Audio Improvements in Windows Vista

Audio Improvements in Windows Vista

  • Comments 50
  • Likes

A few weeks ago I wrote about the new sounds of Windows Vista and I made the point that sound is an important component of your experience using a Windows PC.  As important as the new sounds are as an interface to the Windows UI, of equal importance is the system infrastructure that enables you to control and enjoy those sounds.

I personally use a Windows PC in three ways:  1) at work or at home for productivity, 2) at home (and when I travel) to enjoy media including music, videos and photos, and 3) at home in my recording studio (long story, but the short version is that my mom was glad when I got a real job with this computer science stuff).  In all of these situations, having great control over the sounds on a Windows PC is important and prior to Windows Vista it was harder to do.

Imagine you are on a plane writing a document or reading email using Microsoft Office while listening to music stored on your laptop using Windows Media Player.  You are listening to your favorite tunes at high volume and suddenly you make a mistake which causes Windows to give you an error sound.  On Windows XP, there wasn’t really much you could do about it since there was a single volume control for all sounds generated on the PC -- whether they came from Microsoft Word or Windows Media Player.  This is just not a problem on Windows Vista because we have replaced the old Volume Control with the new Volume Mixer.  To bring up the Volume Mixer, click on the "speaker" icon in the right side of the tray and select "Mixer," and you will not only see the master volume control for each output device, but also a volume control for each software application -- in this case each application is treated as its own input.  The best part is that you can mute the sounds from each application to suit your needs.

While we have made many improvements in Windows Media Center for Windows Vista, these new capabilities become really compelling with great support for high-end audio.  So, in addition to making it easier to manage sound in the productivity scenarios, we have also introduced new audio functionality including features and performance that you typically get in a high-end audio/visual receiver, including Room Correction and Bass Management.  Together, these new capabilities make Windows the platform for enjoying digital content -- whether you are doing it on a laptop or desktop, in your living room or in your home theater.  With these improvements, a PC running Windows Vista with the appropriate sound hardware is the best integrated source of high-end audio and visual content.  Here’s why.

Have you ever been watching TV and suddenly an ad comes on that is much louder than the show you were watching?  Or, have you ever been listening to the radio and then switched to a CD and had everything get much quieter?  The reason for this is that while most audio devices allow you to control the volume of the source, they do not allow you to control its dynamic range.  Additionally, most dynamic range solutions in use today aim to maintain a constant signal level, but what your ears perceive is loudness.  So for Windows Vista, we added Loudness Equalization which uses an understanding of human hearing to reduce perceived volume differences. The result is that when you change audio sources, the level of loudness that you hear remains much more constant.  Some receivers have this feature today, but if you make Windows Vista the source for your digital content in your living room or home theater, you will "just get it" in software, regardless of the capabilities of your A/V receiver.

Windows Vista also includes capabilities to help you get the most of your sound system as well.  For example, if you have a high-end multi-channel speaker setup with front and rear channels, a center channel and a sub-woofer, Windows Vista's Speaker Fill feature can be configured to take a standard 2-channel (stereo) source (e.g., a typical music CD) and create a virtual multi-channel experience to help you get the most of your loudspeaker investment.  The opposite is also true -- if you don’t have a sub-woofer, a feature called Bass Management can be used to redirect the subwoofer signal to the main speakers.  Or, if you are missing a center channel (or maybe you only have the front three channels), a feature called Channel Phantoming allows you to make best use of the speakers that you have.

Whether you have a multi-channel or stereo sound system in your home theater or living room, Windows Vista also includes the ability to calibrate your speakers for your room.  By placing a microphone where you plan to sit and then running a wizard that measures the room response, Windows Vista can automatically set the levels, delay and frequency balance for each channel accordingly for this position.

Finally, back to my airplane example.  We know that a lot of people enjoy music, movies and TV on their PCs using headphones.  With Windows Vista we have added the ability to have surround sound using a new feature called Headphone Virtualization, which uses a technology known as Head-Related Transfer Functions or HRTF.  Essentially the system uses information about the physics of your head to create an outside-of-the-head experience.  As a result, in addition to hearing the normal sensation of left-to-right sound separation, Windows Vista can also enable the user to differentiate between front and rear sounds as well as close and far sounds.  Pretty cool, huh?

