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T O P I C
Listen Up
November 3rd 2003, 23:31 CET by Post-It

So while I was riding my bike the other day I got to thinking about sound.  A big part of riding singletrack is being out in nature, far away from the distractions of the hustle & bustle of the city. It’s quite serene actually, it is also full of sounds. One of the best parts is the sound of gravel crunching under the tires, gears clicking, streams gurgling along side of me, furtive stirrings off in the distance, the silence when the bike leaves the ground after a jump, and the crunch it makes when it comes down on top of a branch across the path. The auditory experience of riding singletrack is incredibly evocative.

Because of the immediate and rather solitary nature of riding in this fashion it, for whatever reason, got me thinking about gaming and how sound still seems to be an underappreciated key factor in the gaming experience. I suppose because my serious gaming sessions tend to involve me sitting in front of my PC by myself with my headphones on. I’m trying to “immerse” myself in the gaming world. However, because of the limited nature that is the medium there are really only two ways for the game to convey information to the gamer: visually and audibly.

For instance take a look at these pictures I took while riding this past week. Ideally I should have video, but pictures will have to do. In attempting to convey the experience of riding down the trail, I can show pictures, however I would be able to convey the experience more thoroughly if I had a high quality sound recoding of me riding down the trail as well.

In terms of crating, err I mean creating an immersive environment (if that is indeed that objective of the game, there are many where it is not, and some where it is not required as such, RTS, for example.) in a game, the visual component continues to makes strides. It is continuously pushed; new engines, new graphic cards, new tech, T&L, pixel shaders, blah, blah, blah. Don’t get me wrong, humans are visual creatures, we rely on vision more so than any of our other senses. Graphical advancement, striving for an accurate rendering of an environment or photo-realism will definitely enhance the immersing experience. However, it seems that sound has long since fallen to the wayside, which is unfortunate because it is the only other way of conveying information that a games can possess.

For instance, I was recently playing through Halo again (bored, hadn’t played it in awhile) and I was constantly struck by how CLEAR and vibrant the sound was. The quality of the audio was top notch, not to mention being in 5.1 DD. The sound was reproduced at such a high level of  fidelity it made the simulation that much more immersive. The experience  got me thinking of the sounds of the ballistic based guns in the original Half-Life and how they felt like they had such oomph and kick to them because of their sound effects. There are other games that have done this well, recently some of the new WWII FPSs. But most games don’t function on the sound aspect that much at all it seems.

However, the next generation of high profile FPSs seem to be finally giving the auditory component of their games the attention it deserves. For instance:

In a 9/20/00 interview, John Carmack gave the following information regarding the new sound code:

Graeme's primary task is going to be a completely new sound engine. Coupled with the fact that this will be the first project where I am comfortable using threads (previously the cross-platform issues have nixed it for me) for required background streaming, we should have quite literally an order of magnitude more audio richness than in our previous games.


Also, from the man himself:
GameSpy: What is your role in the development of DOOM III?

Graeme Devine: I wrote the sound engine, and I wrote the particle engine. We're trying to take the sound from where we were in Quake 3, (Return to Castle) Wolfenstein and so forth, up to the next level. We're doing full room acoustics on the fly, so as the room gets smaller around you, you can hear the echo of your gun, with reverb. We're also working in 6-channel sound, real-time 5.1 mixing.

GameSpy: Are there any challenges with working on a 5.1 channel game?

Graeme Devine: Well, the hardware's only just come out to support multi-channel out of the card, so … the challenge is the hardware, as always. You find little things that you need to get fixed in the actual hardware itself.

GameSpy: What was the reason you wanted to go ahead and support the new technology?

Graeme Devine: DOOM is all about getting immersed in the world and really putting you there. We really wanted to really provide both a graphical front end -- the graphics are just outstanding - and a sound front end which would really put everything together. You can have a great game with great graphics and OK sound… you can have a great game with great sound and OK graphics … why not do both? We have enough manpower and programming time to be able to do both well.


And in Half-Life 2:
The textures now come preloaded with physical properties like sound, density and weight. Now when an artist skins a model, the model will automatically be loaded with the physical qualities of whatever texture is laid upon it. This makes building props much quicker.
Doug loaded up a test environment that had lots of examples of these objects. Using a new alien gun that allows you to manipulate objects in the environment, Doug dropped a variety of objects. Big metal barrels landed with a thud, while small soda cans chunked hollowly on the ground. Both of these effects sound entirely different from each other as well as from the tinkling of glass bottles Doug dropped afterwards.

