Third party Windows audio driver for onboard RealTek audio?


A

Ant

Hello.

Is there a such thing? I seem to be having rare and random (not easy to
reproduce) problems with my current RealTek onboard audio even with old
and newest/latest audio RealTek audio drivers in my updated Windows
(32-bit XP Pro. SP3 and 64-bit 7 HPE). And yes, I tried using a

Thank you in advance. :)
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SC Tom

Ant said:
Hello.

Is there a such thing? I seem to be having rare and random (not easy to reproduce) problems with my current RealTek
onboard audio even with old and newest/latest audio RealTek audio drivers in my updated Windows (32-bit XP Pro. SP3
and 64-bit 7 HPE). And yes, I tried using a

Thank you in advance. :)
I had the best luck uninstalling ALL audio drivers, rebooting into BIOS, and disabling the onboard audio. Save and boot.
Then reboot into BIOS, re-enable the onboard audio, boot up, and install the latest RealTek/AC'97 drivers. You may have
an install problem, pointing to HDDAUD.SYS or some such program. If so, search for it on you PC- it's probably already
there. Once that's taken care of, the installation goes pretty smoothly.

That said, I haven't stayed with onboard audio for very long. It has always been flaky for me, no matter who made the
audio chip. It would be set up for 5.1 SS, and the next thing you know, it's now 2.0 or 2.1. Put it back to 5.1 and it
would stay there for a while, but as soon as I opened a game or something that didn't support 5.1, Windows (or the audio
driver setup) would put the speakers back to stereo and I would have to manually change them. I had a couple of Creative
Labs external USB cards that worked well, but the newer ones, not so much. I finally bought a Zalman RM-ZSSC V2 USB card
and am very happy with it. I get great surround sound out of it, and had no problems getting it to work right out of the
box.

http://www.epinions.com/review/Zalman_Tech_Zalman_RSA_Real_Surround_Sound_5_1_Ch_Amplifier_1/content_503714057860

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000E3B872/ref=asc_df_B000E3B8721788028?smid=A2YLYLTN75J8LR&tag=dealtmp3746-20&linkCode=asn&creative=395105&creativeASIN=B000E3B872

I know that's probably not the solution you're looking for, but barring getting the MB audio drivers to work, that's the
route I took :)
 
A

Ant

I had the best luck uninstalling ALL audio drivers, rebooting into BIOS,
and disabling the onboard audio. Save and boot. Then reboot into BIOS,
re-enable the onboard audio, boot up, and install the latest
RealTek/AC'97 drivers. You may have an install problem, pointing to
HDDAUD.SYS or some such program. If so, search for it on you PC- it's
probably already there. Once that's taken care of, the installation goes
pretty smoothly.
Interesting. I used to have an Creative SB Audigy 2 ZS sound card so I
uninstalled its driver, turned off PC, removed its sound card and swap
hardwares, rebooted, deleted left overs, installed the latest RealTek
drivers, rebooted, tested fine, etc. However, once in a while, my
computer would lock up hard with a stuck audio. :(

That said, I haven't stayed with onboard audio for very long. It has
always been flaky for me, no matter who made the audio chip. It would be
set up for 5.1 SS, and the next thing you know, it's now 2.0 or 2.1. Put
it back to 5.1 and it would stay there for a while, but as soon as I
opened a game or something that didn't support 5.1, Windows (or the
audio driver setup) would put the speakers back to stereo and I would
have to manually change them. I had a couple of Creative Labs external
USB cards that worked well, but the newer ones, not so much. I finally
bought a Zalman RM-ZSSC V2 USB card and am very happy with it. I get
great surround sound out of it, and had no problems getting it to work
right out of the box.

http://www.epinions.com/review/Zalman_Tech_Zalman_RSA_Real_Surround_Sound_5_1_Ch_Amplifier_1/content_503714057860


http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000E3B872/ref=asc_df_B000E3B8721788028?smid=A2YLYLTN75J8LR&tag=dealtmp3746-20&linkCode=asn&creative=395105&creativeASIN=B000E3B872


I know that's probably not the solution you're looking for, but barring
getting the MB audio drivers to work, that's the route I took :)
Ew, an USB external sound device? Isn't that like slow and annoying?
FYI, I only have 2.1 sound system. I do love bass though. I did notice
these onboard have crappy bass from my subwoofer compared to my Creative
Audigy 2 ZS sound card (old PCI -- don't have those slots). :(
--
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purposeless and then feebly die, so the creatures of Sauron, orc or
troll or beast spell-enslaved, ran hither and thither mindless; and some
slew themselves, or cast themselves in pits, or fled wailing back to
hide in holes and dark lightless places far from hope." --The Return of
the King (book)
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( ) If e-mailing, then axe ANT from its address if needed.
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P

pjp

SC Tom said:
I had the best luck uninstalling ALL audio drivers, rebooting into BIOS,
and disabling the onboard audio. Save and boot. Then reboot into BIOS,
re-enable the onboard audio, boot up, and install the latest RealTek/AC'97
drivers. You may have an install problem, pointing to HDDAUD.SYS or some
such program. If so, search for it on you PC- it's probably already there.
Once that's taken care of, the installation goes pretty smoothly.

