Controlling CD music volume in old games

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Controlling CD music volume in old games

Postby antrad » 2019-8-01 @ 13:59

It seems to me that, at least in Windows 7, when you play a game that uses Red Book CD music, when you try to set the CD music volume in the game settings it actually changes the volume of all sounds in game.

I thought it was just a problem with one game, but I had this problem in at least 3 games now, so I am noticing a pattern here. I am wondering is this the same for all games ? Did something change in new versions of Windows, so this is messed up now ?

I installed the game on Windows XP and you can change CD volume music in game independently from the rest, so it is not a bug inside the game, it must be Windows. Microsoft must have messed something up, I noticed when you click Volume Mixer on Windows 7 there is no CD option while on XP there is one. It is probably related.

Is there something I can do about this ?

In the game I want to play the CD music volume changes during gameplay, so when the music goes completely silent, all the sound in game does too (on Windows 7). I have no choice than play it on my old computer from 2005 then, but that one is falling apart, I break something whenever I touch it.
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Re: Controlling CD music volume in old games

Postby UCyborg » 2019-8-02 @ 03:29

I think the answer to your question is in the following post:

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=36870&p=643220&hilit=HardwareAudioMixer#p643220

Not all games control CD audio volume the same way your examples do. But I guess it's more universal. The other way requires analog audio cable. Such setups are probably found only in really old computers.

Windows XP is not that great neither. On my PC, it only reports one device for playing CD audio through MCI, even though I have two.
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Re: Controlling CD music volume in old games

Postby antrad » 2019-8-04 @ 21:58

UCyborg wrote:I think the answer to your question is in the following post:

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=36870&p=643220&hilit=HardwareAudioMixer#p643220

Not all games control CD audio volume the same way your examples do. But I guess it's more universal. The other way requires analog audio cable. Such setups are probably found only in really old computers.

Windows XP is not that great neither. On my PC, it only reports one device for playing CD audio through MCI, even though I have two.


Thanks for the reply. What is the guy meaning by "The only solution to this problem is using Windows XP compatibility mode/HardwareAudioMixer compatibility shim. This way the application can access the real mixer topology of the sound hardware." Where and how do I set this ?
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Re: Controlling CD music volume in old games

Postby UCyborg » 2019-8-05 @ 15:52

Right-click on the shortcut you use to run the game->Properties->Compatibility tab->check Run this program in Compatibility mode for and select Windows XP (Service Pack 3).

Hope it works. Can't really tell since I don't have any game exhibiting the behavior you describe.
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Re: Controlling CD music volume in old games

Postby antrad » 2019-8-08 @ 10:27

UCyborg wrote:Right-click on the shortcut you use to run the game->Properties->Compatibility tab->check Run this program in Compatibility mode for and select Windows XP (Service Pack 3).

Hope it works. Can't really tell since I don't have any game exhibiting the behavior you describe.


Oh, I though it was something different. Surprisingly this fixed the issue in the game where sounds would go silent. It however didn't have effect on another game and the third one I tested might just have completely broken music volume setting (it didn't work on 7, XP or 98) or it might be a problem with Realtek sound cards that both of my computers have.
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Re: Controlling CD music volume in old games

Postby UCyborg » 2019-8-09 @ 03:27

Do you have analog audio cable going from the optical drive to the sound card? Third one might be attempting to change the volume of optical drive's analog audio output, which doesn't work if it doesn't exist.
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Re: Controlling CD music volume in old games

Postby collector » 2019-8-09 @ 08:11

UCyborg wrote:Do you have analog audio cable going from the optical drive to the sound card?

Not on modern hardware.
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Re: Controlling CD music volume in old games

Postby UCyborg » 2019-8-09 @ 09:16

See, that's the thing...you can't control CD volume in games that expect ancient hardware setup, not without one of those WinMM wrappers emulating virtual CD audio, which play music from disk (have to rip it from CD first, obviously). DxWnd also has such option.
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Re: Controlling CD music volume in old games

Postby antrad » 2019-8-09 @ 20:02

UCyborg wrote:Do you have analog audio cable going from the optical drive to the sound card? Third one might be attempting to change the volume of optical drive's analog audio output, which doesn't work if it doesn't exist.


No. Now that you mention it I remember on my old computer from 1999 (which I unfortunately threw away) the CD drive had volume controls on it. That one might have been what you describe.
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Re: Controlling CD music volume in old games

Postby hwh » 2019-8-11 @ 02:37

antrad wrote:
No. Now that you mention it I remember on my old computer from 1999 (which I unfortunately threw away) the CD drive had volume controls on it. That one might have been what you describe.


That's for the headphone jack volume. Traditionally you had that, an open/close/stop button, and a play/track button which played CD audio to the card via cable and to the jack; pressing the button again went to the next track. It's software independent.

But the same cable is necessary for a game that plays its music from a CD in real time. For instance COLONIZATION does that; it shuffles tracks and plays specific ones for in game events, or you can hijack that with the play button (which plays tracks sequentially).

As for the analog output volume, that's controlled by software only. Hopefully Windows 7 is hiding the CD sound in a mixed channel, sounds like you already looked at that.
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Re: Controlling CD music volume in old games

Postby antrad » 2019-8-11 @ 21:01

It seems that simply using Windows XP compatibility was not a complete fix. The CD music does not increase/decrease the volume of other sounds, it now plays at maximum, in game volume controls have no effect. Also sometimes CD music doesn't play or gets stuck, though I only played one level with this, so this part might be level specific. I forgot to mention the game is Gunlok.
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Re: Controlling CD music volume in old games

Postby UCyborg » 2019-8-12 @ 21:10

UCyborg wrote:Windows XP is not that great neither. On my PC, it only reports one device for playing CD audio through MCI, even though I have two.

I figured MCI merely tells you there's one "MCI driver" for handling CD Audio (mcicda.dll), not the actual number of CD drives.

Some audio card drivers apparently add CD Audio control, see this.

I tried NirSofer's Volumouse, ran it in XP compatibility mode, that did make CD Audio appear in a Component dropdown menu, though it was impossible actually change it. I don't know if special drivers would change anything. I used to have VIA's drivers on Windows 7, but I don't remember if there was anything for CD volume specifically added. Another thing that may appear there under certain circumstances (analog audio cable?) is CD Player, see this.

The biggest issue is that MCI that old games often use doesn't expose any volume controls, so they have to set it through other means. Most software don't have problems, AFAIK they read audio data themselves and send it through some sound API for playback, where volume control is not an issue.
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