The best part of all of this is that you don’t have to be an audio engineer to use this (although I bet a lot of audio engineers will like it).  Instead, it's all very accessible using the new audio control panel in Windows Vista.  You have to have the right hardware for the enhancements to show up, but a lot of new machines will come with the right stuff.

While in the past, Windows PC and Windows Media Centers were thought primarily as a single source of audio content, with the enhancements in Windows Vista, my expectation is that Windows will become more of an integrated source of content if not more of the receiver/pre-amp in more sophisticated systems -- and, of course, a better way to simply enjoy content on desktop and laptop systems.

I know I can hear the difference.

jim

50 Comments
You must be logged in to comment. Sign in or Join Now
  • Mobile
    28 Posts

    well jimall you have shared a very vital info with us! i appreciate it.

  • Are you going to fix speaker fill at least in W7. Vista speaker fill just simple doesn't work at all ..... rear speakers are dissorted. This is common problem, discussed all over the internet, so I'm wondering if W7 will fix it, unsless speaker fill is just useless and annoying feature ......

  • BarryD
    1 Posts

    This really does need to be addressed. The problem is not the new features, the problem is the control that Windows Vista takes AWAY from the user.

    I'm not even a music professional and I've already run into several disadvantages Vista sound has over XP.  The lack of separate MIDI control as an option is a glaring problem.  I have a program I use that has MIDI music control and normal sound control.  Under XP it works, but under Vista vista tries to "help" by making the MIDI control under the program control ALL volume from the program.  That means if the program turns down the volume, it in effect mutes the entire program, and as far as I can see there's no way to fix it other than by running on XP.

    Another problem relates to lack of control over inputs.  I want my input to play through the speakers, but I see no way to do this.  On XP I'd sometimes hook video games up to the computer to play while others use the TV set.  Now, while I've gotten the display to work through a Nero program (not the ideal solution but it works), I can't tell windows to play the audio coming through the capture device because it's listed as a recording device.  The "convenience" has taken control away from me, the user.  While such new features are good, they shouldn't be at the expense of user control.

    Somewhat unrelated, Windows Media Center suffers from the same problem.  There's no option to turn off live pausing, so it's constantly wasting resources even if I don't plan to use it, and that feature lacking an ability to disable it means it lags video games.  Moreover, there seems to be NO option to simply display the signal from multimedia inputs on the computer without setting up TV.  I can see the Wii's input in the preview when saying it's a "set top box" but Media Center refuses to let me continue without an infrared hookup.

    Windows Vista has many ideas, but too many are implemented without the option for the user to disable them, and in many cases they are a downgrade from XP in the experience for many users.  Hopefully these issues will be corrected.

  • Markp
    2 Posts

    so, I talked to Sony Vaio and they say:

    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

    Dear Mr Priestley,

    We just got a response from our head engineers.

    The Stereo Mix is not available as a recording source on VAIO computers pre-installed with Windows Vista. This is by design as part of an intentional design by Windows Vista.

    I am very sorry that we cannot help you any further with this request.

    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

    now... I have to say that is not strictly true. My previous Vista pre-installed laptop (an Acer) worked absolutely fine, and every other make of Vista pre-installed latop I have now tested also has this functionality. It does appear to be an intentional design in Vista to mask the sound card by creating it as a 'hidden' audio device but it is wrong for Sony to blame Vista for disabling it completely, rendering most professional and hobby music prodcution sofware unusable.

    I would have thought the Vista audio team might have something to say to Sony about this accusation?

    Unfortunately I'll have to cut my losses and go back to Acer or another manufacturer before I can use my music production software. So, if anyone wants to buy a nice shiny Vaio...!

  • Markp
    2 Posts

    What can I say that hundreds of others haven't said already. I'm just apoplectic about this. So many of us have wasted time and money on 'advancements' that now render our primary tools useless. What makes it even worse is that I have discovered the soundcard output has been deliberately disabled by Sony in my new VAIO laptops and there is no way to enable it (e.g. as a recording device). Or has someone discovered a way to do this?

