Windows Audio Is Getting DTS:X and Dolby Atmos Upgrades

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by cageymaru, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. Iratus

    Iratus [H]ard|Gawd

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    Bandwidth limitation on spdif, but everyone listens to everything via Bluetooth these days.

    In a world where people will spend over $100 on AirPods I don’t expect we’re going to get meaningful improvement in audio anytime soon.

    Audio manufacturers are as much to blame as anything, annual releases of marginal improvments and ever increasing prices. Heck you can spend 4 figures on a bloody sound bar. Convenient yes, audio reflective of cost, hells no.
     
  2. ItWasMe

    ItWasMe n00b

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    I love Atmos for movies, it is great with my headphones.

    Looking forward to more implementation.
     
  3. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    That's why we roll our own with separates ;)
     
  4. Iratus

    Iratus [H]ard|Gawd

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    Indeed, but quality isn’t mass market.

    Tbh it might be interesting getting Dolby support into PCs properly. I resent having to get a AV Reciever or the cost of a sound processor these days.

    Turning it into software proper and plugging it into some nice power amps would be pretty sweet.
     
  5. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Doesnt ffmpeg have full compatibility for decoding all Dolby and DTS standards in software already?
     
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  6. greenman

    greenman Gawd

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    Plot twist: The ironing board is far from flat.
     
  7. ItWasMe

    ItWasMe n00b

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    Worth noting, the xbox one, one s, and one x, all have access to Atmos (through an app). Netflix and Vudu stream movies and TV with Atmos (not all shows, have to look for the atmos logo).

    Since Xbox and other devices stream Atmos, what needs to be ironed out on the Windows platform before DTS XU (whatever the name is) gets the full go?
     
  8. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    That's because no one can tell the difference between a well encoded mp3 and a flac. They just think they can.

    Years back Hydrogenaudio.org did several distributed A/B tests where high end audiophiles could test listen to two identical tracks, one mp3 and one flac Side by Side as many times as they wanted using the equipment of their own choice in order to choose which was which. The result was ~50% right, or the same as you would get from random guessing.

    The truth is, back in the bad old days there were many really bad mp3 encoders, like xing. They created terrible sounding results.

    Encode something with lames standard vbr preset and it is virtually indistinguishable from source. If it's a little trickier of a sample up it to the extreme preset and it's fine.

    There is no need for lossless compression for listening purposes.

    (It is needed for working with audio samples andaworking copies though as if you compress something that has already been compressed you get compounding compression errors) . These days uncompressed PCM files really aren't that large compared to the storage that exiats, so it really isn't worth flac:img those either, unless for long term archival.)

    Human beings suffer from placebo effect A LOT.
     
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  9. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    There is a little more to Atmos than height channels.

    With traditional DTS and Dolby surround sound engineers need to master each channel and then render the final as part of the mastering process. Once all is done you wind up with 6 static channels for 5.1 or 8 static channels for 7.1

    Atmos goes about it very differently. The film creators create a set of samples each with a start time and an intended positional coordinate on an imaginary sphere surrounding the viewers.

    The viewers receiver then renders the sample being played back in the correct position depending on the viewers setup.

    It makes it much more adaptible and ensures the best possible sound for the home market where there are a wide variety of configurations from viewer to viewer. It's really quite neat.

    The height channels are just a distraction from the really cool parts of the technology.
     
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  10. Sycraft

    Sycraft [H]ardness Supreme

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    Even then it isn't needed necessarily. Often you can process compressed audio and the result is just fine, even after recompression. Video is nearly always done this way. Uncompressed video is just too damn large and high data rate to work with for most things, so even pro cameras usually do a little compression, and often more than a little. For all that, the end result can still be very good.

    That said, lossless is always nice just because then you know there won't be an issue. Even in playback there is the potential for lossy compression to cause issues since you may do post-processing. For example if you have a room correction system like Dirac, that's throwing a lot of math at the audio signal and altering it in both the time an frequency domain. It shouldn't cause any audible artifacts with compressed audio, but it is always a possibility so a lossless source is nice as then it is a non-issue.
     
  11. Iratus

    Iratus [H]ard|Gawd

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    Not that I know of. It can do 6 channels,and the high bandwidth versions but doesn’t understand the object based audio

    That’s my understanding. Could be out of date.
     
  12. BSmith

    BSmith [H]ard|Gawd

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    If a game, today, does not have true 3D positional sounds with full dynamic range, then the developer is simply lazy. There is no excuse for not having that level of support. The API has been available for over 15 years.

    The API is no longer supported, but it is still there in Windows 10.

