New Sound Engine - Settings

Discussion in 'Technical & Support' started by Lazza, May 14, 2022.

  1. Lazza

    Lazza Registered

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    Yep, I've stayed away from those issues as it's more about device detection/selection than settings. Good it's acknowledged :cool:
     
  2. Owen Pyrah

    Owen Pyrah Registered

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    I think the inbuilt HRTF profiles are great in rF2. I mean other sims just tell you to use that Dolby Atmos headphones app. But as basically no other game has HRTF support, I've just enabled Windows Sonic. Which I think does a great job anyway. I've compared with the Dolby and DTS equivalents and found they just have slightly different profiles but all do the same thing.

    Why are you strongly saying to turn off spatial sound in favour of rF2 HRTF? I don't think I've had enough time in race traffic to spot a big difference, but am I missing something?

    EDIT: To be clear I mean setting Windows Sonic on + 'speakers' in rF2. As opposed to Windows Sonic off + 'headphones' in rF2. Talking headphones here too, for the avoidance of doubt.
     
  3. Lazza

    Lazza Registered

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    A few things to note, I think:
    • The game will produce sound differently between Headphones and Speakers settings. Probably not major (Devin has said they still try to make the Speakers setting good for headphones) but if you're going to be at all fussy it's better to make sure.
    • Speakers will send the sound to the speakers around you, which in comparison to HRTF will (at least) lose any height information. No 3D processing can recover that. How much does that matter in a driving game? Not all that much probably, at least for direct sounds.
    • Depending what you read, windows sonic is supposed to leave stereo sources alone. I wouldn't trust it entirely so as general advice (people reading this could have any setup) I'd say disable it.
    • If you run speakers + sonic and decide it works fine for you, that's fine, and if you run into problems you know enough to sort it out. As a guide for anyone, disabling is the best starting point.
    (There might be - probably is - a whole heap of nuance with the game's headphones implementation, and/or HRTF, that I'm totally missing here. I think as a general rule if you're using headphones and the game offers direct support for it, you're best to rely on it. Then you don't need to understand everything it does anyway)
     
  4. Owen Pyrah

    Owen Pyrah Registered

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    Ah yeah I wonder if there's better positional detail in the HRTF then. I'll have to try it again. I just thought that applying HRTF profiles in post process is similar to applying Windows Sonic. Just without the branding. Worth another go though. Even if it means I'm changing my device settings just for rF2. Thanks
     
  5. RaceNut

    RaceNut Registered

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    The most direct audio solution should render the best audio in Racing Sims. It's what the sound engineers recommend, what they design for, and the way to provide the most consistent results. 3rd-party apps are likely to interfere with the end result although, only the user can decide if the benefits outweigh the negatives.

    3rd party apps may also require specific hardware features in order to work as intended (output to Dolby / DTS hi-fi system, for example). It's likely that Dolby / DTS apps give the same result as Sonic on our PC's unless we have a hi-end audio system that can render the full effect in the proper soundstage (well beyond headphones & PC audio speakers).

    Apps that expand the soundstage may initially seem like they are quite effective however, when paying close attention to certain effect volumes (opponent engine, for example), such sound effects may become too quiet / too loud / or not provide good directional & distance cues.

    In the case of rF2 audio (Xaudio), it seems the sound team are tuning effect volume levels in house to work effectively across a wide range of hardware (without extra effect sliders). That seems to work quite well (cars with updated audio) so long as the source (game) to output is very direct. Once we use outside enhancements, opponent audio / directional audio / effect volume levels are less effective. Some results may be more subtle and require greater attention when testing but, results with other titles support my findings.

    In my case, the results were very obvious once I switched the audio to Direct Mode. Suddenly, the effect volumes levels made sense and spatial awareness was much improved. In my opinion, the new sound-engine is working really, really well in rF2.

    There are still some audio issues to sort and missing features (wall reflection) but, the cars that have sounds tuned to work in the new sound environment work great, especially when we let the game sort things out as intended.
     
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  6. Owen Pyrah

    Owen Pyrah Registered

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    By Direct Mode, do you mean disabling Windows Sonic?

    I am still yet to have a little A/B test between Windows Sonic spatial and rF2 spatial effects. I started using rF2 HRTF and then turned on Windows Sonic globally for other games. Then when I played rF2 again using Windows Sonic instead of HRTF it sounded really similar. Just like changing the HRTF in the dropdown. It was subtle if there was any difference. Think I'll need to spend some time comparing them to make up my mind. But it certainly sounds really good to me even with Windows Sonic. Like sat in the garages and hearing the cars pass.

    Also, I think I hear sounds reflected from walls. Like the front straight you can hear your engine reverberating. Or am I imagining it? It does seem like there's some DSP effects going on.
     
  7. RaceNut

    RaceNut Registered

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    I'm using the SoundBlaster AE7 soundcard which features Direct Mode, bypassing all other audio enhancements, including standard Windows Audio environment aspects. Doing so, improved audio clarity and spatialization in all games I've tested including Racing & some FPS games, over the basic Windows audio / Sonic / Dolby / DTS results. Of course, your mileage may vary given hardware differences in combination with various apps. Use what works best for you.

    In my case, the results confirm that the general advice (from game-studio sound engineers) is indeed, sound advice. ;)
    Less is more, let the game logic control the spatial effects as designed. My soundcard software offers many profiles for various games but, while they do enhance certain audio effects, they always do so at the expense of others. It's largely a matter of preference in what trade-offs are acceptable to each user. I think it's the same with apps like Sonic / Dolby / DTS.

