Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Emulation of old PCs, PC hardware, or PC peripherals.

Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby notindeed » 2014-5-26 @ 01:18

So, i have an x-fi extreme gamer for my xp machine, but was wondering about what i could suggest for friends who only have on-board sound or laptops.

I had heard there was some way to emulate eax reverb via software, and edited version of Alchemy in windows 7.

So, i tried Alchemy Universal 1.0.0.8 on my windows 7 laptop but it didn't appear to actually do anything.
At least, playing the Lost: Via Domus game on my desktop seemed to have reverb effects but the laptop with this emulation software didn't.


Is openAL required in order for Alchemy Universal to work? Or perhaps openAL soft. I ask this as it says that it converts EAX calls into openAL calls.
Mind you, doesn't openAl use EFX for reverb, so if you don't have a creative card, you won't heard the EFX anyway? Or will it just sound wrong?

Strangely enough, the game i am testing with, Lost: Via Domus, isn't listed as an EAX title anywhere that i can still find a list, however i know it is because it contains an eax.dll (3.0.4.0) in its directory.

If anyone knows of an alternative solution to help people with this, it would be good too!

Thanks :)
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Re: Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby swaaye » 2014-5-26 @ 02:26

You can buy Creative X-Fi MB3 for $30. It basically turns any HD audio codec into a Sound Blaster Z. Alchemy included.

Realtek also has their 3D Sound Back that works like Alchemy but I don't think it works with modern drivers. I tried it recently and couldn't get it working. I had to use Vista compatibility mode to even get the 3D Sound Back app to load.

I didn't know Alchemy Universal existed.... interesting.
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Re: Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2014-5-26 @ 02:50

I've never found a way to purchase the MB version directly. It usually comes bundled with motherboards I believe.
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Re: Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby swaaye » 2014-5-26 @ 04:30

Mau1wurf1977 wrote:I've never found a way to purchase the MB version directly. It usually comes bundled with motherboards I believe.

Creative has it available in their online store. I bought it a few months back.
http://us.store.creative.com/Sound-Blas ... WMCJAS.htm
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Re: Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby notindeed » 2014-5-27 @ 23:27

Thanks for the replies.

I'm trying to find ways to get decent sound support and eax on computers that only have onboard sound, through emulation projects.
I had heard it was possible but it seems I need to investigate further.

So as you can see, hardware is irrelevant in this investigation :$

I'll post back if I find anything!
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Re: Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby swaaye » 2014-5-28 @ 00:14

XFi MB is not hardware.
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Re: Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby notindeed » 2014-5-29 @ 19:10

Oh okay sorry! I thought it was that line of onboard motherboard sound chips line that creative brought out some years ago? :o

Thing is, i'm guessing that this software solution and also the new creative cards without the proper sound chips don't sound correct anyway? Similar in a way to how, back in the day, eax would sound on a realtek onboard chip (way too echoey and without a sense of space) compared to getting an x-fi or audigy card.

Mind you, all my experience is with xp.
If windows 7 removes hardware sound, then how is any normal soundcard through alchemy any different to an xfi through it (or with openal)?

Basically, what is the sound difference between hardware accelerated openal and software openal?

From my understanding, direct sound was removed in windows 7, which lead a lot of people to believe that no one could access the soundcard's hardware to do proper reverb and processing.
However this seems like it was untrue - openal could use the soundcard's hardware. The problem was that eax used direct sound and so the eax calls needed to be converted to openal eax calls.

What i really don't understand is the difference between eax and efx.
It seems like under openal, eax can still only be used on creative cards where as efx can be used under any sound card but will be run on the hardware on a creative card.
So why even have eax under openal anyway :S

How different would the reverb effects sound in software openal as opposed to hardware accelerated openal?

Thanks!
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Re: Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby swaaye » 2014-5-30 @ 03:08

It's hard to say what will be accurate. I've found Alchemy with hardware EAX to be quirky with old games too. Sometimes you just need appropriate old hardware and the old drivers the game was tested with for an old game to work properly.
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Re: Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby obobskivich » 2014-7-27 @ 15:27

notindeed wrote:Thing is, i'm guessing that this software solution and also the new creative cards without the proper sound chips don't sound correct anyway? Similar in a way to how, back in the day, eax would sound on a realtek onboard chip (way too echoey and without a sense of space) compared to getting an x-fi or audigy card.


Not that I've ever been enthralled with EAX (I have very few games that support it, and they've always been less stable when running with it IME), but EAX on ALchemy with X-Fi or Recon3D (which I've read conflicting things regarding hardware capabilities of) is no different imho, and EAX on Alchemy on those vs EAX on X-Fi or Audigy 2 ZS under XP also no different (and all configurations still make Hitman 4 crash :lol:), beyond the X-Fi and Recon3D being able to support EAX5 (which I have no application that can use, so I honestly couldn't tell you what I am or am not missing). In practice all three cards are more or less interchangeable in my experience - technically the Recon3D drops 7.1, and I haven't paid for the DDL/DTS:C encoders for the Audigy, but otherwise I've never really noticed any big, dramatic differences between them (despite all sorts of claims to the contrary that I've read over the years).

