UNSOLVED Audio sounds compressed / of a low bitrate / poor quality | POST HERE123 Likes/520 Replies/29150 Viewscronucks 5 posts
@UbiKobold I can understand the logic behind wanting to split the threads down for each specific issue. But given the lack of any solution 8 months on, it feels more like an attempt to dilute this issue down, and hope it goes away. I mean for goodness sake, the first link of your response in the original thread doesn't even work!
Please stop dancing around the issue, and give us a concrete idea of what is going on at Ubi's end. If you don't know, then tell us. If anyone at Ubi is really looking at this, then please tell us. We've been asked questions over and over, assured "the team is aware", etc. but we are yet to see any actual proof of it. We know absolutely nothing about what is going on, and the prospects of this being fixed seem to get lower by the day. Hopefully you can see this is a pretty frustrating situtation for the community?
I would also like to point out to any Australians here that under Victorian law, you're due a repair for a malfunctioning product. If the provider of the product doesn't repair in a timely manner, you're eligible to ask for a refund. Note also that this applies to a product you would not have bought if you had known about the issue before purchasing. See more at https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/products-and-services/problems-with-a-product/faulty-product.
First you have to submit a formal complaint, which in my case support have helpfully forwarded to the relevant team. Or so they say, I didn't hear back from them in a month, by that time I had moved on with the next step of the process (I had asked for a resolution within 10 days; yeah I know right). If no repair is provided in a timely manner, then you are entitled to do a charge back on the transaction by asking your bank to do it. If the provider doesn't challenge it within a month, you are refunded.
This is how I got my refund.
Check you local legislation, hopefully wherever you are there is something similar that applies to you. It's a bit of trouble to go through, but don't be intimidated by the process, or by Ubisoft. If the law is on your side and there is a clear process about this, Ubisoft are not going to do anything. And if enough people kick up a stink about this, then maybe they will start paying attention. We have more rights as consumers than we are usually led to believe - especially by dodgy t&cs like Ubisoft's "you open the digital game you can't refund it". Well guess what, I did. And through no help from Ubisoft.
Take this into you own hands, Ubi are not going to change their practices if we take crap like this lying down.
Dworkin_CZ 6 posts
It is now clear the Ubi person who promised to re-open the original thread addressing audio issues with the game was indeed lying and that the real purpose was to diminish the presence of a huge thread pointing at problems Ubisoft doesn't want to fix because they introduced them in the first place. I also think the other Ubi person in this thread is lying, too (or being lied to, to be fair), if he states the dev team is still looking at the problems. It's clear now a decision was made higher up the food chain to make this quietly go away, possibly because saving money on using compromised audio is something Ubisoft wants to keep doing in the upcoming games. And that's where we need to focus our attention to. Ubisoft has already made heaps of money off Valhalla, but the money yet to be made can make them change the policy. So it's up to us to ask Ubisoft representatives again and again, whenever possible, if a upcoming game is going to use compressed, muffled, distorted and echoy audio. The gaming journalists will of no help, it seems, and we can only speculate why, but the times where they were the only ones to make things moving are gone, fortunately. I for one will harass Ubisoft whenever I see them anywhere on any social network. They've played us here, folks. They made us pay a full price for a broken game. We have every right to be angry.
Ubisoft Support Staff UbiKobold 664 posts
Hello again, and sorry for my delay in getting back to you all. I wanted to start by apologizing if my response gave the impression of starting this as a new issue. I was just double checking to see if there were any other more recent reports that I could collect information from to continue forwarding up. I do understand the amount of time that has passed and again greatly appreciate your patience and contributions towards this matter. At this time I do not have any further information to provide from the Development team, but as soon as I have more information I will be sure to post it here.
Attanno_ 32 posts
Would it be possible to have some news from your side as you've been following this thread for a longer time ?
Can we expect to see the "Audio sounds compressed/of a low bitrate/poor" acknowledeged on the - "Known Issues" - thread any time soon ?
Also, when can we expect the main thread to be opened again ?
Thank you in advance
halcyonrift 25 posts
This issue was one of the main reasons I abandoned this game at launch. I cannot tell you how thwarted I am to return more than a half a year later to learn it hasn't been resolved. I don't understand why they couldn't offer some form of high-definition audio pack, allowing players to decide if they want to use up more free storage rather than compressing the game's audio for everyone. What a shame.
Attanno_ 32 posts
Yep that's sad but it hasn't changed at all since the issue was first brought up.
