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Windows 7: Dolby Home Theater V4 only working with one program at a time

20 Jan 2015   #1
HellOnWheels357

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 
Dolby Home Theater V4 only working with one program at a time

I recently received the new Alienware 18 with Windows 8.1. Not liking that OS I installed Windows 7 Professional. I downloaded all the appropriate drivers from Dell's website for my specific computer. For sound I was given Realtek HD audio with Dolby Home Theater v4. I like the program well enough, but I'm having some issues. As the title says, Dolby only works for 1 program at a time. Say I'm listening to iTunes, Dolby will work with it, but if I open up Teamspeak, it continues to work for iTunes but not Teamspeak. If I was to pause iTunes and my friend started talking in Teamspeak, Dolby will switch to Teamspeak and everything else (iTunes, games, YouTube) will go on using default audio. With my Alienware m18x I had previous to this, I had IDT Audio. I miss that software, it would work with everything at the same time.

Things I've tried:
1. Going into sound options/speaker properties/advanced/ and disabling "Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device."
2. Updated LAN driver (someone in another forum said it fixed it for them)
3. I have a Realtek driver downloaded from their website, I haven't installed it yet because after reading their disclaimer, I am under the impression that Dolby is not included.

So if y'all have any ideas, please let me know. Thank you.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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21 Jan 2015   #2
fireberd

Windows 10 64 bit
 
 

Sounds like the way it should work? Dell has a special forum section, on their forum, just for Alienware users. May want to post there.

Alienware Club - Dell Community
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jan 2015   #3
HellOnWheels357

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Thank you for the information. I'll post it there too. I hope that's not the case, as I said the IDT audio worked for everything. I'm hoping there is a way to make Dolby work the same.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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21 Jan 2015   #4
fireberd

Windows 10 64 bit
 
 

The Dolby is just a software enhancement to the RealTek. Its not a different sound driver.
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21 Jan 2015   #5
HellOnWheels357

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

I know, I was just saying IDT would run everything, not one thing at a time. Could I run IDT with Realtek?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jan 2015   #6
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by HellOnWheels357 View Post
I know, I was just saying IDT would run everything, not one thing at a time. Could I run IDT with Realtek?
The IDT software supports the IDT high definition audio CODEC chip, not the Realtek audio chip.

Some HP machines (e.g. DM4 Beats editions, Pavillion DV7, etc.) have the IDT hardware and associated Beats software. Apparently your Alien ware18 has the Realtek hardware and Dolby Home Theater software. These are two "packages", and you can't just decide to use arbitrary drivers/software for the other hardware.

Note that the IDT hardware/drivers/software is not entirely "problem-free". Another thread regarding a DM4 with Beats complains about "cross-channel effects" where it's impossible to disable the "virtual surround", in order to hear "pure L/R stereo through headphones". The solution was actually to completely uninstall the IDT/Beats drivers/software and force things back to the vanilla generic MS audio drivers that kind of works acceptably with all sound hardware. In this case, it did produce acceptable sound quality not only from headphones but also through the laptop speakers. In particular, there was now zero "effects" which had been the case with the IDT drivers and Beats software, which made that poster very happy.

You're right that if you try to install the retail Realtek drivers from their site, you will NOT get the Dolby Home Theater software. That is packaged by Dell in its own audio driver download file. Lenovo does the same thing, which is why I have the Lenovo-provided audio driver/software running on my W530 laptop and did not install the newer Realtek-provided driver-only. By the way, I've never noticed this one-app-only Dolby symptom you describe, but then I normally am only running one app at a time that produces sound that I'm listening to (e.g. HGO-Go, Showtime Anytime, Netflix, Windows Media Center playing WTV HDTV program recordings, etc.) and listening through headphones while watching the video content. I only want to watch one thing at a time and listen to its associated audio.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jan 2015   #7
HellOnWheels357

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Thank you for the response, you answered a lot of my questions. I posted my problem on the Alienware forums that Fireberd provided, and sent it in an email to Dolby, but haven't received a response to either. You think you might be able to do me a solid when you have the time? Could you try running 2 programs that deliver sound and see if Dolby is working for both? I would like to troubleshoot if I'm alone in this problem, or if that is indeed how Dolby is designed to work. It would be much appreciated. But either way, thank you for the insight.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jan 2015   #8
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by HellOnWheels357 View Post
You think you might be able to do me a solid when you have the time? Could you try running 2 programs that deliver sound and see if Dolby is working for both? I would like to troubleshoot if I'm alone in this problem, or if that is indeed how Dolby is designed to work. It would be much appreciated. But either way, thank you for the insight.
Well, I certainly can use my own Lenovo W530 to see if I can duplicate your symptom. As I mentioned above, the W530 has a Realtek audio chip and the Lenovo-provided driver/software includes Dolby Home Theater v4, which I have installed. I have not updated audio drivers to the latest Realtek version so that I can retain Dolby Home Theater which only comes through Lenovo. So it sounds like your Alienware machine setup.

