Anyone having trouble with center channel sound on the Xbox in DD5.1?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott L, Nov 20, 2001.

  1. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    I was playing Halo in DD yesterday in all it's engulfing sound fx glory. Today I tried to play it, the DD light comes on and sound is coming out, out of every speaker except the center channel. I jiggled the optical cable (using HD pack) and nothing happened. I unplug and re-plug in both sides and still nothing.
    I ejected Halo and popped in Gladiator. The DD soundtrack works perfectly with sound coming through the center speaker. I turn off my receiver and turn off the Xbox. I try playing Halo again and still, nothing is coming out of the center channel, but the other channels work perfectly. The DD is still on, and all the speakers are indicated as working. I go into the Xbox's system settings and make sure DD and DTS are enabled, which they are.
    Anyone else have this problem? Hopefully not, it totally sucks, I won't play Halo again until I can get this fixed. Some of you might think this is dumb since I can just switch it to stereo, but I'm sure some will agree; if I buy a game that says Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, and I spent a good amount of money on a DD receiver with 6 speakers, then I want to play it in DD 5.1. I don't want to go through the rest of this game playing it crippled.
    So do you think it's the Xbox sound processor which is screwing up? What should I do, exchange my copy of Halo for another, exchange the HD pack, or exchange the Xbox? I could also call tech support or maybe even wait it out a few days and see if it starts working again.
    bleh.... $300 and something so minor can really make you feel like never wanting to buy anthoer Microsoft product again. Which is sad because I really love this game. [​IMG]
     
  2. PatrickM

    PatrickM Screenwriter

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  3. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    I noticed the same thing Scott. However, if you listen to Cortana's voice, it usually appears in the center channel. Just after you escape from the Pillar of Autumn, when the escape pod lands on Halo, you'll clearly hear her voice in the center speaker. But, during regular play you won't hear anything (although suit status sounds MIGHT be in the center channel).
     
  4. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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  5. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    Max- I read your posts and you were right to expect that getting no sound fx through the center channel is wrong. Just yesterday I was playing Halo with everything coming through the Center channel; gunshots, enemies voices, explosions, warthog rumbles, everything.
    Also on the library level where you have to hear a bot's voice, I could hear it perfectly yesterday, but today I could barely hear the bot's echoes through the main speakers. The center speaker HAS to be functioning to hear the voice when the bot is right in front of you.
    Believe me, there is definitely something wrong with our Xbox's.
     
  6. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Oh crap. Can anybody confirm that their xbox has a good center channel output? I'd like to know right away...if our Xboxen is defective I'd like to get working with FutureShop on this right away (their customer service gets more difficult to work with the longer you wait).

    I plugged in PGR...I get no output from the center channel EXCEPT when I get kudos points (the ticking of the Kudo counter). I get NO OTHER SOUNDS through the center channel. I confirmed this by disabling the left and right mains on my Yammie DSP-A1.
     
  7. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    I called 1-800-4MY-XBOX as suggessted on the other thread. I also talked to a person that seemed younger than me and spent 90% of the time getting my info and typing away at his keyboard rather than talking to me. His deduction; "It must be the game. Go and exchange the game for a new one." [​IMG]
    Hey if you have a problem call that #. If enough call microsoft will probably look into it more closely.
     
  8. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    I would like this thread renamed to "Anyone having trouble with center channel sound on the Xbox?"...I want to know ASAP if other people are experiencing the same problem as us...the lack of center channel effects aside from very minor sound (sound effects that are not a result of 3D sound processing).
     
  9. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    If any of you readers have an Xbox with DD5.1 enabled (with a receiver that can accept the digital input from it), could you please check for the following:

    1) Do you get any center channel activity while playing the game.

    2) If so, are in-game 3D sound effects mixed into it? Such as engine sounds, gunshots, explosions, etc. Or do you only get informational messages, such as Kudos points sounds (in PGR) or Cortana's helmet voice (Halo), but silence during the rest of gameplay?

    If possible, disconnect your left and right mains, to more easily determine center channel activity. On my Yamaha DSP-A1, I can unplug the pre-out/in connectors for the left/right mains to separate out the center channel.

    I can verify that I only get game information effects in Halo and PGR, but no engine sounds, gunshots, explosions, etc.
     