Not to mention the sound tech that is supposed to be in Deus Ex 2 with its correct representation of the physical properties of sound. Hopefully these games, and others will raise the bar for the industry in terms of what is expected audio-wise in a game.

In the meantime, what were some memorable audio experiences you’ve had in games (in terms of sound effects, environmental sounds, etc. not music)? Anything really stand out in your mind?

Is there anything you’d like to see implemented into the sound systems of games?

Headphones or speakers?
C O M M E N T S
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#1 by Matt Perkins
2003-11-03 23:32:03
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
(Everyone's favorite line follows)

Hey, I voted no.

#2 by jafd
2003-11-03 23:33:12
I voted yes, mostly because I'm happy with any legitimate opportunity to point out that Creative is the fucking Devil.

"It was fucking RPGotY, fucker!"
#3 by Shadarr
2003-11-03 23:38:33
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
I like sounds in nature, but when it comes to my computer I really can't be bothered to buy a proper set of speakers.
#4 by Charles
2003-11-03 23:40:00
www.bluh.org
The most memorable sound in a game in ages, for me, was morrowind.  But not because it was good.  Because you could hear a town from ten miles away because of their footsteps.  Nothing, for me, has highlighted how much sound can impact a game like that.

I agree that sound means way more than people give it credit for in games.  I've played or quit playing games, just because of the sound before.

christmas is for shopping and the shopping god is everything
#5 by ProStyle
2003-11-03 23:47:54
http://prostyle.deviantart.com
I agree that sound is really critical. Even though it's mentioned that it may not be so crucial in some genres (rts given example) some releases are brought up by this type of completion. Starcraft is a good example, and the sounds from that are also used in Natural-Selection. The translation is really quite interesting and I think it adds alot. I see that in commercials as well, a fireball or a dragon will be from the same sound bank as the cyber demon from doom or the dragons in warcraft2. I think the Musical part is the most underdeveloped however. Watching the opening sequence of Quake after I installed it (with the CD in) was really quite intense for me - but without the music it always seemed to be not entirely complete. Too bad the rest of the album was ambient blah.

I'm like a quote out of context...
#6 by Matthew Gallant
2003-11-04 00:43:42
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
I like sound. I think I've argued here before that it really draws you into the game more than most people realize. Diablo wouldn't be nearly as popular without that town theme. Same goes for Zelda. In fact, if you think back about a lot of the most popular games, nearly all of them are set apart from the pack by their soundtrack. Take GTA 3, even though much of it isn't even music.

"All I've ever wanted to be is a monkey of moderate intelligence that wears a suit. That's why I'm transferring to business school!"
#7 by LPMiller
2003-11-04 02:19:46
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
I remember installing the MX200 card and firiing up the A3D with Unreal. God that was love.

Sound has not changed since then though. Doesn't matter if it is Direct Sound or EAX - which SUCKS - they still have the same problems.

The biggest one is how they treat voices. I dunno about other people, but if I turn my head while someone is talking to me, I don't immediately go deaf in one ear. This happened in the first Half Life over 5 years ago, and it still happens today in the latest and greatest. Games just don't mimic human hearing in regards to conversation very well.  Voices don't carry realistically either - in some games, if you go across a small sized room, suddenly the voice is barely a whisper.  I have to wonder if anyone really works on these things, since I run into this all the time.  The sound experience is more than a kickass soundtrack and good use of the subwoofer when things go boom.

The other problem is just how often the default settings of any game will drown out the voice parts. Music too high, sound effects too high. If someone is talking, and they want you to hear it, make it bloody well loud enough.

Part of the problem is the death of A3D, sure, but it's not like they were the only one working on sounds, so I have to wonder what the hell the deal is.

I believe I can fly......urk.
#8 by Dethstryk
2003-11-04 02:43:47
jemartin@tcainternet.com
I completely agree with LP's comments on voice in games. If I'm playing an SP game, then I always make sure that I'm wearing headphones so that I can hear dialogue better.

sunny days have funny ways of quieting the roar
#9 by yotsuya
2003-11-04 02:50:00
Actually, when I play a FPS, I turn the music off. It makes the experience more realistic to me.

