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X-Fi sound bugs? I think I have a solution.

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by trodas, Jan 14, 2007.

  1. Jimmy 2004

    Jimmy 2004 New Member

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    Well, no problems with my good old Audigy 4 here - it has decent 7.1 surround sound, no pause bugs and the drivers are fine in XP. Not sure which capacitors it's using, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it, so I'll leave it as it is either way.
     
  2. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    My audigy4 is working great too - got it cheap off ebay last year.

    Honestly, thank god for vistas new software based sound, we may finally get some competition to Creatives buggy reign over PC audio.
     
  3. trodas

    trodas

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    [​IMG]
    (X-Fi Fatal1ty Sanyo Os-con SEPC 820uF 2,5V for main chip voltage filtering used)

    This attempt not helped me to get rid of the pause bug - eg. pausing and unpausing movie with any player, using AC3 filter 24bit output cause switched channels or terrible noise after unpause.
    Damn.
    Bridging the polymer with 10uF SMD ceramic helped a bit more, but it is still like 50/50 chance to get a pause bug there. Panny FM 470uF with 4,7uF ceramic helped me much more before, damn.

    Next try - 1000uF Samxon GC bridged with 4.7uF CMD ceramic (Tayo Yuden).

    Nah, next try - try to study how to voltage regulation for the main X-Fi chip is done in the first place :D

    So, the volage regulation for the main X-Fi chip is made by TI PS54352 chip.
    http://www.ti.com/lit/gpn/tps54352
    The recommended use is this:

    [​IMG]

    From this is quite obvious, that Creative design is very bellow specs one and for example - the imput filtering elyte capacity should be at least 100uF and as close to the chip a 10uF (at least) ceramics low-ESR cap. The Creative imput filtering elyte are 22uF Jamicon (!) and I did not yet measure the ceramic one, but I fear it is not "at least" 10uF as it should be.
    Measured 15uF. I should desolder it, I think I measure something else with it also...

    Same for the output. I see bulk capacity there, a 330uF elyt, 100uF another low esr cap and 0,1uF ceramics. Creative used a 220uF Jamicon witch is not low ESR cap in any way, shape or form...

    So now it is clear, why I get the best results with mediocre 470uF Panny FM 16V cap (mediocre because using 16V cap on 1.25V a "bit" soften it's specs) with bridged 4,7uF ceramics are best and why the ultra-low-ESR polymer was not a great there.

    My fault. Now I also going to replace the imput filtering "bulk" capacity - by Creative 22uF 16V Jamicon - by me a 150uF 6.3V Nichicon HE :dev: Yet the usage of 470uF Panny FM bridged with 0,1uF ceramic cap is not so great also. I still having the "pause bug"...


    Considering what might cause the "pause bug" I do wonder, how well Creative followed up the DAC recommended connections:
    http://www.cirrus.com/en/pubs/proDatasheet/CS4382_F1.pdf

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




    PS. I just replaced the there output opamps from the old useless (they was used even in Audigy (1) !!!) MC4558C ( http://www.alldatasheet.com/datasheet-pdf/pdf/194796/STMICROELECTRONICS/MC4558CD.html ) to the praised LM4562 ( http://www.alldatasheet.com/datasheet-pdf/pdf/156190/NSC/LM4562.html ) opamps. It was kinda easy, however the changes are minimal. You cannot hear any difference in mp3 bellow 320kBi, that is for sure. When we talking about DTS 768kBi, well, ten there finally is some difference :D But not so major. It is obvious that complete recap of the Jamicon crap caps has to be done as well, as the audiojacks has to be gold-plated for the subwoofer connection, the whole subwoofer has to be recapped and possibly modified also, so there is a notable difference.

    Ask the Nartional Semiconductor for there sample pieces of the LM4562MA in the SOIC NARROW version for free there:
    http://www.national.com/pf/LM/LM4562.html
    And you can replace the there 4558 "things" used for the output channels :dev: There is also another opamps for mic in, line in and some more down there... So maybe a 6 opamps is not a bad idea.


