Some of the most common problems with ALchemy are related to soundcard configuration settings. If you are experiencing problems with ALchemy not restoring 3D Audio and EAX in a game that uses DirectSound3D please try the following steps: -
For SB X-Fi PCI and PCIe cards, excluding the X-Fi Xtreme Audio, ensure that the soundcard is in "Game Mode". From the Windows Start Button, click on "All Programs" then the "Creative" folder, then select "Creative Audio Control Panel" (may be called Creative Audio Console on some installations). From this application select the "Mode" tab and then select "Game Mode". Game Mode uses the highest quality 3D Audio algorithms, enables EAX 4 and 5 support, and gives 128 hardware voices.
Also in the Creative Audio Control Panel, select the "Speaker" tab and select the output configuration that matches your set-up (e.g Headphones, Stereo, or 5.1 Speakers)
If you have more than one audio device (NOTE : audio devices include motherboard audio, USB Headphones & Headsets, and soundcards), make sure that the SB X-Fi / Audigy device is the default playback device. To do this, from the Start button, select Control Panel, then Hardware And Sound, then Sound. In the Playback tab select the appropriate output type on the X-Fi / Audigy card, e.g "Speakers, Creative SB X-Fi".
After doing the above, if a game is still not using hardware 3D Sound and EAX: -
Confirm that the ALchemy application detected the game and that the game is listed on the right-hand side of the application. Game titles on the left-hand-side have been detected but NOT ALchemy enabled. Select the titles you wish to enable and press the ">>" button. If a game title is not detected, then you need to add support manually. Click on the "Add" button and enter the relevant information. Check the Game List
for recommended settings for many DirectSound3D enabled games.
For World Of Warcraft only ... the game defaults to using the WASAPI audio system and must be configured to use DirectSound3D. To do this, right-click on the game executable (or a short-cut to the executable), select Properties then the Configuration tab, and under "Run this program in compatibility mode for:" choose Windows XP (Service Pack 2).
Check for error messages in the dsoundlog.txt file automatically generated in the game's executable directory.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How do I know if I successfully enabled ALchemy for a particular game?
Most games have audio settings that reflect the capabilities of the hardware. If Hardware Sound and EAX options are shown, can be selected, and settings persist, then you probably have ALchemy successfully enabled. If you hear audio in all speakers, and effects such as Reverb and Filters (muffled sound) then ALchemy is working. You can also check the dsoundlog.txt file in the game directory for any reported errors.
Q2. Does the Creative ALchemy application need to remain open while playing games?
No, it does not need to remain open. Once you have enabled support for a game (by moving it to the panel on the right-hand side) you can close the application. Enabling ALchemy support is a one-time only configuration process so you do not need to worry about running the application again (unless you install a new game that can take advantage of ALchemy)
Q3. Do I need ALchemy for OpenAL games?
No, ALchemy is only necessary for DirectSound3D Games. See the Games List for information about configuring OpenAL games to use hardware acceleration.
Q4. What soundcards are supported by Creative ALchemy?
The SB Audigy and SB X-Fi Series are supported.
Q5. I enabled ALchemy support for a game but now the audio breaks-up, what should I do?
There could be a problem with the ALchemy settings for this game. Check the Game List
for recommended settings for many games.
Q6. I enabled ALchemy support for a game but it crashes at load time, what happened?
Some games may not function with ALchemy, it is possible you have found one of them. Check the Game List
to see if there are known issues with this game.
Q7. How do I enable ALchemy for World Of Warcraft?
Right-click on the game executable (or a short-cut to the executable), select Properties then the Configuration tab, and under "Run this program in compatibility mode for:" choose Windows XP (Service Pack 2). This is necessary to force the game to use DirectSound3D output.
Q8. Is Vista Service Pack 1 supported?
Yes. There were some problems with older versions of ALchemy, so make sure you have the latest version installed.
Q9. Is there a 64bit version of ALchemy?
Not at this time. There are very few native 64bit DirectSound3D enabled games that would require a 64bit version of ALchemy.
Q10. Can I use ALchemy on Windows XP?
It is not recommended because Windows XP has support for hardware acceleration of DirectSound3D and EAX already.
Q11. How do I enable ALchemy support for Steam games like Half-Life 2?
Steam games, such as Half-Life 2, are installed in such a way that one of the sub-directories is named after your Steam login username. This means that the current version of ALchemy is not able to automatically detect the games. As long as you know your Steam username you can add them manually: -
Run the ALchemy application
Press the Add button
Enter the Game Title
Tick Use Registry Path, and enter HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Valve\Steam\InstallPath
Tick Install into Sub Folder and enter SteamApps\<Put Your Username here>\<Steam Game Name Here>
Buffers should be 5
Duration should be 10
For example, to add support for Half-Life 2 for a hypothetical user with a Steam login name of Ki11er B33
Registry Path = HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Valve\Steam\InstallPath
Sub Folder = SteamApps\Ki11er B33\half-life 2
Buffers = 5
For a complete list of settings for Steam engine games, look in the Game list
for Source Engine Games Set 1 and 2.
Q12. What settings should I use for Buffers and Duration?
Check the Game list
for recommendations first. If a title is not mentioned, or the settings reported are not working you can try to tweak a couple of parameters to improve results.
'Buffers' is used to set the number of audio buffers used internally. The default value of 4 should be fine for most applications.
'Duration' is used to set the length in milliseconds of each of the audio buffers. The default value is 25ms.
The total duration of the audio queue used internally is equal to Buffers * Duration (i.e. 100ms by default). Experimenting with Duration values may be necessary in order to find the best performance vs. quality trade-off for each game. In addition, some games require smaller values than the default of 25ms because they use very small DirectSound Buffers for streaming, or they require faster playback position updates. Reducing the ‘Duration’ value can prevent audio glitches, pops and clicks. However, lower values mean that there is more chance of the audio breaking up during CPU intensive moments (e.g. lots of disc access during level loading). The recommended approach is to try the default settings, and if audio artifacts are regularly heard then try lowering Duration by 5ms and trying again. If the problem still occurs try dropping the value by another 5ms and so on (minimum allowed value is 5ms).