Feb 22, 2022 Patch: No Surround Sound, Dull Sound Cues Issue

Same here, never had any audio problems with overwatch or any game for the past 4 years (been playing since beta) until the reaper update. It is constant and sounds really bad, its very hard to hear helpful things but its possible to hear voice lines and such.

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So i too have noticed fairly muted and low quality sound in Overwatch since the reaper event patch was introduced. just noticeably muted and well below the quality i’m used to in game.

I have additionally simultaneously been experiencing voice chat errors where i am unable to use push to talk and talk to other players although i can hear them.

No idea what this patch broke but i hope this gets fixed soon. Its impossible to play comp with these issues.

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Hey there,

So far we are not seeing any widespread reports of this since the initial audio issues post patch were addressed early on. Since then it has only been about a dozen or so reports across millions of players globally seeing anything like what is being reported in this thread. We have not been able to replicate it on our end and the current thinking based on information provided so far is that it is a localized issue with specific hardware/driver/software setups. At this point we have no further course of action we can take on our end to pinpoint the issue at the game/service level.

Based on what information was relayed to me by the Engineers and the information you provided I do have some things we can try.

First temporarily uninstall any 3rd party Audio Software. Sonic Studio, Nahimic, ASUS software, Alienware Sound Center etc… This include software for specific headsets and addon sound devices (not the drivers just the software) Then unplug any USB or external audio devices including headsets.

We will want to use a 3.5mm jack audio device (speakers or headset) plugged directly into the onboard sound (motherboard 3.5mm jacks) for testing. (Just testing.) Do not use front audio ports etc. For this test the device needs to plug directly into the motherboard on the back of the system.

Next we want to disable all other audio devices via the Sound Control Panel.

Win 10

  1. Right Click Volume Icon on Notification Bar
  2. Choose Sound Settings (Win 10 maximize window - Win 11 scroll down)
  3. Choose Sound control Panel for Win 10. More Sound settings for Win 11
  4. Choose Playback Devices. Disable all devices but the onboard sound (Typically Realtek High Definition Audio) by right clicking each audio device and choosing Disable.

Next we are going to disable all enhancements for the device we are using for testing. Right click the device and select properties. Under the enhancement tabs check disable all sound effects. apply.

From there we want to remove exclusive access for the sound device under the Advanced tab.

On the Communication tab under the setting: “When Windows detects communications activity”, set it to “Do nothing”.

Close this window out. Right click on the volume icon and ensure spatial audio is turned off.

Restart the computer. Once rebooted do the following:

  1. Right click Windows Start
  2. Open File Explorer
  3. Open Documents
  4. Delete the Overwatch folder and empty the Recycle Bin.

From there launch the Blizzard Desktop Application and then Overwatch. You can skip the opening cinematic but do not change any of the default options at first. (We are not testing surround sound itself yet, just the general volume consistently issue.)

Play a few rounds and monitor the sound levels and quality. Make specific note of anything unusual like missing audio cues for ults, unusually loud sounds or unusually quiet sounds. If everything seems ok after a few matches, then we can start playing with Atmos and spatial audio for further testing. Enable this either in Windows or in the Overwatch client but not both. Test. If everything is good then turn these off.

From here, you can switch from the onboard sound to your preferred device by plugging it in/enabling it in the sound control panel and disabling the onboard sound device. Do not add any software, just the device it should load drivers normally but wont have fancy control functions provided by the software.

Test again, without any surround sound functions enabled. If everything sounds good, then try the atmos or spatial audio like before. test. If that sounds good then you can try re adding other audio software you may use like Sonic Studio and test again.

If at anypoint the issue returns then you have it narrowed down to the specific setup/software. If the issue doesn’t return, then it was likely just a bad setting/driver issue we resolved by defaulting all the things. If the issue persists on the bare minimum setup using onboard sound, then do me a favor. gather a new msinfo and send that to techinfo@blizzard.com with the title of this thread in the subject and Attention: Kershew. I will take a look at that to see if anything else stands out.

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Hello @Kershew,

first of all, I really, really do appreciate your effort, help and communication. It means a lot to us. Also huge thanks to the team for trying to help us.

I’ve read through your solution and this might be a good attempt to try out.

However, for now, I’ll stick playing with this scuffed audio - as much as it hurts my ears and literally makes every match very difficult to play - till Overwatch Archives - Event is released.

