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Old 23rd January 2007, 02:57 PM   #1
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Default Creative Xfi mods???

I was just wondering if anyone has done any mods to the Creative Xfi?? I know its not the best sounding soundcard, but iits all i have until I can afford a DAC. On the plus side the Xfi will put out a bit perfect signal, so Ill have no problem when i fnally do get a dac. Ok so I took a look at the Xfi Xtreme music that I have and it has some pretty cheap crappy parts on it. Cheap Jamicon caps all around the board and 4558 opamps in the output stage. I replaced the opamp for lineout1 which is the one i use for my active monitors with a AD8260 and an improvement was evident, much cleaner sound. Now id like to replace the cheap output caps and the caps for the dac with something better but its very hard to see what is what on the board, the trces are tiny and to make it worse the pcb is black! Anyone want to help??? I took some pics but they are to big Ill shrink them dow and attach them later.
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Old 23rd January 2007, 06:43 PM   #2
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I haven't done any mods to mine but a few, hopefully helpful, suggestions:

It likes a good quiet PSU. I went for a 600w Tagan.

I found a big difference by placing it in the last PCI socket well away from the video card (particularly important if the video card has a fan). If you have an AGP video card you can get them a good distance apart. While you've got it out clean the edge connector, and the socket, and clean it regularly, it's suprising how dirty it can get.

The ASIO drivers (http://www.asio4all.com/) in conjunction with Foobar (http://www.foobar2000.org/) sound better to these ears.

Cabling made a worthwhile improvement, I come out digital to a Behringer DEQ 2496 and a good, DIY, solid silver cable works for me.

Use just the drivers for the Xfi and not the apps. Keep it up to date with the latest drivers.

Jim
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Old 24th January 2007, 01:00 AM   #3
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Thanks, I did a few simple mods to the card tonight after work. I removed the output caps for the main stereo output, I also replaced the 22uf caps for the dacs analog and digital 5v rails. The digital rail got a 33uf oscon and the analog got a 47uf cerafine. These were just caps I had around so I figured it couldnt hurt. Im trying to figure out which caps feeds the 4556a opamp for the stereo output but I ant seem to figure it out, I wonder if anyone has a service manual or schematic?? One other thing about the 4556 opamp, its a wierd size larger that the usual soic-8 opamps ive seen?? I had a hell of a tme getting the ad8620 to fit!! Are there any opamps hat are a direct replacement for this larger size?? As for the power supply im using a pretty good one, a Silverstone St65zf 650watt, moddded with a quieter fan.
thanks
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Old 24th January 2007, 12:21 PM   #4
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I recently modified my Auzen X-Meridian, so far just upgrading the opamps to LM4562's and DC-coupling from the DAC chip to the outputs. What allowed DC coupling is the DAC's differential outputs and the opamps not fed single ended (ie. + and - 8V power supplies). I'm getting about 10mV DC on one channel and 20mV on the other.

My card had two sets of DC blocking caps. First on the 2 Dac to op amp outputs and then after the opamps. Since the DAC outputs are differential, the DC offset is cancelled. Look at the reference circuit on the AD1852 datasheet as an example.

My card sounds amazing now! Soundstage and detail are great. The only thing lacking are dynamics due to the small power supply caps. I will put in larger, low ESR ones to fix that.

On your card, look to see if there are dual regulators down near the left bottom edge of the board where +/-12V come off the PCI bus, the op amps might get bipolar supplies.
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Old 24th January 2007, 04:08 PM   #5
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Do you know of any direct replacements for the 4556a opamp?? Its wider than a standard surface mount opamp like the Ad8260 which I used in my other Xfi card. But it was hard to make it fit since it was smaller and the solder pads were barely big enough to reach the pins. Im also tryiung to figure out what caps feed the opamps voltage, id like to replace them with something decent, the caps they use stock are all small 10uf cheap Jamicon. I wish I could get a schematic for the card. BTW why are parts so hard to desolder from these boards!! They dont wanna come off. I had the same trouble when i was scavenging parts from some old computer motherboards, they are hard to get off the board.
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Old 24th January 2007, 04:25 PM   #6
robot is offline robot  Croatia
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Default creative

Pretty nice way to make your audigy card to "sing" better is to remove notoriously big and unefficient creative original drivers and replace them with custom, freeware and much, much smaller drivers found on kx drivers

after that reconfigure sound processor as you wish converting output spdif signal to 24/96, than send it through 3,5mm to rca chinch ( I use pretty cheap bandridge) to external dac (I use tda nos 1543, cs 8414 receiver which catches 24/96 imput),than to my tube amp.
Sound is decent, specially if you make fans in you pc quiet using zalman or some better & quieter brands. For playing I use foobar, and eac for ripping. Foobar should be set to 24bit output, but I didn t notice enything far better sound than 16 bit.
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Old 24th January 2007, 08:52 PM   #7
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The card I have isnt an Audigy its an Xfi, I dont think the KX drivers work with XFI cards?? Right now im trying to figure out a way to convert one of my marantz d63 or cd67 to work as a standalone dac that i could use with my PC. I dont really have the money to spend on a new dac right now. But if I can use one of my cd players as a dac it should be a big upgrade over the Xfi analog outputs. We are trying to figure it out over in the cd63 mod thread. Thanks guys
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Old 16th January 2008, 03:48 PM   #8
borgs is offline borgs  Philippines
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Default x-fi mods

try google you'll find it using this phrase "incredible x-fi mod"

You'll get an extensive thread at head-fi it has people who experimented on changing the capacitors and opamps. You'll find in the first page of the thread a great read on this topic.
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Old 16th January 2008, 04:05 PM   #9
borgs is offline borgs  Philippines
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Default my apologies

I thought this was a new thread

I'm sorry i thought it was this month then I noticed it's the 24th of 2007.

You could find the most extensive discussion on this topic at head-fi. the website you'd find when you google the phrase will be at overclock.net. I find the latter thread simpler and the former is rather complex but rich with information.
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