"YES!!  You see people, THAT'S why he's the Vice-President of A/V Services here at Respawn Games.  Yotsuya ALWAYS unleashes the fucking fury!" - Warren Marshall
#10 by zimbardo_ugly
2003-11-04 02:52:42
zimbardo_ugly@hotmail.com
Well, I'd never fight without a walkman.

"Warez non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem"
#11 by yotsuya
2003-11-04 02:55:50
But that's 'cause you're ugly.

"YES!!  You see people, THAT'S why he's the Vice-President of A/V Services here at Respawn Games.  Yotsuya ALWAYS unleashes the fucking fury!" - Warren Marshall
#12 by Sgt Hulka
2003-11-04 05:17:55
SpikeTV is having Videogame awards on Dec 4th, go here and vote for Viewers Choice.

The Rob Waring Trio? nope! -- Now it's the Rob Waring Trio
#13 by Sgt Hulka
2003-11-04 05:20:04
BTW: I'm writing all my votes in with Other and voting for PONG..

Tony Hawk's Underground as game of the year?  That's been out what, a week?  Geesh... This shouldn't be driven by advertising dollars at all.. right?  NAH.. award shows are legit.

The Rob Waring Trio? nope! -- Now it's the Rob Waring Trio
#14 by Squeaky
2003-11-04 05:32:52
#12 Sgt Hulka
SpikeTV is having Videogame awards on Dec 4th, go here and vote for Viewers Choice.

The fuck? Has XIII even been released yet? I didn't think True Crimes was either.

spooky
DVDs
#15 by Gunp01nt
2003-11-04 13:21:38
supersimon33@hotmail.com
I think XIII should be out any day now, I've already read reviews on it. Besides, it's still a month before those awards and enough time for many people to pick up and play these games.

Electroclash=love
#16 by Gunp01nt
2003-11-04 13:29:03
supersimon33@hotmail.com
They do seem to get the words 'fantasy game' and 'MMORPG' mixed up.

Electroclash=love
#17 by CheesyPoof
2003-11-04 15:43:36
re: sound

HL wowed me with A3D.  Sadly like LPM says it hasn't gotten much better than that.  Why?  I duuno, ask the devs.  I guess they would rather spend time on flashy graphics than a quailty auditory experience.

re: spike tv

They won't let me click on the link, so I guess it's for the best.
#18 by Gunp01nt
2003-11-04 15:53:56
supersimon33@hotmail.com
Sound can really help to set the atmosphere in a game, the same way it does in movies. Also, dynamic music like in XIII or Deus Ex tells me when I am completely safe from harm, e.g. not being hunted by an alarmed enemy.

I have a hi-fi amplifier with two technics speakers attached to my computer, so the sound I get is hi-fi and it does make the immersion that much bigger than when you're playing on a pc with speakers developed for computer use. Yesterday I watched my dad play Max Payne 2 and his crappy multimedia speakers really ruined the immersion. Max's gravely voice was barely audible and the music and set noise didn't really come across well.

I think the problem with sound in games is that many consumers underrate it and hook a $10 speaker set to a $5 or onboard sound card, whereas they're often quite willing to spend much more on a good video card and monitor.

Electroclash=love
#19 by Marcin
2003-11-04 15:56:42
marcin@wickedtoast.com www.damodred.net
System Shock II perhaps, with its steadily rising zombie moans (even from far away), and very "raw" sounding weapon sounds and fleshy thuds. That first level where you had to run past the security bot, you basically had to listen for its thumping footsteps to get "past you". In later levels, audio cues from the assassins were the only way to know they were on the hunt...

First ever to introduce "global" sounds (think of counterstrike, lots of weapon fire but you can only hear it if you're a few feet away - it should permeate the entire level, since they're mostly not big) was Infiltration. You could hear distorted, echoing, bouncing weapons fire (accurately distorted for each weapon) even if it was on the other side. You knew it was happening, but couldn't place it. That was great stuff...

The effect was marred by your footstep sounds being slightly behind you, hee. Invariably led to people thinking someone's following them...

Max Payne 2 is the latest offender in bad audio placement. Even in cutscenes (when Max is on the phone), since the "camera" focused on the phone instead of Max, the sound was far, far away...it does indeed seem odd that no one noticed. Weapons fire was somehow hooked to ricochet sounds, so even if someone shot at you from far away, the report sounded like it was right next to you. Oh well...I wouldn't go as far as to say it ruined the game, but it was a jarring glitch in an otherwise pleasantly finished game.

