In the Forums...
Posted: September 16, 2000
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
Crystal Clear Windows Settings
There are a few special settings within Windows that can make your audio sound a lot better. If you go into the Control Panel and open the Multimedia applet (in Windows ME it is now called Sounds and Multimedia), and go to the Audio tab, you will see a section called sound playback that has an Advanced button. Within the Advanced Audio Properties section there are several settings which should be properly configured. The first, Speaker Setup, refers to how you have your speakers placed around your computer - choose the one that closest matches your setup and move on to the Performance tab.
Under the Performance tab there are two sliders - hardware acceleration and sample rate conversion quality. For optimal sound quality at the lowest possible performance hit, I would recommend enabling full hardware acceleration and the best sample rate converter available (move both sliders to the far right). Perform the same procedure under the Voice tab if you are using Windows ME, otherwise move onto the next setting.
If you have a newer CD-ROM drive, you might have the option of enabling digital audio playback. This will improve the sound quality of CD tracks (as well as the background music in many games) by allowing the information to remain digital for a longer period of time (analog signals can be distorted by electrical interference but digital signals cannot). To enable digital audio playback, go into the Device Manager in the System applet and open up the properties of your CD-ROM drive. Under the properties tab, if you have the feature available to you, you will be able to enable Digital CD playback.
If you happen to have an equalizer available to you of some sort (be it as simple as treble/bass knobs or as complicated as a 12-band equalizer), you are in for a treat - you can tweak out the sound coming from your speakers even more. If you are simply using treble/bass knobs, I would recommend putting the bass slightly higher than the treble (to personal preference, of course). Generally computer speakers don't push as much bass as they ought to and this is to account for that. If you have a 12-band software equalizer available to you (either in WinAmp or as a part of your sound driver package), I generally recommend a slope that starts out high on the left (lots of bass), hits its low near the center (between 1 and 5 kHz normally), and then slopes up slightly for the high range. This, in my experience, gives a very rich sound - however, just as with the bass and treble knobs, tweaking this to taste is a must - whatever sounds best in your situation is what you should go with. And keep in mind this is going to be slightly different on every sound system.
Dan's EQ while listening to APC.
Hopefully, this short guide has helped you get as good a sound out of your computer as possible and is proof positive that even measly looking speakers can pack something of a punch. If you are interested in more information about tweaking out the sound of your computer, have a look see at out excellent Sound Card and Speakers Tweak Guide.
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