    There are also multiple library solutions available as well, which a game can incorporate which add even more support (echo, reflected sounds, reports....).

    There is no excuse for any game not having true 3D positional sound.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
  13. Solhokuten

    Solhokuten [H]ard|Gawd

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    I actually think this can bring a new level of immersion to PC audio with the additional channels that Atmos and DTSX bring. However, very few people have the equipment to take advantage of the ceiling channels, so its unlikely we will see wide spread support for this anytime soon. I dont even think they sell 7.1 PC speaker systems let alone 7.1.2, 7.1.4, 5.1.2, etc. That said, one could always leverage their home theater receiver.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
  14. Makeroflostsouls

    Makeroflostsouls 2[H]4U

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    I can tell a lot of people here have not heard a properly setup ATMOS or DTS:X setup. I have a full 7.2.4 setup with dedicated speakers in the ceiling. When I tell you it makes a huge difference, it's jaw dropping. Played battle field in my theater which does support this and it sounded really good. This Atmos and DTS:X for the pc I believe is more for you to be able to run a game through a receiver over HDMI and let it decode the stream. Not sure how well a set of head phones can create a full over head 3D setup. I do game in my theater but usually it's only racing games or Tomb raider or something it's rare I play a FPS.
     
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  15. Bankie

    Bankie [H]ard|Gawd

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    Too bad Aureal went out of business all of those years ago. We might have had amazingly realistic sound by now if they were still around.
     
  16. power666

    power666 [H]Lite

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    The big feature that Atmos and DTX:X Ultra bring to the market is what is referred to as object based audio. Object based audio dictates where the sound from a source is actually coming from in 3D space. The speaker setup essentially becomes n in value: as more speakers are added and positions defined, the decoder mixes where the sounds from the object actually originates from given the n speaker setup. Essentially this acts as a translation for the 3D space being generated and the 3D space where sound is locally broadcast. For backwards compatibility, the standard 7.1 setup is predefined with several ceiling speakers being added. For movies, 32 channels is possible but the first 12 are predefined so that leaves 20 for objects. So far most of the Atmos movies I've ripped for playback tend to just support the additional audio channels from the ceiling and nothing for the object tracks (not to say they're not out there, I just haven't come across them personally with my movie tastes).

    The PC side of things is where object based part of these systems should shine. Aspects like reverb need to be processed twice, once for each perspective: the generated 3D environment and the physical environment. Systems exist which can take into account the physical environment in both simulators and measurement, though I don't see this being adopted by consumers in general (professional side is of course different). For movie playback, object defining can be straight forward: speakers and various point sources of sound. Reverb for movie playback can emulated by mixing in the reflection with the other audio objects as appropriate for the simulated environment. For gaming, the number of audio objects is dynamic. I presume that Atmox and DTS:X Ultra on the PC side can adapt to this for usage in games. Audio reflections can drastically increase the amount of audio objects if done to mirror the simulated environment.

    My current audio output card is an Asus XG-C100C. I leverage the card's lesser known AVB features. It which has enough bandwidth to do 1024 uncompressed PCM audio channels. This is the core of how I'm wanting to scale my setup to a n based system: network based amplifiers for mains/subs and PoE based network speakers for various satellites. The actual audio processing would remain CPU bound on the local system but I do have a network DSP tackle a few things that would occur outside of the Atmos/DTS:X Ultra processing.

    On the flip side of things in the professional world, I've actually inquired if EASE will get any sort of ray tracing acceleration for its audio processing calculations.
     
  17. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Although I agree with your sentiment about positional sound, and I agree that you are correct, that the API does still exist, it's been neutered to the point of uselessness. There is no hardware acceleration support, no direct path to the drivers, it's been crippled and supplanted by a newer 2D only sound api, WASAPI. It's there but it can't function properly.

    There are third party APIs but they never get the adoption rates that make them worthwhile unless you see a single game as a big enough reason to buy into them, which is possible. For the right title, "the game" that I love and know I am going to put a few years into, I would invest in custom solutions for it. I see the life of the solution as being linked to the life of the game, and the game can make that worth it as long as the investment cost isn't too crazy.
     
  18. Deimos

    Deimos Gawd

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    Atmos on the Xbone is a broken implementation and thus does not work properly on slightly older Atmos capable receivers.
     
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  19. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Probably not.

    They would have been shut down just like Creatives EAX was when Microsoft failed to include the Directsound 3D HAL in Windows Vista and newer.

    Essentially that pulled the rug out from under anyone who wanted to do DSP powered 3D positional audio on the windows platform.
     
