What Is It?

IndirectSound emulates audio hardware acceleration on modern Windows operating systems. This enables older games to have 3D positional audio (i.e. surround sound played out of rear and side speakers) like they were intended to when they were originally released.

Where Do I Get It?

Download the latest IndirectSound here. All currently-known issues are listed here and previous versions are available to download here.

Why Would I Want It?

You should consider using IndirectSound if the following apply:

If you meet the above criteria then IndirectSound can restore 3D positional surround sound in some games that is otherwise missing on modern versions of Windows.

How Do I Use It?

  1. Download an IndirectSound zip file from here
  2. Extract the contents of the IndirectSound zip file to a known location
  3. You will have to perform the following steps for each game that you want to use IndirectSound with:
    1. Find the location of the executable file that runs the game
      • This executable will be called something like game.exe, and will usually be in the main directory of the game
      • In some cases the file that looks like the executable will actually be a launcher program, in which case the real game executable may be in a subdirectory
    2. Copy the file dsound.dll that you extracted from the IndirectSound zip file to the same directory that the game's executable is in
      • There is also a dsound.ini file included in the IndirectSound zip file, but you can safely ignore it. (It provides a way to configure IndirectSound to emulate different kinds of audio hardware. If you are curious the readme.txt file has more information.)
    3. Run the game!
      • You may have to enable audio hardware acceleration in the game. Look for an audio options/settings menu (this may also be in the launcher program). Instructions can be found here for games that have been verified to work with IndirectSound.
  4. On Windows 8 and up some games won't use IndirectSound without changes to the registry. Instructions on how to make these changes are here.

The readme.txt file found in the IndirectSound zip file has additional troubleshooting tips. If they don't help and you still can't get IndirectSound to work for you email me and provide as much information as you can (make sure to include the dsound.log file that IndirectSound generates as an attachment to your email).

How Does It Work?

In order to use Microsoft's DirectSound a game must load a "library" named dsound.dll. When a game asks Windows to load "dsound.dll" it expects to use the official DirectX library created by Microsoft, but before Windows loads the official version it first looks in the same directory as the running application to see if a library named dsound.dll exists there. (In some cases this is no longer true by default. See here for details.) If Windows finds dsound.dll in the application's directory then it will load that version instead of the official one. IndirectSound, then, is pretending to be the real DirectSound library, and the game doesn't know the difference.

When the game asks if audio hardware acceleration is available IndirectSound claims that it is (even though it really isn't) and then uses a newer Microsoft audio library, XAudio2, to create 3D positional sound in software. This means that anyone who has a machine capable of playing modern games can experience emulated hardware 3D positional audio on older games the way it was intended (at least until Microsoft stops supporting XAudio2).

Is It Safe To Use?

I do my best to make IndirectSound reliable and safe, and I use it myself on my main gaming machine. With that being said, it is released "as is": There is no warranty and I am not liable for any damage it may cause, unintentional or otherwise. Please see the license here.

There is also a potential issue arising from how IndirectSound is able to do what it does. The methods that it uses to pretend to be an official library are also used by programs that allow people to cheat in games as well as by malicious software that monitors user activity on compromised computers. It is not impossible that the fake dsound.dll could be detected if you were to play a game with internet connectivity, which could potentially lead to negative action being taken against you or your account (by someone believing that you were using the unofficial dsound.dll to cheat or that its presence posed a risk to other players). I believe that this hypothetical situation will never happen: Creative ALchemy uses the same technique that IndirectSound does (placing a fake dsound.dll in the game's directory; see the "Location" section in this (archived) document) and it is a well-known product that is widely used. For what it's worth, I have been using IndirectSound with my personal Steam account and have experienced no problems. Again, though, I emphasize that IndirectSound is offered as is, and that by using it you accept any and all associated risks.


Lua Logo

IndirectSound uses the Lua scripting language to easily configure settings. The license to use it can be found here.


IndirectSound uses the Mhook API hooking library to ensure that its own COM interfaces are used instead of what the Windows registry specifies. The license to use it can be found here.

Copyright © 2012-2017 John-Paul Ownby