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X-Fi Support Syndicate & Owner's Clubhouse

Discussion in 'techPowerUp! Club Forum' started by imperialreign, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    If you don't have access to any game software, you can try these downloads: http://www.techpowerup.com/downloads/223/RightMark_3DSound_2.3.html

    The CPU utilization test would probably be the best one to run - I'm pretty sure, IIRC, that it simulates how a game engine would interact with the card (been a long while since I've run this software, though). Updates can be found here: http://audio.rightmark.org/download.shtml, as well as Rightmark Audio Analyaer - if anyone ever feels a need for analyzing SNR, dynamic range, or any of those other audio specs :D


    and, Creative's methodology for testing X-Fi using RightMark Audio Analyzer v5.5 (PDF): http://audio.rightmark.org/downloads/Sound%20Blaster%20X-Fi%20Testing%20Methodology%20And%20Results%20For%20RMAA%20v5.5.pdf
     
  2. tigger

    tigger I'm the only one

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    i just foud this,i think it may help


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    EDIT- the color of the dots i used on the pic has nothing to do with the color of the wires,it was just for illustration.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2008
  3. EarlZ New Member

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    I have a lot of games actually but i cant recall w/c of them can support all of the X-Fi features and that i can test alone, but i havent had any issues for a long time so i guess i have a golden card
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2008
  4. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    update on my mods:


    :banghead:


    well, yesterday I went to get some supplies - hardware store didn't have the correct thickness copper flash that I wanted (was too thin) for my EMI shield/heatspreader, so I'll have to wait a few more days for new stock.

    Couldn't find correct LEDs to swap out the red ones on my card, so I guess I'm going to have to order some 1.5v blue online, instead.

    As to the FP conncetion . . . ARRGGHHH!! I couldn't find a connector that I could resonably use, so I decided (in my infinite brilliance here) to completely remove the proprietary connector from the PCB. That was fine, all the pins came out without a problem.

    So, I figured I would replace those with the pins used for FP connectors on a motherboard, this would let me use the single pin connectors on my chasis, and I can swap connectors around while testing stuff out - luckily, I had an old ABIT socket 7 board still laying around, so I removed 10 pins from that. Well, when I went to solder them on to the X-Fi, they turn out to be about .5mm bigger than the pins I removed, so the wouldn't go through the holes in the PCB. Next thought - I've got a butt load of 24AWG wire laying around in various colors, so I'll just solder the wire directly through the hole in the PCB. That'd work fine, except I couldn't find my fine point tip for my soldering gun for dealing with the solder inside small holes like that - so, now I need to run back out and get a new tip for the gun for that kind of work. At this point, I'm just a bit too aggrevated by it right now, so I guess I'll deal with that in the morning

    :banghead:
     
  5. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    News: New Auzen X-Fi Prelude 7.1 driver updates SW Dolby Digital Live and other fixes

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Auzentech released the RC5 driver for the Auzen X-Fi Prelude 7.1

    Here are the changes as listed by Auzentech:

    The driver can be downloaded from here.
     
  6. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    Alright - I wouldn't typically consider posting a review of a PC speaker setup here unless something came along that really caught my attention.

    I guess you've figured then that something has :p

    Recently, I received as a gift a Harman/Kardon SoundSticks II 2.1 speaker setup. I typically shy away from 2.1 setups . . . not saying that 2.1 aren’t good, TBH. Actually, 2.1 is great for the average user, whether for watching movies, playing games, or just listening to your favorite tracks; even better for users who are tight on space, and just don't have enough room for multi channels setups . . .

    But, anyhow, they were a gift, and they looked intriguing, so I figured I could at least give them a go 'round. Harman/Kardon is quite well known for exceptional quality equipment, and two of their sub-divisions (JBL and Infinity) are heavy players in the car audio market (as well as home entertainment, also). Seeing as how they were a gift, also, I couldn’t help but look up the typical price of this set . . . about $200 USD.



    [​IMG]

    The SoundSticks II is basically your typical 2.1 setup. You have a subwoofer which plugs directly into the audio_out port on your rig by means of the typical mini-jack, and two satellites that plug into the back of the sub. The speakers are self powered, so you’ll also need a spare wall outlet available. Both satellites are rated at 10W per channel, and the subwoofer is rated at 20W, with a total frequency range of 44Hz-20kHz.