#20 by Jibble
2003-11-04 15:58:39
#18 Gunp01nt
Sound can really help to set the atmosphere in a game, the same way it does in movies. Also, dynamic music like in XIII or Deus Ex tells me when I am completely safe from harm, e.g. not being hunted by an alarmed enemy.

I have a hi-fi amplifier with two technics speakers attached to my computer, so the sound I get is hi-fi and it does make the immersion that much bigger than when you're playing on a pc with speakers developed for computer use. Yesterday I watched my dad play Max Payne 2 and his crappy multimedia speakers really ruined the immersion. Max's gravely voice was barely audible and the music and set noise didn't really come across well.

I think the problem with sound in games is that many consumers underrate it and hook a $10 speaker set to a $5 or onboard sound card, whereas they're often quite willing to spend much more on a good video card and monitor.

Problem #1 with 5.1 (or any kind of surround) speakers: where the hell do I put them?  In my living room, there's plenty of space to work with speaker arrangements.  In my office, I'd have to put one on a dresser, another hanging in the corner, and the two speakers on the desk are out of alignment to begin with.  I'd literally have to buy four new speaker stands to get proper immersion, and put them in the middle of the room, providing cables, etc. for me to trip over.  I think this is probably the biggest hurdle to most people's desire to have immersive sound.

PANZERFAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUST
#21 by Marsh Davies
2003-11-04 16:00:20
www.verbalchilli.com
What sound system are you using, Marcin?

#22 by Gunp01nt
2003-11-04 16:04:30
supersimon33@hotmail.com
Jibble:
Problem #1 with 5.1 (or any kind of surround) speakers: where the hell do I put them?


so true, that's why such a large percentage of the people that do have a 5.1 setup have arranged their whole living room to accomodate all the speakers and cables.

Electroclash=love
#23 by Marsh Davies
2003-11-04 16:05:14
www.verbalchilli.com
Talking of sound: my speakers have started to emit a high pitched whine. When I turn the speakers off, I can still here a faint whine inside the PC. The pitch of the whine is directly related to what's being displayed - every time I open a window or a menu, the pitch jiggles slightly.

At first I thought it might be a fan. So I cleaned them. No change. What could make the noise and be picked up and amplified by the speakers. Any clues?

#24 by Jibble
2003-11-04 16:05:51
#22 Gunp01nt
Jibble:
Problem #1 with 5.1 (or any kind of surround) speakers: where the hell do I put them?


so true, that's why such a large percentage of the people that do have a 5.1 setup have arranged their whole living room to accomodate all the speakers and cables.

I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not, but if you want real immersive sound, there's a very particular way to set it up.

PANZERFAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUST
#25 by E-ph0nk
2003-11-04 16:06:54
http://www.electrophonk.be
Marsh: It's very odd, but i have a similar problem... Also, sometimes (don't know when exactly) I can hear my mouse movements on my speakers... And mind you, I have a +500€ external soundcard (Echo Gina 24, 8 channels output).

*sigh*
#26 by Jibble
2003-11-04 16:07:16
P.S. You can also, from what I hear, purchase a decent enough set of headphones that will recreate 5.1 accurately.  I haven't tried them, nor can I remember where I read this, but it would be a good alternative if it exists.

PANZERFAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUST
#27 by Jibble
2003-11-04 16:08:30
I have huge problems with my sound on my machine in that regard.  It's a crappy on-board sound card, but I've had issues with a lot of others...you can hear the hard drive accessing through the speakers, etc.

PANZERFAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUST
#28 by Dethstryk
2003-11-04 16:08:55
jemartin@tcainternet.com
Always use Monster Cables for hooking your audio stuff up! They are the bestest in the world!

sunny days have funny ways of quieting the roar
#29 by Jibble
2003-11-04 16:12:23
#28 Dethstryk
Always use Monster Cables for hooking your audio stuff up! They are the bestest in the world!

I'm sure that plugging a $30 cable into my $2 sound card will help.

Extended warranty?  HOW CAN I LOSE?!

PANZERFAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUST
#30 by Dethstryk
2003-11-04 16:25:51
jemartin@tcainternet.com
It's extreme, with extra E's that I neglected to add!

sunny days have funny ways of quieting the roar
#31 by E-ph0nk
2003-11-04 16:52:14
http://www.electrophonk.be
#28 The audio cable to my soundcard is a monster cable(tm), bigger then any other i have in my audio studio.  Doesn't help.

