Print 70 comment(s) - last by typo101.. on Jan 28 at 10:11 AM

Creative Labs X-Fi Xtreme Music
OpenAL wrapper allows X-Fi users to take advantage of 3D sound in Windows Vista

Creative Labs has opened up the doors to its ALchemy Project to enable hardware acceleration for DirectSound and EAX audio algorithms in Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Vista. The Alchemy Project is currently in its beta stages and intends to work around Microsoft’s audio limitations in Windows Vista due to the removal of the Hardware Abstraction Layer, or HAL.

Microsoft’s removal of the HAL removes the software layer required by digital signal processors to enable hardware acceleration for various 3D audio algorithms including DirectSound3D and EAX in pre-Vista games. Nevertheless, digital signal processors that support OpenAL can still take advantage of hardware audio acceleration.

The Alchemy Project intends to work around Windows Vista limitations by translating DirectSound calls into OpenAL – essentially an OpenAL wrapper. In order to take advantage of the ALchemy Project OpenAL wrapper the installer copies a few necessary files into each game directory.

The automated installer will install the necessary files into each game directory, if there is official support for the game. Officially supported games include:
  • Battle for Middle Earth 2
  • Call of Duty
  • Call of Duty 2
  • Diablo 2
  • Everquest 2
  • FEAR
  • Full Spectrum Warrior
  • Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers
  • Guild Wars
  • GTA: San Andreas
  • Hitman: Blood Money
  • Max Payne 2
  • Midieval 2: Total War
  • Neverwinter Nights
  • Neverwinter Nights 2
  • NOLF 2
  • Rome: Total War
If the installer does not officially support your game, Creative Labs provides a guide for advanced users to take advantage of the OpenAL wrapper. Manually adding game support requires the copying of two files – dsound.dll and dsound.ini. On occasion, the unsupported game will work with the default configuration settings. If the default settings do not work, the dsound.ini file is tweak able for better performance. Available settings in the dsound.ini include Buffer, Duration, DisableDirectMusic and MaxVoiceCount settings.

In its current beta stages, Creative Labs ALchemy project only supports Sound Blaster X-Fi based sound cards with OpenAL compatible drivers. Users of Creative Labs previous Audigy 2 and Audigy 4 will have to wait patiently for hardware accelerated DirectSound3D and EAX support in Windows Vista. Jessie Lawrence, developer relations for Creative Labs claims:
For the initial beta phase of Creative ALchemy, we made the decision to concentrate on products based on the X-Fi chip. Games developers have put a lot of effort into supporting the advanced features of this chip so we want to provide the best level of support that we can for our most recent hardware. Support for Audigy 2 and 4 class products will be determined as the current beta progresses and we are able to assess the quality of the beta and overall demand for Creative ALchemy.
Users fortunate enough to have an X-Fi based sound card can download the ALchemy Project installer from the Creative ALchemy Project download page.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: No HAL in Vista
By Hare on 1/23/2007 12:48:33 PM , Rating: 2
Audigy2 (or any Creative card) doesn't support Dolby Digital encoding so you have absolutely no way you can get multichannel audio with the digital connector.

If you want multichannel audio you have no option but to use the analog connections. Creative simply refuses to do anything valuable. They just sit on their ____ and think that their propriety EAX is enough to make people buy their cards...

The only way you can get Dolby Digital is via passthrough (movies etc). That way the sounds are already DD so your soundcard doesn't have to do anything, just pass the data.

RE: No HAL in Vista
By Spivonious on 1/23/2007 3:54:38 PM , Rating: 2
Umm...every card since the Live! 5.1 can do DD decoding. So if you want surround, plug in your speakers to the soundcard. If you want to passthrough, then plug in the digital out and check the passthrough option. Dolby Digital 5.1 will only show up on the receiver if the game actively supports it and it is turned on in the game's options.

To the article: Couldn't you just register the dsound files with Windows and then every game can access them from one location?

RE: No HAL in Vista
By typo101 on 1/23/2007 5:22:10 PM , Rating: 2
DD encoding is what were looking for, and I was not aware any Creative cards did it.

The only ones i heard of are from Auzentech.

RE: No HAL in Vista
By Cincybeck on 1/23/2007 8:22:36 PM , Rating: 1
Supposedly the new X-Fi's do it out of the box. From my understanding it's more of a driver implentation or lack there of with the audigy cards. With a program called redocneXk you can have a realtime AC3(Dolby Digital) 5.1 signal encoded from the ASIO channels and sent threw your audigy card to your receiver threw the spdif connector. I've tried it and it works but, I was experiencing sound delay and a audible static. Although I was using the Creative drivers and it recommends using kX drivers from ttp://

RE: No HAL in Vista
By guwd1 on 1/25/2007 7:09:45 AM , Rating: 2
I still can't se the point... by going from high quality multichannel PCM to DD you have effectively reduced the audio quality. It's the same thing as going from a cd to mp3: You get smaler file-size but the sound is compressed. Obviously there are major advantages with DD, just as in cd vs mp3. But I thought we were talking about soundquality here?

RE: No HAL in Vista
By Lakku on 1/26/2007 4:32:38 PM , Rating: 2
Who is using multichannel PCM in games (or in any game/computer program not related to music creation or professional audio) outside of the PS3? We are just talking about games on the PC and 3d sound APIs, but maybe I missed something.

RE: No HAL in Vista
By typo101 on 1/28/2007 10:11:54 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately my onboard sound does not encode DTS so I play my games in PCM over SPDIF. I never liked having all those stereo cable going from my computer to receiver, so I can deal with the loss of surround because I don't game much.

However, I'm not so sure these DTS encoding cards use PCM at any stage, but I dont know much about sound in games or DirectX.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls
Latest Headlines
Inspiron Laptops & 2-in-1 PCs
September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM
The Samsung Galaxy S7
September 14, 2016, 6:00 AM
Apple Watch 2 – Coming September 7th
September 3, 2016, 6:30 AM
Apple says “See you on the 7th.”
September 1, 2016, 6:30 AM

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
No More Turtlenecks - Try Snakables
September 19, 2016, 7:44 AM
ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment in Children: Problem or Paranoia?
September 19, 2016, 5:30 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
Automaker Porsche may expand range of Panamera Coupe design.
September 18, 2016, 11:00 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki