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

23 Jan 2015   #11

Windows 7 Professional 64bit

Thanks man, I really appreciate it. Like you said, not that it really matters, but I'm gonna try attaching it again in this post.

Attached Thumbnails
Dolby Home Theater V4 only working with one program at a time-dolby.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2015   #12

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

Well, I experimented using two simultaneously running media player programs (PotPlayer and Windows Media Player), each playing its own HDTV clip video, one a slow Rachel ballad performance from Glee, and the other an upbeat rock musical number from SNL. Both musical selections have their own easy-to-recognize differences in rhythm and frequency, and can also be easily heard when they're both playing together. Very different patterns on the Dolby Home Theater spectrum analyzer graph.

And I'm playing sound out through the laptop speakers, not from the headphone jack. Properties have both "exclusive mode" checkboxes checked, so in theory if one app were to want to take over the speakers uniquely I believe it could.

I'd have to say that on my own Lenovo W530 it does appear that BOTH of the media apps are feeding Dolby Home Theater at the same time, no matter which window has the focus. It's not just the player with the focus whose music appears actively displayed in the Dolby Home Theater spectrum analyzer graph. It certainly looks (and sounds) as if DHT is being applied to BOTH at the same time.

Again, as best I can tell I do NOT detect any audible difference when playing both simultaneously and then pressing PAUSE on one or the other. The video allowed to continue sounds the same through the speakers, so it's not like DHT suddenly kicked in for that source whereas before that it was not active with MS audio previously handling that source while it was in the background. Same with the clues from the graph, which do appear to be the "sum" of two sources rather than one source or the other exclusively. The graph very definitely does not appear to be just one source or the other, whichever is in the foreground focus.

In other words, it looks like the implementation of Realtek plus DHT as provided by Lenovo does indeed provide the DHT audio enhancement to whatever one or more simultaneously sound sources are feeding it, all together rather than uniquely.

The drivers for the Realtek ALC3202 chip in my W530 show as Realtek (3/4/2014), although in theory this Lenovo-provided 7188 driver package version (which obviously also includes Dolby Home Theater) shows support for the W540 and not the W530. The actual "most current" version on the Lenovo site for the W530 is from 11/2013, but in fact I'm using the more recent 7188 version and it obviously works fine.

I'm thinking of suggesting you at least try using this Lenovo driver package on your Dell machine, first taking a "system image" backup so you can easily revert back to what you have if your experiment breaks something. I would normally never recommend this (certainly because the Realtek hardware chip in your Dell machine is not likely to be the same ALC3202 chip I have in my W530, and the Dell-certified driver installer package is almost certain to be correct for your machine whereas the Lenovo package is clearly intended for my Lenovo Thinkpad), but it might be an interesting experiment. I suspect there's clearly a common "universal" Realtek driver under the covers that supports virtually (if not entirely) all of their chips, with Dolby Home Theater added in. But there also might be some type of proprietary double-checks that prevents the licensed software from running on "foreign" hardware from another vendor.

Anyway, that's my story. You're certainly free to try that Lenovo 7188 audio installer file, although it very likely won't work on your Dell machine. Just be sure you have first taken a "system restore point", and also a "system image backup", just to ensure you can conveniently and reliably revert back to what you currently have in the event of total failure or other disaster.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2015   #13

Windows 7 Professional 64bit

You rock dude. Thank you for testing that out for me, at least now I know it SHOULD be able to work with all programs.

I'm going to do a lot of troubleshooting this weekend. I'm gonna try uninstalling and reinstalling my driver, try the Windows 8 version of the same driver. And if that doesn't work, I'll give your driver a go. All of this after a system image of course. I'm also gonna be flashing my bios to a newer version with Alienware's assistance (mine is A07, A10 is available on the driver page), I don't know if that would affect my sound, but it'll be good to do regardless. I'll come back and post my results.

But for now, just wanted to thank you and fireberd one more time for helping me.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

24 Jan 2015   #14

Windows 7 Professional 64bit

Okay, well the first thing I did has it working better. I went to Dell's driver page and got the correct driver for my system and ran the installer. I didn't uninstall the driver first, I let the installer do that for me. Now, while it's not working perfectly, it's working better than it was before. It will now enhance audio for 2 programs. So talking to my buddy in Teamspeak, I can listen to iTunes, or watch YouTube and have them both work, but not all 3.

The only instance I can see this being a problem, is when we're gaming. If we're playing a mellow game like Civilization V, or Age of Empires, I like to listen to music. So that's 3 programs: Teamspeak, iTunes, and whichever game we're playing. So one of those will sound low, and flat relative to the others.

dsperber, you've done more than enough for me thus far.. But if I could just ask one more favor of you bud. Could you try running 3 programs, and seeing if your Dolby is working for all 3? I would like to know if I still have some work to do, or if I just have to accept this Dolby software as is.

Let me know if you're feeling up to it. Either way, thanks for your time man.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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

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