    PS2. parts list for SB0460 - X-FI Fatal1ty:
    http://rapidshare.com/files/90009691/X-Fi_Fatal1ty_parts.txt
    parts list for SB0550 - X-FI Elite Pro:
    http://rapidshare.com/files/90009544/X-Fi_Elite_Pro_parts.txt
    ...a good start :)

    A few interesting (but not mine, Bichi's work) X-Fi mod pictures:
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  4. trodas

    trodas

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    Middle stage of my experiments - Panny FC 22uF 25V used, before simple wires are used:

    [​IMG]

    Panny FC 22uF 25V instad of Jamicons 22uF 16V - not bad :xd: Finally the Opamps exchange produce hearing difference. W/O caps exchange = no difference! But only wires are better - give better audio details :dev:
    (and noticably stronger bass line, witch is somewhat extreme sometimes...)





    So, my mods on X-Fi so far are:

    Main chip
    C177 - 220uF 16V Jamicon, main chip voltage (1.2V) filtering:
    470uF 16V Panny FM d8 - good, but still pause big
    3300uF 10V Samxon RS d10 - card did not work at all (!!!)
    1000uF 6.3V Samxon GC - good, pause bug reduced
    C172 - 22uF 16V Jamicon, main chip regultor voltage imput (5V) filtering -> 150uF 6.3V Nichicon HE

    DAC - Cirrus Logic CS4382 - http://www.cirrus.com/en/pubs/proDatasheet/CS4382_F1.pdf
    C16 - 100uF 16V Jamicon, DAC voltage (3.3V) filtering -> 470uF 6.3V Samxon GD d6.3
    C107 - 47uF 16V Jamicon, DAC voltage (3.3V) filtering -> 47uF 25V Panny FM d5
    C91 - 10uF 16V Jamicon, DAC voltage (5?V) filtering -> 150uF 6.3V Nichicon HE d5
    C119 - 10uF 16V Jamicon, DAC voltage (5?V) filtering -> 150uF 6.3V Nichicon HE d5

    Opamps
    C46 - 100uF 16V Jamicon, opamps voltage (5V) filtering -> 470uF 6.3V Samxon GD d6.3

    Unknown - at back of the card
    Cxx - 47uF 16V Jamicon -> 47uF 25V Panny FM d5
    C186 - 47uF 16V Jamicon -> 47uF 25V Panny FM d5
    C205 - 22uF 16V Jamicon -> 22uF 25V Panny FC d5


    New opamps LM4562 (old are NJM4556)
    http://www.national.com/pf/LM/LM4562.html

    Voltage regulator 1.2V (CA20K1 - main chip) - PS54352
    http://www.ti.com/lit/gpn/tps54352
    input (5V) cap filter - C172, output cap filter - C177

    Voltage regulator 3.3V (???) - AMS1117
    http://www.ortodoxism.ro/datasheets/AdvancedMonolithicSystems/mXuxzrt.pdf

    Voltage regulator 5V (opamps + DAC VA) - UA78M05C
    http://www.ortodoxism.ro/datasheets2/3/0629sokqprs63qahgjp82zof95wy.pdf
    input (12V) cap filter -


    all the 22uF 16V Jamicons shorted as recommended:
    [​IMG]

    Too radical? As intermediate step you can try replace these Jamicons with Panny FC 22uF 25V caps - and hear the difference. In fact, there is almost no difference after opamps exchange, but huge after caps exchange WITH already exchanged opamps...!


    So far I did:
    Exchanged 4 opamps to the LM4562 ones
    Removed 16 pcs of coupling caps C23, C50, C76, C77, C28, C55, C85, C83, C61, C32, C62, C26, C67, C36, C34 and C68 and shorted them all with wire to get rid of the cursed Jamicons and improve the quality of sound output
    Replaced C177 to Samxon GC 1000uF 6.3V
    Replaced C172 to Nichicon HE 150uF 6.3V
    Replaced C16 to Samxon GD 470uF 6.3V
    Replaced C46 to Samxon GD 470uF 6.3V
    Replaced C91 to Nichicon HE 150uF 6.3V
    Replaced C119 to Nichicon HE 150uF 6.3V
    Replaced C107 to Panasonic FM 47uF 25V
    Replaced C186 to Panasonic FM 47uF 25V
    Replaced Cxxx to Panasonic FM 47uF 25V

    [​IMG]

    Interesting X-Fi Elite Pro mods:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    X-Fi Fatal1ty 12V opamps mod:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Most important picture ever - X-Fi and voltages

    Hard work, but there we go:

    [​IMG]

    In picture it looks this way - green are caps that has audio on them with stereo output, WinAMP playing...

