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Old 11-09-07, 03:02 PM   #37
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Default Re: Blizz removes HW sound acceleration from WoW

lol, people who cant be bothered to setup even a simple 5.1 rig still trying to backup 2 speaker "surround sound" solutions.
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Old 11-09-07, 06:14 PM   #38
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Default Re: Blizz removes HW sound acceleration from WoW

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffmd
lol, people who cant be bothered to setup even a simple 5.1 rig still trying to backup 2 speaker "surround sound" solutions.
Spoken truly like someone who is totally ignorant of what is possible with HRTF.

5.1 speaker systems can never approach the 3D positional accuracy of proper HRTF or Binaural recorded audio.

Go Here and download the two samples that I posted. Listen to these, even on the cheapest pair of crap headphones, with even the most basic of stereo soundcards and you'll get an idea of what we are talking about.

Aureal 3D's way of using wavetracing to produce positional audio cues still remains one of the most accurate in any game today, with only the X-Fi coming close in recent years. It is good to know that Creative are starting to actually make an effort to implement some of the tech from the companies they bought out all those years ago (Sensura/Aureal).
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Old 11-10-07, 12:38 AM   #39
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Default Re: Blizz removes HW sound acceleration from WoW

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATI_Dude
1. NASA. Aureal Inc., the company behind Aureal 3D, originated from a NASA program.
Well that isn't true. Actually Aureal advertised A3D as having technology that Nasa used, more as a means of hyping their products than anything else. They didn't start from Nasa. And nasa didn't create HRTF either. HRTF was created by SRS labs and then nasa later used the technology as a cheaper, not better, alternative for sound reproduction.

This is an advertising theme that isn't unique to aureal. For example, the so called "space pen" that many claim to have been invented by nasa wasn't invented by nasa, nor is it anything that took a lot of time and effort by some scientific team to create. It was actually invented by somebody in the 40's, and it happened to fit a particular need for nasa, so they used it. There was no intention of it even being a "space pen" during its inception.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATI_Dude
2. AM3D and Aalborg University (Denmark) develop HRTF technology for both military and civil aviation.

I'm sure civil and military aviation in most other countries use HRTF technology as well.
Well, for aviation this would make sense, namely because speaker systems aren't as useful or as practical as headphones when it comes to aircraft due to external noise and weight concerns. However for games or any type of theater or home theater applications, this doesn't apply, and the use of normal speakers is only impractical if you simply have a lower budget.

Otherwise if this was the case, it would definitely be common to have headphone setups in higher end theaters where budgets are virtually unlimited when it comes to the soundstage (especially amusement park rides that depend on a theater configuration) rather than speakers.

In fact it would be a lot cheaper to use headphones rather than the kind of speakers they use. They also wouldn't have to insulate the crap out of the walls, and add echo barriers everywhere, which is also very costly.
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Old 11-10-07, 10:21 AM   #40
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Default Re: Blizz removes HW sound acceleration from WoW

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
Well that isn't true. Actually Aureal advertised A3D as having technology that Nasa used, more as a means of hyping their products than anything else. They didn't start from Nasa. And nasa didn't create HRTF either. HRTF was created by SRS labs and then nasa later used the technology as a cheaper, not better, alternative for sound reproduction.

This is an advertising theme that isn't unique to aureal. For example, the so called "space pen" that many claim to have been invented by nasa wasn't invented by nasa, nor is it anything that took a lot of time and effort by some scientific team to create. It was actually invented by somebody in the 40's, and it happened to fit a particular need for nasa, so they used it. There was no intention of it even being a "space pen" during its inception.

1. I never claimed NASA "invented" HRTF. But the fact is that NASA ran a space sim program which resulted in a virtual 3D sound system over headphones.

2. Marketing or not, Aureal used some of NASA's technology and research when they brought Aureal 3D to the consumer PC market.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
Well, for aviation this would make sense, namely because speaker systems aren't as useful or as practical as headphones when it comes to aircraft due to external noise and weight concerns. However for games or any type of theater or home theater applications, this doesn't apply, and the use of normal speakers is only impractical if you simply have a lower budget.

