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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    wave versus directsound sound quality

    I think this is a Windows 98 question, please advise if I am on the wrong forum.

    I recently tried RealRhapsody which I find an interesting way to access music online, and encountered the following problem:

    There are two options for sound output: wave output and directsound output. Real.com states that directsound is better and should always be preferred, however, wave output sounds considerably better on my system, except that on about half the songs, the music stutters, stumbles, and otherwise wobbles with wave output enabled but not with direct sound enabled.

    So I am forced to choose between mediocre sound that works with most everything, or good sound that only works about half the time. Real Help provided some generic suggestions which did not help. They did suggest it might have something to do with streaming, I have SBC/Yahoo DSL 256k up/1.2M down; they state Zone Alarm or NAV could be the problem; however, I don

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: wave versus directsound sound quality

    Let me clear up one thing for you: DirectSound is not a format; it is a method of producing output. DirectSound is a means for software developers to access the audio hardware through Windows. Wave is both an output and a format. Confusing? You bet.

    Wave output requires more processing power to produce. I suspect that your computer is having trouble keeping up with this demand on resources and thus the stuttering. Streaming audio is also a very unreliable method of sound reproduction. It depends heavily on Internet traffic and other variable conditions.

    The first thing I would suggest is looking for driver updates to the sound card from Dell. If updated drivers are available it should improve the performance of the audio stream. There may also be some advanced settings for your sound card that change how DirectSound is processed, but hold off on looking at this as a solution until you check on drivers.
    -Mark

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    Re: wave versus directsound sound quality

    I looked at the Dell site and there are no new drivers; I downloaded what they had just in case but the version number and date matches what is already installed.

    Looking in Control Panel ->System ->Device Drivers ->Maestro Wave Table Synthesis Device ->Audio Settings, there are two settings that might be changed:

    1) "Sound Library Size" is set to "2MB System Memory", alternative is 4MB
    2) "Advanced Setting" is set to "Direct Hardware Acceleration Enable", alternative is "SPDIF Enable"

    Should either of the above settings be changed (or some other sound card setting, e.g., ESS Device Manager)?

    Thanks for your help
    Sat Kartar

  4. #4
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: wave versus directsound sound quality

    The Wave Table Synthesis device will not affect MP3 playback. It is used for MIDI files, which are similar in nature to a player piano. The MIDI format defines the instruments used, the notes and duration, and some other information, but there is no actual sound in the file. The Sound Library Size setting is unlikely to affect you, it is for the MIDI instrument banks that are used when playing back MIDI files. Nonetheless, bigger is almost always better and MIDI files will sound much better with a bigger bank. This is where the "synthesis" part of the device name comes from; the sounds are generated (synthesized) by the Wavetable device.

    Do you have any other settings for the ESS card that can be observed? In Device Manager, look under Sound, video and game controllers and see if there is anything for the ESS device that can be changed.
    -Mark

  5. #5
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    Re: wave versus directsound sound quality

    Let

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