    The design is very modern . . . both satellites are tubular shaped clear plastic, with 4 1” mini speakers per satellite. Attached to the base of the satellites are circular stands, which appear to be some form of metal (appears to be aluminum) cased in a clear-bluish silicone based rubber, giving them exceptional grip and stability. The speaker enclosure itself can rotate a full 180* around the base, allowing for optimal speaker setup, making it possible to hang these speakers from a wall or from the ceiling. Although, the hook up lead from the base of the speakers is not exceptionally long, and would probably limit you to a desk setup. Each satellite, though, has independent leads – the speakers are not connected together with a cable at all. Volume control for the speakers can be found on the right side satellite, and is very easy to miss thanks to how well blended into the design they are. The volume up and down buttons are touch sensitive, which I found to be a rather unique feature I haven’t seen too often; adjustment only requires one to touch your finger to the button, and volume will go up or down – you don’t actually have to “press” on them.

    The subwoofer enclosure follows similar styling cues as the speakers, being made of clear plastic – one can easily see the backside of the 6” woofer. Power to the speakers is indicated on by a blue LED that somewhat illuminates the subwoofer enclosure in a rather unique way. The satellite speakers attach to the back of the subwoofer, along with the power cable. Gain control is located at the back of the enclosure too, directly beside the output lines. The enclosure itself is of the vented variety, with one main vent positioned directly behind the subwoofer, channeling air straight up and out. This is probably one of my biggest issues I’ve had with this setup, as dust and debris can easily collect inside the enclosure, or act as a funnel for a catastrophic drink spill. Otherwise, though, I found the placement of the woofer (pointing directly down) to be quite different also, allowing your floor or stand to help normalize the bass sound itself – and when coupled with the vent on the backside of the woofer, it allows for this little 6” cone to produce quite a range one wouldn’t normally find with an equal offering this small.

    Well, how do they sound? After spending a good 15min setting the speakers up just so, resetting all sound controls within Windows, and then tweaking outputs based on the angle and distance that the speakers were from me – I wasn’t really expecting much out of them. Once everything was setup nice and to my liking, I loaded up some of my favorite audio tracks from my hard drive which feature a broad dynamic range and that I know all too well. At first, playback was kind of flat, and just didn’t sound right – and after fiddling with various mixer settings, equalizer settings, bass, tone, etc; I finally realized it’s the speakers themselves – their design is very, very linear. I then proceeded to reposition the speakers closer to my level instead of more overhead, reset everything and started again.

    Wow! Response from the speakers was absolutely phenomenal – much better than I would’ve expected for 2.1. The satellites produced very crisp highs, and a dynamic full mid range, even starting to cross into lower frequencies. The subwoofer produced very rich and deep bass for such a small 6” cone, easily keeping pace with some of the quick low frequency changes in some of the tracks I listened too. Taking the volume even higher, I heard no distortion, crackling or noise. The subwoofer enclosure was even dead quiet, not a single rattle from it at all – even with the gain set on maximum.

    So, I decided to test them in-game, using Crysis, FEAR, Doom 3 and Black & White 2 for comparisons (all games I’ve been playing the most recently). The setup proved quite well within Crysis, FEAR and Doom 3. Gun shots were very crisp, while larger weapons still had their deeper tones. Ambient sounds were never over shadowed by the ‘closer’ sounds of your weapons or an Imp breathing down your neck, and left to right positional was dead on the money. I think, though, that I preferred these speakers to use with Black & White 2 than I did with the first person shooters – B&W2 is a very rich and ambient game as far as sound is concerned, and with my avid gaming, I tend to prefer the intimacy of a headset while engaged in a FPS. Which brings me to a drawback that really bugs me . . . there’s no headphone jack on either of the satellites or the subwoofer. You’ll be stuck with using your front panel port.

    Overall, I’m very much impressed by the SoundSticks II, they’ve far surpassed my expectations of what they’re capable of, and I’m quite happy about letting them take over stereo duties in wake of my 5.1 setup kicking the bucket.

