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Friday, March 15, 2002
Creative's Souder on 5.1 Audio, 3D Audio and OpenAL
9:58 AM | Richard Porcher | Comment on this story

Creative Labs' resident Mac guru Brian Souder was recently asked by Accelerate Your Mac! to comment on the details of 5.1 audio, 3D gaming audio, and OpenAL for the Mac. This topic has been a source of confusion for both Mac and PC gamers, and Souder does a fine job of clearing things up in his response.

Souder, who is an ardent supporter of the Mac platform within Creative Labs, has been very outspoken about his desire to see their SoundBlaster Live card fully supported on the Mac, and frequently corresponds with Mac users via various web forums. Currently, there is a new set of Mac OS 9 drivers for the card nearing release, a fact that Souder has reported in the forums over at MacGamer. The status of Creative Labs' support of Mac OS X, however, is unclear. At this time, no OS X drivers for the card have been announced.

Here is some of what Souder had to say:

AC3 or movie surround sound (there are other formats too, but let's keep it simple), is audio that has been encoded on a disc that needs a decoding device like a 5.1 Live/Audigy to decode, or a set of speakers that has a decoder built in to play back. Game 3D audio is generated by a set of mathematical equations in real time to make an event happen from a certain direction. (OpenAL and EAX 3.0 [PC]) are examples of 3D APIs that will position audio.)

On the PC, we use the digital out (2 pin digital on DVD-ROM) to pass the digital audio to the sound card. This includes the AC3 signal if the DVD-ROM driver allows for the signal to be transmitted. On the Macintosh platform, Apple sends the AC3 signal down the IDE cable.

The rest of Souder's response contains much that should be of interest to Mac gamers and audiophiles. In addition, several readers have written responses of their own. Follow the link below to read more.

Accelerate Your Mac: Brian Souder's Mac audio comments

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