the street. lol Pretty cheesy. Half Life has some of that.
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Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby Gahhhrrrlic » 2018-4-27 @ 20:19

I'm not sure if everybody's into it or not but we could use this space as a means of documenting known good/working configurations. For example:

Game: Half-Life v.1.0.0.5
Card: Santa Cruz
File Versions used: A3D.dll V.123, etc.
Link: http://...
Notes: Scratchy sound, missing sounds, volume problems

Game: Half-Life v.1.0.0.10
Card/Chipset: Santa Cruz
File Versions used: A3D.dll V.789, etc.
Link: http://...
Notes: Best combination. Just disable EAX


Something like this...


I'm tempted to post my UT info, as it seems to be working but I'd like to deep dive this and collaborate more before saying it works, as there might be a better combo out there. The more immediate issue is finding various different versions of files to test with. So far I've found a couple and with Zanquance's help I know which ones to look for but more iterations are in order.
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Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby squiggly » 2018-4-27 @ 20:22

Gahhhrrrlic wrote:I'm not sure if everybody's into it or not but we could use this space as a means of documenting known good/working configurations. For example:
.


I will be very in favor of this. Should it be on here or vogonswiki or a shared google doc?
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Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby swaaye » 2018-4-27 @ 20:55

Forum threads get forgotten and buried pretty quickly so VOGONSwiki is the way to go. There are a million 3D audio threads already buried on here.
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Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby swaaye » 2018-4-27 @ 22:27

I put the Vortex 2 in and then back to the GTXP. Both do Half Life well but I think I like Sensaura's support of EAX. Vortex 2 is pretty dry. You can hear soldiers through walls too clearly too. I seems like Sensaura fakes obstructions better in some cases. Maybe because they more aggressively attenuate volume with distance?

Game: Half-Life v1.0.0.9
API: A3D + EAX
Card: GameTheater XP
Driver: 2.0 VXD Win9x
File Versions used: DirectX 7.0a. Audio3D.dll 4.12.01.2008, A3DAPI.dll 2.25, A3D.dll 4.12.01.2009
Notes: No apparent issues.

Game: Unreal Tournament v436
API: DS3D
Card: GameTheater XP
Driver: 2.0 VXD Win9x
File Versions used: DirectX 7.0a. Does not appear to support A3D.
Notes: No apparent issues.

Game: Need for Speed 3 Modern v1.6.1
API: DS3D
Card: GameTheater XP
Driver: 2.0 VXD Win9x
File Versions used: DirectX 7.0a
Notes: No apparent issues

Game: System Shock 2 v2.3
API: DS3D or A3D
Card: GameTheater XP
Driver: 2.0 VXD Win9x
File Versions used: DirectX 7.0a. If A3D.dll present, game uses A3D.
Notes: No apparent issues
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Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby Gahhhrrrlic » 2018-4-28 @ 00:03

Awesome!

Swaaye, I'd like to add that if you simply dump the dll files into your UT's system folder you should notice a change. I did because like you I didn't notice any files there by default but on a hunch I just threw them there anyway.

I also tend to agree that maybe some sort of dedicated repo would be better suited to the mass of data we would otherwise flood into disparate pages of a random thread lol.

Also, to clarify on SS2, are you using the official patched version without NewDark or the latest NewDark version and are you using the dll that comes with the game or adding your own? Did you add the sensaura dll? Sorry, SS2 is my favourite game so I'm being biased towards it lol. While I haven't played Thief/Thief II, those admittedly use sound to even greater effect and are perhaps the greatest games to play in 3D sound.
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Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby swaaye » 2018-4-28 @ 01:13

Gahhhrrrlic wrote:Awesome!

Swaaye, I'd like to add that if you simply dump the dll files into your UT's system folder you should notice a change. I did because like you I didn't notice any files there by default but on a hunch I just threw them there anyway.

I also tend to agree that maybe some sort of dedicated repo would be better suited to the mass of data we would otherwise flood into disparate pages of a random thread lol.

Also, to clarify on SS2, are you using the official patched version without NewDark or the latest NewDark version and are you using the dll that comes with the game or adding your own? Did you add the sensaura dll? Sorry, SS2 is my favourite game so I'm being biased towards it lol. While I haven't played Thief/Thief II, those admittedly use sound to even greater effect and are perhaps the greatest games to play in 3D sound.

UT didn't seem to sound any different when I put the A3D files in the system dir. I'm not sure it uses A3D...

I think when the Sensaura sound plays as a game loads it is using DS3D. A3D doesn't cause that sound to play. Though maybe that behavior varies with A3D file versions.

System Shock 2 is the CD version with official 2.3 patch.
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Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby Gahhhrrrlic » 2018-4-30 @ 15:57

Originally I was doing this for my own benefit but I figured as long as I am collecting as many file versions as humanly possible with which to experiment, I might as well share with everyone so that others can test too. I'm sure there are more permutations than what I have so far but I'm hoping other users may already have these on their hard drives and can add to what I have. Ideally, I'd like to put all version combos into neat folders, zip it all up and post on the driver repo here but at this point it's premature since we have to separate the wheat from the chaff as it were.


https://file.io/cEgbJy
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Re: Best Sensaura Implementation

Postby ZanQuance » 2018-4-30 @ 17:14

Here's my sensaura/a3d dll swapper setup, the batch files are set for c:\a3d\ so just extract the files there and put the bat files on the desktop for ease of use :)
It has every Sensaura dll I could find
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a3d_swap.7z
Swap Sensaura and A3D DLLs
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