To my understanding the reason for this issue is double :
- Eventually free some storage space with lighter files
- Hardware constraint : the consoles for which the game is primarily designed for, lack in ram. The ram being limited each team of devs have to work with a limited amount. Sound design being the poor relative of the game design, the major part of the ram is dedicated to the graphics, level etc but not the audio. The audio team ends up having to work with a very little amount of ram to store the unpacked audio data. The amount of audio files having to be played at a single time being huge in an open world of this size, the files have to be very highly compressed to be stored on the little amount of ram dedicated to the audio. However, this being said, it doesn't excuse Ubisoft at all. The state of the audio as it is now is the result of a decision to reduce the amount of ram dedicated to the audio and also a lack of time given to teams to optimise everything in order to implement audio files of higher quality. In a world where RDR2 exists no explanation about hardware constraints can be legitimately received. Even more, if there is indeed an insurmountable hardware restriction, allow people with better hardware to use a "high audio quality" preset or something. This already exists on console and PC for the graphics, do it for the sound then.
@ubikobold The questions you pose to us are not applicable within the context of this thread / issue.
AC: Valhalla uses Wwise for its audio. The internal audio or development team at Ubisoft Montreal would be able to resolve this issue by specifying a higher quality compression format & sample rate, instead of the one currently used across the board, irrespective of platform.
A detailed technical analysis has already been provided as per the Reddit thread and YouTube video.
Why are we still dancing around the issue? Are the moderators and support staff here actually reading the comments and listening to us?
Reddit thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/jx8lpc/analysis_assassins_creed_highlights_a_very/
I am a sound engineer, I have been playing Valhalla for a few months and I am very surprised not to have found any audio deficiency as written in the post: (I have the Italian version of the game)
obviously I've never played valhalla in the studio, so I start by electing my home setup:
akg 240 mkII
KRK Rokit 6
(I also use an environmental correction, using sonarworks)
I analyzed an audio of my gameplay, I paste:
48000Hz 2ch 32bps
to make an acceptable comparison of crowd and battle sound, for my part it is first of all necessary to disable the background music, so that an acceptable comparison can be made,
but if what about you is true, I would be interested in hearing a comparison, for example, between origins and valhalla, or previous BC.
Not the same audio file exported first at 48 and then at 24 ... (it is obvious that you will hear abysmal differences ..!)
since i have neither origins nor odyssey i can't carry out this test, if someone takes to me the files, i'm very curious to make these comparisons
I add some details for those who are not familiar with the world of audio:
it makes sense to say that data compression (with relative loss of quality) is a plausible reason, if the goal is to have a smaller file size.
But in the world of audio, when it comes to the mastering stage,
very many choose to sacrifice quality (I mean what you hear, not the sampling rate in a technical sense) to allow the listener to hear "better" in poor quality speakers XD
(with better, I mean more understandable)
this happens in the world of music, imagine in video games ...
for the simple reason that more time passes, everyone listens from totally different speakers:
active cash desk
low budget economic
TV with expensive stand
I mean .... how can you set a quality standard when you have such a large variety of speakers?
(as I said above, you sacrifice details, transients, depth of field, even stereo, to make it more understandable on each type of different media)
obviously the price to pay is this, whoever enjoys quality instrumentation realizes the abysmal differences
but even more, who has an ear education:
when it comes to ears .. we are all color blind ... certain things are not noticed if you have no ear education ...
personally, just installed valhalla, i set the sound effects to 30% and dynamic night mode, as i am not a big fan of battle noise .. XD
I say this, because I read many comments comparing the sound of valhalla to god of war
(wrong comparison, different games, different houses, different choices)
with this I do not mean that you are wrong, I am very curious to analyze this data to get an idea ..
Original poster CaptainStarPaw 51 posts
@caosck A professional would not sacrifice quality in order for a listener to hear "better" in poor quality speakers. That is a totally backwards approach to audio implementation. As it is with texture quality, you can cater to different graphics cards instead of "only" providing low quality textures. You should not assume that the majority of users have poor hardware.
The same with sound, a modern game engine is able to cater to both high and low quality sound devices. Wwise is the audio engine used within the AC series, and it is possible to provide different audio depending on the user's hardware capabilities.
Unfortunately, as demonstrated by the responses and confirmations on this thread, many people are dissatisfied with the audio. Assassin's Creed Origins, Odyssey and Valhalla are some of the worst offenders when it comes to audio production. In fact, I would say that it is almost unprecedented for a contemporary AAA title, and the only exceptions I generally notice in other games are for dialogue.
This problem has already been extensively analysed here https://reddit.com/r/Games/comments/jx8lpc/analysis_assassins_creed_highlights_a_very
This post is deleted!
Original poster CaptainStarPaw 51 posts
This post is deleted!