    Code:
    C177 (1.23V)     - 220uF 16V Jamicon -> 1000uF 6.3V Samxon GC
    C16 (0.7V)       - 100uF 16V Jamicon -> 470uF 6.3V Samxon GD
    C46 (5V)         - 100uF 16V Jamicon -> 470uF 6.3V Samxon GD
    C107 (4.7V)      - 47uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
    C186 (5V)        - 47uF 16V Jamicon -> 47uF 25V Panny FM
    C205 (0V)        - 47uF 16V Jamicon -> 47uF 25V Panny FM
    C20 (2.47V)      - 22uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
    C33 (3.3V)       - 22uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
    C56 (-5V)        - 22uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
    C72 (-5V)        - 22uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
    C74 (12V)        - 22uF 25V Jamicon -> 68uF 16V Panny FM
    C75 (-12V)       - 22uF 25V Jamicon -> 68uF 16V Panny FM
    C101 (5V)        - 22uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
    C114 (5V)        - 22uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
    C124 (3.3V)      - 22uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
    C172 (5V)        - 22uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
    C206 (0V)        - 22uF 16V Jamicon -> 47uF 25V Panny FM
    C209 (0V)        - 22uF 25V Jamicon -> 47uF 25V Panny FM
    C27 (5V)         - 10uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
    C43 (8.8V)       - 10uF 16V Jamicon -> 100uF 10V Panny FM
    C91 (5V)         - 10uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
    C108 (2.16V)     - 10uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
    C115 (2.4V)      - 10uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
    C119 (3.3V)      - 10uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
    C123 (2.3V)      - 10uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
    C136 (5V)        - 10uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
    C151 (3.3V)      - 10uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
    C18 (2.4V aud)   - 4.7uF 16V Jamicon BIPOLAR -> Black Gate N 4.7uF 50V
    C19 (0V aud)     - 4.7uF 16V Jamicon BIPOLAR -> Black Gate N 4.7uF 50V
    C21 (2.39 aud)   - 4.7uF 16V Jamicon BIPOLAR -> Black Gate N 4.7uF 50V
    C22 (2.47)       - 4.7uF 16V Jamicon BIPOLAR -> Black Gate N 4.7uF 50V
    C48 (2.26V)      - 4.7uF 16V Jamicon BIPOLAR -> Black Gate N 4.7uF 50V
    C49 (2.26V)      - 4.7uF 16V Jamicon BIPOLAR -> Black Gate N 4.7uF 50V
    C102 (2.4V aud)  - 4.7uF 50V Jamicon -> Black Gate C 4.7uF 50V
    C104 (2.4V aud)  - 4.7uF 50V Jamicon -> Black Gate C 4.7uF 50V
    
    Remove and short 16x 22uF 16V Jamicon decoupling caps - C23, C50, C76, C77, C28, C55, C85, C83, C61, C32, C62, C26, C67, C36, C34 and C68. It is possible to remove all the marked with green audio caps C18, C19, C21, C22, C48, C49, C102 and C104 if you did not use the AUX IN analog 2 channel CD in and the 10 pins Creative connector, for witch the 6 pcs of the bipolar caps are used to separate the AC3 6 channels signal (5.1).
    
    35 caps total
    -------------
     1x Samxon GC 1000uF 6.3V (d8)
     2x Samxon GD 470uF 6.3V (d6.3)
     1x Panny FM 100uF 10V (d5) P12919-ND
     4x Panny FM 47uF 25V (d5) P12923-ND
     2x Panny FM 68uF 16V (d5) P12921-ND
    17x Panny FM 150uF 6.3V (d5) P12917-ND
     6x Black Gate N 4.7uF 50V (d5) - d6.3 can fit
     2x Black Gate C 4.7uF 50V (d5) - d6.3 can fit
    
