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SB and other sound cards quick modding guide

Solaris17

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Ok guys now i know you may be expecting something big but B4 we start i want you to ask yourself how complicated Soundcard modding is..its not really so i wouldnt expect miracles with this thread just away that you can take any old sound card or even a new one and make the lifespan grow as well as your audio quality ;)

Ok so first I'll tell you a story as this is usually important...while i was chilling out after i got my 9600 i was playing music with the side of the case off. I did this because i didnt have enough wires to power all my fans because i did a quick connect job so i left it off to prevent ovr heating...Well i was listening to music talking to w1zz and tweaking the card when all of a sudden i notied something....my music started to skip and jitter it never went to a diff part of the song it would just slow down stop for a sec or speed up...so this concerned me. I obviously wasnt getting good audio quality..i thought it may be a power issue or something so i adjusted my wires and started the rig back up..it worked perfect...now i decided to concentrate all my time into modding the bios and OC'ing so my comp was pretty idle after about an hour it id it again..this time with everything closed i knew a program wasnt doing it...and i knew i had enough power...so i bent down to look at the card...i knew when a grafx card got to hot it artifacted i wondered if the same principle was the same for sound cards as silly as it sounds...well like many of you i have a low budget sound card..its does amazing in games and also comes with no HS so i touched it..it burnt my fingure almost immediately...i had a problem.i wasnt sure if it was the reason my sound was skipping but i knew at that hot it wasnt going to help the life span any so i devised a simple mod...i needed to cool my sound card...

Ok so i had an old 3dfx banshee card lying around with an aluminium HS it was small and square and looking at my card seen below it looked like it would fit....

so it was time to get

(lolo bad pun but still :p)



I needed to test fit as tehir is all sorts of capacitors and random squiggly things around the SC "core" so i looked at how even it would be and if it came in contact with anything..



Nope we were good so now it was time to figure out how i was going to do it...you see i have thermal paste not thermal epoxy so this was difficuly i could ghetto rig it with rubber pands but i decided against the idea...so i thought of something..they use Epoxy on NB's and old school grafx cards...well i didnt have thermal epoxy..but i had something that would work and wouldnt melt under high temps..and also may provide conductivity...super glue.

My plan was to dot some glue on the very edges of the SC and run a strip of TIM diagonal in the center of the chip



this would make it so the coolest parts of the chip held the HS on while providing some heat transfer while the center of the chip had actual TIM to provide the best transfer..



Now to put the HS on and let it sit..this will allow the glue to cure and seat itself permanently on the core...and hopefully the HS will pull alot of the heat away ...This will most deffinetely prolong the life of these extremely hot no HS sound cards but what about sound quality?

Finished work.


The next step was to install the card relatively simple. same slot and all the card was in and i booted my system. I watched the card for awhile making sure it didt get so hot the HS fell off it didnt..so i than touched it the HS was a little warm...it means its hot..but it also means its getting bleed away so i consider it a good thing.

Next step was to play some music..b4 this i turned up my speakers opened never winter nights and of course made sure i had ever sound setting possible enabled as to stress the card..than i loaded a huge battle scene were i knew these sounds would come into play...i uped the difficulty level making it harder for me to breeze through..i wanted the card to get hot...so i played for about an hour and no stuttering thats good because i heard it in games to...so i quickly left the game and gave the card no time to breath. i booted media player and loaded a play list..then i went to wallmart to buy food with the girl and left it playing...then...i came home...my computer was still playing music my HS still on the card..i was gone an hour and ~45min...and lo and behold...the card was still bleeding heat this time a little hotter but i could still hold my fingure their..something i could not do b4...and my media player wasnt skipping!!!! I Win...the mod actually improved the longevity and the sound quality!!! i couldnt bealive it!!! so to get more sound quality i went here (some list for you guys)

Creative sound card modded drivers
After i showed jimmy so i could imporve my experioance..it totally upped my options cmss2 eax got way better KH range options a must have for creative owners..

than just an idea for you if youd like to get MORE sound quality check out here.

