- Audio card (chip if you have an integrated solution on your motherboard) is the component necessary to play or record sounds on your PC.
- The major producers in this field are Realtek, ASUSTeK, Conexant, Creative, SigmaTel/IDT/Tempo, VIA.
- AMD and Nvidia are also audio chip producers, since the arrival of HDMI outputs.
Types of Sound Cards
There are two types of sound cards that are generally used in Gaming PC builds i.e. Internal Sound Cards and External Sound cards. The first one sits on the motherboard right inside your pc case while the latter can be connected using a USB interface. There are advantages and disadvantages of sound cards  (both variants) which completely depend on the gaming requirements.
Internal Sound Cards
Most preferred among Gamers are the internal sound cards as they are connected directly to the motherboard using PCI/PCIe port. It does not require any extra interface in between. Internal Sound cards come in both 5.1 and 7.1 channel output. As compared to external sound cards, these are less expensive and efficient. Manufacturers like Asus, Creative, etc. are the most popular internal sound card brands.
External Sound Cards
These sound cards are very simple plug and play devices and installation is very easy, unlike internal sound cards. They use a USB 2.0 interface to be connected to the PC. Both 5.1 and 7.1 channel options are available in external sound cards. The issue with an external sound card is that they have latency associated with them to an extent.
Set up OpenAL
- ADI, Creative and nForce are already ready out of the box
- Make sure to be running latest libraries. Deleting
wrap_oal.dllin games shipping with ancient ones is recommended.
- Default Windows output device name must match OAL device one for native implementations to work, DS3D based "Generic Hardware" fallback will be used otherwise (if available)
|Enable Game eXtensions|
Creative (X-Fi Titanium Cards)
|Windows 7/8: install driver 2.17.0008C|
|Windows 10+: Use xfitssfix|
Custom quality wrapper for OpenAL games. Among various 3D techniques, provides also its own HRTF tables.
XAudio2 only allows stereo on Dolby Digital Live
|Use the XAudio2 Dolby Digital Live patcher|
Restore legacy audio effects on newer OS
DirectSound hardware path
- Starting with Windows Vista and its new audio stack, DirectSound applications are rendered entirely in a user-mode software audio session
- Most games developed in the preceding decade will experience problems going from the simple lack of EAX effects to the complete demotion to stereophony
|Enable Game eXtensions|
|Use Creative ALchemy|
|Use 3D SoundBack|
- Lists of Aureal 3-Dimensional enabled games can be found here and here.
- A3D 1.0 is supported out of the box by C-Media based boards (via Xear3D), X-Fi and older Creative based devices and older VIA drivers.
|Use DirectSound3D wrapper|
- Internal & External Sound Cards for Gaming Glinkster
- Enumeration with OpenAL on Windows - OpenAL (retrieved)
- Xonar best audio settings guide
- X-Fi Titanium: OpenAL cuts outs on games with newer drivers (2.40+) - Problem might have been found | Creative Discussion Forum (retrieved)
- Will OpenAL ever be fixed on the Titanium cards? : SoundBlasterOfficial - Reddit
- SS2 Headphones Sound Upgrade
- Driver isn't the default with ALC_ENUMERATION_EXT · kcat/openal-soft - GitHub
- Surround sound - Steam Users' Forums (retrieved)
- Audio in Windows Vista - Creative Labs Discussion Forums (retrieved)
- Restoring surround sound to Deus Ex and other games - should I get Sound Blaster MB3? • VOGONS
- indirect sound • VOGONS
- [RELz] Restoring Surround Sound and EAX
- ALchemy - Creative Labs: Connect (retrieved)
- Games only work if Game Mode is selec - Creative Discussion Forum
- C-Media’s Xear3D EX Takes Audio to the next level for Windows Vista | C-Media Electronics (retrieved)
- Inside the Sound Blaster Live! - ALive! (retrieved) and verified by Mirh
- A3D for Windows XP | Pro-HL.com (retrieved)
- Anybody who didn't upgrade his HL since last year? - Steam Users' Forums (retrieved)
- Sound Fix in DarkEngine games
- Bringing Back Aureal3d Audio?