Sound Overhaul 3 has been released!
Today I'm releasing a major update for the Sound Overhaul mod. What is Sound Overhaul? To put it simply, it's Dreamcast Conversion's sound counterpart. It replaces all sound effects (except Chao) with higher quality sounds ripped from the Dreamcast version, fixes a lot of SADX sound issues and imitates several effects to make the game sound more like the Dreamcast version.
To get Sound Overhaul 3, simply update Sound Overhaul 2 through the Mod Manager, or use the mod installer to set it up automatically with other mods. You can also get the full package for manual installation here.
NOTE! If you're updating or installing manually, I highly recommend getting the DirectSound wrapper from here and putting dsound.dll and dsound.ini into your SADX folder (where sonic.exe is). This wrapper improves the handling of 3D sounds and the mod is meant to be played with it.
Here's a broad overview of new things introduced in Sound Overhaul since the original release of version 2 in 2017:
All soundbanks except Chao-related sounds have been replaced with high quality digital rips from a real Dreamcast. The previous version also used sounds ripped from the Dreamcast game, however the sounds were ripped using scripts and encoders that were found inaccurate. Using sample code from the Dreamcast SDK I compiled a Dreamcast program that played the game's sounds to make it easier to record. The sounds in this version are edited hardware recordings from a real Dreamcast modded with DCHDMI for digital audio. I'd like to thank Alex/TheLegendOfXela for patiently recording all sounds from his DCHDMI modded console and burning dozens of different CDs with different versions of the soundbank player. To sound right in SADX, the ripped sounds still needed volume adjustment, which I did manually to the best of my ability.
The previous version of this mod used 22050hz sounds. Originally I wanted the mod to use 44100hz sounds (the final sound output on the Dreamcast always uses 44100hz), but there were issues with certain sounds. I was able to resolve those issues, and the game now uses 44100hz sounds. It might be an overkill and a lot of sounds wouldn't be any different at 22050hz, but I thought it would be better to stick with the highest quality possible, plus it matches the Dreamcast version's sound output so I could use the recorded sounds as-is without resampling.
The 2004 PC port of SADX uses a positional audio system based on DirectSound3D. This system is functional even on modern computers, and if you use headphones you can hear how some sounds are panned to the left or right channel depending on the sound source. However, there are multiple issues with the vanilla sound system. First, all sounds are too quiet and barely audible with music. Secondly, some 3D sounds are almost inaudible because they use a hardcoded distance to determine how loud they should be (for example, the orca in Emerald Coast 1). Finally, while DirectSound3D offers three levels of quality for 3D sound buffers, the game uses the lowest quality one. I did my best to fix or improve the above issues. The entire game, including music and voices, is now much louder, there's a distance override for certain 3D sounds that are supposed to be audible from a long distance, and the game now uses the highest quality HRTF mode at all times. In addition, I reworked sound volume conversion for 2D sounds, which is now handled more in line with what DirectSound expects.
Some sounds in SADX don't loop properly or get cut off too early. A few sounds are simply missing (such as characters' hurt sounds). When multiple sources produce the same sound, it feels like one sound but louder instead of multiple sounds. Some sounds faded out on the Dreamcast (because of the way the Dreamcast sound system works) but in SADX they cut off abruptly. I've introduced many fixes for different sounds. These are too numerous to list here, so see the changelog for more information.
The 2004 PC port uses the same value for music and video volume, which can be problematic if you want to lower music volume without it also affecting videos. I've added a separate setting for video volume, which is also much louder now at the highest setting. There's also a boost option for music and voices if you want to increase their volume beyond the game's maximum setting.
There are a lot of little things I couldn't include in this summary and even in the changelog, so I suggest you just try the mod for yourself and see if it suits your sound taste. While I couldn't make it sound absolutely identical to the Dreamcast, I think it's still a massive improvement over vanilla SADX and the previous version of the mod. Hope you like it!