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Poor Bass Response for Realtek HD Audio Codecs
dd_wizard
post Jan 31 2008, 20:37
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If your Windows Vista Realtek HD audio codec has poor bass response, the following information may be useful. The first image below is the frequency response for Toshiba's OEM version of the Realtek v1.60 drivers. The second image is for the Realtek v1.85 drivers. In both images, the red curve should be the frequency response for limited range laptop speakers. The blue curve should be the frequency response for full-range speakers or headphones. However, the full-range speakers check box has NO effect on the frequency response. And for v1.85 drivers, plugging in headphones has NO effect on the frequency response, even though the drivers know headphones are plugged in. In version 1.85, the surround sound check box changes to headphone virtualization in the HD audio manager control panel when headphones are plugged in, but the frequency response is unchanged.





The blue curve is produced by checking the "Disable all sound effects" check box in the enhancements tab of the speakers properties control panel. Of course, this disables all those potentially useful effects such as surround sound, headphone virtualization, environment effects, equalization, etc. I'm not a fan of DSPs mucking with my audio stream, so this isn't a huge loss. But I would like to try headphone virtualization with normal bass response one day. Hopefully, Realtek will fix their drivers so they look at the full-range speakers check box. I'm sure this is the intended behavior!

The hump at 8kHz in the v1.85 drivers may look bad, but it's a LOT better than the notch filter that I think was used to flatten it in the v1.60 drivers. When the sine sweep passes through that frequency band in the v1.60 drivers, the noise floor jumps 40-60db, and there is an audible "swooshing" when headphones are used. My guess is Realtek decided that the cure was worse than the disease, and left the 8kHz artifact in later drivers. It is probably a result of the bass cut filter that is intended to protect 1-2" laptop speakers.

dd_wizard

This post has been edited by dd_wizard: Jan 31 2008, 22:33
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LANjackal
post Feb 1 2008, 02:13
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I'm on my third Toshiba laptop - the most recent runs Vista Home Premium and was bought in June 2007 - and can confirm that the onboard audio with the last 2 models (both Realtek) is absolutely crappy. But that's why I use an external sound card smile.gif


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dd_wizard
post Feb 1 2008, 02:35
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QUOTE (LANjackal @ Jan 31 2008, 17:13) *
I'm on my third Toshiba laptop - the most recent runs Vista Home Premium and was bought in June 2007 - and can confirm that the onboard audio with the last 2 models (both Realtek) is absolutely crappy. But that's why I use an external sound card smile.gif

Trust me, when you get the on board audio working it sounds good. And all you need for decent portable sound besides your laptop is a good pair of earbuds.

dd_wizard
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Bourne
post Feb 4 2008, 21:21
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I have an ALC883 Realtek Codec based on-board card, and I must confess how it is CRAP!!! It made me regret buying this MoBo. On XP or Linux is crap. My solution will be getting a quality headphone or an amplifier.

This post has been edited by Bourne: Feb 4 2008, 21:23
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j7n
post Feb 5 2008, 01:11
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I wish there were motherboards without audio. Since Pentium 4 generation I only encountered some Intel OEM boards without onboard sound.
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dd_wizard
post Feb 8 2008, 23:03
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QUOTE (Bourne @ Feb 4 2008, 12:21) *
I have an ALC883 Realtek Codec based on-board card, and I must confess how it is CRAP!!! It made me regret buying this MoBo. On XP or Linux is crap. My solution will be getting a quality headphone or an amplifier.

Did you try checking the "Disable all sound effects" check box in the enhancements tab of the speakers properties control panel? If the ACL883 uses the HD Audio drivers, you will be amazed how much better it sounds after you do.

dd_wizard
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Woodinville
post Feb 9 2008, 02:03
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If you have an HDaudio RealTek solution, first thing is to roll back to the Microsoft class driver.


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Bourne
post Feb 9 2008, 02:41
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@dd_wizard: I have installed the Realtek 1.85 latest pack driver. I did not find that option in either Sound Properties in Windows Control Panel or Realtek Contro Panel (which is very very ugly and borky) (THAT ON XP). It does use the HD Audio Driver, but it's crap. My previous board was an ASUS A7V266-MX with SoundMAX, it was OK but lemme tell ya much much better than this Realtek crap. It had Bassboost and the volume was loud and good. Please clear my mind if I am getting anything wrong in here? I have messed every single option in the Driver panel and could not get a better sound.