Darksheep0 1 posts
Picked up Valhalla tonight even though I'd heard it was buggy, but I figured eh, whatever, it'll be an entertaining time sink in the same way Origins and Odyssey were for me. Then I started the game and thought my headphones were broken. I've never heard a game with audio so low quality, and plenty of games have been trying to set that bar lower and lower. ACV really just sets a new standard. I tried powering through but ultimately refunded it because the whole experience was just so diminished by the poor audio that it wasn't fun. Extremely disappointed.
It's infuriating that Ubisoft is so cavalier about this and still asking for more information and feedback as if this is something that really needs some in-depth investigation into gosh, whatever it is that might be causing this issue. That said, I did submit a support ticket because it's not like I bought the game in the first place because I didn't wanna play it. In the unlikely event that Ubisoft offers a free high-quality audio pack in the future, I'd probably try the game again then.
Until then though, it's really insulting for this issue to have not only persisted for so long, but for it to have moved the needle so little that they're still in a "continuing to look into" phase. I mean, if somebody even said "hey, yeah, we made this decision to compress the audio and we get that it really is a substandard experience that turns a lot of people off. We're going to think about if maybe it might be worth creating an optional high quality audio pack down the line, but that would be complicated for x reasons and it probably won't happen" that would be better than still being like "hmm, are you using a wired or wireless headset?" (or if that's somehow not the issue, then just saying hey, that's not the issue but we're looking into what problem is causing that result)
But if it helps things:
- Did you start to play Valhalla before the initial game updates were released?
I started playing tonight, so the latest update.
- What is your platform, and if on PC, what are your system specs? (CPU, GPU, RAM, etc.)
GPU GTX 1080ti
- What is your audio set-up? Are you using a headset (wired or wireless?), a speaker system, a surround sound system, etc.?
Arctis Pro Wireless wireless headset
- What audio output is in use? 7.1, 5.1, Surround, Stereo?
I used stereo and Dolby Atmos output for headphones and noticed no appreciable difference.
Ubisoft Support Staff Ubi-Woofer 1091 posts
I would like to sincerely apologise for the time it took for me to separate the thread into smaller megathreads per audio issue type. Some reports were difficult to categorise, and others did not contain enough information to correctly identify the issue referenced, so it took longer than expected. But, I am happy to say that I recently finished sorting through the reports and that this thread is the reopened original, but with a new title to better-represent the issues originally raised by @CaptainStarPaw. I hope that the discussion around these topics can continue here, and we can continue to gather useful information to present to the developers to aid in their investigation. The information already provided has been forwarded already in our original report and our new one for audio quality.
Below I will list the questions that the developers have asked us to gather answers to with respect to the audio quality in-game, as well as the resources that they have requested in order to review your reports further. I have also added some additional questions and requests based on what would be most helpful for us to categorise your reports, and try to start identifying possible causes. Please do fill in this template as much as possible in order for us to be able to take action with your reports and give the developers the information they need to investigate further.
Please answer the following questions for the development team:
- What platform(s) do you play Assassin's Creed Valhalla on?
- Can you please describe the nature of the audio issues you are facing and their severity (e.g. compression, low bitrate, poor quality).
- Did you start to play Valhalla before the initial game updates were released in November 2020?
- Can you recall during which quests / cutscenes you first noticed these audio issues?
- What is your audio set-up? Are you using a headset (wired or wireless?), a speaker system, a surround sound system, etc.? Please list the exact devices and their model numbers / names if possible.
- If using a headset, do you notice any difference if you are using it wired or wireless?
- What type of audio output is in use? (i.e. 7.1, 5.1, Surround, Stereo?)
Please provide the relevant resources below for the development team to review:
- (PC) Provide your system specs (CPU, GPU, RAM, etc.) and your MSINFO and DXDIAG files in a support case
- Provide details of any troubleshooting steps already attempted, including the make / model numbers of any alternative audio devices tested
- Provide a screenshot of your in-game audio settings
- Provide a video demonstrating the issue(s) you are experiencing (please upload this to an external site such as YouTube, and provide the link here in the thread)
I appreciate that the lack of news regarding the overall audio quality / bitrate may be disheartening, and would like to reassure you that we have not forgotten about his thread and are doing our best to pass forward additional reports as we receive them. We are committed to investigating these issues further with you all, and hope to have more to share soon. For now, we need to continue gathering information for the development team from you all.
Alternatively, if having any of the issues listed below, please reply to the respective thread(s) with the information we have requested in each one. These threads are listed in the reported issue megathread list, and a separate investigation has been opened either by myself or a colleague for each of the issues described (where sufficient information was provided to do so). It would be greatly appreciated if we could try to keep relevant reports together, so that the developers can accurately investigate each type of issue with relevant resources to analyse.