*sigh*
#32 by Gunp01nt
2003-11-04 17:00:08
supersimon33@hotmail.com
I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not, but if you want real immersive sound, there's a very particular way to set it up.


I wasn't. What I meant was that some people rearrange or replace their furniture solely to be able to set it up right. Like living rooms where a couch is placed directly opposite the tv, in the middle of the room with the speakers around it according to spec. It's not a very pracital living room if you have guests, but there are people that arrange their living room like this.

Electroclash=love
#33 by Jibble
2003-11-04 17:04:56
#32 Gunp01nt
I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not, but if you want real immersive sound, there's a very particular way to set it up.


I wasn't. What I meant was that some people rearrange or replace their furniture solely to be able to set it up right. Like living rooms where a couch is placed directly opposite the tv, in the middle of the room with the speakers around it according to spec. It's not a very pracital living room if you have guests, but there are people that arrange their living room like this.

I plan on having a room in my home dedicated entirely to TV/gaming, including a screen (or projector, perhaps) with a reasonable resolution for computer gaming.  Honestly I can't see myself enjoying the immersion unless I have a room devoted entirely to that purpose.  I guess we'll see what happens when I buy a house :)

PANZERFAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUST
#34 by Dethstryk
2003-11-04 17:28:02
jemartin@tcainternet.com
E-ph0nk
The audio cable to my soundcard is a monster cable(tm), bigger then any other i have in my audio studio.  Doesn't help.

It's dark in there, isn't it?

sunny days have funny ways of quieting the roar
#35 by Warren Marshall
2003-11-04 17:43:07
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Sound doesn't have much further to go.  That's the reason game developers don't focus on it.  Sound cards can deliver digital output now ... there's really nowhere to go in terms of output quality.  Positional stuff, yeah, that might be the future but at the moment it's not all that useful as not many people have the hardware to support it anyway.

Respawn Games
Open your mind, let the beatings begin.
#36 by Your Friend
2003-11-04 17:45:49

I think XIII should be out any day now, I've already read reviews on it. Besides, it's still a month before those awards and enough time for many people to pick up and play these games.


The fact that XIII will be out any day now is irrelevant.  With REAL award shows, you don't get nominated unless you've been released.  If you don't think the winners of this show have already been decided based on how much the publishers have paid SpikeTV in advertising dollars, you're crazy.

Comment Signature
#37 by Your Friend
2003-11-04 17:53:45

Sound doesn't have much further to go.


Bullshit.  How about realtime sound occlusion based on level geometry? It makes a big difference in some game types.  Try to look beyond UT2k3.


Positional stuff, yeah, that might be the future but at the moment it's not all that useful as not many people have the hardware to support it anyway.


So what you're saying is most people don't have stereo soundcards?  

Hardware-wise, all you need is stereo for positional algorithms like QSound to work.  Sure, it helps if the positional algorithm is hardware accelerated, and the overall effect is better with true 5.1, but every game developer should be doing basic 2 channel 3D positional audio already as a bare minimum.  It isn't even hard to code in support for this using DirectSound... most developers just ignore it though because they are too narrow-minded to see that Matthew is right, and sound plays a more important role than almost anyone realizes at a conscious level.

Comment Signature
#38 by bago
2003-11-04 17:57:36
manga_Rando@hotmail.com
I hate that. My onboard sound picks up RF interference from my video card, so I get a little click at my refresh rate that turns into a buzz when playing a video game. As frame rates change the pitch changes too.

You DARE to worship a god other than Allah? Allah does not know who this "Ctulhu" character is, kufr, but when he finds out he is going to kick that Jew deity down a flight of fucking stairs.
#39 by Jibble
2003-11-04 17:57:52
I would like to chime in and note that Return Fire for the 3DO had one of the best soundtracks of all time. Especially when you were in the jeep.

PANZERFAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUST
#40 by Creole Ned
2003-11-04 18:08:14
I am always disappointed at how innaccurate sound is in so many first person shooters. Particularly in games where stealth is key, having sounds coming from the right spot makes all the difference. Raven Shield is a good example of how it can/can't work. There are times when you can clearly hear a tango moving closer or farther away by the volume of his voice. There's still some guesswork involved but it's a bit better than so many games where the noises bear no relation at all to the environment.

