3.30 Distorted audio from effects channel - Resolved, impact from a different game setting.

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Lateralus_404
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3.30 Distorted audio from effects channel - Resolved, impact from a different game setting.

Post by Lateralus_404 » Tue, 23. Feb 21, 07:40

After attempting to pick up X:4 again in anticipation of 4.0 and Cradle next month I launched the game for the first time in a while. The audio from the effects channel is distorted, mostly the engine sound effects is crackly and high pitched. It also appears to be only affecting this layer of audio as voice and UI sound are not affected. Weapon fire sound effects also appear to be minimally affected if at all. If I mute the effects track in sound settings everything sounds normal. I've removed all mods and tried a clean install multiple times. I believe I've hit some strange interaction between my audio set up and this game specifically. No other game or source of audio from my PC has distortion. I've updated sound drivers and changed sample rates for the devices to ensure they all match up properly. The only change I made prior to this that might be relevant is a change for stalker anomaly which was a change to openAL-soft so it shouldn't have affected any of my openAL programs. Will happily provide more info if it will help. I could even record a video if that would help.

DxDiag
https://pastebin.com/gW4ukVbY
Vulkaninfo
https://pastebin.com/7e8GUURJ

Imperial Good
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Re: 3.30 Distorted audio from effects channel

Post by Imperial Good » Tue, 23. Feb 21, 09:43

I would suggest recording and providing a video, or at least the sound so it is more clear the symptoms you are experiencing.

Make sure all your sound drivers are up-to-date. Also disable all output devices you are not actively using. Make sure the output device you are actively using is set to the optimal settings (usually 16 bit 48000 Hz).

X4 is a very loud game at default volume settings. In personal experience it is prone to clipping distortion without lowering the volume.

Alan Phipps
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Re: 3.30 Distorted audio from effects channel

Post by Alan Phipps » Tue, 23. Feb 21, 11:47

Which of your several sound devices and drivers all running in parallel are you actually using for X4? The important clue may be there.

Also, as you play other games, make sure that you are not using a 3rd party games profiler (sometimes associated with your graphics card driver) that is setting your system sound up for a different game but not clearing up afterwards.
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Lateralus_404
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Re: 3.30 Distorted audio from effects channel

Post by Lateralus_404 » Tue, 23. Feb 21, 21:47

The playback device I'm trying to use is the focusrite USB device. I disabled every audio device other than than the focusrite. I reinstalled the driver for the device with the newest version available from the manufacturers website. I've attempted lowering system and in game volumes without success in changing the distortion. Also the distortion now affects all game sounds. I recorded some audio of me launching the game and just sitting in the menu. This is recorded with all volume sliders in game set to 50.

Game Audio wav
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SOs_HS ... sp=sharing

Careful with the volume on the audio it's not a sound you want to have too loud

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Re: 3.30 Distorted audio from effects channel

Post by Alan Phipps » Tue, 23. Feb 21, 22:33

That is horrible. The fact that a newer driver with the same device has problems with even more channels than before tells us something.

May I suggest something? Connect up game sound to your motherboard onboard sound sockets, unplug the USB sound device, enable the Realtek onboard sound chip device and driver, and see how it sounds now. I suspect (and hope) that you will be pleasantly surprised. If so then your USB sound device and driver has an issue.
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Lateralus_404
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Re: 3.30 Distorted audio from effects channel

Post by Lateralus_404 » Tue, 23. Feb 21, 23:24

Switched over to the Realtek on board sound and the distortion is removed from the music and UI tracks and remains for the effects track. Talked to an npc on a station and had some crackle the first time dialogue started and nothing after that. Ambient track might be ok. Audio from other sources and programs is not distorted. Again it seems to be specific to this game, not necessarily on the game's end but it the only thing that has this issue or my PC has this issue with. I'm open to suggestions and experiments if anyone has any ideas. Also let me know if there's any other info I can provide.

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Re: 3.30 Distorted audio from effects channel

Post by Alan Phipps » Tue, 23. Feb 21, 23:27

Have you verified your game installation recently in case some game or support file is corrupted?

One other thing, check that you have all volume settings per channel balanced between game, OS and sound card control panel. By that I mean don't have one setting for a channel maxed out and another for the same channel turned right down so as to get the end volume about right.