That said, I haven't stayed with onboard audio for very long. It has
always been flaky for me, no matter who made the audio chip. It would be
set up for 5.1 SS, and the next thing you know, it's now 2.0 or 2.1. Put
it back to 5.1 and it would stay there for a while, but as soon as I
opened a game or something that didn't support 5.1, Windows (or the audio
driver setup) would put the speakers back to stereo and I would have to
manually change them. I had a couple of Creative Labs external USB cards
that worked well, but the newer ones, not so much. I finally bought a
Zalman RM-ZSSC V2 USB card and am very happy with it. I get great surround
sound out of it, and had no problems getting it to work right out of the
box.

http://www.epinions.com/review/Zalman_Tech_Zalman_RSA_Real_Surround_Sound_5_1_Ch_Amplifier_1/content_503714057860

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000E3B872/ref=asc_df_B000E3B8721788028?smid=A2YLYLTN75J8LR&tag=dealtmp3746-20&linkCode=asn&creative=395105&creativeASIN=B000E3B872

I know that's probably not the solution you're looking for, but barring
getting the MB audio drivers to work, that's the route I took :)

I concur. Onboard sound has always been lacking even on my current 7.1
system. Could not get it to work properly and the driver config program
didn't seem to offer much of anything (actually didn't seem to even have
one). Put in my old AOpen Cobra 850 and viola 5.1 back with both mic and
line inputs also working as expected (under Vista, no driver for 7 :()
 
S

SC Tom

Ant said:
Interesting. I used to have an Creative SB Audigy 2 ZS sound card so I uninstalled its driver, turned off PC, removed
its sound card and swap hardwares, rebooted, deleted left overs, installed the latest RealTek drivers, rebooted,
tested fine, etc. However, once in a while, my computer would lock up hard with a stuck audio. :(



Ew, an USB external sound device? Isn't that like slow and annoying? FYI, I only have 2.1 sound system. I do love bass
though. I did notice these onboard have crappy bass from my subwoofer compared to my Creative Audigy 2 ZS sound card
(old PCI -- don't have those slots). :(
No , it's not slow or annoying. It produces sound before I can actually do anything on the system, so it's ready before
Windows is, IYKWIM. I don't know what would make it annoying (?).

I have a 4.1 Cambridge FPS2000 speaker system connected to it, and the bass can be heard easily outside if I crank it up
that loud. At times, I have to compete with some of the cars driving by, and it has no problem doing that :) The Zalman
control panel allows a lot of different setups, up to and including 7.1 Digital Speaker Shifter (don't know what it is,
but it sounds good). I'm happy with it, much happier than I was with the onboard sound through the same speaker system.
 
A

Ant

No , it's not slow or annoying. It produces sound before I can actually
do anything on the system, so it's ready before Windows is, IYKWIM. I
don't know what would make it annoying (?).
USB = slow. No latencies? I assume it still uses analog connections for
speakers, headphones, etc.? Is it fully compatible in games and other
OSes like Linux (do pass my older boxes for other OSes)?

I have a 4.1 Cambridge FPS2000 speaker system connected to it, and the
bass can be heard easily outside if I crank it up that loud. At times, I
have to compete with some of the cars driving by, and it has no problem
doing that :) The Zalman control panel allows a lot of different
setups, up to and including 7.1 Digital Speaker Shifter (don't know what
it is, but it sounds good). I'm happy with it, much happier than I was
with the onboard sound through the same speaker system.
Interesting. Does it do EAX for older games?
--
/\___/\ Ant @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
/ /\ /\ \ Ant's Quality Foraged Links: http://aqfl.net
| |o o| |
\ _ / If crediting, then use Ant nickname and AQFL URL/link.
( ) If e-mailing, then axe ANT from its address if needed.
Ant is currently not listening to any songs on this computer.
 
