Asus Xonar DX and ScummVM

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Megane67
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Asus Xonar DX and ScummVM

Post by Megane67 » Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:50 pm

Hello,

I'm planning on upgrading my on-board RealTek to a Asus Xonar DX sound card but first, I just wanted to be sure it's compatible with ScummVM and be able to play General Midi music as well as digital sound and speech from older games supported.

Also, I have a Roland MT-32 I'll be hooking up to the Analog line level audio input of the card. It seemed to work fine with the Realtek, can I assume it'll work with the new card as well?

Thanks in advance,

Megane

Flo
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Post by Flo » Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:42 am

A crucial bit of information missing here is what operating system you're using. In Windows Vista and Windows 7, most audio processing is done in software (the exception being OpenAL, and workaround tools like ALchemy and 3D SoundBack to restore EAX/DirectSound hardware support).

That said, everything should work exactly the same. Just don't expect any major improvements in ScummVM. You may not even be able to tell the difference, depending on your hearing and speakers/headphones.

Windows 8 is slated to bring back full audio hardware support, but knowing the manufacturers, that will probably require new cards.

Megane67
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Post by Megane67 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:54 am

First off, thanks for the reply, I appreciate it. :)
A crucial bit of information missing here is what operating system you're using. In Windows Vista and Windows 7, most audio processing is done in software (the exception being OpenAL, and workaround tools like ALchemy and 3D SoundBack to restore EAX/DirectSound hardware support).
I'm using Windows 7 64 bit and I downloaded the latest driver updates for Windows 7 64 bit from the Asus website just to make sure the link worked. I hope these drivers will solve any potential problems, the on-board Realtek HD seemed to handle sound all right with my old speakers and Windows 7 didn't seem to interfere with sound as far as I can tell.

In the past, I used Soundblaster cards for digital audio but while researching the new card, I read numerous warnings and complaints against Creative and their drivers being crap so I went with a Asus card which seems to be highly recommended and has better support for Windows 7.
That said, everything should work exactly the same. Just don't expect any major improvements in ScummVM. You may not even be able to tell the difference, depending on your hearing and speakers/headphones.
Well, the main reason I'm getting a new soundcard now is because my old speakers were ten years old and dying so I bought some Logitech Z623 2.1 speakers that currently produce a loud hum at only 30% of total volume. I tested the speakers with my iPod alone and they sounded fantastic with no hum at all. So I want to get a new card to replace my on-board Realtek, eliminate the hum and hopefully in combination with the new speakers, there will be some improvement overall from my old setup.

Also, I don't care about 5.1-7.1 surround and the only reason I'm getting a 7.1 surround card is because it's the only one in my budget that will fit in my motherboard. Also, my headphones are Sennheiser HD 428 so hopefully no problems there.
Windows 8 is slated to bring back full audio hardware support, but knowing the manufacturers, that will probably require new cards.
Ugh, I really hope not, I've already gone over budget on these upgrades and I'd prefer not to have to buy another audio card again for at least a few years or so.[/quote]

Flo
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Post by Flo » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:55 pm

Megane67 wrote:Well, the main reason I'm getting a new soundcard now is because my old speakers were ten years old and dying so I bought some Logitech Z623 2.1 speakers that currently produce a loud hum at only 30% of total volume. I tested the speakers with my iPod alone and they sounded fantastic with no hum at all. So I want to get a new card to replace my on-board Realtek, eliminate the hum and hopefully in combination with the new speakers, there will be some improvement overall from my old setup.
That hum could also be a ground loop. That wouldn't be a problem with an iPod since those aren't usually plugged into the mains.

Unfortunately your speakers don't seem to have an optical input. That would be the easiest solution (no electrical connection on the audio cable).

One easy thing to try, if you live somewhere with symmetrical power plugs, is to turn the speakers' power plug around 180° to swap the phases.

There are also inline isolation filters available (those go between the audio output of the playback device and the input of the speakers).

Megane67
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Post by Megane67 » Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:05 am

Well, I did some more tests and I finally found the source of the hum, it was coming from the line-in. Once I muted that, the hum went away completely and now there's only some slight air hiss from the speakers if I turn them up all the way.