It might be a naive thought but I’ll wait for the release of the event in the hope the audio issue will fit itself. I of course think it won’t but who knows in the end, right…? :fearful:

I’ll surely report back after the event has been released, if anything has changed and if your solution has solved the audio issue.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to fix this audio bug soon. It has been a very harsh time playing OW recently if I am honest.

Thanks!

Hello,

First of all, thank you @Kershew for the detailed answer. I understand that, based on the number of reports, this is most likely an issue related to hardware/driver/software on the client’s end, and not on Overwatch’s end.

It seems that my problem is a bit different then the one other users have reported. Maybe it isn’t even related… I just want to be able to use Dolby Atmos for Headphones again, just like I used to before the Reaper event update.

For reference, this what my issue looks like :

https://imgur.com/a/xHf28Ei

In those two screenshots, you can see that in the bottom right corner, Dolby Atmos for Headphones is not in use when playing Overwatch. However, it is when playing Elden Ring (and this is true for virtually every game that I own). I have been able to replicate this issue on two different computers.

Based on my experience, this is a problem with Overwatch.

In any case, thanks for the detailed answers. Have a good day!

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Tried again today and seems the issue still persists.

I’ve done a fresh re-install of Overwatch a total of three times now. My last was just a few days ago when i upgraded my computer by changing out some major parts and doing a fresh re-install of windows.

All my other regular games played have no issues with sound and voice comms (literally zero issue with voice comms in Apex). Discord again has no issues.

Its literally just Overwatch where i’m neither able to activate push-to-talk and use voice comms or enjoy the quality of sound i am used to.

Going to wait for the archives event to drop to see if this sorts itself out. Theres just no way this isn’t an issue on Blizzard’s end.

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Wulfgar,

So I cannot say for sure if what you are seeing is expected behavior. I can say things can get a bit weird with Dolby atmos if it is engaged in multiple locations. Windows, 3rd party audio software and in game. The best I could recommend in your case is play with the toggles in Windows, in any audio software you have setup for the device and within Overwatch options. Try turning it all off, testing the sound, then turn it on in game. retest. see if there is any audio difference. Then repeat by turning it off in Overwatch then on in Windows, test. Then off in Windows and on in any 3rd party audio software (if you have any) and test again. It is possible it is working just not displaying that it is on depending on how Windows is reading it between all possible locations. It could also be a bug.

Technical troubleshooting wise, my recommendations would be to break everything down to the simplest setup. disabling everything outside the specific audio device, removing 3rd party audio software, disabling enhancements. (pretty much the steps I mentioned above) and then testing with a default setup and seeing if that changes the situation. If it is still messed up after doing all I mentioned, then go ahead and bug report it.

I’ve not messed with atmos, in fact whenever I set my system up, I disabled it everywhere I could find it because I have a full 5.1 surround system setup and I hate headsets. So I don’t have much experience with it myself. But maybe someone else here in thread has more information about why you are seeing what you are seeing.

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Hello there! I’m very sorry for the late response, I’ve been sick the past few days and I’m still sick currently.

However, I’ve tried to do your guidance. I couldn’t manage to get Realtek running which means I wasn’t able to test the audio quality - which annoys me obviously a lot…

But what I did was:

  • Removed Strix Soar Soundcard
  • Uninstalled Strix Soar Driver
  • Installed Realtek Audio Driver
  • ---- audio didn’t work ----
  • Inserted Strix Soar Soundcard
  • Downloaded Strix Soar Driver
  • Deleted the Overwatch Folder from Documents
  • Repaired Overwatch
  • Started Overwatch

Result = the same as several times said. The audio is still bad.

5 days ago I saw and watched a Reddit post of u/zzzzzzzztuo. I immediately recognized the person’s audio, it sounded very familiar and maybe exactly the same as mine used to be.

In minute 1:25 you can hear clearly every footstep, Lucio surfing, and the audio seems fine and stuff - at least a lot better than mine.

If I compared the person’s audio to mine, it’s literally a whole different game.

Link to the certain Reddit post:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Overwatch/comments/u1cnxj/last_night_i_met_the_most_awesome_and_wholesome/?utm_medium=android_app&utm_source=share

Happy Easter to everyone!

Just a quick update: the Overwatch 2 beta fixed the issue for me :sweat_smile:

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