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x-fi soundcard circuit troubles
x-fi soundcard circuit troubles
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Old 22nd July 2011, 12:49 PM   #1
anwaypasible is offline anwaypasible  United States
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default x-fi soundcard circuit troubles

my x-fi elite pro seems to have a problem.

when the bass hits, the audio distorts.
at first, i was only getting problems in foobar (could switch to another audio player and the distortion went away).
i couldnt raise my volume up as loud because it was distorting.
the distortion got worse over the course of a few months.

i cant really turn the volume down enough to make the distortion go away.

weird too.. because i switched to digital output thinking that it would turn the analog amplifier off and the distortion would be all gone.
the bass was causing distortion with the digital output too.

i am thinking there is a problem with the voltage levels on the card.
maybe the crystal has gone bad from me tossing the card anytime i removed it from the computer case.

has anybody else come across such a problem?
i am short on cash, otherwise i would take it to some electrical repair shop to have them fix it.
if it is something as simple as soldering in a new capacitor or crystal.. i would hope somebody could talk to me about it.

i know this forum has talked about building their own amplifiers and such.
maybe somebody has the experience to conversate with me.
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Old 22nd July 2011, 01:30 PM   #2
geraldfryjr is offline geraldfryjr  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Jackson,michigan
I am not familar with foobar but switching players indicates a software issue.

I had a similar issue with my Elite Pro system and it turned out that I had messed the gain structure in the creative control panel and mixer as I was kickin' out some jams one night and had every thing cranked to the max.

And the next day I had found out that when I turned down My Boston Acoustics speakers I had a ton of distrotion at a low level, I thought that I had blown them due to much crankin'!

But,luckily I didn't and I had regained a crystal clear sound by restructuring all of the gain controls,What a pain that was!

I don't use that machine fluently so I can't tell you exactly how to go about it.

But that was my experience as that system is a super sounding system and is the first 24bit system I have used,and I still have it.

I am currently using a GINA-24 card at the moment and the X-FI is in my moms system but she rarely uses it now that she has a new HD laptop whit an i3 in it.

I doubt (I hope) that there is any thing wrong with the card becuase crystals usaly work or they don't and if they do go off frequency then it wouldn't be more than what the are tolorenced for (%.005),and if it was bad the card wouldn't work at all.

See what you can find ,and ,If you like I will fire up that ole' beast (opty 185) and go through it and re-familarize myself with the creative control panel system if that is what you are using to try and help you further.

Also if the distortion is in the digital signal as well, Then it has to be a gain structure issue it seems(software).

Good Luck !! jer

P.S. I normaly run all of my gain close to wide open but there was one that can't be much more than half other wise I got distortion but I dont remember where it was but I think it was in the windows mixer and it was strange that I could not turn that one up all of the way,that is what I remember for now.

Last edited by geraldfryjr; 22nd July 2011 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 22nd July 2011, 02:07 PM   #3
anwaypasible is offline anwaypasible  United States
Join Date: Aug 2007
because i could change audio software and the problem was different.. from that moment on i figured it was a software problem.

i was actually hoping it would be a hardware problem, and i have a good list of reasons:
1. my calibration microphone broke and i cant afford a new recording setup.

i had all of my calibration settings saved so i could use them again in the event i erased the hard drive or somehow 'forgot' what the settings were.

2. seems like i could really use some dolby digital live encoding for pc video games.

looks like i too am falling victim to the whole 'buy it new and use it until it breaks.. then find some complication that requires you to go out and buy something else used to regain functionality (and hope it works or lasts)'

i really cant see myself spending $50 on a soundcard for the dolby digital live encoder.
i want the encoder.. no doubt about that.
if i spent that $50 it would be all of the spare money i have for the month.

i have got a klipsch promedia ultra 5.1 amp that needs two new bash chips
got a klipsch promedia 2.1 with a broken cord (need the $10 replacement cord from ebay) and a blown midrange (need a new speaker from ebay)
got a broken 32 inch sony television (4:3 aspect ratio that does 720p/1080i)
got a $45 'moon-shaped chair' that looks almost brand new with a broken piece of plastic on one of the legs.
got some old school kicker r5 midranges from the early 1990's .. one of them has a blown voice coil.
got some peerless NHT surplus speakers.. missing one of the speakers.
got an nvidia 7900gto with a fan that is trying to die.
i cooked my laptop screen from leaving it in the hot trunk too long.
broken pair of grado sr60 headphones (one of the speakers blew after 8 months).
got a broken logitech g5 mouse (the blue version)

i could really enjoy the audio from the soundcard if it got fixed.
i already knew i would have to tell the guy 'is there a broken component or does this thing have a virus?'

as far as the software in the control panel goes..
i got distortion with the volume knob all the way down at 30%
the severity of the problem is simple .. catastrophic
it started out as having to lower the volume from 100% to 60%
and then it went completely.. didnt matter if it was 50% or 30%

quite annoying how the programmed volume can get attacked and ruin the card.
makes me wonder if foobar is safe.. or maybe asio.. or any PCI slot on my motherboard.