Lastly, check in your sound control panel that you don't have some physical speakers set to full-range performance (frequency range and amplitudes - usually but not always separately by treble and bass) in your speaker layout when they don't actually have that performance range. You could be overdriving particular speakers.
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Re: 3.30 Distorted audio from effects channel

Post by Lateralus_404 » Tue, 23. Feb 21, 23:46

All game files just verified successfully and none of the volume sliders are maxed out they're all at about 50%. Also disabled all sound virtualization effects and the full range setting is toggled off. No improvement

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Re: 3.30 Distorted audio from effects channel

Post by Alan Phipps » Tue, 23. Feb 21, 23:54

Thanks. I'm out of ideas if you have checked that your Realtek sound chipset is set to optimum/native playback as Imperial Good mentioned above.
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Re: 3.30 Distorted audio from effects channel

Post by Lateralus_404 » Wed, 24. Feb 21, 00:29

Yeah the realtek setting is set correctly. I also appreciate the help even if we weren't able to get it solved.

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Re: 3.30 Distorted audio from effects channel

Post by Lateralus_404 » Sun, 28. Feb 21, 19:37

Was able to fix it. I re examined that mod for stalker I thought might be related. It changed some settings globally to openAL. This seems to not have negatively impacted any other games but I haven't tested every game I have that uses openAL. Replacing the OpenAL32.dll In the X4 directory with one from the mod fixed it. Mainly leaving this here in case anyone else has this specific issue.

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Re: 3.30 Distorted audio from effects channel

Post by Alan Phipps » Sun, 28. Feb 21, 19:43

Thanks for the feedback. I came pretty close then in my first post in this thread, but I'll bear this outcome in mind for future sound channel issues. :)
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Re: 3.30 Distorted audio from effects channel

Post by alt3rn1ty » Mon, 1. Mar 21, 13:59

Imperial Good wrote:
Tue, 23. Feb 21, 09:43
Make sure all your sound drivers are up-to-date. Also disable all output devices you are not actively using. Make sure the output device you are actively using is set to the optimal settings (usually 16 bit 48000 Hz).
My bold

IG I am not doubting you but just curious if you remember where this comes from?.
I remember it being mentioned before (somewhere, memory fails me), but the number which jumped into my head was 16 bit 44100 Hz.

I ask because (at least on my machine) the Bit depth and sample rate was set by default by either Dell / Win 10 / Realtek to 24 bit 96000 Hz.

It's something I had not looked into after I got my latest machine, so have only just adjusted it now (sound quality is not so important to me, but if it potentially helps with performance of the game then its worth doing).

https://i.imgur.com/Nst9uVw.png

https://i.imgur.com/HYk21Ww.png

On a modern day laptop with only stereo speakers I can't imagine needing any more than DVD quality, (unless you have some kind of surround sound setup in addition), so I should imagine that anything more than DVD quality is just excessive setting .. And as you say better set at an Optimal ..

.. But on todays machines, is the sound chip still a potential bottle neck?


Also could you mention this Optimal bit depth and sample rate in the Tech Sticky for Performance troubleshooting viewtopic.php?f=180&t=420952#p4903128
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Re: 3.30 Distorted audio from effects channel - Resolved, impact from a different game setting.

Post by Imperial Good » Tue, 2. Mar 21, 00:02

alt3rn1ty wrote:
Mon, 1. Mar 21, 13:59
IG I am not doubting you but just curious if you remember where this comes from?.
Output beyond 48kHz is pointless as humans are most likely unable to hear it (human hearing cutoff is close to 20 kHz, which would be a discrete sample rate of 40 kHz with a bit extra for anti-aliasing due to how discrete sampling works with Nyquist theorem).Higher frequency output does have use for scientific applications, such as when making recordings of or playing back to animals which utilize ultrasound.

This advice comes from general advice when dealing with audio capture and processing with the audio pipeline. Modern Windows can gather all application audio channels together and then merge them into output channels at a common sample rate, irrespective of the sample rates of the applications. This automatic conversion of sample rate and bit depth induces loss and takes time. As such ideally you want the final output audio to be the same bit depth and sample rate as used by the applications, which is usually 48kHz but can vary, as then it undergoes minimal transformation with minimal added latency.

Bit depth is generally less important to match, since there should be no loss using a larger playback bit depth than the source material. There will still be some conversion overhead, but less than converting frequency. That said for standard playback of 16 bits is usually enough for most playback environments.

As for the number of playback devices. People have reported that too many, especially Nvidia playback devices, have caused issues in the past.

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Re: 3.30 Distorted audio from effects channel - Resolved, impact from a different game setting.

Post by alt3rn1ty » Tue, 2. Mar 21, 04:42

Imperial Good wrote:
Tue, 2. Mar 21, 00:02
~snip~
I love asking you technical questions, you never fail to come up with the goods, thank you :)
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