  • Like many others in this forum such as Richard Moulton the loss of middi mapper, lack of midi out device control and the loss of Direct Sound hardware layer control (i.e. loss of EAX effects in games) has made me, and apparently thousands of other gamers & musicians worldwide, uninstall Vista and revert to XP. I can only say this to Microsoft, please type in "Midi + Vista forums" into any search engine and view the results. I can live without EAX, but not midi mapper. It is the heart & soul of my home midi music setup. Please try and incorporate a fix into Vista SP1 and I, and those many other thousands of musicians worldwide, would probably consider re-installing Vista. At the moment my copy of Vista Ultimate sits on my home office shelf and it looks kinda pretty being all black and all that.

  • Oh, and before I forget, I know Microsoft is huge, but with power comes responsibility. I tried going back to XP only to discover that such is the influence that Bill Gates wields, several crucial hardware devices on this laptop are not compatible with XP. Seems you guys have put the arm on manufacturers so they'll only market systems with Vista compatibility. A friend just bought an ASUS machine and discovered the same problem. I'm seriously thinking of going open source.  

  • I agree wholeheartedly with many of the above comments. I'm not a sound tech, I don't need expensive equipment or fancy audio gear, I just want to be able to join my friends in online music communities and sing songs with a decent sound mixer that enables voice and backing tracks using a variety of formats, just as I've been doing for years using MS o/s's. Now, half my midi files have no sound or just play a beat, I can't adjust input from different sources, I can't mix voice and music together, several players seem to have reduced functionality or won't work at all in Vista. Add that to the general inability of Vista to provide compatibility for playing games and the expensive investment I made in this new HP Pavilion dv6500 notebook supposedly built for multimedia and games is looking like money down the pan!! And don't get me started on the paranoia of Vista's security system. If I start an application I don't expect the 3rd degree before it will run!!....Why would you guys mess with stuff before asking US what WE want???? Don't you consult your market before driving us all insane?

  • I need to output to multiple playback devices simultaneously, but it appears--unbelievably--that I cannot on Vista. Is this for real?

  • hi i got so feed up with vista and it's crappy audio i removed it and re-installed XP, i am a musician and i am so disappointed with vista after all the hype it turned out to be a downer, the basic lack of midi control in vista sux & it's a complete rip off, i really need DAW & 3D direct sound and the ability to select which audio device is responcable for the playback of midi, when if ever ms address these issue's let me know i will reinstall it but until then tell bill vista sux i worked with the vista team to help correct with my issue with irratic midi playback, thier is no work around, no hotfix, vista team solution to dual boot my system but really what's the point in that it's a waste of space just like vista. fix it      

  • I have the oposite problem to Jonathan. I want to play the line in through my speakers but I have no way to do it. I know I should use the "levels" tab in the playback devices window but it only has one slider, and it's not for line in. Any ideas? Is there some kind of software/driver package I can install?

  • Jonathan, please try these steps and see if this works for you.

    1. Right-click on the speaker icon in the taskbar.

    2. Go to "Recording Devices".

    3. Double click on your microphone.

    4. Go to the "Levels" tab.

    5. Click the blue speaker icon next to the level adjustment. This should mute your mic.

    Does this work?

    If this does not work - I recommend attempting to update your audio driver. I had a audio driver that needed to be updated and was preventing me full control of my audio devices such as my mic.

    Try that and let me know.

    - Brandon

  • Just as a follow-up, I'm Running Vista Home Premium on a Sony Vaio laptop with SigmaTel sound hardware. Going into the recording devices dialog and changing the microphone level had no effect. I tried disabling the microphone, and all that did was remove it from the device list; it is still on.

  • The new mixer design is absolutely stupid. OK, it's nice that you can control wave output volume on a per-app basis, but who is the retard that decided we don't need control of the various INPUTs any more? My microphone is stuck on and I can't mute it from playing back through my speakers, which means that when I'm listening to iTunes and am typing, I get to hear my hand brushing against my laptop case and every key click and all of the ambient room noise along with my music. And I can't mute the mic or even adjust its volume level at all. I'd rather have the mixer the way it was from 98 to XP, where you could adjust line-in vs mic volume levels and mute things you didn't want to here. Vista's "mixer" is overall a huge dumbed-down stupid step backwards.

  • dlowrey
    1 Posts

    Jim

    I read your post on Audio improvements with interest.  However, i gotta tell you that your view, although well meaning, is incrediably arrogant and HUA.

