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Encyclopedia > Environmental audio extensions
Creative EAX logo

The environmental audio extensions (or EAX) are a number of digital signal processing presets for audio, present in Creative Labs later Sound Blaster sound cards and the Creative NOMAD/Creative Zen product lines. EAX displaced the alternative A3D (Aureal 3-Dimensional) in 2001. Image File history File links Logo-eax. ... Digital signal processing (DSP) is the study of signals in a digital representation and the processing methods of these signals. ... Creative Technology Ltd. ... The Sound Blaster family of sound cards was for many years the de facto standard for audio on the IBM PC compatible system platform, before PC audio became commoditized, and backward-compatibility became less of a feature. ... A sound card is a computer expansion card that can input and output sound under control of computer programs. ... The Creative NOMAD was a range of digital audio players designed and sold by Creative Technology, and later discontinued in 2004. ... Zen Vision:M, Creatives flagship player, in all five of its colors. ... A3D (Aureal 3-Dimensional) is a technology developed by Aureal that delivers sound with a three-dimensional effect through headphones, two or even four speakers. ... Aureal Semiconductor was an American electronics manufacturer, best known throughout the mid-late 1990s for their PC sound card technologies including A3D and the Vortex line of audio ASICs. ...

Contents

Sound card versions

Environment perception

The aim of EAX is to create more ambience within games by more accurately simulating a real-world audio environment. Up to EAX 2.0, the technology simply was based around the effects engine aboard the Sound Blaster Live!'s EMU10K1 audio chip. The effects engine, actually an E-mu 8011 DSP integrated into the audio chip, was historically used to enhance MIDI output by adding effects (such as reverb and chorus) to the sampled instruments on sample-based synthesis cards (also known as wavetable). In fact, this effects DSP was similarly present on Creative's cards all the way back to AWE 32. However, the EMU10K1's DSP was more flexible and was able to affect not only MIDI output but also all other outputs, including the digital sound section. A person who has been exposed to MIDI effects processors will quickly recognize the parameters that EAX controls, and the names of many of the presets. Sound Blaster Live! is a PCI sound card from Creative Technology. ... E-mu Systems is a synthesizer maker and pioneer in the manufacture of low-cost digital sampling music workstations. ... A digital signal processor (DSP) is a specialized microprocessor designed specifically for digital signal processing, generally in real-time. ... Musical Instrument Digital Interface, or MIDI, is a system designed to transmit information between electronic musical instruments. ... This article is about audio effect. ... The chorus effect is a condition in the way people perceive nearly the same sound coming from more than one source. ... Sample-based synthesis is a form of audio synthesis that can be similar in structure to either subtractive synthesis or additive synthesis. ... Wavetable synthesis is used in digital musical instruments (synthesizers) to produce natural tone-like sounds. ... The Sound Blaster family of sound cards was for many years the de facto standard for audio on the IBM PC compatible system platform, before PC audio became commoditized, and backward-compatibility became less of a feature. ...


Creative, seeing the rising popularity and marketing significance of having a proprietary sound API, gave the functionality of this effects engine the name EAX. EAX is a library of extensions to Microsoft's DirectSound3D API, adding environmental audio presets to DS3D's audio positioning. Developers taking advantage of EAX literally choose an environment for their game's setting and the sound card will use the mathematical DSP filter presets for that environment. The original EAX was quite primitive, only offering 26 presets and 3 parameters for more accurate adjustment of the listener parameters and 1 parameter for the sources. Each new revision of the technology increases the available effects. EAX Advanced HD (also known as EAX 3) and up add support for new environmental transitions, new effects, and multiple active effects. Further additions include smooth changes between EAX environment presets and audio occlusion effects (that is, a wall between player and sound source). DirectSound3D is an addition to Microsofts DirectX system which is intended to standardize 3D audio under Microsoft Windows. ...


EAX has nothing to do with actual 3D audio positioning. Positioning is done by Microsoft's DirectSound3D API. An alternative to DirectSound3D, called Open Audio Library (OpenAL), surfaced in 2003 in several titles. OpenAL allows direct hardware acceleration of audio, like DirectSound, including EAX. As of 2006, the API has been used in many popular titles including Doom 3 and Prey. These games support EAX 4.0 if audio hardware with an OpenAL-supporting driver is present. Because hardware acceleration for DirectSound and DirectSound3D will be dropped in Windows Vista [1], OpenAL will likely become more important for game developers who wish to use EAX in their games. DirectSound3D is an addition to Microsofts DirectX system which is intended to standardize 3D audio under Microsoft Windows. ... OpenAL (Open Audio Library) is a cross-platform audio API. It is designed for efficient rendering of multichannel three dimensional positional audio. ... Doom 3 is a science fiction horror first-person shooter computer game developed by id Software and published by Activision on August 3, 2004. ... Prey is a first-person shooter video game developed by Human Head Studios and produced by 3D Realms, using a heavily modified version of the Doom 3 engine. ...


