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[since FModEX removal] Surround Sound Issues

PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:01 pm
by SanyaWaffles
So with OpenAL being the only sound backend, my friend who has a full surround sound setup notices two jarring issues with the sound:

1.) Sounds directly in front of you no longer play in the center like FMOD used to do.

Sounds are still getting spacialized to surround channels if they are to the sides or behind you, but not when they're directly in front of you.

2.) Music only plays in the front two speakers.

Music used to play in pairs through all the speakers. There's an option in OpenAL-Soft for this according to my friend, but I know you're using regular OpenAL.

I understand not many people have a setup like this, but regardless, it's a bug.

I feel like this might have been an oversight that can be corrected somehow.

Re: [since FModEX removal] Surround Sound Issues

PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:30 pm
by Chris
SanyaWaffles wrote:So with OpenAL being the only sound backend, my friend who has a full surround sound setup notices two jarring issues with the sound:

What's the setup? Quad, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1, or..?

SanyaWaffles wrote:1.) Sounds directly in front of you no longer play in the center like FMOD used to do.

Sounds are still getting spacialized to surround channels if they are to the sides or behind you, but not when they're directly in front of you.

A sound in front should still play in front, if the speakers are placed properly. It's using a different panning algorithm (one better suited to correct surround sound reproduction) so it won't sound the same, but a sound in front should play from the front.

SanyaWaffles wrote:2.) Music only plays in the front two speakers.

Music used to play in pairs through all the speakers. There's an option in OpenAL-Soft for this according to my friend, but I know you're using regular OpenAL.

It is using OpenAL Soft. OpenAL Soft dropped that option a long while ago when I saw it was causing more trouble than it was worth (creating issues with volume balancing, and messing up the intended stereo "image"). Now it plays more correctly consistently regardless if it's being output to stereo, surround sound, HRTF, or whatever else.

Re: [since FModEX removal] Surround Sound Issues

PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 7:34 pm
by SanyaWaffles
My friend's setup is 5.1 and using macOS Sierra.

Chris wrote:
SanyaWaffles wrote:1.) Sounds directly in front of you no longer play in the center like FMOD used to do.

Sounds are still getting spacialized to surround channels if they are to the sides or behind you, but not when they're directly in front of you.

A sound in front should still play in front, if the speakers are placed properly. It's using a different panning algorithm (one better suited to correct surround sound reproduction) so it won't sound the same, but a sound in front should play from the front.


Well, according to my friend, the sounds are not playing properly when directly in the front on her setup. And she's more audio-tech savvy than I am.

I'm reporting this bug on her behalf.

As for the other issue, I figure it'd be just as much. It sucks that OpenAL Soft has no equivilant version of what FMODEx had.

Re: [since FModEX removal] Surround Sound Issues

PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 7:50 pm
by hitmanx
I find when I put the sound to 4 channels or more things are much louder than they should be.

Re: [since FModEX removal] Surround Sound Issues

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:50 am
by Enjay
I can say that on my 5.1 system*, sounds that are meant to be coming from the front definitely seem to be coming from the front for me.

*[off topic] I used to have 7.1 but my new machine is just 5.1. I miss those little side speakers. Theye didn't seem like they did much but they actually added quite a bit of clarity and precision to sounds coming directly from the side.[/off topic]

Re: [since FModEX removal] Surround Sound Issues

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:35 am
by kama.stein
I'm said friend and yes I have 5.1 and yes it's setup properly with the speakers placed properly. I spend a lot of time setting it up to spec and making sure everything is just right.

The problem is NOT that the sound are NOT coming from the front at all. The problem is that.. previous versions of Gzdoom sent menu sounds and sounds directly in front to the center channel. Newer versions that use OpenAL do not. Instead those sounds get split to front left and right. Defeating the fact that I have a system with a center channel speaker.

Technically speaking that's the front. But I want it to be in the CENTER specifically when the sound is directly ahead.. say... 12 o'clock. So that way it always comes from there no matter where the listener is sitting. The reason why center channel speakers where invented.

The music thing is a separate "issue" but simply put I preferred how it sounded when it was all around me.. volume\balance controls could fix loudness when played in multiple channels.

Another option would be to create a new music sound pack where all the music is "mastered" to multichannel via software like this. If Gzdoom supports playback of multi-channel audio files. http://www.nugenaudio.com/halo-upmix-st ... -au-vst_52 But I know some people would be against this.

Re: [since FModEX removal] Surround Sound Issues

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:07 am
by Graf Zahl
This sounds more like unpositioned sounds not being processed for surround and just being played through the main stereo channels. Actually, this is what I'd consider proper setup but it's something Chris has to confirm.

Re: [since FModEX removal] Surround Sound Issues

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:58 am
by Chris
Graf Zahl wrote:This sounds more like unpositioned sounds not being processed for surround and just being played through the main stereo channels.

Unpositioned sounds are played by being panned in front. However, because of how poorly balanced 5.1 is (a number of speakers packed closely together in the front, and only a couple spread wide for the back), the contribution from the front-center speaker for positional audio is reduced, leaving the front-left and front-right speakers handle front sounds more. So as a sound moves around, it remains more consistent with regards to volume and perceived position. It's not an unusual mixing scheme even for professional 5.1 mixes -- use the front-left, front-right, and surround speakers for positional audio effects and ambiance, and use the front-center speaker for specific sounds (character dialog, for example).

In this particular case, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have UI sounds play directly on the front-center speaker rather than going through positional panning. OpenAL Soft does have functionality to do this, presuming it can tell which sounds are UI sounds (I assume they can be differentiated, since there's a volume slider specifically for menu sounds).

