AMD Set To Reveal New Audio Technology
Called TrueAudio the inclusion of an audio DSP on a board is a breakthrough that is being delivered to market as more consumers than ever before are watching or listening to content on an all in one PC with TV tuner or on a tablet. Also demanding better quality sound are multi-platform game players.
Also helping Companies like AMD is the launch of a much improved Windows 8 that changes to how audio is delivered.
Anatech claims that audio DSPs are nothing new, with pioneers such as Creative Labs and Aureal jump-starting the market for those back in the late 90s. They claim that what AMD is going to be doing is offloading audio processing to their DSP to take advantage of the greater capabilities of task-dedicated hardware.
The advantages of utilizing the DSP are fairly straightforward. Simple audio calculations are cheap, and even simple 3D effects such as panning and precomputed reverb can be done similarly cheaply, but real-time reflections, reverb, and 3D transformations are expensive. Running the calculations to provide 3D audio over headphones and 2.1 speakers, or phantom speakers and above/below audio positioning in 5.1 setups is all very expensive. And for these reasons these effects aren’t used in current generation games. These are the kinds of effects AMD wants to bring (back) to PC gaming.
The challenge for AMD is that they’re going to need to get developers on board to utilize the technology, something that was a continual problem for Aureal and Creative. We don’t know just how the consoles will compare – we know the XB1 has its own audio DSPs, we know less about the PS4 – but in the PC space this would be an AMD-exclusive feature, which means the majority of enthusiast games (who historically have been NVIDIA equipped) will not be able to access this technology.
To jump ahead of that AMD is already forging relationships with the most important firms in the PC gaming audio space: the audio middleware providers. AMD is working very closely with audio firm GenAudio of AstoundSound fame, who in turn has developed audio engines utilizing the TrueAudio DSP. GenAudio will be releasing plugins for the common PC audio middleware to jumpstart the process, Firelight Technologies’ FMOD and AudioKinetics’ Wwise.
Among the users of the new technology is game Company Eidos who has pledged support in their upcoming Thief game, and newcomer Xaviant pledging support for their in development magical loot game, Lichdom. All of this will of course be available to anyone using the Wwise or FMOD audio engines.