Doom 3 Sound Guide

by Derek Wilson on 8/6/2004 11:03 PM EST


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  • joldershaw - Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - link

    I have had the same problem. It seems that unless the program used is compatible with AC3 or Dolby Digital/Prologic, then Windows relies on the 6 speaker outputs on the sound device.

    It only gives a basic stereo on the two front speakers, and all other channels are silent.

    If you hear of anything else, please reply.

    Nforce2 MOBO with Realtek ALC650 sound and SPDIF output going to digital input on amp.

    PowerDVD works OK, but nothing else in Windows takes advantage.
  • joldershaw - Tuesday, February 01, 2005 - link

  • mareksteele - Saturday, August 14, 2004 - link

    I'd like to comment just one thing about this review. There was no reference to how game settings (high/med/low) affect sound diversity for this game, I haven't seen yet a concrete explaination anywere for this issue (if it only affects low or slightly medium too). Thanks for your time. Reply
  • vhato - Thursday, August 12, 2004 - link

    I have a 5.1 setup with an Audigy 2 ZS and Doom 3 did not support 5.1. The Surround was there, but all voice was played on the front speakers and not the center channel. Definately not a problem though. Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - link

    #16 - this is an issue I have heard many people talk about on various sound setups. I myself experience it using an Asus K7N8X-E Deluxe with SoundStorm audio, but I have also heard of other onboard solutions and Audigy 2 ZS users having the same problem. As far as I can tell, id/Activision is aware of the problem, and hopefully they will fix it. In the meantime, there is something of a hack workaround. Open the console (Ctrl+Shift+~ or something like that) and type the following:

    bind m "s_restart"

    You can use whatever you want for m, but the idea is to bind a key to the audio reset function. I generally hit my M key every three or four minutes, and sound keeps going. Otherwise, about every 5 to 10 minutes it will start cutting out. Very annoying.

    The alternative solution is to open up DxDiag and turn down the hardware acceleration on your audio. It doesn't seem to affect things *too* much in Doom 3, but it will likely affect other games. I prefer the bind key solution as it's a Doom 3 specific problem and workaround.
  • Jeff7181 - Monday, August 09, 2004 - link

    I'd still like to know if anyone else is experiencing the same problems I am with the sound... when I have "Surround Speakers" enabled the audio cuts out at what seems like random points. It must have something to do with a specific (or multiple specific) EAX effects because it doesn't do it when I turn Surround Speakers off. I have an Audigy 2 ZS and I'm using all the latest drivers for it... it's really a pain in the ass when you're fighting and all of a sudden the audio cuts out.

    I have to hit ESC and go to the options, turn Surround off, then back on, and it works again until the next event that causes it to lose the audio. I don't think it's a problem with my sound card because no other game has problems like that. Has anyone heard anything about this problem?
  • magnusr - Monday, August 09, 2004 - link

    Where is spdif support out enabled? Doom3 dosen`t seem to support ac3 audio.....

    I have a sony ac3 amplifter. an optical cable from my audigy 2 card to it. Also using a projector (good picture at least)

    I have a lot of friends with similar configs.

    None of us can seem to get ac3 audio over the optical link.

    So much talk about sorround sound when it`s dosen`t even seem to support ac3 sound. Only a bunch of cables on small sound systems...... Where is the joy in that?
  • Aquila76 - Monday, August 09, 2004 - link

    Warden - you got it exactly right. Doom3 only looks to whatever the Windows Control Panel is set to and takes it from there. It doesn't know/care about soundcard type. Reply
  • Aquila76 - Monday, August 09, 2004 - link

    Warden - you got it exactly right. Doom3 only looks to whatever the Windows Control Panel is set to and takes it from there. It doesn't know/care about soundcard type. Reply
  • TheWarden - Sunday, August 08, 2004 - link

    For those of you asking about the performance differences between Audigy/onboard/nForce, etc... the performance is likely identical. As the first poster alluded to, Doom 3 does not use the fancy hardware of an Audigy or nForce to process any sound; it's all done by the CPU no matter what sound solution you are using. I got this information out of an interview in the latest PC Gamer, but I'm sure it's available on the web, too.