Re: [since FModEX removal] Surround Sound Issues

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 5:05 am
by Graf Zahl
Surely they can be differentiated. There's a CHAN_UI flag for such sounds, but of course you can never guarantee that some mod does it wrong - that should be considered bad use, though.

Re: [since FModEX removal] Surround Sound Issues

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:58 pm
by kama.stein
Bad use? This is across the board. I'm talking about how the sound engine works whether or not mods are being used. Also with vanilla doom as well.

Re: [since FModEX removal] Surround Sound Issues

PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 12:00 am
by kama.stein
Graf Zahl wrote:This sounds more like unpositioned sounds not being processed for surround and just being played through the main stereo channels. Actually, this is what I'd consider proper setup but it's something Chris has to confirm.


No I'm talking about positional sounds. Like monsters firing their weapons at you and making other sounds.

Re: [since FModEX removal] Surround Sound Issues

PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 12:04 am
by kama.stein
Chris wrote:
Graf Zahl wrote:This sounds more like unpositioned sounds not being processed for surround and just being played through the main stereo channels.

Unpositioned sounds are played by being panned in front. However, because of how poorly balanced 5.1 is (a number of speakers packed closely together in the front, and only a couple spread wide for the back), the contribution from the front-center speaker for positional audio is reduced, leaving the front-left and front-right speakers handle front sounds more. So as a sound moves around, it remains more consistent with regards to volume and perceived position. It's not an unusual mixing scheme even for professional 5.1 mixes -- use the front-left, front-right, and surround speakers for positional audio effects and ambiance, and use the front-center speaker for specific sounds (character dialog, for example).

In this particular case, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have UI sounds play directly on the front-center speaker rather than going through positional panning. OpenAL Soft does have functionality to do this, presuming it can tell which sounds are UI sounds (I assume they can be differentiated, since there's a volume slider specifically for menu sounds).


There's better ways to setup 5.1 so that it's better... and putting your surround speakers in the back is inadvisable. It's better to put them to the sides.. Although as been pointed out to me dolby specifications\guidelines allow for one to position them a little more towards the back if one wishes. Putting them in the back is a classic blunder and is what causes "black holes" to happen in the sound-field.

As for 5.1 being "front heavy" it has been argued that our hearing is more sensitive in the front.

As Wendy Carlos has said on her site: "We're interested in an optimum plan or two for Human Surround Sound. Since the back of our heads is not nearly as sensitive to sound directionality and nuance (not to mention a poorer frequency response, and unfortunate interference as sounds move away from the rear of one ear towards the rear of the other), we ought not "waste" too much effort trying to obtain what we can't: a uniform sound field. That's where so many surround concepts fall down, assuming we humans can hear in 360 degrees and follow it all accurately."

Also, I gotta mention.. further setups with more channels (like ATMOS) tend to use the 5.1 layout as a bed and then they add on top of that.

This is something that's less a problem with gzdoom since it doesn't tend to do a lot of in-game dialog (some mods might though) but having two different behaviors for sounds at 12 o'clock for in-game vs. cut scenes causes a jarring difference IMHO where the dialog would come from the center during full blown cut scenes but in in-game ones like in half-life they don't. There are games that use both (like the Mafia series).

https://www.dolby.com/us/en/guide/surro ... setup.html

or...

Image

Although I have my surrounds more like the dolby recommendations which is a little more behind you but toed in.

But I'm actually less interested in debating the merits of surround sound or 5.1 setups. I'm planning on updating to newer systems someday but even then.. again.. 5.1 is the bed for them.

Put simply I preferred the way FMODEX handled things but I understand it had to be removed for open sourcing reasons.

Re: [since FModEX removal] Surround Sound Issues

PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 6:28 am
by Rachael
kama.stein wrote:Put simply I preferred the way FMODEX handled things but I understand it had to be removed for open sourcing reasons.

Well, look at it this way - *the* author for OpenAL-Soft is working with us (and in this thread) - if you let him help you, it'll help not only GZDoom, but also all other apps that use OpenAL-soft, as well. :)

Re: [since FModEX removal] Surround Sound Issues

PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 3:16 pm
by SanyaWaffles
Rachael wrote:
kama.stein wrote:Put simply I preferred the way FMODEX handled things but I understand it had to be removed for open sourcing reasons.

Well, look at it this way - *the* author for OpenAL-Soft is working with us (and in this thread) - if you let him help you, it'll help not only GZDoom, but also all other apps that use OpenAL-soft, as well. :)


The developer kind of all ready shot down this in a bug report Kama filed, so it's hard to expect help when we're kind of being told something different from the developer's perspective. I don't know the exact details but it seems the developer sees nothing wrong with the issues Kama described.

IMO at least, this kind of makes 3d spacializing of sound kind of useless, but that's just me.

Re: [since FModEX removal] Surround Sound Issues

PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 3:42 pm
by Graf Zahl
SanyaWaffles wrote:IMO at least, this kind of makes 3d spacializing of sound kind of useless, but that's just me.


My own knowlege of sound mixing and sound positioning is virtually non-existent, but if I had to decide, I'd consider Chris more knowledgeable in that matter.
It's definitely debatalbe what a center speaker should be used for. They can vary a lot between setups, ranging from a tiny helper box to a full fledged speaker, and what sounds fine for one setup may be dead wrong for the other. But even then, the mix for a small center will definitely sound better with a big center than the other way around.