     
  5. trodas

    trodas

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    Why not use tantalum caps
    http://www.hindawi.com/GetPDF.aspx?doi=10.1080/08827510212341
    Read conclusion about noise in tantalum cap
    The most important sources of fluctuation consist in regenerative microbreaks, fluctuation of polarisation and mechanical strain. The frequency dependence of noise spectral density in mHz region gives information on slow irreversible processes of tantalum pentoxide crystal-isation and oxide reduction. The self-healing process can improve sample quality due to leak-age current and noise reduction. :redface:

    Or there:
    Low Noise Balanced Microphone Preamp
    I also recommend against the use of tantalum capacitors, and regular readers will notice that I have not suggested them for any project (although there was one suggestion that you could use them if you wanted to). The only capacitor fault I have ever had to track down with an intermittent short circuit was a tantalum bead type - it was neither fun, nor easy to find :-(


    So, using tantalum caps in X-Fi are bad idea, alrough they might look as good choice at first and I must admit, I was considered them at first as well, but then I looked more deeply and contacted experts and they all recommended against it.


    Interesting discovery!

    I had enought of waiting and I decided to test, if the d6.3 caps (remember, the original ones are just d4) will fit there. So I took my poor X-Fi (I wish I get my hand on some dead X-Fi for this testings, but...) and started soldering on it again, even when I did not have to caps in my hands yet, sadly.

    So, I desoldered them all and cleaned the holes nicely, because I knew I will solder them right back, but first I need to test the d6.3 caps there...

    [​IMG]

    So far, so good. Then I get the caps - I picked up a 8 pcs of - luckily to still have a few of them here and there - 120uF 16V Panny FM caps that are d6.3 - tought they are not bipolar and not audio caps either, but I was not going to solder them there - I just wanted to made some progress and to make sure we can fit a d6.3 caps there... So I just stick them thru:

    [​IMG]

    And they fit! :wahaha: Hoooray!

    Another pic:

    [​IMG]

    And then I make the most important discovery yet. I suspected that before, but I was not sure. These 6 bipolar caps are for the Creative 10-pin connector 6 in/out channels separation.
    The two ones are not bipolar, but normal caps and they are for decoupling of the CD-in (AUX IN) input.

    This might not sound so important to you yet, but... I asked myself "What if I did not even use these connectors?" "Do I really need the caps there at all, or for the BEST possible quality is better to get rid of them completely?"

    I mean - there is one thing better that good audio cap in the passing of audio signal. And that is wire - or no cap in this case.

    So out of a pure luck and based just on a intuition I tried the X-Fi w/o these caps and quess what - it played and playing well still! :dev: :wahaha:

    This is an important solution and very cheap audio improvement only for people who not use either of these connectors!

    Amazingly and not unsurprisingly, once the Jamicons are out of the audio loop now completely, the detail level in music increased hearably once again.
    However there is a side issue to that improvement. Now I can hear some compression distortions even at 320kBi, witch is considered as very high bitrate! Also, any more importantly, many many and many my mp3 music files contain some slight errors in music, that are now also possible to hear well...

    In short, you might want to consider doing these mods (I'm being very frank here) because you will hear more that you might wish to hear :redface:


    PS. old but interesting article: Creative's Sound Blaster X-Fi audio processor http://techreport.com/articles.x/8884
     
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  6. trodas

    trodas

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    Final look - the thread should be renamed to "X-Fi holocaust", as I removed everything I did not use/like :D

    Bad caps Jamicons are OFF my machine, HOOORAY! :D

    The dynamic seems to be improved slightly, but that could be just in my head...
    However replacing the suxxking Jami-crap working as DAC voltage stabilization and be connected on the FILT+ pin COULD change/improve the sound...
    (bear in mind that my audio output AFTER the X-Fi is reasonably suxxking low-end one, and I did not have so good ears... so maybe someone else spot much more noticable difference - or dismis my claim of slight improvment there)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Voltage stabilizing for opamps is very important.

    [​IMG]
    Voltage filering for the main X-Fi chip :)

    [​IMG]
    Useless stuff is gone now.

