Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Getting old Windows games working.

Re: Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Postby mirh » 2014-12-15 @ 20:01

Stiletto wrote:FYI, as you may have seen, mirh has been doing some crazy research you may find fascinating over at PCGamingWiki: http://pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/Glossary_talk:Sound_card
to help out this page: http://pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/Glossary:Sound_card
jonpol wrote:Yeah, very cool stuff!
So really awesomely glad that after almost a year somebody (able to understand these things) noticed that heap of words 8-O

F2bnp wrote:May I just drop in to say that I just found out about Indirect Sound and it looks phenomenal? As far as I understand it, I don't need any specialized hardware, just my onboard sound card for it to work properly, right?
This is absolutely fantastic and an ingenious method of restoring 3D sound on all these old games. Thank you so much jonpol!

Well, in fairness there were already all the methods I explained in the post on the top of the previous page... Though this at least is being developed by somebody less greedy and unresponsive than Singaporean and Taiwanese multinationals (yes, I'm looking at you Creative, and to a lesser extent to Realtek and ASUS)
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Re: Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Postby swaaye » 2014-12-18 @ 20:39

I am pretty sure EMU10K2 is not EMU10K1 in disguise because if you use the kx drivers you'll see you have more flexibility with EMU10K2. More memory/registers at the least. So you can do more elaborate things with the DSP configuration.
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Re: Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2015-3-01 @ 11:36

Small update from me.

I purchased Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3 yesterday (Review video is uploading) and, very conveniently, the driver includes ALchemy as well. It works very well, I tried my usual EAX games that I know quite well, F.E.A.R. and Splinter Cell Chaos Theory and positional surround over headphones is working well.

So I tried the Steam version: Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition. After adding the game, adding the game folder Steam\SteamApps\common\Deus Ex\System, positional surround over headphones was also working in Deus Ex. I tested this at the beginning of the game with that robot walking around. On this machine, which I use Sound Blaster MB3 with, I don't have a surround speaker setup, but on another machine, with a PCIe Sound Blaster card, I also got 5.1 surround sound through ALchemy working.

The sound chip on my motherboard is a Realtek ALC887. Make sure you set the Windows speaker configuration to 5.1 and in MB3, enable SBX Pro Studio: Surround and set the speaker configuration to Headphone.
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Re: Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Postby mirh » 2015-3-03 @ 20:54

philscomputerlab wrote:Small update from me.

I purchased Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3 yesterday (Review video is uploading) and, very conveniently, the driver includes ALchemy as well. It works very well, I tried my usual EAX games that I know quite well, F.E.A.R. and Splinter Cell Chaos Theory and positional surround over headphones is working well.

So I tried the Steam version: Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition. After adding the game, adding the game folder Steam\SteamApps\common\Deus Ex\System, positional surround over headphones was also working in Deus Ex. I tested this at the beginning of the game with that robot walking around. On this machine, which I use Sound Blaster MB3 with, I don't have a surround speaker setup, but on another machine, with a PCIe Sound Blaster card, I also got 5.1 surround sound through ALchemy working.

The sound chip on my motherboard is a Realtek ALC887. Make sure you set the Windows speaker configuration to 5.1 and in MB3, enable SBX Pro Studio: Surround and set the speaker configuration to Headphone.
I would love to see a bit-to-bit comparison between the original Sound Blasters (under XP) and this software solution (under 7).
Besides, did you even get EAX with openAL?
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Re: Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2015-3-03 @ 23:21

mirh wrote:I would love to see a bit-to-bit comparison between the original Sound Blasters (under XP) and this software solution (under 7).
Besides, did you even get EAX with openAL?


Not sure what you mean with "did you get EAX with OpenAL?"

I'd like to do some recordings as well, maybe put it on my website for some blind testing. F.E.A.R. benchmark is consistent and could work well. Or maybe other games that have time-demo features built in.

The other thing is there are just so many Sound Blaster cards. The older ones have CMSS-3D, which is a tick box (On / Off), whereas the newer ones use SBX Pro Studio Surround, which has a slider and allows further tweaking of headphone surround.

Unless you record it in plain stereo and focus on the sound effects. The type of headphones also has a great impact on headphone surround.
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Re: Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Postby Stretch » 2015-3-04 @ 03:30

I want to try Doom1/2 with EAX but I am unable to download the file 'Version 1.58 Super Installer' from https://web.archive.org/web/20010302135246/http://www.earsound.com/

Does anyone have a copy of it?

I have installed iasdmins.exe from https://web.archive.org/web/20000510224 ... sound.com/ but the installer I linked above is supposed to have newer components.

EDIT: I need the earias.dll for Creative cards. But the installer from https://web.archive.org/web/20000305010008/http://earsound.com/software/live.html won't give it to me in Virtual PC.

