Glossary:Sound card

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Audio card (chip if you have an integrated solution on your motherboard) is the component necessary to play or record sounds on your PC.

The major producers in this field are Realtek, ASUSTeK, Conexant, Creative, SigmaTel/IDT/Tempo, VIA.
AMD and Nvidia are also audio chip producers, since the arrival of HDMI outputs.

Set up OpenAL[edit]

ADI, Creative and nForce are already ready out of the box
Make sure to be running latest libraries. Deleting OpenAL32.dll and wrap_oal.dll in games shipping with ancient ones is recommended.
Default Windows output device name must match OAL device one for native implementations to work, DS3D based "Generic Hardware" fallback will be used otherwise (if available)[1]

Asus[edit]

Enable Game eXtensions
  1. Open the Asus control panel
  2. Tick "GX" mode
  3. In games configuration files, force native implementation name as reported by ALC_ENUMERATION_EXT in EnumerateWin32

Notes

Turning off GX mode after playing games is advised to avoid glitches in other applications

Realtek[edit]

Set up native device
  1. Install 3D SoundBack
  2. Navigate to the installation folder and copy rtk_oal.dll in %WINDIR%\SysWOW64\

Universal[edit]

OpenAL Soft
  1. Download OpenAL Soft
  2. Copy \bin\Win32\soft_oal.dll in %WINDIR%\SysWOW64\ (optionally in 64 bit OS copy \Win64\soft_oal.dll in %WINDIR%\System32\)

Restore legacy audio effects on newer OS[edit]

DirectSound hardware path[edit]

Starting with Windows Vista and its new audio stack, DirectSound applications are rendered entirely in a user-mode software audio session[2]
Most games developed in the preceding decade will experience problems going from the simple lack of EAX effects to the complete demotion to stereophony[3]
IndirectSound[4]
  1. Download IndirectSound.
  2. Extract into <path-to-game> alongside the main game executable.

Notes

EAX support is emulated for compatibility reasons, pretending that EAX is supported, but no actual effect is played

Asus[edit]

Enable Game eXtensions
  1. Open the Asus control panel
  2. Tick "GX" mode

Notes

Your Xonar must be the default playback device
Turning off GX mode after playing games is advised to avoid glitches in other applications

Creative[edit]

Use ALchemy[5]
  1. Download latest ALchemy version
  2. Open the Creative control panel and switch on Game mode
  3. Start the ALchemy installer and enable it for the interested games

Notes

Setting Game mode is mandatory[6][citation needed]
Could be made into a universal solution, alongside IndirectSound, by using Creative ALchemy Universal (obsolete) or ALchemy Restriction Remover.
Also restores EAX completely.

Realtek[edit]

Use 3D SoundBack
  1. Download 3D SoundBack
  2. Open the program and add/enable the fix for selected games.

Notes

Your Realtek chip must be the default playback device.
Both the installer and the 3DSoundBack.exe configurator require Windows Vista compatibility mode to start
The end-quality of this method is very buggy with many errors in sound processing

A3D[edit]

Lists of Aureal 3-Dimensional enabled games can be found here and here.
A3D 1.0 is supported out of the box by C-Media based boards (via Xear3D[7]), X-Fi and older[8] Creative based devices and older VIA drivers.
Use DirectSound3D wrapper[9][10][11][12]
  1. Download latest A2D driver and install it
  2. Download a3dx5.dll (Creative's official wrapper) or QSound A3D in %WINDIR%\system\, or use A3D-Live
  3. if need Run the application with "Windows 98 / Windows Me" compatibility

Notes

Delete/move/rename any a3d related file shipped with the game
From Windows Vista onward of course DirectSound restoration is required.

References

  1. Enumeration with OpenAL on Windows - OpenAL (retrieved)
  2. Audio in Windows Vista - Creative Labs Discussion Forums (retrieved)
  3. Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3? • VOGONS
  4. indirect sound • VOGONS
  5. ALchemy - Creative Labs: Connect (retrieved)
  6. Games only work if Game Mode is selec - Creative Discussion Forum
  7. C-Media’s Xear3D EX Takes Audio to the next level for Windows Vista | C-Media Electronics (retrieved)
  8. Inside the Sound Blaster Live! - ALive! (retrieved) and verified by Mirh
  9. A3D for Windows XP | Pro-HL.com (retrieved)
  10. Anybody who didn't upgrade his HL since last year? - Steam Users' Forums (retrieved)
  11. Sound Fix in DarkEngine games
  12. Bringing Back Aureal3d Audio?