Recapping how to

thnx Trodas...He's recapping an old grafx card. But the same holds true for soundcards..alot of people actually did it with the X Fi series of creative cards to get ride of "speaker buzz"

TOOLS FOR X-FI USERS:
http://www.tech-forums.net/pc/f10/hotrodding-x-fi-150386/
http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/message?board.id=soundblaster&message.id=87066
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=182354

This mod holds true for any old sound card Creative or no even new ones with or without a HS change the Tim or add a HS take your fingure and touch the chip you decide ;) but i know youll be pleased because if your like me and cant afford a new one..you have just

1.) Prolonged lifespan
2.) Prevented sound quality degradation
3.) cured bad sound quality.

tell me what you think!
Thank you and good luck!!!

member to check out my modding an NF4 to SLI mod i wrote yesterday!!! link in meh siggy
also check out rebuilding a copper head im on a roll!
 
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NICE WORK, that is a pretty awesome and simple mod, good work as always:toast:
 

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thnx man its cool how the simplest things can make such a big diff and remember this isnt limited to just creative cards :)
 

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Solaris17

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such a simple idea - yet works so well! nice one!
 

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thanks man and it really does i was quite pleased better sound and now i know i wont need to buy a new SC in a month :)
 

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So you apply an adhesive at the corners of a square chip and apply pressure on the metal heatsink so the adhesive could spread uniformly with TIM at the center? But don't you think it could cause vacuums or air bubbles that could act as insulators? I think the CA0106 is better off exposed, or the heatsink attached in a method similar to attaching heatsinks to video-cards' memory chips, using adhesive conductive pads but that's just me. If you're able to eradicate all air gaps, it would work.

There's another issue, of the CA0106 causing faint high-pitched noise during operation (not from the speakers, but a noise similar to the whistling sounds made by some overclocked RAM modules). Aside there's also interference caused due to the metal plate (which acts as an antenna to the interference) sounds scary but I'm highlighting these because they're NORMAL, users of your mod shouldn't worry.
 

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no i didnt spread the glue...i dotted the sides so it would hold the HS on its like a gell so it doesnt spread much then like this




and then i checked b4 i let it sit the glue had moved a little but it wasn't interfering at all

as for the high pitched wine and stuff i never experienced that bu thanks for the heads up.
 
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Nice work!

Wait so recapping my X-Fi will get rid of that buzzing sound? SWEET!

Oh and uh...:slap: for the banner pun.
 

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Nice work!

Wait so recapping my X-Fi will get rid of that buzzing sound? SWEET!

Oh and uh...:slap: for the banner pun.

lol thnx i thought it was a nice touch.
 
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Hey if I were to resolder my X-Fi, which caps would I use?

I gotta grab me some heatsinks for mine :)
 

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^That looks like a lot of glue to me.



When you add that much adhesive and try to stick the metal sink, that drop expands that way, could cause spills, could mix with the TIM, could form air-gaps that act as insulators.



^I'd say make the TIM application as thin and less as that, the actual die (chip) inside that ceramic IC is about that big. Pin 0 of the IC is marked by a fairly large circular cavity at one corner. Use the size of that cavity as a reference and add the smallest sqeeze of Gorilla glue, two tiny drops should hold the sink super-firm.
 

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From what iv heard you only usually need to do the big and med ones or just the big ones its all you but the small ones you usually dont have to worry about it :)
 

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^That looks like a lot of glue to me.



When you add that much adhesive and try to stick the metal sink, that drop expands that way, could cause spills, could mix with the TIM, could form air-gaps that act as insulators.



^I'd say make the TIM application as thin and less as that, the actual die (chip) inside that ceramic IC is about that big. Pin 0 of the IC is marked by a fairly large circular cavity at one corner. Use the size of that cavity as a reference and add the smallest sqeeze of Gorilla glue, two tiny drops should hold the sink super-firm.

i agree but i assure you i made absolutely sure their wasnt to much glue i understand its a bad insulator and dry or bubbly spots are bad i got it covered bta :)
 
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You have a link to a someone who did a guide to it or something?

Maybe I should just sick it up and buy an Auzentech X-Fi Prelude.