EDIT2: Found the installer at https://web.archive.org/web/20020811095955/http://earsound.com/ias_cp/index.html but since the VM does not support EAX or multi speaker, I am unable to get earias.dll. I want to see if it will work with Creative Alchemy in Win7-x64.
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Re: Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Postby Stretch » 2015-3-06 @ 12:24

I got the earias.dll from the installer but I had to use the sb pci 64/128 dll. So far, the only 3d sound and reverb I have noticed is from the Imp's fireball and door opening/closing.
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Re: Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Postby Davros » 2015-3-06 @ 23:06

Stretch wrote:I want to try Doom1/2 with EAX.

Doom 1/2 dont support eax unless there is some port I dont know about
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Re: Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Postby DracoNihil » 2015-3-07 @ 00:03

Doomsday is the only port I know of that can use EAX but it was really, really stupid. (In a sense I guess it was trying to mimic what Doom PSX did, but again the reverb was on a sector by sector basis, so every sector in the map had it's own reverb setting)
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Re: Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Postby Stretch » 2015-3-07 @ 00:41

Davros wrote:
Stretch wrote:I want to try Doom1/2 with EAX.

Doom 1/2 dont support eax unless there is some port I dont know about


Here is WinDoomIAS sourceport that has A3D/EAX support.
https://web.archive.org/web/20000311051833/http://www.earsound.com/titles/doom.html

You need to provide the doom1/2 wad.

The program was designed for Win9x using SB64/128, SBLive, Aureal Vortex, etc.

So far, I can get sfx to work in Win7 64, but the midi music doesn't play. Since I can only get the SB64/128 dll to work, I am probably missing out on additional EAX effects that the SBLive dll provides.

I managed to extract the dlls from the installer with resourcesextract from nirsoft.net
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Re: Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Postby mirh » 2015-3-10 @ 21:25

More information about Interactive Around Sound here and here

philscomputerlab wrote:
mirh wrote:I would love to see a bit-to-bit comparison between the original Sound Blasters (under XP) and this software solution (under 7).
Besides, did you even get EAX with openAL?


Not sure what you mean with "did you get EAX with OpenAL?"
ALchemy just restores audio with DirectSound games. And that's the case here. I was wondering whether with the complete version of SB MB3 you could also unlock EAX effects when playing OpenAL games, which afaik have no wrappers.

philscomputerlab wrote:I'd like to do some recordings as well, maybe put it on my website for some blind testing. F.E.A.R. benchmark is consistent and could work well. Or maybe other games that have time-demo features built in.

The other thing is there are just so many Sound Blaster cards. The older ones have CMSS-3D, which is a tick box (On / Off), whereas the newer ones use SBX Pro Studio Surround, which has a slider and allows further tweaking of headphone surround.

Unless you record it in plain stereo and focus on the sound effects. The type of headphones also has a great impact on headphone surround.
Of course I meant one of the original X-Fi cards.. I mean, shouldn't they be the most recommend in this case? The one meant to play games?

A comparison with newer sound cards wouldn't even be bad, though it's not as "important" as the one with ALchemy (I mean, at least this is available to everyone :p)
Anyway, I'm quite sure you can disable every additional effects (including cmss-3d, that's another thing). And if you enable creation mode, multi channel audio recording should be available too
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Re: Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2015-3-11 @ 04:39

ALchemy just restores audio with DirectSound games. And that's the case here. I was wondering whether with the complete version of SB MB3 you could also unlock EAX effects when playing OpenAL games, which afaik have no wrappers.


I could test this and do a recording. What game is suitable?

Of course I meant one of the original X-Fi cards.. I mean, shouldn't they be the most recommend in this case? The one meant to play games?

A comparison with newer sound cards wouldn't even be bad, though it's not as "important" as the one with ALchemy (I mean, at least this is available to everyone :p)


I'm asking because there are the classic PCI X-Fi cards as well as later PCIe X-Fi Titanium cards. I heard of issues with the PCI bus, so I usually just use PCIe Titanium cards.

EDIT: If you know a good game with timedemo that is consistent and has good effects and EAX support, let me know. I'm thinking of using FEAR. It uses EAX well and the performance test is quite consistent.

Bioshock and BF2142 support EAX 5, but through OpenAL I believe. Not sure about time demos though. Maybe we could split the work. Someone does the research / time demo and I do the recordings?
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Re: Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Postby Stretch » 2015-3-11 @ 15:58

Try American McGee's Alice

EDIT: Can you also do a video comparing a3d 2.0 and EAX 2.0 in American McGee Alice (the one from the year 2000).
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Re: Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Postby mirh » 2015-3-11 @ 18:11

philscomputerlab wrote:
ALchemy just restores audio with DirectSound games. And that's the case here. I was wondering whether with the complete version of SB MB3 you could also unlock EAX effects when playing OpenAL games, which afaik have no wrappers.


I could test this and do a recording. What game is suitable?