    Pros:
    *unique styling
    *impressive frequency response
    *easy setup
    *powerful and clear

    Cons:
    *high price
    *subwoofer design could potentially shorten the woofer’s lifespan if one’s not careful
    *no headset jack
     
  7. Cold Storm

    Cold Storm Battosai

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    that was a great review! i give you a 10 on that man. I have worked with both jbl and Infinity on there car divisions and They are some great products to work with. I don't think I would be buying these speakers because of the price, but the review was pretty nice!
     
  8. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    imperialreign,

    please PM W1zzard/Darksaber and seek permission to post a full-fledge review in the review section along with all the pics, dissembly, performance, etc. your style of writing is very good, TPU needs reviews on its main site.
     
  9. Cold Storm

    Cold Storm Battosai

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    +1 on that! the review was out of this world! Pretty nice I might say.
     
  10. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    thanks, y'all - I PMed W1z with a copy of that review earlier for his consideration to the main site - I asked him the same thing I'll ask y'all now; if you see anything in that review that should be changed, re-worded, expanded upon or removed - let me know.

    I've worked with JBL and Infinity car audio in the field, too - Infinity is the choice for Chrysler's premium sound systems, along with Nissan. JBL has excellent quality for their price range. TBH, my personal preference, though, is Pioneer car and home audio. I've heard some of their mid-range and lower end components blow top dollar equipment out of the water, on top of being able to withstand some extreme abuse.

    Yeah, though, crazy price on those SoundSticks! Personally, I'd never buy a 2.1 setup for $200, as I think I'd personally be happier with a 4.1 or 5.1 setup for the same price - but, they were a gift, and I'm too considerate to turn something like that down. At least I don't have to spend any money out of my pocket to replace my dead 5.1 setup - maybe I'll determine what actually went bad and jimmy rig a 7.2 setup together :D
     
  11. EastCoasthandle

    EastCoasthandle New Member

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  12. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    I plan on it - but, I've been doing some more research into the differences between some of the components used on the board. Another TPU member, trodas, PMed me with some info that I found to be really helpful and makes a ton more sense than I've seen elsewhere . . . a link to another thread of his: http://capsmod.net/forum/viewthread.php?tid=94&extra=page%3D1
     
  13. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    That's one of the threads I'm reading for cap-modding my Xtreme Gamer. Just that I'm planning to use ECIL solid-state capacitors with the same properties.

    And yes, I'm planning on a EMI shield mod, watch this thread.
     
  14. EastCoasthandle

    EastCoasthandle New Member

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    You might want to read this as well
    Black Gate appear to be the best caps!
     
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  15. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    You are very resourceful, EastCoastHandle :D
     
  16. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    yeah, I've seen that before, and I also intend to repace the OPAMPS. Although, I'm kinda leaning towards wanting to recap the board first, as I'm under the impression that to achieve the most out of a set of new OPAMPS, the caps should really be upgraded.

    Asides, the power filter capacitor (closest to the APU) is starting to bulge ever so slightly at the top - she's on the way out and it'll need to be replaced fairly soon anyhow.


    BTW, was wondering - does anyone know if the DAC is swappable with a better unit? In discussing things with trodas, I was getting the feeling that the DAC is probably the cause of a certain issue he's been having with the cards: http://forums.virtualdub.org/index.php?act=ST&f=7&t=15093&st=15#entry62170, and he's also had the same issue with the Live! series and the Audigy series - to the best of my knowledge, Creative has used the sam CS4382 DAC since the Live! era . . . the only X-Fi cards to not have it are the Xtreme Audio and the Elite Pro, and I've never heard of any similar type of problem with the Elite Pro . . .

    I just wasn't sure if there is a better DAC unit that one could swap, or if replacing it will partially render the card useless . . .
     
  17. vexen

    vexen

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    Hello, i own a X-Fi Xtreme Gamer, and i was wonder if the use of CMSS-3D and 24Bit Crystalizer can lower my in-game performance.

    If it does, is it worth it? Thanks.

    I have Sennheisers HD555 mid/high end headphones ($120~200USD).
     
  18. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Hello Vexen, nice headphones.