There are shooters where you can hear a lift operating regardless of where you are on the map or sounds that simply turn on/off as you exit/enter areas rather than smoothly transition between them. Granted, some of this is simply the fault of design and not technology. Maybe that's the crux of the problem, though. The devs think, "Eh, good enough" and leave it at that.

Since 3D sound still seems to place a burden on the CPU (working in kind of the opposite manner as a 3D accelerator), the hardware would seem to need further work, too.

Creative's stranglehold on the market is probably helping to enforce mediocrity.

So, yeah, sound has a ways to go, IMO.

"I don't bemoan the great paste" - LPMiller
#41 by None-1a
2003-11-04 20:11:20
#36 by Your Friend
With REAL award shows, you don't get nominated unless you've been released.


Real award shows don't date the awards to any given year or time table by handing out 'best of the year' type awards (which I get the feeling they're doing just to use an industry term). That fact they set it in december and use an award like that is going to give people the impression these are awards for things released in 2003. That and the fact the holiday season is major release time means they almost have to fudge it a bit to get the big stuff in.

If they'd change the name on that award (and drop the most anticipated crap) things would probably be a bit better. This acctauly works out for the marketing rather well. Right now a mid-year game isn't going to find a lot of market outside of the hardcore gamers cutting out tyeing these awards to a given year would be a nice boost for those games and help keep the price up longer. Granted these are the same people that think exclusive demo's are a good idea so I really can't put any stupidity beyond them.
#42 by Your Friend
2003-11-04 21:03:52
Are you on drugs, man? What major award show doesn't tie the awards to a specific year?

Comment Signature
#43 by Shadarr
2003-11-04 21:13:14
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
What major award show isn't just a big industry circle-jerk?
#44 by Jibble
2003-11-04 21:15:15
MTV MOVIE AWARDS WOOO YEAH!  FO SHIZZLE!

PANZERFAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUST
#45 by None-1a
2003-11-04 21:39:46
YF they're yearly events yes but they tend to avoid getting hung up with a calender year using they're own start and end points for a released that get in. I'd like to see you try explaning why the 'best game of the year" award includes two months worth of last years games while ignoreing two months of this years.
#46 by The_Joker
2003-11-04 22:12:32
http://www.jackinworld.com
#38 by bago
2003-11-04 17:57:36
  
 I hate that. My onboard sound picks up RF interference from my video card, so I get a little click at my refresh rate that turns into a buzz when playing a video game. As frame rates change the pitch changes too.


I think product activation is running in the background. Try turning it off.

Joker, Ph.D. Procedural Assholian Behaviour, Pedophilosopher
- All your ass are belong to my wang Jafd. Prepare to are penetration.
"I fart in THX." - Sgt_Hulka

PENETRATOR: Rise of the Wang Cuming "When it's done".
#47 by Shadarr
2003-11-04 22:39:32
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
Singing product activation?
#48 by Squeaky
2003-11-04 22:51:15
Palladium: The Musical!

spooky
DVDs
#49 by G-Man
2003-11-05 02:44:21
Marsh Davies in #23 said:
Talking of sound: my speakers have started to emit a high pitched whine. When I turn the speakers off, I can still here a faint whine inside the PC. The pitch of the whine is directly related to what's being displayed - every time I open a window or a menu, the pitch jiggles slightly.

At first I thought it might be a fan. So I cleaned them. No change. What could make the noise and be picked up and amplified by the speakers. Any clues?
As others have mentioned, the problem is RF interference. If you want to get drastic, these might help.

Re: this topic.
Didn't I write this topic a few months ago? Except with less rambling? And headphones are definitely the answer to your speaker setup woes. Get some decentSennheiser cans.
#50 by Duality
2003-11-05 03:50:50
Dualipuff@yahoo.com http://stratoscape.ath.cx/
What does one have to look for when buying RFI chokes?

I live right next to a radio transmission tower that broadcasts 5 separate FM frequencies and all my life, I've had issues with RFI and home appliances.  As technology has progressed, its gotten better -- my desktop speakers no longer recieve RFI, and in most cases, my TV doesn't.  But sometimes my stereo will, and some older (and really nice sounding) speakers.

And is there any type of wire it tends to go through more than others?  When I asked a tech at the radio station, he suggested chokes for the power cords, but that doesn't seem to do it.  I'd really rather not wind up buying a bunch of chokes for all the various wires going in and out of the appliances and peripherals having said issue.

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