    I have Vista Ultimate.  In terms of recording audio, Vista represents a really big step backwards. Space doesn't permit a detailed critique.  Here are the main points.

    - Only 1 recording source permitted.

    - not user friendly.

    - as noted above, stuff that worked in XP is crippled, missing or didn't require buying a more expensive version of the OS.

    - None, NONE of my expensive audio equipment works correctly with VISTA.  Repeat NONE.

    - DEL

  • Hi! This is a problem with the sound recorder. I can't seem to save in any other format but.wma. Is there a solution to save in other formats?

  • Retron
    1 Posts

    I've just installed Vista and Virtual Sound Canvas (after forcing it to start with Administrator rights and under XP SP2 compatibility mode).

    However, MIDIs played back via the MS software synth and with no MIDI mapper in sight I was stuck (and Googling found this page).

    However, MIDI mapper *is* still part of Vista - midimap.dll seems unchanged from the XP version.

    In my case, I installed VSC on a different PC, still running XP, then set it as the default synth via the control panel.

    Then I used Regedit and saved the following keys to disk:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Multimedia\MIDIMap

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Midimap

    I then imported them into Vista and voila, the VSC is now the defauly synth.

    Talk about jumping through hoops though, if the functionality's still there behind the scenes it seems daft to remove access to it!

  • I'm missing my MIDI mapper sourly as well. The native Vista drivers for the Realtek AC'97 do no support connector sensing, so I'm forced to use the terrible ones supplied by Asus, adding insult to injury.

  • lordzagato was complaining about some audio glitch at the end of every song on his XPSM1210?

    I have the exact same problem on the exact same laptop...and turning off those "Audio Enhancements" gets rid of the glitch.

    Ironic, eh?

  • WB1
    1 Posts

    I have to agree with insx.  Midi mapper is the function you could access in previous versions of Windows, in Control Panel, Multimedia, then the Midi tab, then you could click 'Custom configuration' under 'Midi output' to route specific channels to specific ports, modules, etc.

    The omission of the midi mapper function in Vista now instantly makes many midi sequencers and player software obsolete that don't have their own internal midi channel mapper.

  • insx
    1 Posts

    I upgraded my laptop to Vista. I was shocked that the midi mapper had gone. I have gone back to XP. I use a software synth to make midi files sound better from any application (including the ones that don't allow selection of a midi source). In Vista, I'm stuffed!

  • Nick_
    1 Posts

    I'm experiencing a rather weird and annoying bug with my Vista sound - I don't know if the problem is due to the sound card driver or the Vista installation.

    The problem I have is that some applications don't make any sound, but others do.

    Winamp and Windows Media Player - no problem

    Internet Explorer, Gmail Notifier and Firefox etc - no sound

    No-one on the internet seems to have the same problem, so I'd appreciate any pointers! Is there a way to reset all the application-specific sound settings? The volume control mixer simply doesn't show the applications that aren't making sound, even when they're supposedly making noise.

    My computer is a Panasonic T5 notebook, and the   driver is SigmaTel High Definition Audio CODEC downloaded from Panasonic. Driver version is 6.10.5290.0 from 22nd November 2006.

    I've uninstalled the drivers, tried alternatives but all to no affect. All enhancements have been disabled. If I go to Control Panel and "Manage Audio Devices", I can click on the speakers - all of the test buttons work. BUT (and here's the really weird part), if I click on the "Sounds" tab on the Sound window (where the sound schemes can be selected), the test button doesn't work. Playing the same wav file in WMP works fine.

    Has anyone experienced anything similar, and can anyone suggest what may be wrong?

  • Nick_
    1 Posts

    I'm experiencing a rather weird and annoying bug with my Vista sound - I don't know if the problem is due to the sound card driver or the Vista installation.

    The problem I have is that some applications don't make any sound, but others do.

    Winamp and Windows Media Player - no problem

    Internet Explorer, Gmail Notifier and Firefox etc - no sound

    No-one on the internet seems to have the same problem, so I'd appreciate any pointers! Is there a way to reset all the application-specific sound settings? The volume control mixer simply doesn't show the applications that aren't making sound, even when they're supposedly making noise.