I am getting a SoundBlaster 128 PCI card, I know it's not HD Audio, but hey it has a 6 Watt RMS amplifier, which I bet this Realtek crap hasn't got. Some dude is giving it to me but it will be hell useful and beat this RTK to death.

This post has been edited by Bourne: Feb 9 2008, 03:12
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dd_wizard
post Feb 9 2008, 04:48
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QUOTE (Bourne @ Feb 8 2008, 17:41) *
@dd_wizard: I have installed the Realtek 1.85 latest pack driver. I did not find that option in either Sound Properties in Windows Control Panel or Realtek Contro Panel (which is very very ugly and borky) (THAT ON XP). It does use the HD Audio Driver, but it's crap. My previous board was an ASUS A7V266-MX with SoundMAX, it was OK but lemme tell ya much much better than this Realtek crap. It had Bassboost and the volume was loud and good. Please clear my mind if I am getting anything wrong in here? I have messed every single option in the Driver panel and could not get a better sound.

I am getting a SoundBlaster 128 PCI card, I know it's not HD Audio, but hey it has a 6 Watt RMS amplifier, which I bet this Realtek crap hasn't got. Some dude is giving it to me but it will be hell useful and beat this RTK to death.

Right click the speaker icon in the system tray, select playback devices, double click speakers, click the Enhancements tab, check the Disable all enhancements box, click ok or apply. Listen to a track with bass on headphones, you will be amazed!

dd_wizard
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M 6.3
post Feb 9 2008, 12:12
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I did this the day I got my Toshiba A100-VA9.
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dd_wizard
post Feb 9 2008, 17:23
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M 6.3,

Lucky you! I actually didn't think of that until after I tried ASIO4ALL and e-mailed similar frequency response curves to Toshiba level 3 support in Irvine, CA. The blue line was generated by ASIO4ALL in those curves. Toshiba engineering is actually talking to Realtek to try and resolve the issue. I've also e-mailed the curves in my first post to Realtek, but their last driver update (1.86) doesn't mention fixing the bug. Since Realtek is listed as one of the problematic driver vendors for Vista SP 1, I'm using the original MS drivers until SP 1 is available. Hopefully, Realtek will fix this soon.

dd_wizard
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Bourne
post Feb 9 2008, 20:07
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sorry dd_wizard... I think this option is only present in Vista, not in XP/2003. Believe me I tried everything within the possibilities here - no luck. Do emailing these companies support desk actually get something to be solved? Hmmm... I suspect no. Realtek is hopeless... I'm sure that if they come out with a driver solution for XP/Vista they will probably forget Linux.
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dd_wizard
post Feb 9 2008, 20:21
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Bourne,

The ONLY way to talk to Realtek is by e-mail. crying.gif I did get to talk to an engineer at Toshiba, and he was very helpful. He looked at the frequency response curves I sent to him while we were talking on the phone. Toshiba level 2 support documented the fix for future callers, and they did escalate the issue to level 3 support. And you're right, XP uses the WDM driver package, not the Vista driver package so it's likely you have a different problem. ASIO4ALL may be a good fix for XP if you are using foobar2000. It has a solid ASIO output plugin. Both of the Winamp ASIO plugins are buggy under Vista, but might work under XP.

dd_wizard

This post has been edited by dd_wizard: Feb 9 2008, 20:28
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Bourne
post Feb 9 2008, 20:31
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I'm sorry but could you make reference to what ASIO4ALL is? LOL I am lost in that one...
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dd_wizard
post Feb 9 2008, 22:25
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QUOTE (Bourne @ Feb 9 2008, 11:31) *
I'm sorry but could you make reference to what ASIO4ALL is? LOL I am lost in that one...

ASIO4ALL is a wrapper that emulates the ASIO audio stack. ASIO is an alternative audio stack that does the same thing Kernel Streaming does. It replaces the MS audio stack in XP or Vista and is intended for low latency, professional audio applications. In XP, this is a good idea because Kmixer can mangle the audio stream. In Vista, it's totally unnecessary, the Vista stack is capable of bit perfect sound reproduction.