    [​IMG]
    Better voltage stabilization for the Wolfenson audio codec can't hurt too :p

    X-Fi holocaust :D
    removed everything I did not use :D
     
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  7. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    nice walkthrough, man - shows just how much work you've put into all this! :toast:
     
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  8. trodas

    trodas

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  9. intel igent

    intel igent New Member

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    trodas that is simply amazing man!

    your'e awesome! :respect:

    :toast:
     
  10. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Haha, good work. You just figured out how the X-Fi Titanium is made. They lack phase III caps (some are reduced to flat-bed caps (that are used in present-generation video cards) while others are simply jumped.).

    Game for a DAC mod? http://www.asahi-kasei.co.jp/akm/en/product/ak4397/ak4397.html

    Append: AK4327 lacks a 48pin layout that CS4382 has, you could improvise on the pin out, extend the pins. AD1833A is another DAC that comes to mind. I'll post some whitepapers soon.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  11. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    I think I might be jumping the DAC hurdle after I finish modding my card - I've got a CS4385 sitting on my desk right here that would easily replace the CS4382. IIRC, the only issue I'll have to cross is the difference in supply voltage used for this DAC.

    I considered an ADC swapout as well, but couldn't find anything better than the WS8775SEDS already on the card
     
  12. Apocalypsee

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    Yeah, AD8599 get a good review, and some say AD8066 sounds great on X-Fi too. Too many good opamp to put on the card ;)

    Hmm....I wonder who recommend bypassing the muting transistors ;) :p

    The other thing you can do is, bypass the whole thing, don't even use any opamp at all. I get great result, I A/B tested it with new opamp (put it on other channel), and all I can say I prefer without any opamp at all. Spacious, good bass (despite 10uF caps on decoupling, if normal opamp bass is kick, this kicks and punch :D ) great soundstage, warmer vocals. I never going to use opamp anymore :) The only downside is you need decoupling caps, or DC offset will kill your amplifier
     
  13. trodas

    trodas

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    Well, the AD8599 is hyped enough to try it on. Another thought is, that the rest of my setup is nowhere near as great, so it justify the AD8599 opamp anyway. So it might does not matter very much, what opamp is there - if this is not the old crap NJM 4558 Creative use since the dawn of SoundBlaster series and then claim each card as much better that it's predecessor ;)

    Nevermind. I wait what imperialreign says about AD8599 and then make up my mind. The idea is to use them in both my X-Fi and my amp as well...

    The muting of the output transistors is interesting idea. I think it is a fair trade to trade the clicks when drivers is loading AND when switching the audio modes for the higher detail level, don't you agree?

    However I seen just this image:
    [​IMG]

    That says it bypass them, however there is two main problems.
    1) it is only for the L and R channels, while I need to take care about six channels - L, R, RL, RR, CENTER and SUB.
    2) tracing the pins of the transistors back to the opamps output (pins 1 and 7) show no connection at all to those shorted pins!

    Anyone know where the output from pins 1 and 7 of the opamps really go? The mod definitively connect well the output, but the input is wrong...

    And what about the other channels?!

    Here is a little drawing of what I checked to be true - X-Fi jacks connection

    [​IMG]

    Any help/ideas? What I did overlook?
     
  14. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    just swapped out the LM4562 on line_out 1 and line_out 2 with AD8599 . . .

    initial impressions . . . really dynamic - I'm not hearing any quality loss through the OPAMPs, meaning, I'm hearing distinct sounds I hadn't noticed with the LM4562 . . . AD8599 doesn't seem to be blending frequencies together, either; distinct sounds stay very distinct from each other instead of being blended or one sound being buried by another

    output is more warm and full . . . not as sharp as the LM4562, either

    I don't hear even the slightest bit of frequency oscillation yet, either - it'll take me a bit more time to give a strong opinion on this though.

    give me about 3-4 days to burn these two in, and see if my opinion changes; then I'll run a loopback test on the card and see how IMD+N and THD+N compare to when the LM4562s were installed.
     