Mind you, all my experience is with xp.
If windows 7 removes hardware sound, then how is any normal soundcard through alchemy any different to an xfi through it (or with openal)?

Basically, what is the sound difference between hardware accelerated openal and software openal?

From my understanding, direct sound was removed in windows 7, which lead a lot of people to believe that no one could access the soundcard's hardware to do proper reverb and processing.
However this seems like it was untrue - openal could use the soundcard's hardware. The problem was that eax used direct sound and so the eax calls needed to be converted to openal eax calls.

What i really don't understand is the difference between eax and efx.
It seems like under openal, eax can still only be used on creative cards where as efx can be used under any sound card but will be run on the hardware on a creative card.
So why even have eax under openal anyway :S

How different would the reverb effects sound in software openal as opposed to hardware accelerated openal?

Thanks!


In theory hardware accelerated should remove some load from the host CPU - Creative demonstrated this with X-Fi and EAX5 in BF2142 some years ago, showing minimal frame-rate loss going from the basic (I think 32 voice) sound setup to their full 128-bit voice h/w accelerated solution. But like PhysX, it's hard to do an "apples to apples" comparison with software mode as there was not a full software EAX5 solution for comparison. Also consider that modern CPUs are much more powerful than what was available at the time of Audigy or X-Fi, which renders h/w audio acceleration kind of a moot point imho.

Regarding EAX being supported with OpenAL via ALchemy - it's backwards compatibility; there's plenty of old applications that use EAX, however since Vista, h/w support for DS3D was removed, which means EAX can't directly work. So Creative released ALchemy to address that - even Creative considers EAX to be deprecated/legacy and doesn't actively promote it for new development. But they still support (to some extent) what already exists (and it was more of a "thing" back when Vista was new, since X-Fi wasn't all that old at the time of Vista's release).
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Re: Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby duralisis » 2014-7-27 @ 19:59

You could try an outdated version of Alchemy that installs on any card:
http://community.pcgamingwiki.com/files ... universal/

I presume it works the same way as normal and emulates DS3D/EAX through OpenAL.
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Re: Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby RanCorX2 » 2014-8-14 @ 13:13

This is where I get X-Fi MB & updates from, http://www.hardwareheaven.com/pax-drive ... 1-2-a.html

many clever users keep modding the latest realtek drivers to unlock the locked features.

you can also freely download the x-fi mb software as it's on creatives ftp, you just need a license. (which imo is a rip off as it's just a tiny .kga file, hardly worth a few quid.)
now it'll probably be frowned upon but a license generator is included with most of the modded drivers that include the x-fi apps. (that's the only software that needs activating)

not only do the modded drivers unlock the x-fi mb features but they also unlock the other audio effects that are advertised on various motherboard packaging & branded pc's (dolby, sonic focus, srs and so on)

so you can now use them all on one system, nice to have a choice.



btw I got my own license months ago (but lost it as it's as i say a tiny file...) and I couldn't re-download it.
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Re: Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby swaaye » 2014-8-15 @ 18:50

On the topic of the hacked Alchemy Universal.... I managed to get Doom3 to output EAX4 5.1 on Realtek HD and pump it through the Realtek software Dolby Digital Live encoder. I have a notebook with the DDL license.

This means that you don't really need Creative XFi MB for Alchemy. But that package does have some other benefits like a great headphone downmix.
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Re: Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby RanCorX2 » 2014-8-16 @ 13:23

swaaye wrote:On the topic of the hacked Alchemy Universal.... I managed to get Doom3 to output EAX4 5.1 on Realtek HD and pump it through the Realtek software Dolby Digital Live encoder. I have a notebook with the DDL license.

This means that you don't really need Creative XFi MB for Alchemy. But that package does have some other benefits like a great headphone downmix.


yeah, doom 3 is much more atmospheric with EAX and 5.1.
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Re: Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby notindeed » 2014-10-01 @ 20:26

Thanks Duralis, though if you read my first post, that is what i already have.

It's strange that I couldn't get it working in LOST: Via Domus though.
With my real X-Fi it worked :S. Mind you the game isn't that great anyway.

I haven't tried with other games but it's good that some people report Alchemy Universal working properly for them in Doom 3 for example.
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Re: Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby F2bnp » 2014-10-10 @ 16:26

Gave this a try today as I wanted to run Doom III on a more modern PC.