    My computer is a Panasonic T5 notebook, and the   driver is SigmaTel High Definition Audio CODEC downloaded from Panasonic. Driver version is 6.10.5290.0 from 22nd November 2006.

    I've uninstalled the drivers, tried alternatives but all to no affect. All enhancements have been disabled. If I go to Control Panel and "Manage Audio Devices", I can click on the speakers - all of the test buttons work. BUT (and here's the really weird part), if I click on the "Sounds" tab on the Sound window (where the sound schemes can be selected), the test button doesn't work. Playing the same wav file in WMP works fine.

    Has anyone experienced anything similar, and can anyone suggest what may be wrong? Feel free to email or comment below!

  • Nick_
    1 Posts

    I'm experiencing a rather weird and annoying bug with my Vista sound - I don't know if the problem is due to the sound card driver or the Vista installation.

    The problem I have is that some applications don't make any sound, but others do.

    Winamp and Windows Media Player - no problem

    Internet Explorer, Gmail Notifier and Firefox etc - no sound

    No-one on the internet seems to have the same problem, so I'd appreciate any pointers! Is there a way to reset all the application-specific sound settings? The volume control mixer simply doesn't show the applications that aren't making sound, even when they're supposedly making noise.

    My computer is a Panasonic T5 notebook, and the   driver is SigmaTel High Definition Audio CODEC downloaded from Panasonic. Driver version is 6.10.5290.0 from 22nd November 2006.

    I've uninstalled the drivers, tried alternatives but all to no affect. All enhancements have been disabled. If I go to Control Panel and "Manage Audio Devices", I can click on the speakers - all of the test buttons work. BUT (and here's the really weird part), if I click on the "Sounds" tab on the Sound window (where the sound schemes can be selected), the test button doesn't work. Playing the same wav file in WMP works fine.

    Has anyone experienced anything similar, and can anyone suggest what may be wrong? Feel free to email or comment below!

  • Nick White
    1204 Posts

    Hey lordzagato / Chris:  this question is better addressed by someone on the public newsgroups dedicated to Windows Vista -- give a try there.

  • Jim,

    I always have a glitch whenever media player approaches near the end of a song and the next one is about to load. my music is in another partition, is this a factor? i'm running a dell xps m1210 and i think 2 GB RAM is adequate. I don't have problems with video playback, only with audio both in media center and media player. I have cyberlink DVD 6 installed, is this a factor? Thanks.

    Chris

  • > Posted by Sassen

    "Its all seems very complex and confusing."

    "A Mac has two keys on the keyboard to adjust the volume."

    "Volume down and Volume up. Simple"

    Hey Ssassen -

    We have that too, and always have. Single click on the speaker in the systsem tray, and you can set the device volume very easily.

    We also built 'metering' into this simple control so you can also see if there is 'activity' in the device and adjust external hardware controls if you see activity but don't hear anything.   I received email from a very smart Microsoft PM today whose external hardware volume was muted, so there was no sound -- the metering activity was there, so in five seconds, the problem was solved.   Without metering, we both would have been guessing about what was wrong with the system.

    All of the UI shown above is a reflection of sthe fact that Windows machines are used in millions of different ways, in homes, living rooms, recording studios, in businesses large and small, on trains, planes, and in more situations than we can even imagine.

    These advanced 'enhancements' provide a level of detail and control so that both novices and  audiophiles can personalize their systems to make them sound great.

    And my definition of 'sounds great' may be different than yours.

    While this UI enables powerful personalization, it is also intentionally 'buried' fairly deeply in the OS so you don't have to ever see it if all you ever wish to do is turn your sound up or down.

    -Steve

  • Hey matthiasg - what build are you running, and what is your hardware config?  

    I'd like to find out more specifics about  your system and audio hardwsare before speculating about what is going on here.  

    The Volume Mixer should be displaying a slider for every application that is currently playing audio - we know of very few bugs in this code, so if you've really found one, we'd love to hear about it.    

    Perhaps we could exchange more details directly via email to get to the bottom of the issues you are seeing?  

    -Steve Ball

    PS - regarding your glitching, this is likely an interaction with a poorly written device driver which is tying up system resources in a way that even our new Glitch Resilience service cannot deal with.  

