• Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

Soundblaster Z crackling sound

Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
2,483 (0.57/day)
Likes
505
Location
Oulu, Finland
System Name Enslaver :)
Processor Intel i7 8700k
Motherboard Asus Strix Z370-F Gaming
Cooling CPU: Noctua NH-D14, Case: mix of different fans
Memory 2x8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3200MHz + 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz (running all 3200MHz)
Video Card(s) ASUS GTX 1080 A8G Strix
Storage 500GB Samsung Evo 850 SSD, internal WD Red 4TB for storage
Display(s) LG 55SJ810V 4K IPS TV, HDR
Case Corsair 800D
Audio Device(s) Sound Blaster Z. DTS sound over SPDIF
Power Supply Corsair RM850x
Mouse ROG Gladius
Keyboard ASUS Strix Tactic Pro
Software Windows 10 Pro x64
#1
Hi!

I recently bought a Soundblaster Z (PCI-e) soundcard and get occational stuttering with it and crackling noise.
I use spdif optical cable and DTS sound.
The problem got worse when i suspected my old logitech z-5450 speaker system to be the cause and updated it to a logitech z-906 system.
The z-906 speaker works like a charm in all cases exept when i use them with the soundblaster Z.
Disabling Nvidia HDMI audio and onboard soundcard and moving the soundblaster to another slot didnt help.
On the internet there are alot of posts about similar issues so dont really suspect the card is faulty.
Any tips what to try next?

Lauri
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2010
Messages
10,812 (3.29/day)
Likes
7,866
Location
Oregon
System Name Delta // Alpha-HTPC
Processor Intel i7 6700K // Intel i5 4570
Motherboard GIGABYTE Z270X-Gaming K7 // Gigabyte H97M -D3H
Cooling Corsair H80i V2 // Silverstone NT-06 Pro
Memory Corsair DDR4 3000 32gb //G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB 1600
Video Card(s) EVGA GTX980ti// EVGA GTX 1050ti
Storage Samsung 950 Pro NVMe 512, 2 Tb FireCuda// Samsung 850 Pro,
Display(s) ASUS PB278Q 27" 1440X 2560 // 55" LG 4K SK8000 Series
Case Corsair Obsidian Series 550D // Silverstone Granada GD05
Audio Device(s) Focusrite Scarlett // HDMI to Yamaha RX V571
Power Supply Corsair TX850M // SeaSonic G Series 550w
Mouse Logitech G502
Keyboard Cooler Master CK550 RBG
Software Windows 10 Pro 64bit // Windows 10 Pro 64bit with Kodi
#2
Well if you onboard sound works fine, and the HDMI sound works fine, then you have a bad card

How does it sound without using Optical? Using just analog
 

eidairaman1

The Exiled Airman
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
24,282 (5.76/day)
Likes
7,995
System Name PCGOD
Processor AMD FX 8350@ 5.0GHz
Motherboard Asus TUF 990FX Sabertooth R2 2901 Bios
Cooling Scythe Ashura, 2×BitFenix 230mm Spectre Pro LED (Blue,Green), 2x BitFenix 140mm Spectre Pro LED
Memory 16 GB Gskill Ripjaws X 2133 (2400 OC, 10-10-12-20-20, 1T, 1.65V)
Video Card(s) AMD Radeon 290 Sapphire Vapor-X
Storage Samsung 840 Pro 256GB, WD Velociraptor 1TB
Display(s) NEC Multisync LCD 1700V (Display Port Adapter)
Case AeroCool Xpredator Evil Blue Edition
Audio Device(s) Creative Labs Sound Blaster ZxR
Power Supply Seasonic 1250 XM2 Series (XP3)
Mouse Roccat Kone XTD
Keyboard Roccat Ryos MK Pro
Software Windows 7 Pro 64
#3
Well if you onboard sound works fine, and the HDMI sound works fine, then you have a bad card