However I tried re-rereading your original post and can't quite understand what your test situation actually is:
As the title says, Dolby only works for 1 program at a time. Say I'm listening to iTunes, Dolby will work with it, but if I open up Teamspeak, it continues to work for iTunes but not Teamspeak. If I was to pause iTunes and my friend started talking in Teamspeak, Dolby will switch to Teamspeak and everything else (iTunes, games, YouTube) will go on using default audio.
If you bring a different app to the foreground and give it focus (e.g. going from playing something in iTunes to having a different sound-producing app in the foreground), what exactly do you expect to be able to hear that you're not hearing? If a "talking" app produces simple L/R-stereo audio at best, whereas a media-player proram might produce multi-channel audio, why is it incorrect for the Dolby software to be processing on the app in the foreground (which has the focus)?

And if instead you leave a "paused" app in the foreground but it still has focus, and there's another sound-producing app running in the background, why wouldn't you expect the audio software to be still concentrating on the foreground app with focus (which just happens to be not producing sound at the moment), with Windows itself handling "background app audio"?

Other than Windows actually being technically able to possibly be allowed to simultaneously direct audio streams from multiple apps through the sound card (and why wouldn't simply getting default vanilla non-Dolby handling of that situation be the right thing to expect, since it's not actually a straightforward stereo or multi-channel audio stream, but an incomprehensible hodgepodge of who knows how many completely unrelated streams of audio data?), why wouldn't going with the default audio setting of allowing an app to take exclusive control over the sound configuration not be what you would always want... so that you DON'T get multiple nonsense streams all coming out of your speakers/headphones at one time?

In other words, why is the standard hardware properties wrong?



If I were watching/listening something which has the focus, I honestly don't think I'd want it disturbed by "bleeding in" from other simultaneously running audio apps? But if it did bleed in, why would handling it with non-Dolby audio processing from vanilla Windows be the wrong thing to do?


So, please describe a setup you'd want me to try out for myself. And what is it that you see or hear that tells you what you're hearing is NOT what you want to hear? How can you tell Dolby is or is not working from your TeamSpeak app... does the app have focus or not? Did you just pause iTunes playing something but it still has focus, and also you're getting sound from TeamSpeak?

Please be specific in telling me what is the setup you want me to test.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jan 2015   #9
HellOnWheels357

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Okay, I'm gonna try to get to all your questions. Please let me know if I didn't address them all. First off, I attached an image of my Dolby profile. I'm somewhat of a bass freak. So I made a profile for max bass. But it also increases the clarity, and overall volume of the sound. This is one of the ways I can tell Dolby is only working with one program at a time. Teamspeak is loud and clear, iTunes is flat, and quiet. The other way I can tell is when I have Dolby open (the attached picture) I watch the graph move while listening to my friend talk, and I have iTunes going. The bars only move with his voice, and not with the rhythm of the song playing.

And this brings me back to my point about IDT. It would enhance the sound of everything playing at once, if I was so inclined to have Teamspeak, iTunes, and YouTube running at the same time (like some kind of crazy person) it would enhance them all. I disabled the option for letting programs take exclusive control to try and get this same effect from Dolby, thinking that one of the programs is taking control, and not letting the others work simultaneously. But it works this way whether that box is checked or not.

So I was hoping you could bring up your Dolby profile (it can be found in the start menu) run two sound programs, and watching the graph and see if it is enhancing the sound for both.

Another thing I've noticed that leads me to believe my sound is not working correctly is notification noises I get for emails, Steam, or Windows don't play fully. The "ding" noise is distorted, and doesn't play correctly. Again, I hope I answered all of your questions. Let me know if I missed anything.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2015   #10
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by HellOnWheels357 View Post
I hope I answered all of your questions. Let me know if I missed anything.
I think you've given me enough to experiment.

Not that it really matters, but your attempt to attach a screenshot of your Dolby profile failed. Your post has no attachments.

I'll let you know what happens when I play with multiple audio apps running simultaneously on my W530, and whether the Dolby spectrum analyzer displays audio from them all at one time, or just from one.
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 Dolby Home Theater V4 only working with one program at a time




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