    There are a number of legacy devices that can hog resources and can cause audio glitches under heavy loads even though we've made huge improvements in resource management in Windows Vista.  

  • i found the mixer to bee quite cool, but sadly it does not work all the time. right now i got windows media player playing a cd and a flash movie playing in ie7 (with sound) and the mixer shows the overall device sound level (the small bar that moves up and down) but shows neither the bar for media player nor ie7. adjusting their respetive volumes works fine though.

    also i still have glitches in playback (robot sound) every once in a while during high load (high load being a huge file copy to a usb stick!).

    what is going on here ?

  • grbdlc
    1 Posts

    when run the line-out from my turn table mixer into the line-in of my computer, the audio will record into music editing programs but is not audible otherwise. this worked fine on my old xp system. is there some setting i need to change to fix this?

  • I'l wait and see what happens under a serious load :)

  • jahman
    1 Posts

    Jim,

    I see lots of bells and whistles in Vista for *consumer* audio, but what about *pro* audio, as in recording engineers?

    Today like 80-90% of pro-audio users run OSX and CoreAudio.  Thing is glitches during recording can seriously shorten your recording career, especially when recording "live" where re-recording is not an option.  (Win XP is known by the pro-audio market for its shortcomings in this respect.)  What guarantees does Vista offer in terms of prioritizing real-time media processes?

    Further, consider that a given product´s pro use provides serious traction for high-end amateur buffs who in turn spill the word down to retail.  (Actually, come to think of it, that´s how brands are built the World over.)

    Given Windows´ historically low penetration in the pro-recording market, what can a Windows buff (and I´ve been a user ever since v. 2!) tell the an OSX recording engineer about Windows Vista?  Is the technology in Vista now up to speed?  What can Vista offer to counter OSX´s CoreAudio important bells and whistles like virtualized audio hardware?  ("Device Aggregation" in OSX Tiger:  Join multiple dissimilar audio hardware interfaces into a single virtual interface with only a few clicks!  See:  http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/coreaudio/)  How about a settings file to optimize Vista for the recording engineer? Are Vista vs. OSX shootouts planned?  Will you publish articles extolling the vistues of Vista in "Electronic Musician", "Recording Engineer" and other trade rags?

  • Sassen
    1 Posts

    Its all seems very complex and confusing.

    A Mac has two keys on the keyboard to adjust the volume.

    Volume down and Volume up. Simple

  • Nick White
    1204 Posts

    Hey Saoshyant:  readers' comments are definitely read -- I, at the very least,  review every single one :)  You can be assured that MS' Richard Fricks, who just posted a follow-up comment today, is reviewing the audio-related comments as well, so your feedback is duly noted.

  • Windows Vista includes some innovations that will have a direct impact on the creation and delivery of Audio and Video content. Through the advancements in thread priority and scheduling in Windows Vista, you will find that audio and video streams are more glitch resilient then in previous Operating Systems. Also, the WaveRT driver model allows the audio engine direct access to DMA buffers which reduces CPU overhead and the need for extra memory copying of the audio stream. On top of that, the new Audio Core API’s provide additional low-level control of audio streams that will prove to be very useful for Pro-Audio application development. Under normal usage conditions, the benefits of these types of changes may not be as apparent, but for more time critical scenarios such as digital recording/playback these types of changes will make Windows Vista shine when compared to previous operating systems. Windows Vista also contains the new HD-Audio class driver. When coupled with HD compliant audio devices your media experience will become more reliable and consistent right out of the box. The need to track down drivers from various web sites will no longer be necessary. However, we are still working closely with OEM’s and IHV’s to assure that legacy AC’97 devices will have the necessary driver support for Windows Vista. Many have already begun posting Windows Vista driver updates so if you have been experiencing audio problems with your XP drivers be sure to check the OEM or IHV website for updated drivers.

    One of the great new features of Windows Vista w/ MCE is OCUR support. This will let you receive premium digital video and eliminate the need for your cable box. Also, multi-tuner cards are available for your PC and are supported by MCE in Windows Vista.

    I noticed a post regarding Window’s Audio Compression Manager (ACM). There are no current plans to focus on updating ACM codecs. Microsoft is presently focusing on DMO’s and  MFT’s for its windows based encoders and decoders. This is where you will find VBR and multichannel support.