How does it sound without using Optical? Using just analog
Card is shot, get those Brand New or not at all.
 

hat

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 20, 2006
Messages
20,057 (4.52/day)
Likes
4,197
Location
Ohio
System Name Starlifter :: Dragonfly
Processor i7 2600k :: Athlon II x4 630
Motherboard ASUS P8P67 Pro :: GIgabyte GA-770T-USB3
Cooling Corsair H70 :: Thermaltake Big Typhoon
Memory 2x4GB DDR3 1866 :: 2x1GB DDR3 1333
Video Card(s) 2x PNY GTX1070 :: none
Storage Plextor M5s 128GB, WDC Black 500GB :: Mushkin Enhanced 60GB SSD, WD RE3 1TB
Display(s) Acer P216HL HDMI :: None
Case Antec SOHO 1030B :: Old White Full Tower
Audio Device(s) Onboard - iLive IT153B Soundbar (optical) :: None
Power Supply EVGA 500w 80 Plus :: Wounded Corsair CX600
Software Windows 10 Pro - Plex Server on Dragonfly
Benchmark Scores >9000
#4
If your windows volume is set to 100%, try a lower value, like 50%. It might be a weird clipping issue, had that with my Xonar DG. If not... it's really weird that you're having issues with digital audio... it may well be a problem with the card.
 
Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
2,483 (0.57/day)
Likes
505
Location
Oulu, Finland
System Name Enslaver :)
Processor Intel i7 8700k
Motherboard Asus Strix Z370-F Gaming
Cooling CPU: Noctua NH-D14, Case: mix of different fans
Memory 2x8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3200MHz + 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz (running all 3200MHz)
Video Card(s) ASUS GTX 1080 A8G Strix
Storage 500GB Samsung Evo 850 SSD, internal WD Red 4TB for storage
Display(s) LG 55SJ810V 4K IPS TV, HDR
Case Corsair 800D
Audio Device(s) Sound Blaster Z. DTS sound over SPDIF
Power Supply Corsair RM850x
Mouse ROG Gladius
Keyboard ASUS Strix Tactic Pro
Software Windows 10 Pro x64
#5
Ok will try lowering volume to 50% and will also try to install PAX alternative drivers
 

95Viper

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 12, 2008
Messages
6,368 (1.70/day)
Likes
3,168
Location
Southeast Mid Atlantic
System Name Ha/AhHa/Dell
Processor QX9650 SLAWN C1/i7-980x/i7-6700K
Motherboard GA-X48_DS4 (F3B bios)/Gigabyte x58A-UDR3 v 2.0(modded FH bios)/Dell Foxconn 0XJ8C4 Z170
Cooling CNPS9900 LED/H60/ 3 pipe-center fan-air
Memory 8 Gig of G.Skill F2-8800CL5D/24 Gb Corsair Vengence/ 24Gb Samsung DDR4 2133
Video Card(s) Galaxy NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960/PowerColor R9 280/ASUS R9 380X Strix G1
Storage All have SSDs with HDDs for extra storage and backup/Dell-M.2 Samsung 850 EVO PCIe
Display(s) Viewsonic 1080p/HP ZR24W/Auria EQ278C
Case CM-690/CM-690 II adv/Dell 8900 series
Audio Device(s) All use on board (Realtek) w/2.1 speakers
Power Supply PC P&C 750/PC P&C Silencer 950/CM 700 Extreme
Mouse Logitech
Keyboard Logitech
Software Windows 10 Pro - 64 bit/Windows 10 Pro - 64bit/Windows 10 Pro - 64bit
#6
Check that your TOSlink cable and connections are clean and properly seated?
 
Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
2,483 (0.57/day)
Likes
505
Location
Oulu, Finland
System Name Enslaver :)
Processor Intel i7 8700k
Motherboard Asus Strix Z370-F Gaming
Cooling CPU: Noctua NH-D14, Case: mix of different fans
Memory 2x8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3200MHz + 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz (running all 3200MHz)
Video Card(s) ASUS GTX 1080 A8G Strix
Storage 500GB Samsung Evo 850 SSD, internal WD Red 4TB for storage
Display(s) LG 55SJ810V 4K IPS TV, HDR
Case Corsair 800D
Audio Device(s) Sound Blaster Z. DTS sound over SPDIF
Power Supply Corsair RM850x
Mouse ROG Gladius
Keyboard ASUS Strix Tactic Pro
Software Windows 10 Pro x64
#7
ok with volume 50% i had no troubles anymore. cables are seated right, that should be no problem. I hope the problems are over with 50% volume. I made the xp that after a driver reinstall it works a while and then goes havoc.

Edit: last time i had problems there were like 3-4 high pitched cracks in the sound.
 
Last edited:
Likes: hat
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
7,390 (4.67/day)
Likes
6,332
Location
Duiven, Netherlands
Processor i7 8700k 4.8Ghz @ 1.31v
Motherboard AsRock Fatal1ty K6 Z370
Cooling beQuiet! Dark Rock Pro 3
Memory 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3200/C16
Video Card(s) MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X @ 2100/5500
Storage Samsung 850 EVO 1TB + Samsung 830 256GB + Crucial BX100 250GB + Toshiba 1TB HDD
Display(s) Eizo Foris FG2421
Case Fractal Design Define C TG
Power Supply EVGA G2 750w
Mouse Logitech G502 Protheus Spectrum
Keyboard Sharkoon MK80 (Brown)
Software W10 x64
Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
2,483 (0.57/day)
Likes
505
Location
Oulu, Finland
System Name Enslaver :)
Processor Intel i7 8700k
Motherboard Asus Strix Z370-F Gaming
Cooling CPU: Noctua NH-D14, Case: mix of different fans
Memory 2x8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3200MHz + 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz (running all 3200MHz)
Video Card(s) ASUS GTX 1080 A8G Strix
Storage 500GB Samsung Evo 850 SSD, internal WD Red 4TB for storage
Display(s) LG 55SJ810V 4K IPS TV, HDR
Case Corsair 800D
Audio Device(s) Sound Blaster Z. DTS sound over SPDIF
Power Supply Corsair RM850x
Mouse ROG Gladius
Keyboard ASUS Strix Tactic Pro
Software Windows 10 Pro x64
#9
Sounds like postponing the inevitable. Card's still not good anymore... :p
There are too many posts about similar issues that i dont think the card is faulty. Although i bought it as a warehouse deal on amazon (second hand, returned item) so one never knows..
 
Joined
Jul 5, 2013
Messages
4,248 (2.10/day)
Likes
2,585
Location
USA
#10
Sounds like postponing the inevitable. Card's still not good anymore... :p
That is an opinion not supported by the stated circumstances.
There are too many posts about similar issues that i dont think the card is faulty. Although i bought it as a warehouse deal on amazon (second hand, returned item) so one never knows..
Your card is fine. This is a problem that is encountered because of the way Windows improperly handles preamplification in software before the hardware processes the sound. While turning the volume down will work fine, the Windows software problem needed to be addressed. Microsoft has patched that problem for Windows 7 and up. The latest driver update from Creative I believe also solves that problem. So if you were installing drivers from the disc, grab the latest ones from Creative's site and you should be good to go at any volume setting.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
2,483 (0.57/day)
Likes
505
Location
Oulu, Finland
System Name Enslaver :)
Processor Intel i7 8700k
Motherboard Asus Strix Z370-F Gaming
Cooling CPU: Noctua NH-D14, Case: mix of different fans
Memory 2x8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3200MHz + 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz (running all 3200MHz)
Video Card(s) ASUS GTX 1080 A8G Strix
Storage 500GB Samsung Evo 850 SSD, internal WD Red 4TB for storage
Display(s) LG 55SJ810V 4K IPS TV, HDR
Case Corsair 800D
Audio Device(s) Sound Blaster Z. DTS sound over SPDIF
Power Supply Corsair RM850x
Mouse ROG Gladius
Keyboard ASUS Strix Tactic Pro
Software Windows 10 Pro x64
#11
Update:
For a couple of days 50% volume in windows worked but then again it started crackling occationally.
Latest windows 10 with updates installed and latest soundblaster Z driver.
Pax alternative driver i am unable to install for some reason so i might just return the soundcard to get another one..