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A

Ant

<snip>

Many musicians and pro/semi-pro recording studios use USB sound devices,
for example:

http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=products.family&ID=USBinterfaces
Interesting. Wouldn't there be latencies and stuff? USB isn't that fast.
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/\___/\ Ant @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
/ /\ /\ \ Ant's Quality Foraged Links: http://aqfl.net
| |o o| |
\ _ / If crediting, then use Ant nickname and AQFL URL/link.
( ) If e-mailing, then axe ANT from its address if needed.
Ant is currently not listening to any songs on this computer.
 
S

SC Tom

Ant said:
USB = slow. No latencies? I assume it still uses analog connections for speakers, headphones, etc.? Is it fully
compatible in games and other OSes like Linux (do pass my older boxes for other OSes)?



Interesting. Does it do EAX for older games?
There is no latency that I can detect. I have a couple of tennis games, and the racquet hits and bounces are synced
well. I've run games like Timeshock! (pinball game employing EAX), Far Cry, Bioshock, and the Call of Duty series
through MW2 with no slowness, latency or un-syncs.

I have it set up for analog output, but it also has an optical connection. My speaker system doesn't do optical, so I
haven't tested it.
 
S

SC Tom

pjp said:
I concur. Onboard sound has always been lacking even on my current 7.1 system. Could not get it to work properly and
the driver config program didn't seem to offer much of anything (actually didn't seem to even have one). Put in my old
AOpen Cobra 850 and viola 5.1 back with both mic and line inputs also working as expected (under Vista, no driver for
7 :()
Have you tried to install the Vista drivers on Win7 in compatibility mode? Always a chance it'll work then :) No
guarantees, but you never know.
 
P

pjp

Ant said:
Interesting. Wouldn't there be latencies and stuff? USB isn't that fast.
I don't have any USB output sound devices except midi keyboard and
electronic drums which don't exibit latency but then it's not expected (or
for my use required) with midi.

I also have a quality USB studio mic that I love. Excellent for recording
just about anything. That said, if I use the mic as input and give output to
the speakers, there is a slight but noticable lag, e.g. sounds like a very
short echo effect. I'm not sure what's involved in that but seems obvious
there's at least some type of translation going on between the mic's usb
input driver and converting it to analog before sending it to the sound card
for output.
 
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S

SC Tom

pjp said:
I don't have any USB output sound devices except midi keyboard and electronic drums which don't exibit latency but
then it's not expected (or for my use required) with midi.

I also have a quality USB studio mic that I love. Excellent for recording just about anything. That said, if I use the
mic as input and give output to the speakers, there is a slight but noticable lag, e.g. sounds like a very short echo
effect. I'm not sure what's involved in that but seems obvious there's at least some type of translation going on
between the mic's usb input driver and converting it to analog before sending it to the sound card for output.
Do you think maybe that's caused by feedback rather than latency in the mic? That's about the same effect I got from my
old (REALLY old) mic plugged into my amp (no USB involved there).
 
C

choro

I concur. Onboard sound has always been lacking even on my current 7.1
system. Could not get it to work properly and the driver config program
didn't seem to offer much of anything (actually didn't seem to even have
one). Put in my old AOpen Cobra 850 and viola 5.1 back with both mic and
line inputs also working as expected (under Vista, no driver for 7 :()
I've never understood why people need 7.1 sound systems. I certainly
have only two years and not eitht. So a Stereo system with a decent
amplifier and decent speakers is more than adequate for me as opposed to
eight run of the mill or even inferior speakers.

The sound will reverberate around a room and a good recording can create
that atmosphere which surround sound systems claim to create but do so
only in an artificial sounding way. What I hate most are the bass sounds
that come thumping to you with no definition of pitch.

The bane of modern feature films, surely! My blood boils when I hear
such artificial sounds!
-- choro
 
A

Ant

There is no latency that I can detect. I have a couple of tennis games,
and the racquet hits and bounces are synced well. I've run games like
Timeshock! (pinball game employing EAX), Far Cry, Bioshock, and the Call
of Duty series through MW2 with no slowness, latency or un-syncs.

I have it set up for analog output, but it also has an optical
connection. My speaker system doesn't do optical, so I haven't tested it.
Interesting. Do I assume they use power through USB? I am running out of
power outlets and already use too many strips. :(
--
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a bite to let you know that they are there. Apart from the bite, that
could describe a Basenji pretty well." --Len Reddie
/\___/\ Ant @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
/ /\ /\ \ Ant's Quality Foraged Links: http://aqfl.net
| |o o| |
\ _ / If crediting, then use Ant nickname and AQFL URL/link.
( ) If e-mailing, then axe ANT from its address if needed.
Ant is currently not listening to any songs on this computer.
 