    CMSS-3D processing is carried out differently in different modes. In the Entertinment Mode, the driver directs the audio stack to be processed by the system CPU, same is the case with Crytalizer. However in the Game Mode, the CMSS-3D and Crytalizer DSP is processed by the X-Fi processor. This should very slightly affect the performance when a games does Hardware sample mixing, utilizes several hardware voices, EAX 5.0/4.0 HD processing, multichannel output. In a headphone scenario it shouldn't affect you at all since an application has never used 192 kHz sample rate for two output channels (stereo) and that's what X-Fi is all about.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. vexen

    vexen

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    Hello again, thanks,

    Would you recommend any audio benchmark i could test with/without CMSS etc.?
     
  20. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Since you're evaluating the overall system performance being affected with/without using CMSS-3D/Crystalizer, I'd suggest an in-game benchmark where you measure the FPS count with/without the said. Use Battlefield 2 / Battlefield 2142 / F.E.A.R.. In BF2 make sure you set the audio renderer to "Creative X-Fi". Use FRAPS to measure the FPS count.

    Oh yeah show us the results. :toast:
     
  21. vexen

    vexen

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    i will try this weekend with CoD4.
     
  22. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    CoD4 should be fine, remember to select HW Mixing/Audio in the audio options of whichever game you use that has the option.

    BTW, I use the Creative HN-601 headphones. It costs just around $40 but is quite a bargain.

    I'm being creative in being Creative fanboy :p
     
  23. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    those Creative are great for the price, and sound quite well too . . .

    Still using an Altec Lansing AHS615 headset (~$50) . . . not bad, but I would like to upgrade to something a bit better.

    BTW, Vexen . . . are you by chance using Vista or XP as your OS?
     
  24. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    Well, an update on the front panel mod:

    The pinout crossover I had come up with:


    does indeed work with (as best I can tell) full compatibility. I have both left and right channels on my headset, stereo mic appears to be working correctly - headphone detect seems to be somewhat working . . . when you plug a headset in, the X-Fi mutes the output from the rear of the card to the primary speakers, but it doesn't enable headphone audio settings within the Audio Console :confused:. Possibly, two of the connectors need to be swapped, I dick with it some more tomorrow - it's quite possible, too, that the 'enable headphone settings' only works in conjunction with the X-Fi 5.25" front panel. As it is now, I can live with it, though.

    I took some pics of my hack & slash mod - I removed the proprietary connector and pins from the board, and soldered in some motherboard pins (cause I'm too damn cheap to buy the correct connector :p). As I mentioned before, motherboard pins are a tad larger than the pins Creative used, so I had to narrow the ends of the pins going into the PCB with a dremel. Even still, once soldered into place, the pins are still a tad too close together for motherboard pin-style connectors, so I had to bend every other pin outwards :laugh: - it's a decent soldering job for what it is, and it works, it just looks a little . . . spartan, lol!

    Anyhow, I'm going to work up a diagram of sorts sometime tomorrow. If anyone else is willing to use that pinout also, I'd really like some feedback that it's fully functional for anyone in need of HD capability before I post it as gospel to the front page.

    Next mods up - heat spreader/EMI shield and LED replacement - whenever I can finish getting the materials needed.



    <edit>:

    [​IMG]


    anyone else willing to try it - I'd like some more feedback if possible :toast:
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2008
  25. Preacher35 Guest

    Ready to smash Vista or X-Fi into small pieces

    Wow, glad to find this forum club. Having issues with my Vista install and X-Fi and hoping you all can help.

    Here's what I've got:
    Intel X6800, BFG 680i mobo, 2 BFG 8800GTX in SLI, X-Fi Fatality (original Fatality issue w/IO panel & remote), 2gb of Corsair PC9136, Vista Ultimate OS, Logitech Z5500 surround 5.1 setup

    So, from the day I installed Vista, and the Creative supplied X-Fi/Vista compatible drivers, my speaker/channel assignments were all screwed up. I went into the THX console and through extensive finaggling, got the assignments to work OK. It's been about three weeks now, and suddenly, after booting up my PC one morning, the assignments in Game mode are all screwed up again. So, back to the THX console I went. This time, however, There is no
    sound channel for the front right speaker. I can, however get sound to come out of thefront right speaker if I assign a different channel to it, just not the correct front right channel. So, I completely removed the drivers and all bundled software and reinstalled... same problem. I checked, of course all cables and Z5500 equipment through ancillary means and all check out fine. It's been three days of frustration and irritation. I'm considering going back to XP and sacrifice DX10. Any ideas or possible solutions?


    Thanks,
    Preacher
     

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