maybe one day i will use the DACs for something else.
probably going to find all but one of them is also data corrupted, without the ability to unlock the 192khz sample rate.

it would be quite the complex programmed volume structure to not see the problem at only specific volume levels.
as if turning the volume knob is what allowed the data to get corrupted in the first place.
and now that the corruption is there.. it affects all volume levels.

obviously a DSP programming thing since asking for the amplifier to change its voltage relies on something of data programming.
the soundcard would have no other reason to touch the audio when all of the sound effects are turned off.
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Old 22nd July 2011, 02:33 PM   #4
anwaypasible is offline anwaypasible  United States
Join Date: Aug 2007

i tried turning everything off except the equalizer.
when the card was new.. using too much of the sound processing at once made the output distort.
that was with cmss on and the crystalizer up on max with the bass boost up on max.

i switched to audio creation mode and put it into bit-perfect playback.. but that didnt help any towards the end when the distortion wouldnt go away no matter if the volume was at 30% or 100%

while in audio creation mode.. i realized i could run it in bit-perfect mode without any distortion if i left the master volume at 0.0
if i started to turn the master volume up beyond 0.0 it would distort the same.. except this time i lost all equalizer functionality.
no point in using the card when all i really want was the equalizer and the dolby digital live encoding.

it really didnt matter if it was the master volume slider or any other volume slider.
if any of the sliders could change the current volume of output.. raising it above 0.0 would make the audio distort again.

**edit again**

i did reinstall the operating system.. and the soundcard was doing the same exact thing after the new install.

as much as i thought it was a software problem.. i really crossed my fingers hoping the operating system reinstall would help.
and once it didnt help.. i knew i had a serious pain to deal with.

Last edited by anwaypasible; 22nd July 2011 at 02:38 PM. Reason: added volume sliders
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Old 23rd July 2011, 02:08 PM   #5
geraldfryjr is offline geraldfryjr  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Jackson,michigan
Yes, This is not good!
Are you using the supplied breakout box?
If so try going direct in to the card it self through the minijacks.

I have had some gain issues with the box before and was a pain to get it to work right with my guitar when I first got it.

I finaly got it to work and then I tried it at a later date and couldn't get it to work right and I found that it was a bit noisy, So I went straight in the card from my mixer and had no problems after that when I was using the system.

Opps I just relized that it is just an input interface, But it does have a headphone output.

That would really suck if it turns out to be the card as they really sound nice.

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Old 26th July 2011, 03:55 AM   #6
anwaypasible is offline anwaypasible  United States
Join Date: Aug 2007

i plugged the card back in because i found some diagnostic tests on creative's support website.

i installed only the basic audio drivers.. not all of the 'console modes' that have the equalizer and the thx setup console.
it is the 'basic' or 'gamer' version that you can choose when you install the drivers from the included disk.

they said connect the digital output to the digital input and play a song while recording it with the 'what you hear' input.

when i did this.. i plugged in my headphones and had a listen to the recording i was told to save.
the recording sounded fine.
so i proceeded to go to youtube and play a song that i know has a LOT of bass.
'on my level' by wiz khalifa.
i put the video into 720p mode and had a listen.
to my suprise, i didnt hear anything wrong with it.

either my soundcard doesnt want to work with the extra features, like the bass boost in the thx setup console and the equalizer that comes with each of the 'audio modes'
there is some software conflict that the card was showing.

i mean..
i knew before if i turned off the equalizer and the bass boost that it wouldnt distort.
dont think i had the equalizer way up too high on the bass, because it was like this:
31hz 4.0
62hz 1.3
125hz 7.2
250hz 9.7
500hz 0.2
1khz 4.3

the rest 12

i even went as far as turning on the x-fi crystalizer and putting it on 87%
the distortion wasnt there.
i tried the crystalizer with the cmss-3d and the distortion wasnt there.

makes me think there is either something terribly bad about the equalizer, or the bass boost in the thx setup console.. or maybe it is the bass and treble knobs on entertainment mode.

i have a feeling, if i install the 'console viewer' again.. the distortion will come back.
because i reinstalled the operating system and put the full driver installation on.. and it distorted again, that is how i ruled out the operating system being the problem.

i guess i will be using it as a headphone amp for a while.
and i will probably hook it up to the receiver later to see if anything changes from the output of the receiver.

maybe the soundcard doesnt have the amperage to do all of the extra effects that come with the 'console viewer'
crystalizer and cmss-3d still works without it as i said.
maybe the extra software is making something angry in the data aspect of the card.

i know i am going to want to try the dolby digital live again.
i have to install the 'console viewer' for that to work.

i could probably leave it for a good while and see if anything changes, and then sell the card as a headphone amp if nothing else.
(well.. my headphones are 42 ohms and they work without an external amp)
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