However, since my Roland MT-32 is hooked up to the line-in port through a Uno MIDI to USB interface, this still presents a problem as I need the port active to hear Roland MIDI. Plus, I still have to turn the volume up on the speakers quite high to get decent volume when I plug in my headphones.

So I guess my question now is, will getting the soundcard most likely fix these two issues? If not, then I can't really justify spending $120 on one but I'd like to be fairly certain before I abort.

Flo
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Post by Flo » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:35 am

The MT-32 has its own power supply too, so that still leaves the possibility of a ground loop.

So for further troubleshooting: Does it still hum when nothing is plugged into the line-in port?

If not, does it hum if you connect your iPod to the line-in port?

It would also be interesting to know if you hear a hum when you connect your speakers or headphones directly to the MT-32.

Megane67
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Post by Megane67 » Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:04 pm

The MT-32 has its own power supply too, so that still leaves the possibility of a ground loop.

So for further troubleshooting: Does it still hum when nothing is plugged into the line-in port?
No, it stops completely when nothing is plugged into the port.
It would also be interesting to know if you hear a hum when you connect your speakers or headphones directly to the MT-32.
No hum that I could tell from headphones. As for the speakers, there was no hum when plugged into the MT-32, just some air hissing noise when I turned the volume about 3/4 of the way and above. The hum only came back when I plugged the wire back into the line-in port until I muted it.

Flo
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Post by Flo » Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:33 pm

Have you been able to try connecting your iPod (or anything else portable, i.e. running off a battery, without an AC adapter) into the line-in port? If that gives you a clear signal without any hum, all evidence points to a ground loop between the MT-32 and the PC.

In that case a new sound card won't help at all. A ground isolator between the MT-32 and the PC might help, but there's still another ground connection via the MIDI interface.

Have you tried turning the MT-32's AC plug around? Sometimes, all that's needed is to bring the power phases in line.

Megane67
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Post by Megane67 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:33 pm

Once again, thanks for all your help, Flo. I really appreciate it.

Okay, I've managed to figure out the source of the hum and eliminated it by buying a new Stereo 1/8 to 2x Mono 1/4" Male Cable. I've been testing the Roland MT-32 with all my games in ScummVM and DosBox to make sure everything was working and I discovered the following:

Monkey Island 2 and the CD versions of Indy 4 and Day of the Tentacle appeared to work without incident, I just played about 5-10 minutes of each game to test them. But when I tried Sam and Max Hit the Road CD, several notes in the opening scene with the Mad Scientist were completely missing. It sounded like only half the music was playing at best.

Once the "understated credit sequence" started though, everything seemed to return to normal, though I only played as far as the Circus and Whack a Rat before stopping. I made sure to do an All-Reset with the MT-32 before each test and turn the device on and off.

I tried to test Sam and Max on DosBox as well but unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how to get the game to detect the Roland. I'm using the same configuration as the other Roland supported games that work with DosBox but nothing happened and if I try to use iMuse setup, it just crashes. So, I selected Ad-Lib instead just to see what would happen and it played all the missing notes without incident. Then I tried the game with the Ad-Lib emulator in ScummVM and all the missing notes played there as well.

Aside from Sam and Max though, everything else seems to be working just fine with the Roland on ScummVM and DosBox. The Sam and Max CD I'm using came from the LucasArts Archives Vol. 1 boxset, I don't know if that could be a factor or not.

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eriktorbjorn
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Post by eriktorbjorn » Sat Oct 29, 2011 9:36 pm

Megane67 wrote: I tried to test Sam and Max on DosBox as well but unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how to get the game to detect the Roland.
Does Sam & Max even have Roland music? I thought it was all General MIDI by then.

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LordHoto
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Post by LordHoto » Sat Oct 29, 2011 9:49 pm

eriktorbjorn wrote:
Megane67 wrote: I tried to test Sam and Max on DosBox as well but unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how to get the game to detect the Roland.
Does Sam & Max even have Roland music? I thought it was all General MIDI by then.
AFAIK it only features General MIDI.

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