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  15. trodas

    trodas

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    Looks like these Hi-Fists got this wrong this time. AD8599 is supposed to be made for the audio, so it IS slower and less picky to the RFI, witch is very strong especially in your case, imperialreign. I'm very glad to hear my suggestion again turned out to be pretty good. Unforunately my current speaker output is much more of noise, so even if I do the swap now, I will never notice a thing :eek:

    Yea, burn-in is sadly necessary. I never believed it at first, but I come to recognize that itis not a myth, like many and many other things. I would like to have AD8599 in both my X-Fi and my amplifier stage as well. Currently there are in both cases the LM4562 and I will need to solder 4pcs of the AD8599 into DIO8 empty socket, witch I then I insert into the DIP8 sockets in my amp... Then slap a pure cooper heatsinks on them.

    Regardless - I'm glad you probably did not regret the opamps swap I was pushing for ;)
     
  16. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    here's the detailed hardware testing results:

    first - the Fatal1ty with LM4562

    [​IMG]



    here's the same card, but with AD8599 instead:

    [​IMG]



    I ran the AD8599 tests 4-times each to make sure of those results -


    comparatively, the AD8599 allows for a better dynamic range at all testing levels, compared to the LM4562 . . . it might only be an average difference of -2dbA, but for such a small component that's a lot . . .

    THD and IMD+N results for the AD8599 are very-slightly better, the most improvement difference, though is at 16bit playbacks; coupled with the slighlty higher dynamic range, I'd conclude as well that these OPAMPs aren't as affected by EMI as the LM4562


    also of note - the AD8599 rated better at stereo crosstalk than the LM4562 . . . meaning there's less channel bleeding :toast:


    TBH, the AD8599 sounds the same to me now as it did after first installation (surprisingly). I really also dig how they sound compared to the LM4562 as well; the 4562 OPAMPs produce some very sharp frequencies that I personally found to be annoying at times. The 8599 has a lot warmer sound, IMO it has a lot more depth to it.

    For the cheaper price, I'd say it ousts the 4562.
     
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  17. trodas

    trodas

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    Fantastic - great results and with good sound too - the preffered opamps choice for X-Fi is then AD8599 one :toast:

    Must be true, many others saying also that the LM4562 does like to pick a lot interference from he air and even I did not noticed anything, well, in my case is relatively LOW EMI, while in yours is relatively HIGH EMI level, so... Good to know.

    Now what about to slap these little cooper heatsinks you used on LM4562 ones on the AD8599 too? Or are these tests done already with them?

    And there IS one thing I missing here. The output DC offset levels. But I quess I have to measure that for myself. For the LM4562 ones, it was that:

    X-Fi output DC offset measuring (LM4562 opamps)
    -----------------------------------
    L: -190mV DC, 10mV AC
    R: -174mV DC, 10.2mV AC
    RL: -210.2mV DC, 10.1mV AC
    RR: -204.7mV DC, 10mV AC
    CENTER: -209.5mV DC, 10mV AC
    SW: -231.9mV DC, 10.2mV AC
     
  18. trodas

    trodas

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    Removing X-Fi muting transistors.

    Having transistors in the audio loop is definitively a big NO-NO, just go ask any audiophile of Hi-Fists and he did not even need to be an extreme one to tell you this. So, I concentrated my efforts this way. First I produced this picture of what is short direct contact on my X-Fi Fatal1ty: http://i232.photobucket.com/albums/ee193/trodas_cr/X-Fi_opamps_outputs.jpg

    And todays I go deeper. It is same for each output. After opamp, there is a 33ohm resistor to protect the opamp from shortcut on the end. It has minimal impact on the signal, so, keep it. Later there are two muting transistors, for the positive and negative flow:

    [​IMG]

    And after them a two small caps to the ground to kill the possible high frequency interference. For L and R channels the card utilize 4 separate transistors. For the rest a dual transistor is used to save space - two (or coudl that be four?) ones in one.

    Regardless, the removal is rather easy. First get rid of them:

    [​IMG]


    Then solder a shorts there:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    ...and you are free to test them. As you probably noticed, I for the work desolder the C46 and C27. And also as you sure noticed, I replaced the LM4562 opamps with AD8599 ones.


    The results.
    After hearing the sound, I was like "Holly ****...!"
    There is no words to describe how much better it sounds. The oversharped thick sound of the LM4562 is gone (LM4562 also like to pick a lot RFI) and the sound is rich and full - and yet more detailed - very likely thanks to these muting transistors removed!

