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Thread: OpenAL problems with new PC and Realtek

  1. #1
    Registered: Oct 2013

    OpenAL problems with new PC and Realtek

    My previous PC had a Soundblaster Gamer card and I had no problems with it and my stereo speakers in OpenAL mode.

    New PC has a Realtek chip and I am having problems with it.

    If the hardware mode is set to OpenAL then some sounds are missing, such as the scuttling sounds spiders make as they move.

    If hardware mode is set to ON then the spider scuttle again but the game seems to be running in a forced mono mode with all sounds coming from the centre.

    If HW mode is set to OFF then I get stereo sound and haven't noticed any missing sounds, but then I miss out on EAX and this pseudo surround effect where I could often tell if the sound is meant to be coming from behind me.

    So any known ways to get OpenAL in Thief running correctly with no missing sounds, on a Realtek chip?

  2. #2
    Registered: Aug 2009

  3. #3
    Registered: Oct 2013
    Thanks but I actually think the problems were due to sound equaliser settings after all. Could hear the spiders again if adjusted one of the frequencies. Thanks anyway though.

    But to anyone else who has similar issues of missing or too quiet sounds and who uses a custome equaliser setting for their sound, try experimenting with adjusting that.

  4. #4
    Registered: Oct 2013
    Of course that doesn't explain the forced mono of HW mode, but hey, as long as OpernAL works.

  5. #5
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: Berghem Haven
    With a Realtek chip remember to set ALWAYS the Windows Audio Mixer to 5.1 or 7.1 and then check the physical speakers you actually have (to achieve the automatic mixdown to stereo / 2.1 / etc.).
    This little trick solves a myriad of issues.

  6. #6
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: Berghem Haven
    And remember, you can always configure the OpenAL driver used (I use soft_oal 1.191. -> ) in Thief New Dark cam_ext:

    ; -------------
    ; sound options
    ; -------------

    ; if EAX is enabled and sounds sound too direct when under water (the same or almost the same as above)
    ; then try enabling one of these (or experiment with custom values)
    ;submerged_sound_occlusion 0.1 0.5 0.88
    ;submerged_sound_occlusion 0.3 0.1

    ; force the use of UnderWater reverb/EAX environment when the player is under water

    ; when using the OpenAL sound driver the default AL device may sometimes cause problems, in particular for
    ; on-board sound controllers. In those instances you can try an alternative AL device. Which other AL devices
    ; are available can be seen in the log file (when AL is enabled). It seems that usually the "Generic Software"
    ; device is available, which is a good one to try as an alternative.
    snd_oal_device OpenAL Soft

    ; set a non-default speaker configuration (not all devices support this, especially with OpenAL only the
    ; "OpenAL Soft" (soft_oal) device driver currently supports it.

    ; (0 = default, 2 = stereo, 4 = quadraphonic, 5 = surround, 6 = '5.1', 7 = '6.1', 8 = '7.1', 9 = '5.1' side,
    ; 10 = '7.1' center l+r)
    ;snd_speaker_config 6

  7. #7
    Registered: Dec 2002
    Location: Saint-Petersburg, Russia
    Or use this:

    Add the game's path in ALChemy application afterwards, and choose "hardware sound" and "eax" in game's options. It will bring back some kind of positional sound with eax (it's not pseudosurround - it adds different amount of reverb to various places, hardcoded into the maps). Also it's compatible with 5.1 - it just uses whatever speaker settings is set in windows.

  8. #8
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: Berghem Haven
    OpenAL Soft too uses the Windows Speakers Settings (if not forced otherwise/elsehere)

    If EAX is emulated/translated via EFX (, OpenAL Soft is the best solution.....without passing through a wrapper like ALchemy.
    OpenAL Soft provides HRTF too for Stereo Headphones/Speakers configuration

    In general about positional audio the one and only important thing using the classic stereo config, is:
    *for old games using DS3D retrieve its capabilities through indirectsound ( or openal soft (, force hardware channels in the game configuration and set in Windows the downmix 5.1/7.1 -> 2 (unchecking the missing speakers)
    *for new games using XAudio directly set in Windows the downmix 5.1/7.1 -> 2 (unchecking the missing speakers)

    And remember to force FULL RANGE speakers when NOT using an LFE channel-dedicated subwoofer.
    Last edited by lowenz; 16th Feb 2019 at 07:22.

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