Interesting problem. . .
Prelude: I wanted to test out the 3D sound enabled by Taylor's sound test on my system. I am running an Auzentech X-Meridian 7.1 connected via Optical to a DDL 5.1 stereo, and the card is in DDL mode. Windows can ping each individual speaker correctly and this works properly with pretty much everything else. I have OpenAL 2.07 installed, Windows is Win7 x64.
I am unable to get anything other than plain jane Stereo sound out of this card with this game. The Launcher (5.5f beta) detects the card as "Generic Software" - thinking this might be a driver issue, I downloaded and installed the latest Oxygen HD driver from C-Media's website. It is a little newer than the latest on the Auzentech website (Rev .777 as opposed to rev .772). No difference.
At this point I just figured that perhaps a hardware renderer was required. It just so happens, I have a Sound Blaster Audigy sitting in a drawer. Trouble is, there is no way for me to get the 3D sound out of this card to the stereo (no optical out on the Audigy). I ran across a neat piece of software that addresses this, though. It is called Velbac.
Velbac is a spiffy bit of programming that links a Creative sound card to any other sound card via ASIO interception. Essentially, you set your default sound card in Windows to be the Creative card, set it up for 5.1, run Velbac and have it use the Creative ASIO driver to intercept the processed audio. It then sends it (via system RAM) to a sound card of your choice, such as my X-Meridian, which hardware encodes it into DDL and sends it to the stereo. Drawback is a bit of added latency to sounds (no where near as bad as you'd think, either).
First off - it actually works! I tested it with FEAR and was able to enable EAX HD (via Creative Alchemy) and get 5.1 surround in this game for the first time ever. Next up, I tried Taylor's sound test build dated 4/22/10. Well - it kinda works. You get the 3D sound, and it is nothing short of completely stunning how much more immersive the game is with it. Only problem is that foreground sounds (pre-mission speech, main lobby sound fx, pilot speech in game, gun shots, etc) come out of the right side speaker. I can hear the other pilots flying around me just fine, and explosions all appear to be placed correct other than this exception. It is just the foreground sounds that come out of the right side speaker. Odd.
Anyone else have any kind of problems like this?