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No speech on 1 output device (headphones)

I’ve got a PC and a laptop, both Win10 and steam version. No problems with the laptop. which is Atom based and only has 2GB of memory so minimum specs for the game are pretty low! On the PC, I didn’t have problems before. But yesterday I tried playing with my headphones on (so a different output device in Windows than my speakers) and then I couldn’t hear speech, even though I can hear in-game music so ‘sound’ is working. I guess I maybe didn’t use this output device in Windows before but I’m not sure so I can’t tell if it’s new.
Restarting TWP makes no difference, rebooting PC makes no difference, checking/unchecking the speech box doesn’t make a difference (even with exiting the menu in between). Switching from output device does make a difference.
So, there seems to be a problem with the output device (or driver, or TWP, or a combination or whatever).

Working output device: R9 290X (audio through HDMI)
Partially working output device: ‘High Definition Audio Device’ (front audio from my motherboard, Asrock Z77 pro3). When I check the properties of the device, it looks like a new driver has been installed on May 16th 2018, which (if true) must’ve happened automagically through Windows Update. I might try the connector on the back to see if that makes any difference.

Not sure if it’s related to TWP, but if it is and nobody mentions it…

(Having great fun with the game btw!).


Heh, but the €90 I paid for my R9 270X back in '14 was a bargain. It’s still serving me well! Most games run in UHD hunky dory.

Unfortunately I have nothing useful to add for your problem. I’ve got it set up so that my DAC with my headphones is the default. That way when I turn the DAC on/off it automatically switches between the DAC and my receiver.

I have, however, experienced a Windows 10 update making it so that Windows would no longer boot. I couldn’t figure out a way to fix it through the recovery console and I had to reinstall. /whistles

There is no difference between sound effects, music and speech. It’s all just audio run through the same output system. If you’re hearing the first two and not speech, then speech must have been turned off in the settings, but you say you’ve tried turning it back on. Find the Prefs.json file and delete it (make a copy first), that will reset all options.

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Apparently, the premise isn’t true. Deleting the prefs.json gives exactly the same problem. Which would seem logical from my previous attempt at changing the preference, but I agree that you would also think that ‘sound is sound’.

I’ve tried switching the headphones to the connector from the back panel, and that one does give speech (and music and sounds effects). So it’s only the front audio connector which does give music and sound effects in this game, but no speech, even though it’s all turned on in my settings.

In a way I’m curious why this happens, on the other hand: I’ve completed the game, so don’t waste your time.

you didn’t put the front audio connector in “karaoke mode”, by any chance?

Sounds funny enough but tried some youtube videos since and ‘human voice frequency’ (and somewhere around it) seems to be much, much lower in volume on this output device! Can’t remember me playing with it and can’t even find an equalizer in Win10 so wouldn’t know how that came to happen.

ok, so turn of the music and FX in the game and turn up the volume to hear if at least some voice is coming through.

It could as well be the connector itself. A half-contacting headphone jack can lead to all kinds of strange sounding effects. (similar to the ones old “karaoke” functions on stereos apply to filter out the typical speech frequencies.)

Approach it as a puzzle and you might have some fun debugging it. I’d guess it’s your updated sound device driver, though.


All the audio (music, effects, speech) is called with the same core play function. There is no difference. Each does have it’s own volume (but deleting the Prefs should reset that) and speech as a flag to turn it off, but again, deleting the prefs would reset that. Even if the front audio connector was evoking a different sound driver (say one that has less channels), the voice always takes precedence, so let way you only had one audio channel (not left/right, but mixable channel) available, it always plays voice. I’m at a loss.


  • the user Bookie states that all the sounds worked until a certain day
  • changing the output device from speakers to headphones (front panel) he could not hear voices anymore
  • plugging in the headphones jack into the rear panel, he can hear the voices again
  • Ron Gilbert stated that all the sounds, including voices, exits on the same channel

Ok, we are talking of Windows version.
At first, I would think of a driver but it can’t be: all the sound exits on the same audio channel.

The problem must be somewhere else.

I try a reasoning out-of-the-box: what if, for some reason, there’s no more access to the ggpack file containing the voices?
Is there a way to know, through a log file, if the file access was denied?
It’s absurd.

Not exactly what I said. The SDL audio system use 8 channels, but they are assigned as needed, there isn’t a channel for effects and a channel for voice, it just grabs a free channel. These are software channels, not hardware channels. All of these channels are mixed down to one channel before given to the hardware. Don’t confused these with Left/Right channels, that’s a completely different thing (with confusing naming).

My point is, we don’t treat voice any different from effects. Other than the reason I listed above with the prefs, I can’t see how voice would not play and effects do. The issue zak mentioned with the voice ggpack file is possible, but then moving the output from front to back wouldn’t fix it.

Yeah, there is no relation between an audio channel and a file access from the disk. Switching from front to back panel, doesn’t impact file access (and only one file, moreover!).

Even if I don’t think the issue is in the Windows driver, you may try this:
@Bokkie, after the big Windows 10 update (1803), my front panel did not work at all. I had to download my sound drivers (classic RealTek AC’97) from the RealTek site, so I could had it working again.

Are you using a particular sound driver, or it’s the AC’97?

Since the sound on for instance youtube seems somewhat filtered as well (somewhat like an equalizer with only very high and low frequency sounds) it probably is not an Thimbleweed Park issue. I tried lowering the volume of the other audio down and raising the volume of the speech, and I then can hear something but it’s too inaudible to determine whether it’s the voices. I would guess so though.

Since I have been using this audio output for other games before (and maybe TWP), I would guess I would have noticed it before if it was already bad then, so my money is on a driver problem (software settings could be as well but I can’t remember me changing anything and can’t find any possibly related settings in Windows which I didn’t try).

@ZakPhoenixMcKracken: Standard windows driver, since I didn’t notice any problems before and usually the manufacturers drivers install all kinds of bloatware. But to solve the problem, I guess I’ll try reinstalling the driver or getting one from the manufacturer.

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Yes, try changing audio drivers.
If this doesn’t work you can still buy new headphones (e.g. USB) so you never have to think about this again.

Edit: Oh, I saw this thread in the ‘latest’ section and thought the last post was recent :man_shrugging:

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