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: Version 0.16, released 2018-03-14. 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:
  4. On Windows 8 and later some games won't use IndirectSound without changes to the registry. Information about what changes are required can be found 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 (although you may need to change the registry in some cases for Windows to do this). 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 emulates the behavior of audio hardware 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.

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. If you were to play a game with internet connectivity it is not impossible that someone could detect the fake dsound.dll and assume that you were using it to cheat or pose 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 use 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 © 2012-2018 John-Paul Ownby