Otherwise if this was the case, it would definitely be common to have headphone setups in higher end theaters where budgets are virtually unlimited when it comes to the soundstage (especially amusement park rides that depend on a theater configuration) rather than speakers.

In fact it would be a lot cheaper to use headphones rather than the kind of speakers they use. They also wouldn't have to insulate the crap out of the walls, and add echo barriers everywhere, which is also very costly.
I agree that speakers are preferable for pre-recorded content such as movies or music where vertical postitioning of sound is less important.

I find your movie theater example is a little silly. There're other considerations than accurate sound reproduction when you run a movie theater. If all movie theaters were equipped with individual headphones instead of surround speaker set ups it would completely ruin the social aspect of watching a movie in a theater.

Whether headphones or speakers are best suited for interactive entertainment such as computer games is a matter of personal preference. In my opinion both alternatives have their pros and cons. Speakers may lack the postional accuracy, but cinematic effects such as explosions and gunfire sound more convincing on a decent surround speaker set up. On the other hand headphones and HRTF technology allow for accurate positioning which is very useful in first person shooters. I still remember the eerie sound from howlers converging on my location the first I played Undying equipped with a Sensaura soundcard and a pair of Sennheisers
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Old 11-10-07, 11:59 AM   #41
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Default Re: Blizz removes HW sound acceleration from WoW

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
Nah. All it has to do is send its processed audio out to the individual sound channels via whatever means. It could even do that through directsound with hardly any overhead, and from there all that matters is whether or not your card works with directsound.
So why where there a bunch who had problems with sound after the changes to WoW and the sound api? Well probably Blizzards problems, but nevertheless it was related to the sound api. Anyway, your right as long as they plan to do everything in software, but if Microsofts XAudio2 is good, it might become standard and fmod have a harder time to find a market.

Regarding old Aureal I had their best card back in those days, and it was good. But their business side was lacking, and Creatives everything but fair market methods killed them. I guess it didn't help that they formed from Media Vision scandal company (I had the Pro Audio Spectrum 16 too ).
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Old 11-10-07, 10:46 PM   #42
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Default Re: Blizz removes HW sound acceleration from WoW

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATI_Dude
1. I never claimed NASA "invented" HRTF. But the fact is that NASA ran a space sim program which resulted in a virtual 3D sound system over headphones.
Well either way Aureal did not come from nasa as you said (aureal and nasa have never had any relationship whatsoever,) and...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATI_Dude
2. Marketing or not, Aureal used some of NASA's technology and research when they brought Aureal 3D to the consumer PC market.
No, they didn't. They happened to use the same technology that NASA used. That is about all they have in common with nasa. And again, nasa didn't use hrtf because it was better, they used it purely as a cost cutting measure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATI_Dude
I agree that speakers are preferable for pre-recorded content such as movies or music where vertical postitioning of sound is less important.
How often is vertical positioning important even in games though? Possibly for flight or space related games, but not much else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATI_Dude
I find your movie theater example is a little silly. There're other considerations than accurate sound reproduction when you run a movie theater. If all movie theaters were equipped with individual headphones instead of surround speaker set ups it would completely ruin the social aspect of watching a movie in a theater.
Not really, you could always make it optional. It has been proven many times over that more people will pay to go to a theater that has a better sound experience. This would especially apply to a theme park attraction where there is virtually no social interaction, and sound positioning is critical to the whole experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATI_Dude
On the other hand headphones and HRTF technology allow for accurate positioning which is very useful in first person shooters.
I have both (a decent set of both at that) and I really don't like HRTF for FPS games. At best it gives you the impression of the direction of the sound, but it just isn't nearly as convincing as a speaker setup. It just physically can't be, for many reasons.