    Where rF2 Xaudio works most effectively (cars with updated audio), the results are quite excellent, even stunning at times. I think it can even be more convincing and immersive than RaceRoom audio. I find the volume and duration of opponent cars to be spot on, the gearbox noise volume & pitch varies by load and is not grating (like so many other titles), nor is it linked directly to engine rpms only, etc. The latter may be related to some aspect of the sound-engine or possible physical modeling of the drive-train in rF2 but, whatever the case, it works nicely.

    Comparing rF2 (Xaudio) to titles using F-mod audio, the advantages are really starting to stand out to me. With F-mod, the opponent sounds alone, are so far-reaching that they pollute the in-car audio constantly. In rF2, you generally only hear opponents when they are in very close proximity (and Race Starts when cars are bunched up), as it should be (imo). I suspect Xaudio is more sophisticated and far better suited to Racing-Sims than F-mod is.
     
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  8. Rui Santos

    Rui Santos Registered

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    So, any option we, ordinary people with integrated sound card, can turn on/toggle to have that "direct sound" in Windows?

    Thanks!
     
  9. RaceNut

    RaceNut Registered

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    None that I'm aware of, unfortunately. Next best option is to make sure all enhancements are disabled in Windows audio settings. If hardware settings offer specific "Audio Surround" features, test both enabled / disabled for differences. Speaker configurations should match the hardware setup, headphones, etc. Avoiding additional "enhancements" should deliver best results but, at some point, the definition of such becomes subjective. Our Aural sensitivity does vary by person, after all.

    IF considering a new soundcard though, Direct Mode is something I would suggest researching further. Direct / Pure Sound are features more common in hi-end audio equipment but, seems to be expanding into PC hardware.
     
  10. Herve_Versabeau

    Herve_Versabeau Registered

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    @RaceNut
    Is it possible to use directmode in 5.1 or is it only in stéréo ?
     
  11. RaceNut

    RaceNut Registered

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    Great question! I confirmed that Direct Mode (SoundBlaster) forces audio to Stereo only mode when using speakers. So, the game audio will perform virtualization based on configuration settings there. Makes sense, being it's the most Direct signal path.
     
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  12. RaceNut

    RaceNut Registered

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    The spatial effects when using the Valve Index (audio) in VR are normally quite nice but, as the HRTF is not currently supported with VR, it remains to be seen how effective it will be in rF2. The opponent sounds work well overall but other sounds don't respond to head-tracking movement as expected. Still, this is another case where the most direct path for the audio signal should bring the best result. It's a bit too early to confirm for VR in rF2, though.
     
  13. Owen Pyrah

    Owen Pyrah Registered

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    Ah ok so Direct Mode on SoundBlaster I guess disables all the SoundBlaster enhancements. I realised what you were saying about the VSS and turned off Windows Sonic. I tried a bit of back and forth between setting device in rF2 to 'Speakers' (no HRTF) and 'Headphones' (with HRTF). Sort of on the fence but does seem more immersive with HRTF enabled. Get slightly more of the positional audio. Will spend some time with that video in the first post at some point to find the best profile for me. With IRC 0016 it's really close to just using Windows Sonic. But I know Windows Sonic is technically going to be a worse choice.
     
  14. Highlandwalker

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    Watched the video and downloaded this zip file HRTF_X3DAudio from the U-Tube link. I installed this file MIT_KEMAR-96000 into the rFactor2/Userdata/HRTF/default folder. I was surprised at the difference it has made, the sound has more body to it, engine sound has more information, it's easier to judge the gear change point, engine sound under braking is more discernible, rumble strips have a slightly more rounded sound and the sound of the cars around you are more discernible without being over powering. Describing audio into words is difficult, hope I'm close. I have tried this with the GTE cars and the none updated GT3 cars, it worked well with both sets of cars. I will be using this for the foreseeable future. I use an ASUS Sound card and HI-Fi quality headphones. This may be helpful to some of you.
     
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  15. Devin

    Devin Member Staff Member

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    I'd like to point out that rF2 does not in fact use XAudio, however fundamentally what was said isn't wrong :)
     
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  16. davehenrie

    davehenrie Registered

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    Just like to thank you for your work on the sound engine. I got spun by the AI coming down off the Mountain Top of @Mike Cantwell 's new 1985 Bathurst. A nice clean 360° spin and I was on my way. The BRILLIANT part was hearing the left side tires scrub and then the rights as the car rotated.
    I have never paid much attention to sounds in games as I usually use just one headphone can so I can still hear my disabled wife, or the dog needing a pee break. Generally I'm listening only to the engine rpms. But this morning I was fully locked into both sides of the headphones & really enjoyed hearing my spin as well as seeing it. I may have to spend much more time immersed in the sounds of rF2. :)
     
  17. RaceNut

    RaceNut Registered

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    I didn't mean to spread mis-information. Thanks for the correction.
    Interesting. I would happily read more about the sound-engine being used in rF2. ;)
     
  18. MarcG

    MarcG Registered

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    I'm only seeing the two HRTF items in the Menu; Built-in & Default. I've added another to go alongside the others in there but none of them become selectable in the Sim, using latest RC. Tried in Normal & VR mode and same thing
     
  19. davehenrie

    davehenrie Registered

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    I just checked and I have 5 options, the 5th one was one I added, the rest of them were all there and I could choose any of them.
     
  20. MarcG

    MarcG Registered

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    RC or default opt-out?
     

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