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Is DirectSound deprecated?

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Microsoft claim that the XACT sound engine do not replace DirectSound but most of the things in DirectSound does not work in Vista and later.
I tried to use the XACT engine without the bloated, buggy and game specific authoring tool but I can't even play a sound twice without getting stuck in a finshed state since Microsoft did not intend that someone would actually use XACT without the tools.
I can't link to a sound engine that does not come with Windows 7 because I want my graphics engine to have everything in one ActiveX component.

Is DirectSound deprecated or should I just deactivate hardware acceleration somehow?

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DirectSound still works nicely in Vista and later, you just have to allow software instead of hardware accelleration. The proper way is to check for hardware first, if that fails, fall back to software calculation.

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Instead of XACT you can try XAudio2 (+X3DAudio if you need 3d effect parameter calculations). It is more low-level API than XACT and is closer to what DirectSound is.

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I tried using DirectSound again and recieved E_ABORT when calling IDirectSoundBuffer8::Play.

Edit: The reason was that the primary buffer was allocated in a dead code section. :)

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