    -Richard Fricks

  • nick
    1 Posts

    Its good to hear that theie are improvements however I just tested the final release of Vista (Technet) and found the Sony VGX-XL1 which uses the SigmaTel HDaudio IC is not supported :(

    Given the VGX-XL1 is one of the actual few living room designed PC's then it would be a staggering shame if the drivers were not available for the retail launch of Vista (or even CES2007).

    I also noted that the CD changer software as released by Sony also is not Vista compatiable.

    Work to be done still!

  • It's great about the new features.  Windows was really lacking on the audio department.  A great improvement overall on audio experience.

    I do not know if readers' comments are read, but I'd like to take the moment to request that the staff working on the audio department at Microsoft considers adding support for the Ogg family formats like Vorbis and FLAC.  It sucks that we need to install codecs when we could have official support built right into the system, and this without Microsoft paying any royalties since the specification of those formats it's under the public domain.  I'd like WMP to be able to play the many audio files included in places like Wikipedia.  It would improve even more the user experience.  And hey, Apple's considering doing just that on Mac OS X.

  • bluvg
    15 Posts

    I wonder if anyone from Microsoft can speak to Vista's ability to cache samples in memory for audio content-creation programs.  In the past, Windows has been known to be rather tempermental with this type of work, sometimes causing pops and clicks and other artifacts.  I realize this is a combination of OS and hardware issues--which has had the result of communities creating lists of "hardware that works" (i.e., not just performance specs, but specific motherboards, chipsets, etc.).  However, I get the impression that Windows wasn't designed with these purposes in mind, and it's causing people in this field to migrate away from Windows.  

    I'll give one example.  There is a UK company that makes a program that creates a "virtual pipe organ."  It has always been available for Windows, but recently they started making it for OS X.  They say: "we're so impressed with Apple Mac OS X and the current range of Intel-based Macs, that we believe these provide the best possible platform for Hauptwerk, and so we now strongly favour the Apple Mac."  One of the reasons they cite is: "Mac OS X needs no fine-tuning to get good performance. For example, OS X natively allows Hauptwerk to lock all samples into memory, so you don't need to disable the 'page file' which is necessary on Windows to prevent audio glitches."  And furthermore, "64-bit Windows XP allows effectively unlimited memory but extremely few audio or MIDI interfaces are fully compatible with it." (from: http://www.crumhorn-labs.com/Hauptwerk-Specs-MacOrPC.shtml).

    Can anyone comment on this scenario, and whether this aspect of audio has been addressed in Vista?

  • Note that for inter-app MIDI applications, MIDI-Yoke looks as though it *should* work on Vista. The problem is apparently the new driver signing requirements. I intend to follow this and other issues back at my site:

    http://www.createdigitalmusic.com

    I'll echo what others have said -- and countless people have said -- on my site, which is that there are some really specific needs we have for making music. This isn't just a "pro" thing, either; it's important to anyone making music. (In fact, the weekend musician is going to have even less time to mess around with their system configuration than a pro!)

    I do think many of the Vista improvements look terrific, some specifically for music. I look forward to learning more, and I hope that Microsoft will make an ongoing commitment to the growing music and audio creation segment.

  • Andy
    3 Posts

    Being able to control each applications sound output will be extremly useful.

  • i install windows vista Ultimate , but i problem for sound driver.

    ----------

    http://www.dl4all.com

  • I couldn't agree more.  WM Player 10 was actually quite good, in my opinion.  Everything was easily accessible, logically placed, and the player was stable.  I have RC1 of Windows Vista, and every time I try to play a DVD in WMPlayer 11, regardless of the decoder I use, it says I don't have enough memory.  1GB of 800MHz DDR2 is not enough?  DVDs play fine in Windows Media Center or a third party player.  And what happened to all my other online stores?  I still have a 6-song credit with Wal-Mart.com, and they are one of the few Windows-based stores that give away a free song periodically.

    As for audio in general, the sound quality is great.  Most of my games and DVDs come to life in full 5.1 surround sound.  (My Intel mobo. supports 7.1 audio, but my speakers only do 5.1.)  I cannot get audio to work with one of my games: Warcraft 3.  I've tried USB sound cards, different settings, compatibility mode, and I can't get ANY sound whatsoever to come from Warcraft 3 Reign of Chaos or Frozen Throne.  Every single other application or game puts out sound with no problems, no skipping, no distortion.  Anyone have any clue as to why?

