Hi Hayden,

Well, part could be your sound setup. Understand that standard stereo
headphones and/or speakers will not accurately render a 3d virtual
audio environment. To really do this correctly you need a 5.1 stereo
sound card, 5.1 speakers with 5 or more speakers, or some of the pro
gamer headsets specially built for 5.1 surround sound. In other words
if you really want to take full advantage of that 5.1 surround sound
setup, even if the game supports it, you will have to purchase a
couple hundred dollars worth of high end gear to play it.

The other issue you might be facing is DirectSound verses OpenAL,
XAudio2, FMOD, etc. DirectSound was written in 1995/1996 for Windows
95 era computers. It was continually upgraded and maintained clear up
to DirectX 8 was released. At the time DirectX 8 was released the best
sound card available was the Creative Labs Soundblaster Live which
initially had 4.1 channel stereo not 5.1. As a result since
DirectSound 8 has not been officially updated since 2000 or so it does
not really support 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound stereo as all newer sound
cards have. That's why DirectX 9, 10, and 11 now use XAudio2  because
it has 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound support. This has superior 3d audio
support over DirectSound. On Linux and Mac OS OpenAL has been updated
to support 5.1 and 7.1 sound cards as well. For that reason
DirectSound isn't necessarily the right library for anyone looking
into a high end virtual 3d audio environment.

However, to answer your initial question why one is better than the
other there are several reasons. For one thing libraries like FMOD Ex
have built in formulas to properly calculate things like roll-off
factor, doplar effects, and things of that nature. You can't really do
that with a simple 2d pan control and volume. I guess you could if you
want to do all the number crunching your self, but why do that when
FMOD Ex has this already built into the sound engine?

The main reason  I see for 3d audio is with the proper hardware, the
proper equipment, the sound is very very realistic. Have you ever
played GMA tank commander with a set of 5.1 pro gamer  headphones. You
feel like you are right in the center of the battle field. It is way
better than panning/volume by far. You have to hear it to believe it.

Smile.


On 2/4/11, Hayden Presley <hdpres...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Ken,
> I'm still confused; I haven't yet figured out why 3D audio is preferable to
> plain 2D, even in a 3D environment. It seems to not pan correctly as you
> turn so you have to kind of guess.
>
> Best Regards,
> Hayden

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