EDIT: Here is a paper that explains it in more detail:

http://www.digit-life.com/articles2/...ogy/index.html

This paper does account for the sensaura tech you mentioned btw:

Quote:
Downsides of HRTF

1. Sound can be badly distorted!

2. Operation can be pretty slow.

3. If sound sources are immovable, their positions can't be determined precisely, because the brain needs them moving (movement of the source or subconscious micro-movements in the listener's head), which helps to determine a sound source position in the geometrical space.

It's typical of people to turn their heads towards unexpected sounds. When the head's turning, the brain gets additional information defining the sound's position in space. If the sound source does not generate a special frequency forming the difference between the front and rear HRTF function, the brain ignores such sound; instead, it uses data from the memory and compares the information about location of known sound sources in the hemisphere.


4. Headphones give the best results. Headphones make it simpler to solve the problem of delivering one signal to one ear and another signal to another ear. Moreover, some people do not like headphones, even light wireless models.

Besides, the fact that a sound source seems to be much closer when the player has headphones on should also be accounted for.

Acoustic systems make it possible to avoid some problems of the headphones, but there are other troubles popping up: first, it's not clear how to use speakers for binaural listening, i.e. when a part of the signal goes to one ear and the other part to the other ear after the HRTF transformation. When we connect speakers instead of headphones the right ear catches the sound meant for the left one as well, and vice versa. One of the way-outs can be crosstalk cancellation (CC).

In so-called sweet spots a listener can hear all 3D effects perfectly, while in other areas the sound will be distorted. The necessity to choose the right position, i.e. sweet spots, brings in new problems. The wider the sweet spot, the better. That is why the developers keep on looking for new ways to expand the sweet spots.
Also I didn't see mentioned (only alluded to,) in the majority of cases, hrtf does not do well at properly positioning audio sources that are very close to the listener, especially in a headphone configuration. Rather than sounding like they are near you, they sound more like they are coming from inside of your head. If it weren't for you actually seeing the physical location of the object, you would have no idea where it actually was just by listening to it. This is just not physically possible with headphones.

In fact, speakers are invariably going to allow for much greater ambiance than headphones, regardless of the source material, and regardless of whether you are using stereo or surround sound. This is critical for many FPS games.
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Old 11-10-07, 11:13 PM   #43
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Default Re: Blizz removes HW sound acceleration from WoW

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buio
So why where there a bunch who had problems with sound after the changes to WoW and the sound api?
Dunno to be honest, I don't play wow. My guess would be that the problem is due to some bugs remaining from code which was originally meant for ds3d now being used for fmod (if it was to still use ds3d as I described, the game engine still has to use fmod first.) Only blizzard would know.
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Old 11-11-07, 07:33 AM   #44
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Default Re: Blizz removes HW sound acceleration from WoW

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
Well either way Aureal did not come from nasa as you said (aureal and nasa have never had any relationship whatsoever,) and...

No, they didn't. They happened to use the same technology that NASA used. That is about all they have in common with nasa.
Don't be such a quibbler. Aureal licensed some of NASA's technology and used it to create Aureal 3D. NASA licensed their technology to many other vendors including theme parks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
And again, nasa didn't use hrtf because it was better, they used it purely as a cost cutting measure.
Better than what? There's always a potentially better technology, but if it costs ten times as much to develop and only yields a net improvement of 2 % it isn't a relevant choice. In the given situation HRTF was the best choice because it achieved both the scientific and financial goals NASA outlined.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
How often is vertical positioning important even in games though? Possibly for flight or space related games, but not much else.
Well, that's your opinion. Vertical positioning is potentially useful in any situation that involves an interactive environment which isn't completely two dimensional.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
Not really, you could always make it optional. It has been proven many times over that more people will pay to go to a theater that has a better sound experience. This would especially apply to a theme park attraction where there is virtually no social interaction, and sound positioning is critical to the whole experience.
I was referring to movie theaters not theme parks. Headphone 3D technology is in fact commonly used in theme parks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
I have both (a decent set of both at that) and I really don't like HRTF for FPS games. At best it gives you the impression of the direction of the sound, but it just isn't nearly as convincing as a speaker setup. It just physically can't be, for many reasons.
Because YOU don't like HRTF and prefer surround speakers doesn't make it a fact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
Also I didn't see mentioned (only alluded to,) in the majority of cases, hrtf does not do well at properly positioning audio sources that are very close to the listener, especially in a headphone configuration. Rather than sounding like they are near you, they sound more like they are coming from inside of your head. If it weren't for you actually seeing the physical location of the object, you would have no idea where it actually was just by listening to it. This is just not physically possible with headphones.
The problem with close proximity positioning has been solved years ago by Sensaura. The same technology is now used by Creative's X-Fi CMSS3D. It's actually mentioned in above article you linked to!

