UNSOLVED Audio sounds compressed / of a low bitrate / poor quality | POST HERE125 Likes/538 Replies/30532 Views
Update @ 11:54AM CST 11/11/2020: I extracted the audio files using Wwise-unpacker and discovered that the audio quality is a lot worse than I previously anticipated. SFX is saved at a 24000 Hz sample rate, with a variable bitrate that seems to peak at around 70 kbps. Looking at the Frequency Analysis tab, you can clearly observe a frequency rolloff at around 11000 Hz. Standard CD audio is at 44100 Hz (DVD standard is 48000 Hz), and that is the sample rate that nearly every sound device and operating system is designed to work with.
Here is a screenshot of my analysis
PierreAngelique 28 posts
Yes I totally agree. I actually refunded the game on PC and am going to wait until they patch the game and address this particular issue (assuming that they do). The audio was really strange and compressed sounding, at least while using headphones. Its hard to say what is wrong with it exactly but it is not AAA level.
xrayspex_73 145 posts
The sad thing is, this game is relatively small (45GB) compared to most games these days (hell Odyssey is over 100GB). They certainly could have given the audio more space "budget" as it were. I would gladly have downloaded 65-75GB if it meant better sound quality.
@xrayspex_73 Totally. The compression is unnecassarily strict, considering that the English audio and SFX only take up 4.5 GB of hard disk space.
If they provided the sound at 44100 Hz with an average variable bitrate of 128-160 kbps, you would likely see the total size increase from 4.5 GB to approximately 12 GB. Still not very large, but it would be a light and day difference for sound quality.
GWink_ 1 posts
Just want to +1 on the audio issues. Its pretty bad.... worst I've heard from a game in 10 years. I'm going to assume it was a tiny mistake and the HQ audio will be released in a patch ASAP. I have faith in the dev team!
CarvalhoPT 8 posts
I have the same problem. Actually stoped to play the game until is fixed.... SO BAD. Audio is so muffled and compressed that makes everything sound like crap... Just feels bad to the ears.
Hopefully will be fixed soon.... Or released a HQ audio DLC for 14,99€......
Hyungwoo 1 posts
Yeah the sound effects and dialogue sound incredibly lo-fi. They are devoid of low end, have scratchy mids, and harsh highs. They are both compressed in terms of dynamic range and format. It's unbearable to play to me and frankly I'm surprised this got past QA, not to mention the mixing engineers (were there any?) and audio director. Perhaps a different team handles optimization but this is inexcusable in 2020.
Anorax3 7 posts
@captainstarpaw Incredible analysis. Thank you. Sadly the more I read of all the issues here and the more I experience myself it appears Valhalla is yet another victim of Ubisoft's poor release performance and complete lack of care or QA testing. The audio quality issue detailed above isn't even a bug but seems to be a conscious decision on the part of Ubisoft. Why was this title delayed when it was released in this state? Why has Ubisoft not learned from their previous botched releases? Is the Ubisoft product management team simply incompetent?
JazzGreenway 1 posts
I am having a bunch of audio issues with the PC version:
- Sound quality overall sounds very low, like a low refresh rate / bitrate.
- Volume levels are all over the place, footsteps especially in snow are really loud, with other ambient sounds sometimes very quiet and sometimes very loud.
- Main character (female Eivor) is much louder than everyone else, sounding very "tinny" with lots of echos, while the people she is talking with do not have these characteristics.
This has really put me off the game to the point that I cannot get myself to play it anymore until this has been addressed. See also:
https://discussions.ubisoft.com/topic/78476/pc-sound-issues-all-over-the-place-making-it-a-gamebreaking-experience/24 (my experience is exactly like in the videos in this thread)
TheRealDaemon 21 posts
I don't understand how this game got released in such a state and how no reviewer mentioned this. The game is completely unplayable like this for me. I try to make some progress but it just turns me off everytime I try and I end up playing different games. Only 3 hours in but I think I'm going to wait for a patch. I hope this gets addressed quickly.
@anorax3 I do believe this was a purposeful sacrifice of quality. A redditor posted on my thread earlier and mentioned that there are distribution tiers. To clarify: "There are 3 disc tiers on the consoles (25G, 50G 100G). The 100G on is triple layer and expensive. So ubisoft needed the game to fit under 46.6GiB to meet the requirement of Sony and Microsoft that Disk and Digital versions be the same game, and not have day 0 downloads for assets required to play the game (only patches/fixes)."
Still, this doesn't excuse the problems with loud/quiet unbalanced dynamics. This isn't determined by how the sounds are compressed for distribution. At least with the bitrate issue, an easy solution as I mentioned on the OP would be to offer free DLC to install higher quality audio/video etc, but instead they decided to say nothing and wait for the complaints to roll in.
I completely agree with you, and I am also baffled why no reviewer has mentioned the issue. It was a very unpleasant surprise playing the game for the first time.
BussDown.F4E 1 posts
Like many have already posted, I am experiencing terrible audio quality while playing AC Valhalla. It is terribly immersion breaking. This started with Eivor as a child, his voice was extremely loud, muffled, and echoed compared to all the other NPCs. Throughout the game, Eivor's voice is louder than all other characters. The audio sounds tinny, over compressed, and muddy. There has already been numerous reports of this on reddit and on this forum with little to no Dev interaction or response. It is terribly game breaking as the game boasts itself as being badass and ground breaking.
I am on PC, hardware exceeding recommended specs.
Here is an in-depth analysis of the audio issue:
Here are some other reddit posts about the issue:
SpektrumGG 3 posts
So! Valhalla finally got released, i really enjoy the game itself. There are a couple bugs here and there that i have encountered myself but nothing too major EXCEPT the audio.
Holy... there is something completely off with the audio, it's sounds like you could capture the sound from a song with your phone and then use that as the official release.
This is a issue a lot of people seem to have. Me personally i am able to look past it for now, but it just takes a lot of things away from the game.
What bothers me the most is that it isn't addressed in the "Known Issue" post.. why is that?
Sources of others reporting the same things:
Ubi Forum: https://discussions.ubisoft.com/topic/78569/pc-low-bitrate-audio-improperly-balanced-audio-dynamics-sounds-cutting-in-and-out?lang=en-US
Could we get a statement or update on this soon?
Danger..... 2 posts
Its the lack of acknowledgment that's getting to me. I don't care if it takes a month to be fixed but pretending its not a problem is just cruel.
Lynx_Maeglin 2 posts
After doing a little bit of datamining on the PC version, it seems like most sounds (sfx+voices) are compressed in 24KHz, which doesn't make any sense on PC where the RAM limitation cap is much higher than on consoles.
I hope they make a better compressed sound packages and release that ASAP.