Why has sound gone backwards?

Discussion in 'PC Audio' started by Nethiuz, Oct 16, 2019.

  1. Nethiuz

    Nethiuz Member

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    I sit here with some $300 creative complete garbage sound card, 5.1 speakers and some $400 worth of headphones and i payed actual money for Dolby Atmos in windows 10 for headphones.
    Then i got drunk and remembered the 90s and my old Aureal A3Daudio. Then i watched this with atmos off and onboard audio and i got super pissed off because it sounds 10x better.


    So why is audio now so crap?
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
  2. Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    So you are listening to an online recording on your existing system and finding it to be superior to some other recording on your existing system? Have you considered that it might be the source recording that you are enjoying rather than a different sound card? What you hear is only as good as the source, or less.

    Poor equipment can provide a degraded experience from the source but not improve the source. The audio you are hearing is not from the Aureal you remember so fondly. Its coming from the sound your onboard audio is providing, or if you switched to the Creative sound card, it would be coming from the sound card, not the Aureal you remember.

    If you think it sounds fantastic on your onboard sound, then your onboard sound is doing a good job at reproducing it. You are NOT listening to the Aureal sound card, you are listening to your onboard sound. If you want to compare the old sound card to the new one, you are going to need an actual Aureal sound card to compare directly, not some youtube video replayed via your onboard sound.
     
  3. theSeekerr

    theSeekerr Member

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    I think he's talking about the 3D sound positioning stuff vs the modern Atmos For Headphones processing, and not so much the actual fidelity of the audio.
     
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  4. Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    Sure, but sound positioning still surely relies on the headphones themselves if he is using headphones, and the ability of the onboard sound to duplicate that signal in speakers?

    I'm no audiophile, don't get me wrong, but I'm finding it difficult to believe that modern high quality sound cards cannot process something, anything, better than an older card?

    I listened to the video posted with both a (relatively modern) sound card and (relatively decent) headphones, and yeah, the sound positioning was great, and it was also decent enough with my 2.0 car speakers via a cheap amp and my onboard sound, but it's hard to compare Atmos with the old sound card, on or off, as of course Atmos is going to make further changes to the signal if I turn it on - which it did when I turned it on, as you would expect.

    The only way to directly compare them would be to have the original, unmodified, sound file and both old and new sound cards installed, so I could make a direct comparison?

    Sometimes we remember things as better than they really were, and convince ourselves that old was better than new IMHO. Especially after a few drinks..
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Nethiuz

    Nethiuz Member

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    I appreciate the long explanation.
    I forgot I wrote this I should possibly not be allowed on the PC drunk.
    But yes the positional audio of the old A3D really is amazing, same headphones same output the Dolby Atmos demos aren't as nice. Seems odd, being 20 years later.
    I googled it at some point and from blurred memory something about HRTF, Windows Vista killing it and Creative Killing it even more and making something worse called EAX.
    Oh well.
     
  6. tensop

    tensop Member

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    ignoring the 3d stuff, and just replying to the comment made a few posts above... the sound reproduction of the aureal 8830 was fantastic, and the audio output in to amplifiers, headphones and speakers 20 years ago was just as good if not better.

    There's been no real improvement beyond lower sound floors... speakers and amplifiers these days are mostly shit, especially anything consumer grade... it's all class D amplifiers and cheap speakers made in china, compared to the past where it was class AB and speakers from denmark and the like, in full MDF wooden boxes ;)
     
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  7. mtma

    mtma Member

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    What PC games have sound - not soundtrack - as a selling point these days?
     
  8. tensop

    tensop Member

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    none, its all about graphics and zero storyline
     
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  9. shredder

    shredder Member

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    The Aureal 3d sound system was a proprietary standardised method of processing audio, which spread sounds between the stereo channels in a critically acclaimed manner to achieve a 2-channel surround sound result which many believe is not matched to this day. (the business farce behind Aureal's downfall is well documented history). That is the OP's main point.

    In the same way that you can, on any shitty onboard video, watch a Youtube video of the real-time processing output from the best video card available while it's working at it's hardest - you don't personally need the hardware to experience a recording of it's output. It's the processing that created that output which has us impressed and nostalgic.

    I think you were misunderstanding that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
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  10. Doc-of-FC

    Doc-of-FC Member

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    Dice did wonders in BC2 with the frostbite audio engine, they mixed everything in software because CPU time is cheap, the faster the clock rate, the more they did with the audio mixing.

    What does this mean, well in 2009 when they took a look at the steam hardware survey, only 3.7% of people had hardware accelerated sound capabilities, this gave them a clear direction to move forward on. Mix all the audio effects in software and pass it to the DAC to convert to an analogue waveform, as long as people all had sufficient CPU time to mix the audio, it all looks the same before the DAC.

    throwing some soundcard EAX over the top of it introduces artefacts, however may make things like footsteps more apparent to the end user.

    I'm yet to see headphones that ship with calibration data for on board DSP correction, they likely exist in the big end of town like studio monitors however not on a shelf at your local big box store.
     
  11. power

    power Member

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    because most peoples ears are painted on.
     
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  12. kbekus

    kbekus Member

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    Aureal A3D *was* great, and it was a part of a golden period in PC gaming which also involved the rise of the 3D video accelerator.
     
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  13. MR CHILLED

    MR CHILLED D'oh!

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    I certainly haven't noticed any large degradation from old to new. Then again I've not noticed any large improvements either.
     
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  14. tensop

    tensop Member

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    yep, it was amazing playing counterstrike and (early) patches of Q3A and hearing the positional audio where you could 100% hear the sound moving aorund a 3d plane
     
  15. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    10 years ago id have said yep, 100%
    5 years ago id have said yer, mostly, but theres some exotics that are really good
    Now I say no, theres some incredibly good class d gear out there and it doesnt have to cost a fortune
     
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  16. Smegger

    Smegger Member

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    Brah....

    (quietly folds back into the The Realm)
     
  17. DarthWindu

    DarthWindu Member

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    The sound design/engineering in Remedy's game Control was next level. You could possibly devolve that to call it a soundtrack with good timing, but it was a real standout for me.
     
  18. mtma

    mtma Member

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    I don't think well integrated soundtracks - particularly seen in adventure gaming - is necessarily a devolution. The sound design, regardless of whether it is the musical performance or spatial effects is no less a part of the game itself.



    (IIRC Sideways also has another video focusing on 4 chord progression which also briefly touches on different aspects of sound design in games)

    Of course perhaps Control does more, but I'd have to play it to find out. You've put it on my list :thumbup:
     
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  19. shredder

    shredder Member

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    We already had that in Monkey Island (and the iMuse system in general) during the 1990's, didn't we?
     
  20. JSmithDTV

    JSmithDTV Member

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    So you're listening to a multichannel source on a pair of stereo headphones and expecting a good result? o_O

    Atmos really requires the speakers positioned properly... anything else is just "virtual".


    JSmith
     

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