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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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    This is actually a problem with Vista itself, not the drivers. daniel_k's driver packs only fix this issue about 50% of the time, but I have seen some instances where other problems have cropped up . . . as well, the problem isn't pinned down to simply Creative's hardware, but ASUS, Auzen and HT Omega have had the same issues with certain applications . . .

    What happens - the audio processing in Vista is moved outside of the OS kernel, so the audio calls from the software are done at the application level . . . not the hardware level. Which means that Vista technically "interprets" the calls for the hardware and then passes the call onto the driver, which can result in strange behaviour (intermediate loss of channels, changing from 5.1 to 2.1, etc.) - unlike in XP where applications had direct access to the audio system.

    Strangely enough, applications that are integral to the OS once installed (i.e. Windows Media Player or Media Center) don't have these issues as often, it's actually very rare . . . and if you're using onboard audio instead of a card, the problem seems to never occur . . .


    My best advice - make sure you keep Vista as updated as possible. As well, make sure you've updated the OpenAL drivers. If you can, try to research and use only multimedia software that supports OpenAL (you'll have much fewer issues), instead of having to rely on Vista's 3 primary audio APIs.


    If you'd like to read some more of the nitty-gritty as to what Vista APIs do what, check out these links:

    Vista Audio API overview

    Windows Audio Session API
    MultiMedia Device APU
    Endpoint Volume API
    Device Topology API


    More info is available on Vista's audiostack on msdn - just browse around.


    As of now, my best advice would be to patiently wait and see how the daniel_k drivers hold up . . . but if trouble starts brewing again, you might want to attempt to start experimenting with different official driver packs . . . some seem to work better than others :ohwell:




    Well - we have answers here! :toast:
  2. purezerg Guest

    when you say "If you can, try to research and use only multimedia software that supports OpenAL (you'll have much fewer issues), instead of having to rely on Vista's 3 primary audio APIs."


    what do you suggest? I'm like using WMP and MCE almost exclusively. I gave up trying to get it to save as 5.1 i just reinstalled my whole vista and now it's working fine. now it stays as 5.1.
  3. purezerg Guest


    well I must admit my system is more powerful than my daily emails needs. but when i need it, i really need it. I'm a photographer and i do stuff like batching 500+ raw files to TIF16.

    I've got Q6600@3.6Ghz and GTX295 with areca 2Gb cache raid5 8x500Gb and Prelude/z5500. but i must say that CS4 does seems to speed things up when there's a fast GPU.
  4. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    And sadly, those apps seem to be the most prone to the channel-changing problem . . . even as handy as they are (I use them as well).

    Hmmm . . . I'm sure you've gone into Vista's audio control panel and manually set the speaker output there at 5.1, correct (there were some issues in XP between the WIN audio panel and the X-Fi audio panel not cooperating and working together)? Also, any other audio capable devices are fully disabled (best to do so in Device Manager) . . . even if the hardware drivers are not installed, and the hardware is not set as the primary output device, it can still cause some headaches with Vista - again, some of the APIs don't "realize" the hardware is not in use, and try to use them anyhow.
  5. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    i've never had these problems, ever. (non creative user, vista since it was RTM)

    As long as you set 5.1 in the control panel and in the audio software, and you disable CMSS... you should have no issues.
  6. purezerg Guest

    yeah, that's the issue. it's CMSS causing the 5.1 to pseudo 2.1. as i said the speakers are still set @ 5.1 but the channels are screwed. and it changes only in the midst of the music/video. have to restart WMP/MCE to resolve it. that works most of the time. with some cases where only a reboot will fix it.
  7. purezerg Guest

    sigh. it just happened again.. i heard a channel change during WMP radio streaming, suddenly the woofer got a bass boost and centre became very loud. I then disabled CMSS-3D and now only sound coming out from centre and woofer. FL,FR,RL,RR no sound. enabled back CMSS all 5.1 came back but the RL and RR is louder than FR and FL.
    restarted WMP and now is all hunky dory.

    sound card prelude 7.1 stock opamps to z5500 via analog. X-fi in entertainment mode. it stays in entertainment mode even during games. i only play World in Conflict.
  8. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    and you do have Vista's sound panel set to 5.1 as well, right?


    IIRC, someone else had this problem reported in this thread a long while back - can't remember if there was a fix or not . . .

    Try running in Game Mode - that allows for full hardware functionality and upto 60k software voices . . . it could be that CMSS-3D is trying to surpass the max number of software voices Entertainment mode is capable of, and it's down-mixing the number of channels to compensate . . .