Edit: Was able to install Pax alternative driver. will test a bit and then return the card if it does not help
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
2,483 (0.57/day)
Likes
505
Location
Oulu, Finland
System Name Enslaver :)
Processor Intel i7 8700k
Motherboard Asus Strix Z370-F Gaming
Cooling CPU: Noctua NH-D14, Case: mix of different fans
Memory 2x8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3200MHz + 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz (running all 3200MHz)
Video Card(s) ASUS GTX 1080 A8G Strix
Storage 500GB Samsung Evo 850 SSD, internal WD Red 4TB for storage
Display(s) LG 55SJ810V 4K IPS TV, HDR
Case Corsair 800D
Audio Device(s) Sound Blaster Z. DTS sound over SPDIF
Power Supply Corsair RM850x
Mouse ROG Gladius
Keyboard ASUS Strix Tactic Pro
Software Windows 10 Pro x64
#12
PAX driver did work for like 1 day before crackling started again. Amazon RMA next.
 

hat

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 20, 2006
Messages
20,057 (4.52/day)
Likes
4,197
Location
Ohio
System Name Starlifter :: Dragonfly
Processor i7 2600k :: Athlon II x4 630
Motherboard ASUS P8P67 Pro :: GIgabyte GA-770T-USB3
Cooling Corsair H70 :: Thermaltake Big Typhoon
Memory 2x4GB DDR3 1866 :: 2x1GB DDR3 1333
Video Card(s) 2x PNY GTX1070 :: none
Storage Plextor M5s 128GB, WDC Black 500GB :: Mushkin Enhanced 60GB SSD, WD RE3 1TB
Display(s) Acer P216HL HDMI :: None
Case Antec SOHO 1030B :: Old White Full Tower
Audio Device(s) Onboard - iLive IT153B Soundbar (optical) :: None
Power Supply EVGA 500w 80 Plus :: Wounded Corsair CX600
Software Windows 10 Pro - Plex Server on Dragonfly
Benchmark Scores >9000
#13
Sounds like something very strange is going on... you find a solution that works for a little while and then it doesn't. Hopefully the RMA works out for you...
 
Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
2,483 (0.57/day)
Likes
505
Location
Oulu, Finland
System Name Enslaver :)
Processor Intel i7 8700k
Motherboard Asus Strix Z370-F Gaming
Cooling CPU: Noctua NH-D14, Case: mix of different fans
Memory 2x8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3200MHz + 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz (running all 3200MHz)
Video Card(s) ASUS GTX 1080 A8G Strix
Storage 500GB Samsung Evo 850 SSD, internal WD Red 4TB for storage
Display(s) LG 55SJ810V 4K IPS TV, HDR
Case Corsair 800D
Audio Device(s) Sound Blaster Z. DTS sound over SPDIF
Power Supply Corsair RM850x
Mouse ROG Gladius
Keyboard ASUS Strix Tactic Pro
Software Windows 10 Pro x64
#15
Today i´m gonna get the brand new soundblaster z. old one i send back for complete refund. I hope the new one works or i will have to sort out where the interference is coming from
 

speedy77

New Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2018
Messages
11 (0.08/day)
Likes
0
#17
Chiming in as a person with similar issues. I've had an X-Fi Elite Pro for the past 10 years or so and recently reinstalled Windows. I instantly had the problems you're describing, so I had assumed it was an issue with the card (I had been using my custom drivers to get it to work properly on Windows 10 without any luck and had assumed it was just now defunct). I decided to order the ZXR as it was the most suitable modern equivalent, and wouldn't you know it I had the EXACT same issues. I'm now also sitting with a ZXR that I cannot use due to the driver issues that Creative has. I've noticed that rolling back to older drivers has improved the issue, but it still persists unfortunately. I'll be sure to post if I come up with a solution!
 
