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Sound Quality

posted by Zardos on - last edited - Viewed by 550 users
First I want to say, I am loving these Sam & Max episodes! And I hope these seasons continue indefinitely!

Now, on to my issue!

Surely I'm not alone in this... or does everyone have $20 speakers hooked up to their PC?

The sound quality of the voices in-game have "artifacting" pretty bad. This is the result of using a lossy compression (like an MP3 at a low bitrate type of problem). Very lossy in my opinion. After hearing this in Sam & Max, I noticed how many other games I am playing have crystal clear sound on their voices. Even an older game I loaded tonight (Homeworld 2) has just perfect sound quality on the voice recordings.

With a game like Sam & Max, where the voice is so important, one would think this would be a priority. I have to admit, it distracts me when they talk.

Now, on the other side of the coin, I'm sure it had to do with the fact that it's a download only game (currently) and they probably decided to compress the voices as much as they dared. I mean I can understand why this needed to be done -- but with a decent pair of speakers (and maybe even without decent ones?), its quite obvious. Again, I have my sound going through a real amplifier (like you'd have for your home CD player), and a pretty good one at that.. Also, I'm using 3-way tower speakers (12" woofer, you know, bigger speakers! I've always enjoyed hearing high quality sound from games since the Amiga days). Aside from that, a decent $20 headset should work fine too.

Anyway, I don't mean to upset anyone (Telltale or its customers), but instead just to open this issue up for discussion... And... to encourage Telltale to release a DVD version with high quality sound this summer (for us customers)! This will let them know what kind of support they would have for changing the sound files out!

I'll be the first one in line to vote for this...!

9 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Hey Zardos,

    Believe me you are not the only one who noticed the sound quality and posted about it on this board. That's one of the problem with the downloading a game method. You have to make sacrifices to keep the download as small as possible.

    Here's hoping that the DVD version has better sound quality. I'm such a sucker for Sam & Max that I'll probably get both the Telltale and the retail version.
  • It seems like some have this issue and some have not. I have a M-Audio 2496 soundcard connected to a mixer, and is using some Creative speakers or my Sennheiser 650 headphones for output and is having no problem with either of em. All of the equipment but the Creative speakers is semi-pro/pro. (Sennheiser 650's are 303$ to 499$ at CNet)

    If it's my ears or equipment I'm not sure, but as said I have no problems with the sound quality. Sennheier 650's are brutal when it comes to exposing bad sound quality, I hear about everything in them ;-)

    I know this matter har been discussed before, and of course, if it is possible for Telltale to include higher quality sound in the dvd release it would be great =) As it seems that this is a problem for some gamers.

    (Just woke up but I think most of this made sense. I will know when I actually wake up ^^)
  • The sound quality hasn't bothered me, but I have a couple fairly noisy fans in my computer and it's not always perfectly quiet otherwise. I have some large, but 7 year old, Klipsich speakers. Of course, I have heard a lot of bad things about Klipsich, so maybe I'm just used to fuzzy audio quality? : /
  • I have to say, I first played Sam & Max - Season 1, episode 1-4 on my Creative Soundblaster Live card(which is still in my PC actually, since Linux doesn't have drivers for my new X-Fi card yet) and there I had no sound problems what so ever. It never bothered me a bit that the sound was low bitrate ogg files, mostly because this card is amazing at creating a good sound image without exposing the low bitrates. But on the downside, this card has some horrible problems with some DirectX 9 based games, or actually, it's the games that has problems with the card, because it's just with a few certain games(like Oblivion and Broken Sword 4, which were why I decided to get a new soundcard).

    Anyway, when I played Reality 2.0, on my new X-Fi card, I noticed what people are talking about. I can hear some scratching if I listen very carefully, and it actually got more annoying during some conversations than others. Actually, it was better with songs than conversations. The songs in game didn't annoy me, but the conversations sometimes did. I bet on some other soundcards it would've been really annoying.

    So my diagnosis? Get a Soundblaster live! card. Um... bad solution, you say? hmmm... Anyway... yeah, seems like this is a issue with certain cards, and it actually seems like older sound cards tend to have less problems with low bitrates than newer soundcards.
  • I only notice poor sound quality when talking to Sybil, and even then only when I specifically try to notice it. I simply use the built-in soundcard of my motherboard (I used to use a Soundblaster live! but in more recent years it seems to disagree with every videocard I own) and for total immersion my trusty set of Sony earplugs (I'm still of the opinion that as far as speakers are concerned no amount of surround technology can improve on a well-designed stereo feed through any halfway-decent set of earplugs; and some of Jareds tunes are bloody brilliant stereo.)
  • I have a Audigy2 soundcard and use Creative/Cambridge 2.1 speakers. I know it's not a high end setup, and the sound is fine (except maybe some of the s sounds).

    I have to admit that i seems that most audiophiles with high end sound systems notice this more regularly than the common folk (like me ;)).

    Personally, I don't mind. And the music quality more than makes up for it :)
  • I never noticed this on my (indeed, $20) speakers. Then I got headphones and the difference was immense. There's quite a lot of crackling and other noise in the audio, not just voice acting but the music as well. It annoys me, and I don't see why this was done. I don't think that in the age of broadband internet an additional 10MB would have mattered that much.
  • I'm using a Beyer Dybamic DT440 (around 150$, german award winner quality product) with the chipset integratd in my iMac. I can't tell what is it, I just know it has an optical jack (able to send digital 5.1 stream). I'm an audiophile so I do love great sound. I just can't play to Sam&Max with my headphone because it's totally neutral. I hear so much garbage in the voices, but no problem with the music.

    I do not complain again because someone from the staff said it was to keep the game file quite small, and it could (but not will) be really better on the DVD version.

    Anyway, with my buil in speaker it's quite great... but when I listen to any music with them and then with my headphone, I feel so much missing frequencies in the speakers. So my point is the same : it's great if you have a poor audio system (it doesn't mean it's bad or something, it's just you miss something that makes the game sound to sound great ^^).

    What I do not understand, is why Plan3 can't hear any difference... can you hear a difference with a CD and a 128kbps MP3 ? If not, I understand better ;)
  • I can definitly hear the difference with a CD and a 128kbps MP3. I usually don't use my Sennheisers for gaming that much though, and my Creative speakers don't expose bad quality in the same way as my headset do.

    When I use my Sennheisers for Sam & Max I can hear what people are talking about with the S's and noise in the background, but it's not something that bother me alot. But it could be that if I used my Sennheisers as my primary sound output when playing I would be more bothered by it.

    I'm usually playing Sam & Max episodes with my girlfriend by my side so playing with headset is not really the thing ;-)

    My Sennheisers I use for blowing my ears out =p
    (Yes, I love my Sennheiser and I am very proud to be a owner of em, just like I'm the proud owner of a Mont Blanc pen. Expensive things that I don't really need but makes me feel good ^^)
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