    Just an idea for now - I'll see if I can dig anything else up.
  9. purezerg Guest

    yap. i have ensured that both are set to 5.1. actually when i set vista's sound panel to 5.1, the creative app also changes to 5.1.

    i'll try game mode.

    i dont see why CMSS has got to do with the voices. but i'll take your word for it. will try game mode for the time being.
  10. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    CMSS is taking stereo and mixing to 5.1, its simply screwing up when doing so. im sure you can imagine what it would do to a working 5.1 stream, if it started throwing the front stereo channels into other speakers.
  11. purezerg Guest

    actually no you are wrong. I tried a DTS and DBDL surround check vob file. all channels work fine when CMSS was screwed with 2 channels.
  12. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    i'm not saying it is. i was giving an example of a situation where it could go wrong.
  13. purezerg Guest

    yeah i know what you mean hence i purposely waiting till CMSS screwed the channels then i played a 5.1 sound check. BUT i missed out a catch. i didnt play the 5.1 surrond check with WMP, i played with classic media player 6.4.

    I'm looking into winamp for the time being.
    first i'll try game mode. if it still creates problems, then i'll try winamp in entertainment mode.
    IF it still has problems, i'll try mplayerc.exe in game mode. if that still fails, both my hands will be in the air.
  14. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    well, what happens is that there's only 128 hardware voices available (literally 128 hardware processes) - these are worked directly at the audio processor or DSP itself, on the hardware level . . . software voices are more-or-less "extra" audio streams that can be worked at the same time, but they're processed at the software/driver level . . . the number of software voices is entirelly dependant on the processing hardware available . . . what CMSS-3D does, to create the effect of sounds originating from positions where speakers don't physically exist (by spliting a processing stream between multuiple channels), it must make use of software voices (literally processing everything at the software level, not hardware).

    That's where I was thinking that if CMSS-3D is trying to surpass the number of software voices it has available in Entertainment mode, the drivers might be defaulting the hardware back to 2.1 channel output to open up more software voices for the application . . .
  15. joey_sfb New Member

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    PCI Express X-Fi Titanium vs X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional

    Hi, like to seek guy's opinions on the PCI Express X-Fi Titanium. I am tempted to this over the Fatal1ty Pro due to the $$ saving. My main use for the card is to play games with my 5.1 setup at home. Will I miss out on the X-RAM features and compromise on my overall gaming experience.

    Thanks.
  16. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    the Fatality Pro is possibly one of the best XFi's to enter the market to date, I have one myself. however the usual thing stands in the cards way...

    - Its made by creative - so expect little to non existant support & in some cases really really bad bugged out drivers.

    It still has all the usual features. but now Creative have thrown in DDL which makes it a little worth while. its a great card but its really let down by Creatives support.
  17. joey_sfb New Member

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    Creative has a bad rep on support. I have email them before and they do respond to email inquiry. I asking them for the remote replacement part for my fps2000 speakers. As expected they don't have the part. Those fps2000 are old but good sounding and usable after i open up the remote to clean the contact.

    My audigy 1 is giving me intermittent crushes and distorted sound. Which become better after i disable and re-enable the audigy driver from Window Device Manager. Still work, but i am thinking of replacing them to either X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional or the non Fatal1ty version which is cheaper...

    Thanks for your reply.

  18. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    If u want my opinion id say go with a Xonar D2X. Creative hardware just has too many 'anomalies' with Vista - one sec volume is quiet, next its really loud, Or it will randomly distort for no reason at all even though the audio Im listening to has been normalised/produced/mixed properly & I havent got the speakers cranked up even half way.

    I cant explain why this happens, Creative cant explain why it happens. no one can.

    thats why if i could afford it, id go with a Asus Xonar D2x. It might cost a little more then the XFi Titanium Fatality Pro but its a lot less stress in the long run & Ive heard no complaints about the card or Asus's support for it to date.

    definitely highly recommended
  19. joey_sfb New Member

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    Does your speakers system has any volume dial? Creative low end speaker or most budget speakers use very low quality potential meter that degrade over time. The common symptom will be varying from low to high, high to low output volume without you touching the volume dial.

    Spray some contact spray over the potential meter expose knot could help it.

  20. Beebee Guest

    Problem with 5.1 sound

    I have an Xfe extreme audio sound card Boston Acoustics BA7500G sound system Win XP SP3 & I can't get the rear speakers to work .