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  20. ItWasMe

    ItWasMe n00b

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    Oh, I didnt realize, as I use headphones.

    That stinks for those that it affects, a lot of people I assume. That would tick me off for sure.

    It works well with headphones, for what it is worth.
     
  21. Deimos

    Deimos Gawd

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    Oh hell yeah, I spent considerable effort setting up height channels only to find after I bought an Xbone X that I have to get a decent BD player to get un-broken atmos support.
     
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  22. dgz

    dgz [H]ardness Supreme

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    Either you didn't read my post, or you simply know something I don't. I'll try to put it differently.

    Are you saying that Aces High has a sound engine that's so good, it allows you to experience pinpoint the sound origin with headphones? And it also transform the sound based on each the in-game surface that it bounced off? Cause I find that hard to believe.
     
  23. BSmith

    BSmith [H]ard|Gawd

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    Exact location is done. Reflection is limited, but done. As to whether or not it is detectable on your headset has another set of factors involved (sound card, headset design...). They are using the FMOD sound system. Go read about it and see what it is capable of and the list of games with support (https://www.fmod.com/games).

    Now to what extent the sound system is being used in other games, I cannot say for sure, but all those games should have precise 3D audio, at a minimum.
     
  24. dgz

    dgz [H]ardness Supreme

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    So, I checked the list. Of all the games on it, I've played the following: BioShock, BioShock 2, Clive Barker's Jericho, Crysis, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Far Cry, Guild Wars, Hard Reset, Hellgate: London, iRacing.com, Need for Speed: Shift, Renegade Ops, Ruiner, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, Star Trek Online, TimeShift, The Walking Dead, Warcraft III.

    Not a single one of them has made an impression on me. Again, this is not about having a 7.1 setup, and it's not about mixing canned sound samples into a few different channels. And yet, this is these games do. The most I've heard must've been from NFS when I enter a tunnel. Woo, tunnel effect!
     
  25. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge [H]ardForum Junkie

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    One that impressed me: a moment in Battlefield Bad Company 2. Had someone up a hill, above some houses, take a shot and miss. I heard the shot go by and while they were cycling the rifle, bolted to the houses out of their sight without looking, and then flanked them a moment later. They never saw me coming, and I didn't see them until I came around the houses.

    This using some Dolby tech for headphones, and in an old game to boot. You hear similar stuff in the more recent games. Stuff like larger caliber rifles and rockets and so on, supposing the noise floor isn't already too high from surrounding combat.

    Now, reflection is another thing entirely. Doing that properly will likely be similar to doing global illumination with ray tracing.
     
  26. BSmith

    BSmith [H]ard|Gawd

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    Unfortunately, there is not way to know how a game dev will use an API. All I am saying is there is no excuse for a game not having true 3D sound positioning. It is there and easily obtainable.

    No need for any Dolby/DTS for any game. It actually takes more effort to implement that than it takes to implement true 3D sound positioning.
     
  27. dgz

    dgz [H]ardness Supreme

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    OK man, just what the fuck does "3d positioning" mean? Because there's no way we're talking about the same thing here.
     
  28. dgz

    dgz [H]ardness Supreme

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    I believe you. Was it just the shot, though? What about ambient sound, foot steps, engines, etc?
     
  29. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge [H]ardForum Junkie

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    In the specific example, I probably heard my own footsteps, but it was in a wide valley of sorts that had low distant hills. The current fighting was pretty far away so that would have been about it- but Battlefield games are usually pretty good about sound.
     
  30. BSmith

    BSmith [H]ard|Gawd

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    3D audio positioning is what it says. You can pinpoint sources from the sound in 3D space. The farther away they are the softer they are. If tthey are to your right or left, you will hear the audio from the right or left and everything between. Exact positioning based on the source of the sound in 3D space. As the source moves, so does the audio, relative to the listener.

    I'll also add, if you have some type of post processing forced on, for your speaker/headset, then that can (usually does) screw up true 3D audio positioning.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
  31. dgz

    dgz [H]ardness Supreme

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    Precisely. It works best with speakers as there are audio channels. It also has nothing to do with what I am talking about.
     
  32. Reimu

    Reimu [H]ard|Gawd

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    I have a proper 5.2.1 setup where 2 speakers are for height. It's good for movies, but I never really benefitted in terms of games.
    Honestly, most audio is just stereo.
     
  33. ManofGod

    ManofGod [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I miss the days when I had purchased a full size video disc player. With the Kenwood system I had, I was experiencing positional audio, clear back in the last 80's and early 90's.