P

pjp

SC Tom said:
Do you think maybe that's caused by feedback rather than latency in the
mic? That's about the same effect I got from my old (REALLY old) mic
plugged into my amp (no USB involved there).

Nope, old geezer here so experienced enough to guard against that and
unlikely when using headphones to listen :)
 
P

pjp

choro said:
I've never understood why people need 7.1 sound systems. I certainly have
only two years and not eitht. So a Stereo system with a decent amplifier
and decent speakers is more than adequate for me as opposed to eight run
of the mill or even inferior speakers.
I have to assume you are not a gamer. Nice to hear guy shooting at you is
behind you, nice to hear car coming up on your tail etc. etc. That said, I
also have a pretty nice stereo setup. Relatively old but quality gear (pro
rack mount stuff mostly) through quality speakers. I've found that over time
I do prefer running the "back" speakers also. It's not quad or surround but
it does add the overall room acoustics, e.g. makes more sweet spots in room
among other things.

What I really dislike is "tuned port" style speakers. Seems almost all pc
speakers are this kind of design. I hate the unrealistic "boominess". My own
pc is 5.1 setup using that style woofer. I much prefer running the stereo
line out from a 2nd pc I have into the stereo when listening to music. In
fact, that pc is specifically part of the stereo as it's also used to record
from stereo thru line in connection and it's also part of the tv side of
things as it also has tv-out (for watching avi files etc.) and video capture
(to record vcr tapes, 8mm etc. and what can't be ripped :) I figured out my
own methods to "stream" to device I want years ago :)
 
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SC Tom

Ant said:
Interesting. Do I assume they use power through USB? I am running out of
power outlets and already use too many strips. :(
Yes, it's USB powered.
 
A

Ant

Ew, an USB external sound device? Isn't that like slow and annoying?
Interesting. Wouldn't there be latencies and stuff? USB isn't that fast.
Also, how well does heavy multitasking like videos, recordings, computer
gaming, etc.?
--
"When you can't fight on and drop to die; you're just a big tasty feast
for the crows, ants, buzzards and flies." --unknown
/\___/\ Ant @ http://antfarm.ma.cx (Personal Web Site)
/ /\ /\ \ Ant's Quality Foraged Links: http://aqfl.net
| |o o| |
\ _ / If crediting, then use Ant nickname and AQFL URL/link.
( ) If e-mailing, then axe ANT from its address if needed.
Ant is currently not listening to any songs on this computer.
 
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P

Paul

Ant said:
Also, how well does heavy multitasking like videos, recordings, computer
gaming, etc.?
One USB audio product I looked at, used an ASIO driver (avoiding the
Windows Kmixer), and had latencies as low as 4 milliseconds. At
that level, a burp or fart in the software world, causes clicks and
pops in audio. More realistic latency settings in the software
control panel, gave better more consistent results. And that
was on an older OS as well.

USB itself, has "isochronous" support. That is, a means of providing
a constant bit rate service. It does that, using the 125 microsecond
framing derived from the USB clock. While USB is a polled protocol, it's
possible to reserve bandwidth for things.

"In the Universal Serial Bus used in computers, isochronous is one
of the four data flow types for USB devices (the others being Control,
Interrupt and Bulk). It is commonly used for streaming data types such
as video or audio sources."

At the OS level, various kinds of support exist, for prioritizing
when software executes. In Linux, PulseAudio runs some things at
RT or RealTime priority (and that fouls up miserably, within
Virtual PC 2007). Windows, in Task Manager, also has a priority
level called Real Time as well, but I can't vouch for whether the
feature works the same in Linux and Windows.

All the ingredients are there, to support anything you want, up to the
point you run into hardware related limitations.

Naturally, other system busses are more immediate, with much faster
transports. PCI Express for example, is packetized, and you might say
"well, that's no better than USB". But the difference is, the transport
can be a lot faster (500MB/sec transport on a x1 slot versus 60MB/sec
transport on USB2, plus the PCI Express is running full duplex). And
PCI Express devices can signal via interrupts, which may reduce the
traffic used by something like USB2 polling.

I like add-in cards myself, because they aren't dangling behind
the computer. That's a good reason right there.

Like any hardware, it's only good if you have drivers. You can
have the finest hardware, but without drivers it's useless. If
you use a lot of different OSes, then it pays to check you can
use your new device, in all of them. It's possible, with
USB audio, that there is enough of a "standard class", for the
OS to support basic operation with no additional software.

http://www.usb.org/developers/devclass_docs

Paul
 
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