You can't replace caps with solid-state ones can you?
 

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here are a couple links for you x-fi users

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=182354

here is an amazing article written by tordas that has everything you need what caps etc..so id ask one of these 2 guys :) hope that helps :)

http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/message?board.id=soundblaster&message.id=87066

(also im sure WeStSiDePLaYa knows how this is done he said he did it ;) )


i dont see why you wouldnt be able to use solid state their legs are way smaller though so it may be harder
 
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Sweet thanks man.
 

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thanks man oops i edited it i forgot one of the links the one by tordas it should be their now have fun :)
 
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Another great job! :toast:
What about replacing op-amps?
I'm planning to do it with my card someday :)

edit: Check out -> link
 
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on everything iv read pertaining to x-fi recapping they always replace the op-amps :)


thnx dude im gonna ad that to my OP :)
 

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Power Supply fan/cable modded powerstream 520 / OCZ 700mxsp
Software Xp pro SP2 / VISTA ultimate OEM
solaris youre on a mission lately!

great guide and mod :rockout:

ya make me want to mod my audigy2zs :shadedshu :D

:toast:
 
Joined
Oct 6, 2005
Messages
10,242 (1.52/day)
Location
Granite Bay, CA
System Name Big Devil
Processor Intel Core i5-2500K
Motherboard ECS P67H2-A2
Cooling XSPC Rasa | Black Ice GT Stealth 240 | XSPC X2O 750 | 2x ACF12PWM | PrimoChill White 7/16"
Memory 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance LP Arctic White 1600MHz CL9
Video Card(s) EVGA GTX 780 ACX SC
Storage Intel 520 Series 180GB + WD 1TB Blue
Display(s) HP ZR30W 30" 2650x1600 IPS
Case Corsair 600T SE
Audio Device(s) Xonar Essence STX | Sennheisser PC350 "Hero" Modded | Corsair SP2500
Power Supply ABS SL 1050W (Enermax Revolution Rebadge)
Software Windows 8.1 x64 Pro w/ Media Center
Benchmark Scores Ducky Year of the Snake w/ Cherry MX Browns & Year of the Tiger PBT Keycaps | Razer Deathadder Black
OOH maybe I should mod my Audigy 2 ZS so it will actually sell! :D
 

MKmods

Case Mod Guru
Joined
Feb 26, 2008
Messages
5,697 (0.97/day)
Location
Nevada
System Name Crossflow III
Processor AMD 965 (4.04Ghz)
Motherboard Asus Crosshair III
Cooling Air
Memory 4 gigs Mushkin 7-7-7-20@1T
Video Card(s) single 9800GT
Storage Raptor 150's in Raid0
Display(s) LG Flatron 24"
Case Custom
Audio Device(s) AuzenTech X-Raider W/OP637
Power Supply Custom modded Corsair 750HX
Software Win 7 64/Solaris Utility
Benchmark Scores 3DMark06--21963 so far
Joined
Oct 6, 2005
Messages
10,242 (1.52/day)
Location
Granite Bay, CA
System Name Big Devil
Processor Intel Core i5-2500K
Motherboard ECS P67H2-A2
Cooling XSPC Rasa | Black Ice GT Stealth 240 | XSPC X2O 750 | 2x ACF12PWM | PrimoChill White 7/16"
Memory 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance LP Arctic White 1600MHz CL9
Video Card(s) EVGA GTX 780 ACX SC
Storage Intel 520 Series 180GB + WD 1TB Blue
Display(s) HP ZR30W 30" 2650x1600 IPS
Case Corsair 600T SE
Audio Device(s) Xonar Essence STX | Sennheisser PC350 "Hero" Modded | Corsair SP2500
Power Supply ABS SL 1050W (Enermax Revolution Rebadge)
Software Windows 8.1 x64 Pro w/ Media Center
Benchmark Scores Ducky Year of the Snake w/ Cherry MX Browns & Year of the Tiger PBT Keycaps | Razer Deathadder Black
Erm...I might be able to get it to Meridian standards...:D
 
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