  • DerekWilson - Sunday, August 08, 2004 - link

    ViRGE ... I suppose almost partially glad is alright ;-) And I agree that it should be a user's choice ... But I don't think using audio solution specific enhancements are the way to go. And I'm gonna have to disagree with any acceptance of software patent strong arming.

    Definitely an opinion, and, obviously, id Software's thoughts were on par with your own.
  • ViRGE - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    Considering the lackluster headphone performance, this is why I'm almost partially glad that Creative is strong-arming id in to working in EAX; while good 3D sound with a 2.1 system is still too difficult to be very useful, there's no good reason why such a feature shouldn't be included for headphones. Even EAX2 can do good positioning of 3D sound for headphones, and if it's an issue of lacking reverb or whatever, that should be a choice the user can make. Reply
  • Concillian - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    Did you guys do any performance comparisons?

    I would have liked to also see a SoundStorm included, as well as performance comparisons of no sound vs. software 3D onboard vs. Audigy2 vs. SoundStorm APU.

    With the obvious CPU dependency seen in the CPU article, I imagine performance differences may be more with Doom3 than your average game.
  • DerekWilson - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    I should have mentioned that we also tested with headphones.

    While much more immersive than a simple 2 or 3 speaker setup, headphones (unless the headphones support "5.1" -- which we didn't test) just cannot represent sound the same way as a surround system.

    If you absolutely can't get your hands on a front/back channel setup, go with headphones over 2 or 3 speakers.

    And, Poser, if you set you speakers to headphones in the control panel you will not be able to enable surround in Doom 3.
  • SilverBack - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    The graphics are really great, the sound is great, unfortunatly the game is after a very small time boring.
    Go into room A be attacked by a spawned in fire thrower. Kill it, find health and ammo. Follow the linear game movement to the right door and go through it.
    Go into Room B. Kill things that walk at out you from the dark. Kill them all. Find health and ammo. Follow the linear game movement to the right door and go through it.

    Repeat as often as necessary to follow the linear game movement. Figure out some simple puzzles and follow the linear game movement.

    Game of the year, so far, FarCry..
  • Poser - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    I've got much the same question as SKiller. If I understand how hearing works correctly, you can only tell that a sound is behind you or off to one side because of how the sound waves get distorted by your outer ear and by when the sound arrives at each ear. I was under the impression that a important piece of what a good gaming sound card could do is reproduce those distortions and timing shifts to accurately immitate surround sound with just a pair of headphones.

    I'm fairly sure I'm right about the hearing part. I'm not near so sure I'm right about a good gaming sound card being able to really trick the ear.

    Anyone who can test it firsthand -- how good is the surround sound immitation when you use headphones + an audigy2 (set to headphones in the control panel) + Doom3?
  • Anemone - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    Surround is really great when its done well. There is nothing like being real enough to hear a critter coming from back and to your left, spinning and dealing with the situation based on what you 'heard'. TONS o fun and wish more dev houses had the means to do it this well. Let's hope this engine gets used in other places yes?

    As for your 2gb system, I'm assuming that's on an AMD64 system? Your graphics article used both sides and its not clear to me which this was testing on.

    Thank you :)
  • SKiller - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    What about headphones? A good implementation can get you close to an actual surround system and has always been prefferable to a 2 speaker setup for me. Anyone try it with a good pair of cans? How does it compare? Reply
  • skiboysteve - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    my cambridge THX 550s were the best piece of hardware i had for this game Reply
  • gibhunter - Saturday, August 07, 2004 - link

    I have to agree with the reviewer. I've been playing the game at home on a laptop with headphones, then tried it today at a friend's house on his desktop with 4 channel expensive Cambridge Soundworks setup hooked up to Nvidia's Soundstorm. The sound from behind and the sides was amazing. Makes you forget where you are and immerses you totally into the game. Yes, it's definitely a more intense eperience. Reply
  • Regs - Friday, August 06, 2004 - link

    Surround sound speakers was one of the best upgrades I'd ever made. Brings any game to life with a pulse pounding sub-wuf and channeled sound. You would imagine it would be no different in Doom 3. Especially if PCI sound cards are not processing it with their own math. Reply

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