- Audio stutters / cuts out / is delayed
- NPC dialogue / sound effects echo
- Audio is quiet / muffled / distorted
- Audio during cutscenes cuts out / stutters / is quiet / is delayed
- Eivor's voice is much louder than those of NPCs
- Using a surround sound set-up, the audio mixing sounds poor
- NPC dialogue / sound effects are missing
- Sound effect volumes are unbalanced / inconsistent
- Dialogue / sound effects / audio loops
- My FPS drops when NPCs / Eivor starts talking
Thank you all very much, and please let me know if there are any additional questions, concerns or feedback that I can address.
@Dworkin_CZ - I would like to reassure you that I was not lying when I said the thread would be reopened; it has been reopened now, and is right here! I apologise sincerely for the delay, and for the issues you have been experiencing. We are committed to investigating these further and we are not ignoring these reports. We'll continue to forward new reports to the development team, and share news as soon as any becomes available.
@Attanno_ - Please see the above; this is the reopened original thread. I cannot say whether the thread will be acknowledged in the Known Issues list unfortunately, as this is managed by the Community Team and not ourselves, but I will forward the request to have it added to them again.
@Darksheep0 - Thank you for answering the questions previously posed, and I am sorry to hear that your experience was so diminished by the audio that you chose to refund your purchase of Assassin's Creed Valhalla. If you can provide any additional answers to the extra questions above, it would be much appreciated, and we can continue to investigate these issues alongside the development team.
What platform(s) do you play Assassin's Creed Valhalla on?
Can you please describe the nature of the audio issues you are facing and their severity (e.g. compression, low bitrate, poor quality).
there is echo on dialogues and sound effects. and like a "wind" in the background
Did you start to play Valhalla before the initial game updates were released in November 2020?
I play the game since day one
Can you recall during which quests / cutscenes you first noticed these audio issues?
I didn't make a lot of quests, but if I remember the audio issues are in every cutscenes or so. but they are not only in cutscenes, they are in gameplay too
What is your audio set-up? What type of audio output is in use?
I have the HyperX Cloud Alpha headset. I tried the headset plugged in jack, and with an USB adapter.
I tried the headset plugged in on a Logitech 5.1 surround (I don't remember the model).
I tried the headset plugged in jack on a PS4 controller.
and for every one of these tests, I tried in Windows to setup the audio output in stereo and in 5.1
I also tried with a Samsung SyncMaster monitor (and 10 years model, in 1680*1050px) (the monitor plugged in with a HDMI adapter on my 1080gtx)
Provide a screenshot of your in-game audio settings
I tested with the dialogue boost on/off and audio dynamic range night/medium/full
Provide a video demonstrating the issue(s) you are experiencing
I did this sequence after every patch to check if the audio was fixed or not.
pay attention to the "wind" in the background, especially during the climbing. listen when I walk on wood surfaces (especially the roof of the building) and listen when I land after the jump
during the prologue of the game, in Norway, I though "hey, that's Norway, there is some kind of montains, there is snow, so maybe the echo is intended, even if the effect is a little bit too much though".
and then after arriving in England, the echo was still here, that's when I knew that something was wrong
and like I said on one of my old message in this topic, I can hear echo during streams on the official Ubisoft Twitch channel !
I also want to say that I never experienced that kind of audio issues before
thank you for your time
@hieromalex if you provide a video on youtube at 480 it is normal that it feels disgusting .. you need to upload a 4k quality
aniway I hear something strange in the footsteps (it sounds more like a metallic sound) I am very amazed, my valhalla sounds are MUCH better (the language is Italian, but I don't think it affects the sound effects)
the video was recorded with Geforce Experience in 720p. but I have a low bandwitch so it would have take me hours to upload. so I scape the video in 480p, knowing that scaping the video doesn't affect the audio. and trust me, I watched the video several times, it's exactly what I experience in game
every time you upload a video to Youtube, it re-compresses, inevitably losing quality
I use an Adobe Premie: H264 preset to be sure (youtube 4k) making a comparison with the original video I realize that I can finally get a decent result!
but anyway, youtube converts audio to AAC (AAC is Lossy = compression with quality loss) at 320 kbps ... (so it would be more appropriate if you upload your video to a sendspace to pass it to the developers ..)
while if I am not mistaken, NVIDIA experience ALWAYS records mp4 files with AAC lossy at about 196kbs maybe the compression algorithm is good too.
but I wonder how one can get relevant data by examining compressed files ..! poor quality is a fact or am I wrong?
I know youtube compress the videos. the 480p video on my drive is better than the one on youtube. but it's not relevant here. I'm not talking about the game having low compress audio files, the devs don't need me to know that (or maybe they do...). I'm talking about the echo. and the echo is not added on the video by youtube or nvidia. I tell you that the audio in the video is the same I experience in game (the wind, the echo, the footsteps...)
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