Most releases of EAX versions coincide with increases in the number of simultaneous voices processible in hardware by the audio processor: the original EAX 1.0 supports 8 voices, EAX 2.0 allows 32 (Live!), EAX Advanced HD (EAX 3.0) supports 64 (Audigy), EAX 4.0 again supports 64 (Audigy 2), and EAX 5.0 allows 128 voices (and up to 4 effects applied to each) (X-Fi). Sound Blaster Live! is a PCI sound card from Creative Technology. ... The Sound Blaster family of sound cards was for many years the de facto standard for audio on the IBM PC compatible system platform, before PC audio became commoditized, and backward-compatibility became less of a feature. ... Sound Blaster Audigy 2 is a PCI sound card from Creative Technology. ... X-Fi is a marketing term currently being developed and promoted by Creative Technology on their Sound Blaster website. ...

  • Games that use EAX

Audio player versions

In the portable audio players produced by Creative, especially the Creative NOMAD and Creative Zen lines, EAX means something else than for sound cards. Here, it applies a few possible effects to played back audio on the device, including: The Creative NOMAD was a range of digital audio players designed and sold by Creative Technology, and later discontinued in 2004. ... Zen Vision:M, Creatives flagship player, in all five of its colors. ...

  • Different reverb-like environments (most similar to the sound card EAX)
  • Speed-shifting (slower or faster)
  • Environment adaptation (train, plane, public place etc)
  • Sound image (broad, narrow etc)
  • A simple graphical equalizer

The first NOMAD jukebox also had support for pseudo-surround sound using rear speakers by supporting two different audio output plugs on the device. This article is about audio effect. ... For information about computer bandwidth management, see Equalization (computing). ... Surround sound is the name for a variety of techniques for expanding and enriching the sound of audio playback by recording additional sound channels that can be reproduced on additional speakers. ...


The addition of these effects to the audio is not very popular, will use up additional battery resources and is generally a quite mysterious feature to most owners. It might have been introduced only to sell players to computer-game people who were familiar with the EAX concept and would therefore hold this feature in high regard.


References

  • Modern Audio Technologies in Games at Digit-Life.Com

See also

A3D (Aureal 3-Dimensional) is a technology developed by Aureal that delivers sound with a three-dimensional effect through headphones, two or even four speakers. ... Aureal Semiconductor was an American electronics manufacturer, best known throughout the mid-late 1990s for their PC sound card technologies including A3D and the Vortex line of audio ASICs. ... DirectSound3D is an addition to Microsofts DirectX system which is intended to standardize 3D audio under Microsoft Windows. ... Sign for Dolby Surround Dolby Surround was the earliest consumer version of Dolbys multichannel analog film sound format Dolby Analog SR (Spectral Recording). ... Dolby Pro Logic is a surround sound processing technology designed to decode soundtracks encoded with Dolby Surround. ... Dolby Digital logotype Dolby Digital is the marketing name for a series of lossy audio compression technologies by Dolby Laboratories. ... Sensaura, a division of Creative Technology, provides sophisticated 3D audio technology for the interactive entertainment industry. ... OpenAL (Open Audio Library) is a cross-platform audio API. It is designed for efficient rendering of multichannel three dimensional positional audio. ...

External links

  • Official website
  • Developer site

  Results from FactBites:
 
ION Storm Blasts Into the Realm of Environmental Audio (554 words)
By utilizing Creative's cutting-edge Environmental Audio technology, ION Storm's sound design team was able to add intense levels of game play with special effects that generate a new kind of audio excitement in fierce and dramatic combat scenes.
Environmental Audio goes beyond 3D positional audio -- sounds will appear to come from all corners of a room or space adding reverb, echo and other effects consistent with the room acoustics, position of the player, source of the sound, and many other cues.
Developers are using Creative's Environmental Audio Extensions (EAX) application programmer's interface (API) to develop for this new audio standard.
Environmental audio extensions - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (677 words)
The environmental audio extensions (or EAX) are a number of digital signal processing presets for audio, present in Creative Labs later Sound Blaster sound cards and the Creative NOMAD/Creative Zen product lines.
The effects engine, actually an E-mu 8011 DSP integrated into the audio chip, was historically used to enhance MIDI output by adding effects (such as reverb and chorus) to the sampled instruments on sample-based synthesis cards (also known as wavetable).
EAX is a library of extensions to Microsoft's DirectSound3D API, adding environmental audio presets to DS3D's audio positioning.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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