A lot of users swear by ASIO or KS on XP. Just google ASIO4ALL and you'll find the site. I was very happy with ASIO4ALL with foobar2000, but as I said earlier, Winamp's ASIO output plugins are buggy on Vista. There is also a very good thread on setting up ASIO4ALL that you can follow.

dd_wizard

This post has been edited by dd_wizard: Feb 9 2008, 22:26
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M 6.3
post Feb 10 2008, 09:39
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Obviously the default setting was intented to enhance the clarity of output when using laptop speakers(protect them from bass too).
They should have added an option to turn it off in Realtek panel.
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dd_wizard
post Feb 10 2008, 09:49
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QUOTE (M 6.3 @ Feb 10 2008, 00:39) *
Obviously the default setting was intented to enhance the clarity of output when using laptop speakers(protect them from bass too).
They should have added an option to turn it off in Realtek panel.

They did. The "Full-range speakers" check box in the Realtek panel and the Configure Speakers control panel is supposed to produce the flat blue curve. That's according to Toshiba level 1, 2, and 3 (engineering) support. I'm pretty certain that information was conveyed to Toshiba by Realtek. At least that's what level 3 support told me. Realtek is just looking at the wrong parameter inside Windows.

As Woodinville stated, rolling back to the MS drivers fixes the problem, too.

dd_wizard

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MuncherOfSpleens
post Jul 24 2008, 08:08
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Sorry to dig up a (somewhat) old thread, but has there been any progress in solving this problem in Windows XP?

ASIO4ALL doesn’t seem to work (well, I only actually tried kernel streaming). And even if it did, that wouldn't be a suitable solution for games and such that don’t support ASIO. As previously mentioned, there is no “Speakers Properties” window in Windows XP, nor any corresponding “Disable all sound effects” option (that I’m aware of). My Realtek “Sound Effects Manager” doesn’t have any “Full-range speakers” check box, functional or otherwise.

As such, I’ve pretty much given up on this thing. If XP had some generic Microsoft drivers that would work with this codec, I would use them with enthusiasm, but it doesn’t.

Is there any way to modify the Realtek driver to remove the offending “feature”? Or perhaps a third party no-frills driver that plays proper sound (and doesn’t do much else)?
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slimserver
post Jul 25 2008, 20:08
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I have the Realtek ALC880 HD Audio and I downloaded the "no-frills" Microsoft Bus Driver KB835221. It is the bare minimum driver [643KB] needed for your Realtek HD Audio to work. This works for Windows XP SP3 and Vista. Here's where you'll find more info and the download: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/835221
I'd suggest uninstalling your current Realtek drivers and rebooting before installing KB835221.

Enjoy

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j7n
post Jul 25 2008, 21:04
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Microsoft is crazy! The driver must be requested over email and is incredibly huge - 62 MB, because they stuck various damn languages in the package. Besides that the archive is passworded. I downloaded versions for all three operating systems, but they turned out to be identical. That's 180 MB to waste!

Now what is the difference between x86chk and x86fre? Which one is needed?

And why are the files inside dated year 2004? The hotfix that is distributed along the official Realtek driver supports only old ICH/codec combinations. How does one activate the more recent Realtek codecs using this driver?

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Woodinville
post Jul 25 2008, 22:08
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Sorry, repeated myself.

ETA:

The issue here lies with RealTek, please realize. This is one of the joys of having to support most everyone's hardware. If you have a chance, look for the Vista ™ Class driver for the codec.

This post has been edited by Woodinville: Jul 25 2008, 22:12


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slimserver
post Jul 26 2008, 07:28
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Here's a link to a direct download. This file should be 643KB not 62MB or 180MB. I've successfully used this with XP SP3 and Vista as the bare minimum driver for HD Audio. If that is what your looking for and you have a Realtek HD Audio product then this should work for you. Here is the link:
http://geekswithblogs.net/lorint/archive/2...6/11/81540.aspx
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j7n
post Jul 26 2008, 13:59
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Hmm, this is one of the files contained in that 62 MB archive. So by installing this you don't have to install the Realtek driver at all?
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slimserver
post Jul 26 2008, 17:15
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QUOTE (j7n @ Jul 26 2008, 07:59) *
Hmm, this is one of the files contained in that 62 MB archive. So by installing this you don't have to install the Realtek driver at all?


That's right. This is just the audio driver without the "special sound effects" or Realtek menus. You'll want to uninstall all that Realtek stuff first, reboot, and then click the KB835221. Then your PC should recognize your Realtek hardware and install the "no-frills" driver. That' it.

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Roseval
post Aug 2 2008, 20:58
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In case of Vista
- Make a restore point
- Device manager - deinstall the Realtek High Def. driver
- Programs - remove Realtek High Def. driver

Reboot and Vista installs the MS High Def Audio Dev.


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