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Sound Mill X3 - Upgrade Decision Criteria

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Sound Mill X3 - Product Abstract

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Sound Mill X3 (Version 3) introduces new functions beyond Sound Mill Version 2 (V2) and is ready to exploit new and future Windows technologies. However, with the replacement of the legacy DirectX driver, there are considerations that V2 customers must consider before making an upgrade decision. This version replaces the old DirectX driver with a new driver which gives more audio format choices to customers using the Multi-Zone Outputs feature. Sound Mill X3 increases performance by running in 64-bit mode on x64 Operating Systems. There are lots of user interface improvements and performance tuning to the automation engine. For additional features added with maintenance releases see the program Versions page.

Administrative Procedure

Upgrade is free for current Version 2 (V2) customers.

Your options
  1. Upgrade to X3.
  2. Stay on Version 2.
  3. Run V2 and X3 side by side.

Administrative Procedure
  • Decide to Upgrade - Make your decision about upgrading based on the information below.
  • Understand Migration - Review the Sound Mill X3 - Migration Procedure page so you understand the migration process.
  • Send Request - Email Support to request the upgrade to X3. Put " Sound Mill X3 Upgrade Request" in the subject line. We need to make a change in our database so that you can activate X3. We will reply once the database change has been made. (usually ~24 hour response on weekdays)

What is Changing?

With X3, we are replacing the DirectX 9.0c driver for Sound Mill . Why? Because Microsoft has deprecated DirectX 9.0c including DirectSound and 3DSound components. The new replacement driver interfaces with Windows Audio Session API(WASAPI), a core Microsoft technology.

Sound Mill X3 Key Functional Changes
  • FX Effects feature. (Removed, DirectX based)
  • 3D Sound feature. (Removed, DirectX based)
  • Pro and Power editions are not available for X3. These were tied to DirectX features. (also see FAQ below)
  • Output Groups feature uses the new audio driver. Setup of the Sound Item is slightly changed. You can now use compressed audio formats for Outputs (MP3, WMV). The Sound Mill X3 - Migration Procedure page has a section that summarizes the Output Groups changes.
  • A complete list of changes that went into X3 is on the product Version History page.

Upgrade Decision Considerations

Our Recommendation

Version 2 (V2) customers should carefully consider this decision criteria table before making a decision to stay on V2 or upgrade to X3. Our recommendation is to upgrade to X3 unless you have a hard requirement for use of the FX Effects or 3D Sound features. Customers using Output Groups will have an obvious advantage with X3 due to the expanded set of audio formats. And existing customers know that we often add new features with new maintenance releases which are free of charge.

Considerations Sound Mill X3 Sound Mill V2
Product Roadmap Forward - Future Sound Mill enhancements and development. Yes None.
Core Technology Foundation - Future of underlying audio technology. Yes Based on Windows Audio Session API(WASAPI) , a core Microsoft technology. DirectX DirectSound - Deprecated by Microsoft. No path to keep up with new audio standards.
Performance - Run in 64-bit Mode on 64-bit Operating Systems. Yes No. 32-bit Mode on all OSes
Productivity/ Resource Usage - Allow use of compressed audio formats with Output Groups. YesWAV, MP3, WMA, AIFF[1] No, via DirectX,
WAV only (mono 16 bit )
Productivity / Device Management - Plug-in/un-plug USB soundcards without a program restart. Yes Program restart required.
Ease of Installation - No additional audio component software to install. [3] Yes [2] DirectX 9.0c required,
not preinstalled on Windows 10/8/7/Vista
Feature - 3D Sound - Available. No Yes Windows XP only,
via DirectX WAV only (mono 16 bit )
Feature - FX Effects - Available. No Yes via DirectX,
WAV only (mono 16 bit )
Yes indicates "Yes" the feature is included.
  • [1] - Via new Windows Audio driver.
  • [2] - All required audio software comes with a standard Windows install or is included with our program installer MSI.
  • [3] - Both versions require .Net Framework 4.0 install if not already present.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Is V2 still viable?

Answer: Yes. V2 is still fully functional with the DirectX features at the 2.29 level and no known bugs. You lose nothing by staying on V2. It is more a question of what you might gain by upgrading. If you need to download the V2.29 installer to advance to the final V2 maintenance release, it is on the Old Versions Download page.

Question: Is V2 still supported?

Answer: Yes. You can still post V2 questions to the User Forum. Bug fixes will continue to be applied to V2 for severity 1 issues (if any) and made available for download. But no new feature enhancements will be made. Any future news regarding V2 will be posted to the User Forum. You can subscribe to the Sound Mill Version 2 category of the User Forum to get news postings by email.

Question: Can I run V2 and X3 side by side on the same computer?

Answer: Yes, but see the related section in the Sound Mill X3 - Migration Procedure for how to do this.

Question: Is there a migration procedure required in upgrading to X3?

Answer: Yes, if you want to transfer your current program settings and V2 Sound Lists to X3, there are some simple migration steps. See the Sound Mill X3 - Migration Procedure page for details. If you don't want to carry any work forward, simply install X3.

Question: Aside from FX Effects and 3D Sound, are there any other functional changes?

Answer: No. In other respects the versions are functionally equivalent. Although there are a few minor editing changes to accomodate the new audio driver that replaces DirectX for Output Groups.

Question: Can I Revert Back to V2 later if I want to?

Answer: Yes. As long as you have saved a copy of your V2 Sound Lists, you can return to V2 later if you want and resume where you left off. The Sound Mill X3 - Migration Procedure has a section that details the simple procedure.

Question: Can Pro and Power edition customers upgrade to X3?

Answer: Yes. However, these two editions were tied to DirectX features that are removed (FX Effects and 3D Sound) in X3. There are no additional Pro/Power edition features in X3. You can run V2 and X3 side by side if you want maintain access to the FX Effects and 3D Sound features. Pro/Power experience in X3 will be the same as the Basic edition.

Question: What does Deprecated mean?

Answer: Deprecated means no future Microsoft developement or bug fixes. Essentially the component is frozen at its current level but still available on the Microsoft download site.