The problem with immovable sound sources can also easily be overcome by panning the camera in game since it corresponds to turning the head of your virtual self. Therefore I don't see why headphones are at a disadvantage in these situations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
In fact, speakers are invariably going to allow for much greater ambiance than headphones, regardless of the source material, and regardless of whether you are using stereo or surround sound. This is critical for many FPS games.
Again, this is your subjective opinion not a fact.
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Old 11-11-07, 08:58 PM   #45
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Default Re: Blizz removes HW sound acceleration from WoW

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Don't be such a quibbler. Aureal licensed some of NASA's technology and used it to create Aureal 3D. NASA licensed their technology to many other vendors including theme parks.
No, they didn't. Again, nasa didn't invent HRTF.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATI_Dude
Better than what? There's always a potentially better technology, but if it costs ten times as much to develop and only yields a net improvement of 2 % it isn't a relevant choice.
No, because there was not much development cost for NASA. Again, they didn't invent HRTF.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATI_Dude
Well, that's your opinion. Vertical positioning is potentially useful in any situation that involves an interactive environment which isn't completely two dimensional.
True, potentially, in come cases is very useful. However you don't often interact with things above you, it is usually things around you. This is why in visual media a panoramic view is preferred.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATI_Dude
I was referring to movie theaters not theme parks. Headphone 3D technology is in fact commonly used in theme parks.
Where?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATI_Dude
Because YOU don't like HRTF and prefer surround speakers doesn't make it a fact.
Regardless of my opinions though, the fact is that HRTF is not physically capable of reproducing audio as well as a multi-channel setup, as I have already explained.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATI_Dude
The problem with close proximity positioning has been solved years ago by Sensaura. The same technology is now used by Creative's X-Fi CMSS3D. It's actually mentioned in above article you linked to!
CMSS3D does not solve this problem, it just can't. The problem is in the driver (the part of the speaker that moves, not what runs on your computer.) A smaller driver just can't move air the same way a larger one can, and likewise it can't scale amplitude at nearly as wide of a range that a larger driver can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATI_Dude
The problem with immovable sound sources can also easily be overcome by panning the camera in game since it corresponds to turning the head of your virtual self. Therefore I don't see why headphones are at a disadvantage in these situations.
No, that wouldn't do anything for two reasons. A game panning the screen cannot predict the exact direction that you will move your head, and remember that it isn't simply turning your head, you also are going to probably tilt it either up or down, depending on the person. Also, your head is constantly in motion, even when you aren't even actively thinking about the sound.

Plus that would probably annoy people if the game panned each time there was a sound coming from behind you, like a cricket for example which wouldn't move anywhere while it is chirping.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATI_Dude
Again, this is your subjective opinion not a fact.
No, this is a fact. Headphones can't provide the same natural ambiance that is provided by hearing a sound inside of a room. This is a problem that sound engineers have to work with when mastering e.g. cd audio, because they know that people will often listen to it with headphones, but headphones can't reproduce the desired effect of having a soundstage like e.g. having a concert. They can try to compromise on this by adding hrtf effects, but it still isn't the same. TBH you are the first person I have ever seen who is trying to argue that tiny headphone drivers are every bit as versatile as full sized speaker drivers.
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Old 11-12-07, 02:14 PM   #46
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Default Re: Blizz removes HW sound acceleration from WoW

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK

Originally Posted by ATI_Dude:
Don't be such a quibbler. Aureal licensed some of NASA's technology and used it to create Aureal 3D. NASA licensed their technology to many other vendors including theme parks.


