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Windows 7: No surround sound in some games (Claro+ & Win7 x64 RTM)

16 Sep 2009   #1

Windows 7 build 7600 x64
No surround sound in some games (Claro+ & Win7 x64 RTM)


I've been a life-long Creative sound card user, and for the past couple years have been using an X-Fi XtremeGamer. However, their drivers are getting worse by the day and now that I'm using Windows 7 (no exp. w/ Vista), I've found Creative's drivers for this OS to be complete garbage and I don't see that changing.

So about a month ago I picked up an HT Omega Claro Plus. Overall I'm very happy with it, but there is one lingering problem I am having, and unfortunately it is a very important one to me.

I cannot get proper surround sound / positional audio in many games, and I'm not talking about just games that used the old DirectSound3D API which got scrapped in Vista. Some examples of games that don't work with proper sound include:

Half-Life 2 (Miles Sound System)
Unreal Tournament 2004 (OpenAL)
Unreal Tournament 3 (OpenAL)

And a couple that do work proper:
Half-Life 2 (Ep1 & Ep2) (yeah, wtf!?)
Bioshock (OpenAL)
Prototype (not sure what API)

I have a lot of other games too that I haven't bothered to install yet, but can for testing if needed.

Xear3D setup is as follows:
System Input: 8ch
DSPs: 7.1 Speaker Shifter
Analog Output: 6ch
Digital Output: Dolby Digital Live

I use a single optical connection to my AV receiver, however I have also tried going with the 3 cable analog while troubleshooting. I have tried many other Xear configs as well.

The problem is the same between all non-working games: Only front left and right speakers output sound, all other speakers are silent. No sounds are missing (e.g. the games are internally mixing in stereo). Half-Life 2 actually exposes a setting for number of speakers, but attempting to change it to 5.1 or 7.1 doesn't work. Looking at the console output, it shows it change to 5.1 but a moment later the subsystem forces it back to stereo.

An HT Omega CSR suggested trying to set System Input to 2ch. Oddly enough, this actually caused the non-working games to output on all channels, however it wasn't discrete multi-channel ouput, but rather some type of matrix output (even though no matrix DSP's were enabled in Xear3D).

After much googleing, I found that C-Media (the chipset maker) had developed a driver function called Xear3D EX, which is meant to deal with older API's and had reference drivers available for download, except of course for the CM8788, which is what the Claro uses. The ASUS Xonar cards are the only ones that support this feature and I have a sinking suspicion that no other CM8788 cards are going to get this support either because ASUS bought the rights to the chipset a while back.

Some people have tried hacking the Xonar D2 drivers to enable this on other CM8788 cards, which I have also tried. The hacked drivers install fine but function exactly the same as before, no more, no less.

I don't know that the Xear3D EX function is the answer to the problem, and I'd really hate to have to shell out another $150-$200 to find out.

So my question to you guys: Is there anyone here using a Claro on Windows 7 x64 RTM (aka build 7600) that has no problem getting discrete multi-channel sound in all their games? If so, could you kindly post some detailed configuration details for me to test (Xear3D settings & game setting).

I'd even like to hear if your also suffering from this problem, so I know it's not just me!

I appreciate any and all help! Thanks!

My System SpecsSystem Spec


 No surround sound in some games (Claro+ & Win7 x64 RTM)

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