  10. AndyVX

    AndyVX Supporting Actor

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    Hmm, I wasn't paying much attention to the centre channel while I was playing my Xbox games since launch day. Now that a lot of people are having problems (aside from the cracking and popping problem, which I didn't have) I'm going to go check my centre channel audio right now.
    I'll post back here after I test out my 3 games (Halo, Dead or Alive 3, and PGR)
    Andrew
    **EDIT**
    After testing this all out, here is what happens with my Xbox system and the above mentioned games. Please note that anytime I mention Front Left and Right, but don't mention anything about the rears it's because I forgot to listen for them sometimes.
    Halo :
    Opening Menu Screen:
    - Front/Rear Left and Right, No Center
    Game(last level):
    -Opening cinema music = Front/Rear Left and Right, No Centre
    -Opening cinema ship flying across screen = Front Left and Right, No Centre
    -Opening cinema ship crashing = Yes Centre
    -Opening cinema talking = Yes Centre
    Gameplay:
    -gunshot = Front Left and Right, No Centre
    -bombs directly infront of character = Left and Right, No Centre
    -music = Front Left and Right, No Centre
    -getting hit by enemies in the front = Yes Centre
    Project Gotham :
    Opening video:
    -Front Left and Right, No Centre
    Menu:
    -Front Left and Right, No Centre
    Gameplay:
    -red/green starting lights beep = Yes Centre
    -engine sounds = Front/Rear Left and Right, No Centre
    -music ripped from CD and playing off HDD = No Centre
    Dead or Alive 3 :
    Opening 'Team Ninja' video:
    -Front/Rear Left and Right, Yes Centre
    Opening "game demo" with aerosmith music:
    -Front Left and Right, No Centre
    Character Select Screen:
    -Front Left and Right, No Centre
    During Gameplay:
    -Front Left and Right, No Centre
    Xbox Dashboard :
    **Second Edit**
    Never mind about the Dashboard stuff(music and movement). I hadn't realized that my receiver had autoswitched to Pro-Logic...that's why I'm getting centre channel activity in the dashboard.

    Dashboard menu movement:
    -Yes Centre
    Xbox Music(music ripped from CD's and played off the HDD):
    -Yes Centre
    (What I find strange about this is that through the dashboard music playback my ripped tracks are played through the centre, but in PRG it's not).
    Anyways, I hope this info will be helpful in us determining if anything is wrong or whathaveyou. I also hope what I've just typed is understandable to everyone here.
    Andrew
     
  11. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Thanks very much Andy!
    Your experience is exactly like mine, except I do not have DOA3. The Xbox Dashboard is Dolby Surround (matrixed left and right), and audio playback from within the dashboard will be sent to your processing as 2 channel. Your receiver is probably set to Dolby Surround/DD5.1 mode, hence it would default to Dolby Pro Logic when it encounters 2 channel audio.
    Since PGR is DD5.1, it will mix the music for left and right speakers only, as part of the DD5.1 stream. This is normal.
    Scott, the first day you were playing Halo, your receiver might have been in Dolby Pro Logic mode, and you just didn't notice at first. The next day, you likely had it at the correct settings, hence the "surprise". Try Andy's method...see if you get the same results.
    Still, there probably is something wrong somewhere...just need more people to post their results do get a better picture of the situation.
    The fact that some receivers do not report their exact audio mode will confuse things though. [​IMG]
     
  12. Conroy Tesa

    Conroy Tesa Stunt Coordinator

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    I think this is sort of serious.

    I have the same issues with halo and DOA3.

    No center sound at all during the game.

    My processor (sony ep9es) says 3/2 with LFE but there is not a peep out of the center but it plays like when you turn of the center and redirect the sound to the left and right.

    It isn't like sound is missing just in the wrong channels.

    I'll have to check out the game more in depth tomorrow.

    Could bad toslink cause this?Bad HD pack?Bad Xbox?

    STUPID PROGRAMMING.

    If this is the developers idea of 5.1 they are wrong.
     
  13. AndyVX

    AndyVX Supporting Actor

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    Now that I've thought about it a bit, it seems to me as though it's just bad audio programming. The centre channel IS active, it's just only certain sounds come through it. This to me means it's more of a developers not realizing where sounds should be coming from or something.

    Perhaps I'm wrong though.

    I would just hate for it to be an actual hardware problem. There are already enough people that have gotten Xbox's with faulty sound chips (rear surrounds cracking/popping or sounds cutting in/out)

    Now to think that all of us that thought we had a "good" Xbox, actually we have a bad one also just with a different problem is really discouraging.