PC is a Core2Duo 6550 with a 7750 1GB and an MSI P45D3 Platinum. I installed GamerSprit's modified drivers and Alchemy Universal on Windows 7 x64 and the results are pretty good!

I had to disable SRS and Dolby stuff from Realtek's control panel, as well as Windows' own Sound panel properties, otherwise even the desktop experience had some 3D effects :dead: . I still think I've missed something as the sound still sounds a tiny bit off.
However, using Alchemy Universal I enabled EAX in Doom 3 and did a quick test. There seemed to be no discernible difference between this test and the Audigy 2 ZS (I played a bit on that too last night :) ). I'll have to play a little further and get into a few actual battles to really be sure though.

I'd say give it a go, I tried FEAR as well and it seemed to work well enough.
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Re: Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby mirh » 2014-10-12 @ 21:34

There seems to be so much chaos when it's time of audio stuff.
First, directsound wasn't removed in windows vista. Just the Hardware Abstraction Layer was scraped, in favor of a pure software renderer.

Creative, in all its goodness, always pushed for hardware offloading to access EAX extensions, since theoretically if you were looking for a proper accelerator... there were only theirs (and it's better I don't start to complain about their mob policies and all..)
I mean, in fairness EAX 2 was included directly in directx 8 (so yes, technically every onboard chip should support it.. on XP) but I guess the OP wanted to know something more about windows ≥Vista

Basically the solutions are these
Personally, if I had to choose, I would go with Asus's GX unhesitatingly, since I could manage to get results even in a damn extreme case
But I understand the question was aimed to integrated devices only... 3Dsoundback and ALchemy are the only workarounds then.

However as you saw, it's not so easy. In particular I remember that time I tried to use both of them with F.E.A.R.
The game just didn't care of the hacked dlls... It continued to load original windows dsound, as if the game was able to detect the tamper (the problem seems similar to that you have here)

This until I updated ALchemy to the last official version that probably has some new (and faster) hijack mechanism.
It's the newest (and probably last) version after all (just an year old), seas and mountains of improvements had to have been made in the meantime ( universal version and realtek's workaround are dates back more than 6 years ago)
Anyway official means that it will still successfully install, but it won't launch without X-Fi hardware.

You can try to bypass the limitation with X-Fi modded custom drivers. Or alternatively just check the attached .7z if you do not want 150MB of crap (I just harvested as many versions of the tool I could).
I know: AV softwares flag them all (and I tried to give an explanation in the readme). I can't claim I'm 100% sure they are safe, since I did no reverse engineering
Though I can guarantee they are the same SoloR and Alexa originally did, so if you were going to trust some random driver tweaker, these will be the same
Just run the .bat files and ALchemy will then start to launch. You can delete the files afterwards.

Just for pleasure.. I took the liberty to attach my custom support.cab that I used to try ALchemy.. on windows XP :dead:
dll didn't get loaded though :(

<moderator removed license activator download>
Attachments
Support.zip
Unpack this inside ALchemy installer folder to remove any specific windows version requirement
(4.77 KiB) Downloaded 389 times
Last edited by mirh on 2014-10-17 @ 16:56, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby mockingbird » 2014-10-13 @ 20:10

What's with the virus alert warning for the activator?

Indeed, Microsoft Security Essentials finds this:

va.png
va.png (81.41 KiB) Viewed 12093 times
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Re: Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby mirh » 2014-10-14 @ 14:36

mockingbird wrote:What's with the virus alert warning for the activator?

Indeed, Microsoft Security Essentials finds this:

va.png

And it's right indeed. One of the included tools was affected by Win32/Induc.A infection.
If you had read my previous post (or the included readme) you would be already aware of the issue, and you would already know that this should only have been a problem for delphi developers.

I just included it for completeness, since it was the only one that could work on VMware emulated windows XP (with monitor_control.restrict_backdoor=TRUE but that's another story).
But I find out that even another version works, so I removed it.
The archive should now just triggers some warnings about obfuscation (if any), only on some fussy AV
Let me know if there are other problems
Last edited by mirh on 2014-10-14 @ 15:01, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby Qbix » 2014-10-14 @ 14:48

I am not sure if it is a smart idea to leave the attachment on the board.
Some virusscanner url checkers actively block sites that have files with virus infections. (so users with that virusscanner can't access the board)
Water flows down the stream
How to ask questions the smart way!
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Re: Emulating EAX on any onboard sound hardware?

Postby mirh » 2014-10-14 @ 14:58

Qbix wrote:I am not sure if it is a smart idea to leave the attachment on the board.
Some virusscanner url checkers actively block sites that have files with virus infections. (so users with that virusscanner can't access the board)

Now it should be better. I removed the blatantly infected file.
Hopefully this will be enough.
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