No, they didn't. Again, nasa didn't invent HRTF.
1. Yes they did. Aureal acquired Crystal River Engineering which helped develop NASA's binaural space simulation technology. Aureal used some of this technology in their Aureal 3D algorithm.

2. I never claimed NASA "invented" HRTF. I mentioned NASA as an example of an organization which uses HRTF technology


Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
No, because there was not much development cost for NASA. Again, they didn't invent HRTF.
Again I never claimed NASA "invented" HRTF.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
True, potentially, in come cases is very useful. However you don't often interact with things above you, it is usually things around you. This is why in visual media a panoramic view is preferred.
Interaction is not the only concern. Immersion and realism is another concern. Vertical 3D positioning adds another dimension to the game experience. For example an approaching helicopter or airplane actually sounds like it's located at a higher elevation it adds a new dimension. The same is true if you move around in a multistory builiding and you notice someone is lurking on the level above you by the sound of his or her footsteps. Current multispeaker implementations cannot reproduce vertical 3D positioning in games as convincing as headphones HRTF.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
Where?.
If you go back two posts I wrote:

I find your movie theater example is a little silly. There're other considerations than accurate sound reproduction when you run a movie theater. If all movie theaters were equipped with individual headphones instead of surround speaker set ups it would completely ruin the social aspect of watching a movie in a theater.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
Regardless of my opinions though, the fact is that HRTF is not physically capable of reproducing audio as well as a multi-channel setup, as I have already explained.
Define "reproduce audio"? Current multi-speaker implementations (including the ones that use HRTF) don't offer the same accuracy of 3D positioning on both a horizontal and vertical plane as headphone HRTF. At best it enables the listener to correctly locate and perceive sound on the horizontal plane. This is ok for movies and music, but many people find it lacking in interactive entertainment such as computer games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
CMSS3D does not solve this problem, it just can't. The problem is in the driver (the part of the speaker that moves, not what runs on your computer.) A smaller driver just can't move air the same way a larger one can, and likewise it can't scale amplitude at nearly as wide of a range that a larger driver can.
Movement of air is irrelevant. The issue with close proximity positioning is related to the limitations of HRTF phase manipulation. But even this problem can be solved by enabling seperate HRTF filters for distant sounds and close proximity sounds. Sensaura developed a system called MacroFX which enables special HRTF filters for sound sources located within 1 meter of the listener. Creative now owns Sensaura's intellectual property and has implemented MacroFX in their X-Fi drivers. While not 100% perfect it still creates a very convincing illusion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
No, that wouldn't do anything for two reasons. A game panning the screen cannot predict the exact direction that you will move your head, and remember that it isn't simply turning your head, you also are going to probably tilt it either up or down, depending on the person. Also, your head is constantly in motion, even when you aren't even actively thinking about the sound.
Then the same issues potentially apply to a multispeaker setup since your eyes are usually fixed on a specific position or object on the screen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
Plus that would probably annoy people if the game panned each time there was a sound coming from behind you, like a cricket for example which wouldn't move anywhere while it is chirping.
Why would the game pan? You as a user can pan the camera and accurately pinpoint stationary sound sources.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
No, this is a fact. Headphones can't provide the same natural ambiance that is provided by hearing a sound inside of a room. This is a problem that sound engineers have to work with when mastering e.g. cd audio, because they know that people will often listen to it with headphones, but headphones can't reproduce the desired effect of having a soundstage like e.g. having a concert. They can try to compromise on this by adding hrtf effects, but it still isn't the same. TBH you are the first person I have ever seen who is trying to argue that tiny headphone drivers are every bit as versatile as full sized speaker drivers.
I don't know what you're getting at. You overinterpret and distort every statement I make. I am referrring specifically to 3D positional audio in computer games. I agree that current HRTF technology and headphones can't provide the same natural ambiance as sound played inside a room. This would require real time wavetracing, and even then it would probably never offer a 100% realistic sound reproduction. But this doesn't necessarily mean that multispeaker setups are any better, especially in interactive entertainment such as computer games. Sound travel in a given room is fixed and will never correspond completely with an in-game environment.
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Old 11-13-07, 12:45 PM   #47
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Default Re: Blizz removes HW sound acceleration from WoW