    Fantastic change, damn I'm glad I did it! :)


    Side-effects.
    As everything in life, there is a price for this. Not only this is NOT easy mod (do NOT try that, unless you are soldering MASTER, and I'm not kidding) but it also has consequences. Not only you want to delete all, even the 320kBi mp3 files now, but upon the driver loading in windows boot, there is notable click in the speakers. Same when changing audio mode. Not louder that the amp is set for, so a minor price for such wonderfull, rich sound.
    There is a bigger price and I was quick to discover it.
    I remember it well from measuring the voltages on the caps on X-Fi. When I touch the opamps, well, then the X-Fi started to oscilate like MAD and the resulting sound noise, even on small testing speakers, are unbearable.
    So, to get to it - I plug my rear speakers into the SUB/CENTER jack, so upon discovering that, I was like fixing this. So I unplug the jack... and the moment it started. The X-Fi, no longer protected with these muting transistors, start oscilating like mad. From all 6 speakers it output SO horrible noise and SO strong, that it was like when F18 is about to land on your head.
    I can't remember anything comparable in my life.
    My stepbro run to my room asking WTF... so you get the picture.
    The oscilating noise, when you change your speakers, does not stop till reboot.

    For me it is fair price to pay. I just can't now hotplug the speakers of fiddle with them "on the fly", like I used to. This is kinda sad and limiting, but what one can do. I'm ceratainly not going to put these cursed transistors back, no way. I love the sound now way too much.
     
  19. Ketxxx

    Ketxxx Heedless Psychic

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    I said it before, and I'll say it again. This thread proves what utter junk Creative make.
     
  20. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    nice, trodas! By the time you're done with that card, you'll have to scrape the Creative logo off of it :p

    I might end up giving this a shot at some point later as well.

    As to your question on using HS on the AD8599 - I hadn't tested that yet; but, I figured if they made such a marked improvement for the LM4562, they should make an equally impressive improvement for the AD8599.

    Otherwise, my replacement card finally showed up; need to order me another set of 8599 so I can begin butchering this card :toast:



    I'd agree to an extent, I'm sure considering the volume of cards they sell they have to buy PCB components cheap, which leaves us with some less than desireable parts.

    The Jamicons are alright for the average Joe, but they degrade very quickly as well.

    Considering the users we have here, I'm sure if we had Auzen cards or Xonars, we'd be picking them apart as well :p
     
  21. Ketxxx

    Ketxxx Heedless Psychic

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    Doubtful. You seen a pic of a Xonar or Auzen? Every component on them is high quality. :cool:
     

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  22. trodas

    trodas

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    Ketxxx -
    If they had higher quality of the PCB, people did not losing their cards so easy, so, true. Jamicons are bad caps either. Not good for audio, not reliable and certainly not good for voltage foltering. In fact, they are not good for anything.
    NJM4558 opamps was first made in 1978 and they used them on 2003 or 2004 soundcard. The list could go on, but there is one point you gotta give them.
    Even default the card sound still good and it is easily upgradable. And even they tend to overbload the drivers, they has the best EAX support, OpenAL support and X-RAM for samples. Not to mention lowest CPU load, so...
    It is somewhat usable junk. If you did not encounter freezes in game, like I did thx to Jamicons (they stop as soon, as I recap C177), you tend to rate the X-Fi abit higher, like imperialreign did. I do have to lower the rating based on my experience. It is not a Fatal1ty only issue, tough. They put a G-Luxon caps on X-Fi Elite Pro.

    Now I have a big problem with that. Ask anyone who specilaize in caps to name five most horrible types of bad caps. Chances are that ANYONE will include these G-Luxons. If I should do it, then:
    G-Luxon, GSC, Fuhjyyu/VENT, CapXon, TMS, Lelon, Asia-X, Chhsi, HEC, Teapo, OST...

