New rumors about next Xbox sound hardware hit the net

We have reported tons of rumors about what the next Xbox game console from Microsoft might have in terms of its CPU, its graphics and its new Kinect hardware. Microsoft has yet to confirm these rumors but plans some kind of major Xbox reveal on May 21st that could finally end some mysteries surrounding the next game console from the company.

Today, a new report from VGleaks.com claims to have information, via unnamed sources, about the sound hardware and software that will be used inside the next Xbox, code named Durango. The highly technical article states that the SHAPE (Scalable Hardware Audio Processing Engine) block will handle most of the hardware chores for the next Xbox.

The article states:

SHAPE operates on blocks of 128 samples, where each sample supports 24-bit integer resolution (or 32-bit float when used by the CPU). At 48 kHz, this represents a 2.67 ms audio frame, providing increased timing resolution and decreased latency compared with the Xbox 360 256 sample block size.

The article also claims that the next Xbox does away with any digital-to-analog converter hardware and software. All audio on Microsoft's next game console will be digital only, via HDMI 1.4a or S/PDIF optical output.  In terms of games, the article claims that titles made for the next Xbox can use two two audio rendering APIs. One is XAudio2, which is already used on the Xbox 360 and Microsoft's Windows operating systems; WASAPI  is the other game sound API that can be used by the console.

There's a bunch of other sound support details in VGLeaks's article but as always, we have to mention that none of this has been confirmed by Microsoft and that specific details could change in the months leading up to the next Xbox launch.

Source: VGleaks.com | Image via VGleaks

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I wouldn't be surprised if the next Xbox did away with HDMI, too. They did it with Surface Pro, using DisplayPort instead of the standard... This just seems like cutting corners to the max.

They did it in the Surface Pro because there is a finite amount of space, the mini displayport is much smaller than a full size HDMI port. They have no such limitation on the xbox.

SpyderCanopus said,
Mini-hdmi is far more common and the standard for HD video output. Nobody but Apple (and not even them!) use DisplayPort.

HDMI only carries one type of signal. DisplayPort carries everything and can support conversion to analogue through active adapters. Not sure of the capabilities of the Surface Pro but with DP 1.4 you can even daisy chain monitors to have more than just one per port.

DP is better than HDMI in every way.

Every quality Dell monitor (Ultrasharp range at least) in the last 5 years has had a DisplayPort port. Pretty sure other manufacturers use it too. HDMI was created for TVs (and is limited in comparison) as it was made with HDCP in mind.

I have used DisplayPort in many builds. Including ones needing VGA analog connections that required $30 adapters for each monitor. I mean, at least it's possible to use any port with it, I'll give you that.

Fred 69 said,

HDMI only carries one type of signal. DisplayPort carries everything and can support conversion to analogue through active adapters.

DP is better than HDMI in every way.

Except that it isn't, HDMI carries several signals, video, audio, network traffic.. Ignoring the royalty-free aspect of DP. A lot of both the HDMI and DP spec is identical. Each side has a few features the other doesn't have yes. Like DP lacks the ethernet capability that HDMI has

The disclaimer at the bottom was a nice touch. It's odd that this mundane story was approached this way after all the erroneous stories were published on here claiming the always on rumor as essentially fact.

That's actually the least interesting news I've heard about the upcoming generation. I guess they're just trying to have a constant trickle of news, but this just seems desperate.

Edited by Geezy, Apr 30 2013, 9:36pm :

So we can hear our gun shots in COD just like we do now .. Not impressed at all who really gets up early in the am writhing to find out what audio chip is in a Xbox really lol

CaptainBeno said,
So we can hear our gun shots in COD just like we do now .. Not impressed at all who really gets up early in the am writing to find out what audio chip is in a Xbox really lol

Pretty much But say for instance if there were 512 sounds happening simultaneously, the CPU wouldn't have to sound merge before pushing it to a layer, it could slip straight through!

512 voices?

Is that different from channels?

We need them 128+ channels back; shame Microsoft killed hardware audio support in Windows. ALchemy isn't perfect.

DAOWAce said,
512 voices?

Is that different from channels?

We need them 128+ channels back; shame Microsoft killed hardware audio support in Windows. ALchemy isn't perfect.

I thought that was brought back in Windows 7, or at least in partial?

DAOWAce said,
512 voices?

Is that different from channels?

We need them 128+ channels back; shame Microsoft killed hardware audio support in Windows. ALchemy isn't perfect.

I don't remember if this is right or not, been a while since I touched audio programming... Channels I think are the physical route data flows... like surround goes out on 5 channels or 6 channels or 7 channels... aka paths to speakers in this instance...

a voice is like a layer... you could have 512 layers playing at the same time... say one voice was speaking... another voice was a piano... a few voices where gun fire noises... etc basically each voice is a tone generator, be it a waveform, midi, or another type of "voice"

Look up Polyphony: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyphony

You can actually have much more than this using the CPU. PC sound cards have been able to do all of this stuff for 15 years now (literally, the SBLive! was released in 1998), I really don't know why this is considered interesting...

Remember the SoundBlaster PCI 512? Even that POS could do this stuff.

Geezy said,
Look up Polyphony: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyphony

You can actually have much more than this using the CPU. PC sound cards have been able to do all of this stuff for 15 years now (literally, the SBLive! was released in 1998), I really don't know why this is considered interesting...

Remember the SoundBlaster PCI 512? Even that POS could do this stuff.

The whole point is that we don't have to bog down the CPU with floats!! Definitely welcome but it will only really impact devs, not that I think they were limited with audio layers anyway but hey this is next gen, anything could change!

So if true, there won't be any composite audio? I bet people who record their gameplay will be pleased it's built-in to the next-gen consoles, but there'll probably be some unhappy Turtle Beach headset owners.

MightyJordan said,
So if true, there won't be any composite audio?

Not necessarily. It just wont be handled by the machine, a converter will be packaged. (I could be full of BS but thats what im guessing)

MightyJordan said,
So if true, there won't be any composite audio? I bet people who record their gameplay will be pleased it's built-in to the next-gen consoles, but there'll probably be some unhappy Turtle Beach headset owners.

I always use the composite out on my TV with my Turtle Beach headphones, so it should be fine.

MightyJordan said,
Ahh, I forget most TVs have composite audio out nowadays, so yeah, it's practically a non-issue.

Yeah We don't buy adapters we just plug straight into the TV