Quote:
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1. Yes they did. Aureal acquired Crystal River Engineering which helped develop NASA's binaural space simulation technology. Aureal used some of this technology in their Aureal 3D algorithm.
This technology existed long before CRE was even around. CRE was merely the first to apply it to the Ames simulator. (And BTW, this simulator would still do a much better job than any sound card of today for many reasons, namely because it had a head tracker, and they would physically map each persons ears, but it still wouldn't work as well as a real surround setup.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATI_Dude
Interaction is not the only concern. Immersion and realism is another concern. Vertical 3D positioning adds another dimension to the game experience. For example an approaching helicopter or airplane actually sounds like it's located at a higher elevation it adds a new dimension. The same is true if you move around in a multistory builiding and you notice someone is lurking on the level above you by the sound of his or her footsteps. Current multispeaker implementations cannot reproduce vertical 3D positioning in games as convincing as headphones HRTF.
True.

Quote:
If you go back two posts I wrote:
That doesn't answer my question.

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Define "reproduce audio"? Current multi-speaker implementations (including the ones that use HRTF) don't offer the same accuracy of 3D positioning on both a horizontal and vertical plane as headphone HRTF.
Vertical, possibly, but not horizontal.

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Movement of air is irrelevant. The issue with close proximity positioning is related to the limitations of HRTF phase manipulation.
It is completely relevant. You are going to be able to physically feel midrange (and even higher spectrum) sounds that are closer to your body, and that adds to your perception of where an object is. This isn't possible with headphones. This is ultimately where the difference comes between when it sounds like it is coming from your head, as opposed to very close to you. You may be able to do this with high frequency sounds, like e.g. somebody whispering, but midrange sounds wouldn't work.

Quote:
But even this problem can be solved by enabling seperate HRTF filters for distant sounds and close proximity sounds. Sensaura developed a system called MacroFX which enables special HRTF filters for sound sources located within 1 meter of the listener.
I've never heard of this but there is no way it could be convincing. See above.

Quote:
Then the same issues potentially apply to a multispeaker setup since your eyes are usually fixed on a specific position or object on the screen.
No, it does not. What matters is the physical movement of your head, combined with the relative movement of the sound around you to match that physical movement. Visual feedback definitely helps, but it is not practical to add this unless the display was some kind of VR style headset.

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Why would the game pan? You as a user can pan the camera and accurately pinpoint stationary sound sources.
I don't know, you brought that up.

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I am referrring specifically to 3D positional audio in computer games.
Why? This is only about a third of the whole audio experience. I am talking about making it actually sound convincing. To quote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf_HK
HRTF is cheesy btw, that will never work anywhere near as well as a true surround setup will.
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Old 11-14-07, 09:25 AM   #48
Yaboze
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Default Re: Blizz removes HW sound acceleration from WoW

This thread might be a moot point now because it seems that Blizzard has added Hardware support back into WoW.

As of the 2.3 patch, on 11/13/07, there is a Use Hardware checkbox again on the client.

It seems they are using Hardware Directsound and not using EAX, but still using FMOD for effects.

I was able to enable (via checkbox and channels slider) and verify in the logs that my X-Fi has 128 channels 'found', 64 were allocated by Wow (default was 32).

My audio in Wow is fantastic again and I am hearing things I didn't even hear before all this software audio/voice chat nonsense.
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