Of course I meant one of the original X-Fi cards.. I mean, shouldn't they be the most recommend in this case? The one meant to play games?

A comparison with newer sound cards wouldn't even be bad, though it's not as "important" as the one with ALchemy (I mean, at least this is available to everyone :p)


I'm asking because there are the classic PCI X-Fi cards as well as later PCIe X-Fi Titanium cards. I heard of issues with the PCI bus, so I usually just use PCIe Titanium cards.

EDIT: If you know a good game with timedemo that is consistent and has good effects and EAX support, let me know. I'm thinking of using FEAR. It uses EAX well and the performance test is quite consistent.

Bioshock and BF2142 support EAX 5, but through OpenAL I believe. Not sure about time demos though. Maybe we could split the work. Someone does the research / time demo and I do the recordings?
Correct, Bioshock and battlefield games used OpenAL (the former should have still supported up to EAX 4 in directsound through FMOD). Even though OpenAL should always have a directsound fallback mode, iirc.

Back to the sound card matter.. it's funny because with my xonar it's the opposite: pci-e bus bridge had problems in the past :p

Anyway, Battlefield 2142 (but even BF2) seems awesome to test everything, since it has a free demo and even benchmarking tools.
If looking for something using DS instead.. yes, F.E.A.R. (which has a free demo and benchmarking tools too) seems also fine.


Stretch wrote:Try American McGee's Alice

EDIT: Can you also do a video comparing a3d 2.0 and EAX 2.0 in American McGee Alice (the one from the year 2000).
It's easy. No way EAX could stand against A3D..
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Re: Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2015-3-12 @ 01:09

Stretch wrote:Try American McGee's Alice

EDIT: Can you also do a video comparing a3d 2.0 and EAX 2.0 in American McGee Alice (the one from the year 2000).


As I said, I'm happy to do videos / recordings, but I'm hoping that someone helps me out with the what and how? Does it have a timedemo built in? Where can I get the game? Is there a demo available?

Anyway, Battlefield 2142 (but even BF2) seems awesome to test everything, since it has a free demo and even benchmarking tools.
If looking for something using DS instead.. yes, F.E.A.R. (which has a free demo and benchmarking tools too) seems also fine.


I have FEAR, Bioshock and BF 2142. Do you know how to do a timedemo in BF2142? Or maybe are there existing ones? I saw a reference to an OC Hardware benchmark tool, but it only lead me to one for Far Cry.
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Re: Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Postby Stretch » 2015-3-12 @ 01:55

philscomputerlab wrote:
Stretch wrote:Try American McGee's Alice

EDIT: Can you also do a video comparing a3d 2.0 and EAX 2.0 in American McGee Alice (the one from the year 2000).


As I said, I'm happy to do videos / recordings, but I'm hoping that someone helps me out with the what and how? Does it have a timedemo built in? Where can I get the game? Is there a demo available?

Anyway, Battlefield 2142 (but even BF2) seems awesome to test everything, since it has a free demo and even benchmarking tools.
If looking for something using DS instead.. yes, F.E.A.R. (which has a free demo and benchmarking tools too) seems also fine.


I have FEAR, Bioshock and BF 2142. Do you know how to do a timedemo in BF2142? Or maybe are there existing ones? I saw a reference to an OC Hardware benchmark tool, but it only lead me to one for Far Cry.


Demo is here: https://archive.org/details/AmericanMcgeesAliceDemo

I tried the timedemo command but I don't think the game comes with its own demo.
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Re: Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Postby falloutboy » 2015-3-12 @ 10:41

American McGee's Alice uses the Miles Sound A3D2 implementation. There is no wavetracing (not my experience).
Here is a video with buggy WinXP drivers where it is mentioned in the description.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrlPDIHhAxM
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Re: Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Postby mirh » 2015-3-12 @ 13:36

philscomputerlab wrote:
Anyway, Battlefield 2142 (but even BF2) seems awesome to test everything, since it has a free demo and even benchmarking tools.
If looking for something using DS instead.. yes, F.E.A.R. (which has a free demo and benchmarking tools too) seems also fine.


I have FEAR, Bioshock and BF 2142. Do you know how to do a timedemo in BF2142? Or maybe are there existing ones? I saw a reference to an OC Hardware benchmark tool, but it only lead me to one for Far Cry.
I found this for BF2. And this for BF2142

Even though objectivity of these games is challenged here... Might this help?


falloutboy wrote:American McGee's Alice uses the Miles Sound A3D2 implementation. There is no wavetracing (not my experience).
Here is a video with buggy WinXP drivers where it is mentioned in the description.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrlPDIHhAxM
More info from that guy here
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Re: Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3?

Postby PhilsComputerLab » 2015-3-12 @ 13:45

Thanks, that was very helpful! I can't promise when I get around to it, but it's added to the list!

I always wondered if Windows XP + Titanium does a better job compared to Windows 8.1 + Z + ALchemy...
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