    Notice I place the G-Suxxons on the very first place. Now using them in the very high end card of the line does sound laughable... but it is a bit crazy/supersarcastic laugh.


    imperialreign -
    Thanks! I did not consider that, but I do consider:

    - replace C72 with Samxon GD 470uF 6.3V because that cap filter the negative -5V for opamps, so a 150uF Panny FM 6.3V is NOT adequate here

    - replace the mic input M33078 opamp (or what the hell this is, need more research)

    - add a TI shield on the back of the card to protect it from both the EMI and RFI

    - add a pure cooper small heatsinks on opamps (shown to improve dB ratings by 1 - 2dB using the LM4562 opamps as well as give less noise (cooler operation) and also act as RFI shield) and on the DAC

    And that should be it ;)

    I tend to disagree, but time will tell. I tend to disagree because AD8599 is not known to tend to picky RF. It is a slower, audio-made opamp. So added shielding will not give it edge over situation w/o shielding.
    Lower working temperature sure help to lower the noise, but the question is, if this could be measurable. You get a notable difference heatsinking the DAC, tough.
    Of course it can't hurt a thing, so... slap them in and measure. Add DAC heastink and measure again. Remove blocking transistors (BIG change!) and measure again.

    Don't foget the caps, man! :)

    Ketxxx -
    ...and PCB is made in China, just like the rest :) What opamps it use anyway?
     
  23. Ketxxx

    Ketxxx Heedless Psychic

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    Very true. When I used to do some things for Mushkin I suggested they replace the Asia-X caps they used in the PSU unit they sent me, Asia-X, are.. well their just junk as you said. Teapo are also bad like you say, but I've found their 200v monster caps (I forget their exact spec) have always been solid. IMO the Creative X-FI even after recpa is just junk simply because nobody should spend £200+ on a soundcard then have to recap the entire PCB to be absolutely sure no problems with it will arise. Even after doing that though, it still doesn't resolve Creatives total lack of support and driver updates. I'm not entirely sure on the specs of the Xonar D2X, I've just seen some reasonably detailed pics, and things like solid state capacitors are never a bad thing. I will be able to get a super high-res D2X pic in around the next 2-4 weeks though if your interested. I intend to pick a D2X up for myself :)
     
  24. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    I'll definitely give you that fact that Creative's tech and customer support is still worthless; their driver team seems to be making an effort to improve - but it's still too early to say. But if their support and forums weren't so crap, I never would've felt a need to start the X-Fi support thread here . . .

    The big thing for me when it comes to the Fatal1ty (and the Elite Pro) - no other card on the market can beat how fast these cards can process audio; all the while utilizing less than 1%-6% CPU load (depending on the number of voices) . . . unlike the Xonars. I've seen a lot of sites test the Xonars against the X-Fi Xtreme Music for both CPU utilization and sound quality, which is kinda ridiculous as the XM is no longer commercially available, and it's like comparing an nVidia 7900GT to an ATI X1800. The Fatal1ty uses better components and has reduced latency over the XM.

    Only card on the market that is close to the Fatal1ty's processing performance is the Razer AC-1, and although it has slightly better audio quality over the Fatal1ty (SNR 117db vx 113db), it loses out in CPU utilization.

    Combined with EAX 5.0HD and integrated OpenAL support, along with CMSS-3D and the Crystallizer feature - the Fatal1ty is hands down the best choice for gaming and casual listening.

    If one has the guts to take a soldering iron to it, you can easily bump it's output quality closer in league with the Prelude and Elite Pro (swap out the DAC and you will be sitting in the same ballpark) . . .


    But, there's still the driver issues . . . not everyone has any problems at all with the cards, but then again, a lot of people do. It seems to almost be a 50-50 chance, y'know? That's ridiculous by any means, but audio cards have never been known for being headache-less over the years.

    Big reason why when I'm trying to recommend an audio card for someone, I try to figure out what their primary usage and purposes would be - I don't always recommend Creative hardware if I feel something else would suit them better.





    Xonar D2 - LM4562 for front channels; TI R4580I for all others
    Xonar D2X - LM4562 for front channels; TI R4580I for all others
    Xonar DX - TI R4580I for front channels; TI 5532 for all others
     
  25. Ketxxx

    Ketxxx Heedless Psychic

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    I've never had any serious audio related problems, and surprise surprise, thats because I've never personally used a Creative card in my system. I have solved endless Creative issues for friends though. CPU utilisation is also a very moot point. Modern CPUs can handle audio processing needs with very little to no impact on gaming performance. You'll probably find THIS interesting.
     

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