    So, once again, I just hope to god that this is just the developers not knowing what they are doing when it comes to 5.1, or a lack of effecient programming code telling it what sounds go where.

    Ok, well I'm going to try and go and get some sleep now, which may be hard as I'm all worried now. (Hopefully whatever is going on here is cleared up in the next 90 days because I didn't buy any sort of extended warrenty)

    Andrew
     
  14. David Proud

    David Proud Stunt Coordinator

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    on music I get the music out of my two front speakers on halo, Nfl fever 2k2 and PGR.

    I get the same results as everyone else for Halo and Project gotham.

    No center and only kicks in when hit by enemy or in cinema mode for halo

    and for pgr

    Project Gotham :

    Opening video:

    -Front Left and Right, No Centre

    Menu:

    -Front Left and Right, No Centre

    Gameplay:

    -red/green starting lights beep = Yes Centre

    -engine sounds = Front/Rear Left and Right, No Centre

    -music ripped from CD and playing off HDD = No Centre

    here is the kicker

    When plaing NFL fever 2k2 all effects are done right.

    I get sound "crowd noise, all kinds of effects from the center channel" 99% of the gameplay.

    I don't believe anything is wrong with our sound chips, its just the way the game developers mixed the sound, which I feel is awesome without a ton of center usage. I didn't even notice it b/c my two fronts are imaging so well.

    One more question for everyone, in halo do you here over compression in the chics voice when she is talking?
     
  15. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Yeah, I noticed the chic's voice is compressed-sounding, and sometimes hard to understand. In fact, I find pretty much all the dialog in the cutscenes difficult to hear. And that blue camera-thingy that hovers around and mutters to itself is the hardest to understand of all.
    I'm beginning to think that 99.9999% of all game developers don't give a damn about clear dialog and clean soundtracks (and center speaker usage...ahem). What do you expect when most game devs get paid half the industry average compared to the rest of the IT field? [​IMG]
    No offense meant to game developers who frequent the HTF and actually care about presentation quality...heh.
     
  16. Stefan A

    Stefan A Second Unit

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    If this is a software problem, I think we should be patient. Real time DD 5.1 is pretty new to gaming and naturally there will be some problems. Now, if games that come out in the spring have similar problems, then it really needs to be addressed. Of course the developers need to know that there are problems (if it is there fault) so that it gets fixed.

    Stefan Antwarg
     
  17. Micheal

    Micheal Screenwriter

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    Why doesn't someone try a 5.1 DVD movie? That should answer all your questions. If the movie works in full 5.1 with the centre channel then the Xbox is OK and it must be a software issue, if it doesn't then there is a serious problem.
     
  18. James Nguyen

    James Nguyen Second Unit

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    well....

    did a quick test last night with Halo and DOA3...and much like everyone else, there rarely is any action in the center channel...

    the occasional explosion or other sound during a cutscene, but in game, not a whole lot going on.

    now, popped in T2 and Office Space last night and sure enough, wham, center channel galore..

    seems that either game devs aren't very brushed up yet on dialogue placement / sound distribution or they're just not accustomed enough to the new xbox development environment to do so...who knows...but I'm definitely leaning toward it being a game developer thing.
     
  19. Leroy

    Leroy Second Unit

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    I get the same results w/ Halo in 5.1, but I do think it's by design. Cortana's voice comes thru loud and clear, anchoring in the center makes sense as she is implanted in your suit and you woul always hear here from the ame perpective.

    As far as other games I don't know. Think about it this way, when you watch a movie in 5.1 the voices are in the center, while most of everything else surrounds you, maybe that' what they were going for.
     
  20. Conroy Tesa

    Conroy Tesa Stunt Coordinator

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    Weird...
    Well if it is working ok then fine.
    The MS rep I 'spoke with' (re keep putting me on hold while he checked) for 1/2 hour at midnight last night had no clue.
    Just kept suggesting replacing all of my equipment[​IMG] .
    I'll survive if this is NOT a DEFECT but bad programming.
    When I am the only one playing and I sit in the sweet spot, everything is perfect with a phantom center channel. But I noticed this quirk last night because my buddy and I were playing COOP halo and I was shifted to the side and could hear dialogue coming out of the right channel.
    If this bugs me, and is just bad programming, when my buddy is there I could just use 6 axis on my citation 7.0 (predacessor to DPL2) with split surrounds.
    Keep checking tho!
     

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