    They were working fine on the audigy 1 card. The stereo setup sounds great windows is setup for 5.1 & so are the creative drivers but all I get from the rear speakers is background hiss.
    The speakers themselves are fine. I've got a green led at the interface of the back of the sub but no sound at all. any ideas would be greatfully received Beebee
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2009
  21. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    haha Its a set of Logitech Z5500's which i paid almost £220 so i hope its not low quality.

    ----

    trust me its the soundcard. you read up or ask ANYONE else here or have owned a Creative XFi & 8.5 out of 10 people would have had exactly the same problem reguardless of what speaker(s) kit they have, - its not just 1 or 2 unrelated incidents. its more of a daily/regular occurance among some of us XFi owners & thats why people such as Daniel K surfaced, to provide some support that Creative never offerd & therefore was so quick to stamp it out.

    Unfortunately - thats just the way it is.
  22. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    have you tried setting up the channels as 5.1 in the windows audio console?
  23. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    TBH, it's not just Creative's hardware that has issues with Vista . . .

    But, sadly, it's not really the problem of the hardware in-so-much as it's a problem with the OS. :banghead:

    Thing is, as many people as there are that report problems with Creative's hardware, there's just as many that report everything works fine (myself included) . . . honestly, I've come to the conclusion a long while back that it's not so much an issue with the drivers or hardware, as the majority of the time it's an issue of users who don't know any better - really, Creative's hardware are really the only audio cards available everywhere, from Wal-Mart to Best Buy, and to online retailers . . . at these kinds of stores, you don't see any kind of audio card more "top tier" than Creative . . . which means the vast majority of Creative owners fall into the same rung of people you see using the majority of OEM systems . . . that is, the vast majority of people using their computer don't know much other than where the power switch is . . .

    When it comes to the ASUS and Auzen regulars, the majority of owners have at least a minimal amount of tech-awareness, and know that your onboard sound needs to be disabled - that you should remove all other manufacturer's drivers and software, that things need to stay updated, etc . . .

    Look specifically at Auzen owners and their hardware, for comparision, to Creative owners and hardware . . . you'll find it rather strange that X-Fi equipped Auzen cards (which the base drivers for are written by Creative for Auzen) tend to not have the same repeat problems and issues as Creative's cards do . . . even though the base drivers and software are 95% the same . . .

    . . . it's just a drastically different customer base.



    Honestly . . . regarding the Titanium lineup . . . I'd opt for the Fatal1ty - it's a little beefier on the hardware side, and also sports a fully-functional EMI shield (which can make a big difference if you have some high-end GPUs or CPU, or if you use WiFi).

    double check WIN audio control panel - make sure WIN is set to 5.1 - as well as the Console Launcher . . .

    CP has a nasty habit of not cooperating with Creative's software . . . even if you have the box "synch with control panel" checked, XP doesn't always update your speaker configuration, volume settings, hardware mode, or other stuff.




    Like I mentioned just above, 90% of the time with XP specifically, the channel loss is due to the XP audio control panel not updating to whatever changes are made in Creative's console launcher . . .

    and, sadly, X-Fi driver releases haven't been able to address it - the most recent drivers helped some, but only when changing from headphone to 2.1 - all other speaker configs still have the same issue of XP not following the updated settings . . .

    not really sure if it's an OS issue, or a driver issue, as daniel_k's drivers never fixed this problem, either . . .
  24. joey_sfb New Member

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    Another thing to check is the interrupt channel sharing that could be view by Device Manager->view under I/O resources. They will list what's device is using which interrupt. My audigy 1 used to have some clicks...pops..., i found out that its sharing interrupt 16 with one of the usb hub... and since i don't use it that usb hub, i disable it than uninstall the audigy 1 driver and reinstall it. The clicks and pops disappeared.

    If your sound card is sharing with a device that you need to use move your sound card or that device to other i/o slot. This normally solve my clicks..pops problem.
    The reason is quite simple, audio continuous data stream can't be interrupt unlike other data stream. Dedicated interrupt is still the best for them.

    X-Fi PCI-Express version claim to resolve that problem but i am not betting on it as this is not the first claim.

  25. joey_sfb New Member

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    At SG, creative's home country their Titanium is $142 while their Fatal1ty is $229, quite a lot of different in price for a boost in x-ram from 16mb to 64mb and the EMI shield.

    To you know whether there is a DAC upgrade for the Fatal1ty version?

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