  • hitmouse
    96 Posts

    The Volume Mixer actually the *only* feature I have found to be of real interest in Vista, since everything else is either catered for in XP by free third-party add-ons, or has been made harder to use in Vista. Ironically, one of the greatest Vista-related failures is the v11 Player from Windowsmedia, which manages to combine a reduction in features with being harder to use, and lower reliability.

  • i have been wanting to put together a MCE machine for a while now... and in the state it is in, its GREAT for pictures, music, dvd's, etc... but the TV portion SUCKS with how you actually go about it now, use a IR taped to your cable box... how crude is that? what about multiple tuners? we need a multiple tuner cable box PCI card. a SINGLE PCI card that can record two shows and watch possibly a 3rd [with HD and VOD support]. i have the MOXI box with my cable tv company and really like it. right now i wouldnt replace it with what i have seen offered otherwise.

    like i said, the jukebox feature alone is incredible with MCE... gone my CD's will be once i install the MCE box into my theater setup. im LOVING the rest of it... but what about the TV recording part??? are we going to see a PCI solution to that which doesnt include the use of a [rented] cable box top for premium, vod, and hd broadcasting? when will i be able to replace my cable box?

    for now i will certainly be running a "component" touch screen unit running MCE for my CD and [hopefully] DVD collection so i never have to scratch another disc. im still waiting for the MCE car stereo double-din units with wireless connection for my car so i can take my playlists with me.

  • Yeah I couldn't live without sound, but apparently my family can tollerate it, as their sound on XP just died on them 2 months ago which means I can no longer IM them with voice.  Kinda a weird bug where the sound hardware is in device manager but is not available to Windows.  I tried to fix this bug but have the feeling Ill have to buy a new soundcard to save their PC.

  • Hey Jim, it really Looks like you are putting your heart into this last project of yours, I definitely applaud your passion. My name is Zac Potter, I currently attend KSU studying marketing and management. I have been trying to hunt you down to see if I could email you a project I have been working on which is a conceptual addition to MS Vista and MS office. It all centers around convenience, placing a direct link to archive documents online, via Live Drive, within the standard MS save menu. With the convenience of one button internet archiving, which one would press instead of  the current, “save” button, all within the unavoidable “Save As” menu, the question is no longer why back up info online, but “Why not”. There is much more than this which I would like to email you. My email is czpotter@yahoo.com, I would apreciate any guidance you could share with me.

    Thankyou

    Zac Potter

  • As much as I'd love to see the audio in Vista blow my mind, the low quality of the supplied drivers for standard hardware and the constant stuttering of sound make it near impossible to spend a day running Vista without doing:

    net stop Audiosrv

    net stop AudioEndpointBuilder

    net start Audiosrv

    net start AudioEndpointBuilder

    After closing all applications that use the sound card. As an entertainment platform Vista is still somewhat lacking, and hopefully we'll see patches to fix the huge number of bugs we were told in the Beta would be fixed by RTM... Vista still rocks, but having to code primitive fixes is not good, and with the .Net framework being broken and all...

  • niklas
    11 Posts

    where will the new audio control panel be?..I can't find it, but I think it's because I don't have the proper hardware

  • raskren
    5 Posts

    What are the hardware requirements to enable these features?  I have a laptop with AC'97 Audio and I have an Audigy 2 soundcard in my desktop computer.  Are either of these able to take advantage?

  • someone
    156 Posts

    It's nice to see MS taking pro audio seriously and rewriting the API. However, now we need a newer replacement for DirectSound and DS3D that is hardware accelerated. In general, a Windows-based machine doesn't make up a powerful Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). I would like to see the following improvements:

    - Ability to share audio devices and channels of the same device between applications, directing specific channels to different applications

    - Virtual audio devices (Use multiple audio devices as a single aggregated device)

    - A MIDI Mapper

    - WMP should be able to stream MIDI over the network

    - The MIDI architecture is legacy and needs an overhaul, support the newer MIDI standards

    - PLEASE update/replace Audio Compression Manager (ACM) to support VBR and multichannel audio.