Joined
May 4, 2011
Messages
170 (0.06/day)
Likes
51
System Name Arena-Fighter6a
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 2700x
Motherboard Asrock x470 Taichi Ultimate
Cooling Air
Memory 2x16GB 3000MHz CL16 DDR4
Video Card(s) Gigabyte Radeon R9 380 4GB
Audio Device(s) Creative X-Fi Titanium PCIe x1
Power Supply OCZ ZS550
Software Windows 10 x64 Enterprise/Ubuntu 18.10 amd64
#19
Unfortunately this is issue caused by windows 1803 to all creative x-fi series cards. I own x-fi titanium and had exactly the same problem which is hardware independent, by hardware i mean speakers, cable, connectors, etc. Card itself most likely is ok. I own my card since 8-9 years and everything is fine, i do not have this problem on linux, i've never had it on any previous windows and even on previous builds of windows 10, it started with 1803 build and this is a reason why i downgraded back to 1709 build, last one which works fine. I wonder if 1809 will be free off this issue.
 

eidairaman1

The Exiled Airman
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
24,282 (5.76/day)
Likes
7,995
System Name PCGOD
Processor AMD FX 8350@ 5.0GHz
Motherboard Asus TUF 990FX Sabertooth R2 2901 Bios
Cooling Scythe Ashura, 2×BitFenix 230mm Spectre Pro LED (Blue,Green), 2x BitFenix 140mm Spectre Pro LED
Memory 16 GB Gskill Ripjaws X 2133 (2400 OC, 10-10-12-20-20, 1T, 1.65V)
Video Card(s) AMD Radeon 290 Sapphire Vapor-X
Storage Samsung 840 Pro 256GB, WD Velociraptor 1TB
Display(s) NEC Multisync LCD 1700V (Display Port Adapter)
Case AeroCool Xpredator Evil Blue Edition
Audio Device(s) Creative Labs Sound Blaster ZxR
Power Supply Seasonic 1250 XM2 Series (XP3)
Mouse Roccat Kone XTD
Keyboard Roccat Ryos MK Pro
Software Windows 7 Pro 64
#20
Unfortunately this is issue caused by windows 1803 to all creative x-fi series cards. I own x-fi titanium and had exactly the same problem which is hardware independent, by hardware i mean speakers, cable, connectors, etc. Card itself most likely is ok. I own my card since 8-9 years and everything is fine, i do not have this problem on linux, i've never had it on any previous windows and even on previous builds of windows 10, it started with 1803 build and this is a reason why i downgraded back to 1709 build, last one which works fine. I wonder if 1809 will be free off this issue.
So linux, 7...
 
Joined
May 4, 2011
Messages
170 (0.06/day)
Likes
51
System Name Arena-Fighter6a
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 2700x
Motherboard Asrock x470 Taichi Ultimate
Cooling Air
Memory 2x16GB 3000MHz CL16 DDR4
Video Card(s) Gigabyte Radeon R9 380 4GB
Audio Device(s) Creative X-Fi Titanium PCIe x1
Power Supply OCZ ZS550
Software Windows 10 x64 Enterprise/Ubuntu 18.10 amd64
#21
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 29, 2012
Messages
5,155 (2.03/day)
Likes
4,608
Location
Florida
System Name natr0n-PC
Processor 2600K @ 4.4Ghz / Dual Xeon 5675's 3.33GHz 12c/24t
Motherboard Sabertooth Z77 / GA-7TESM
Cooling Deepcool Assassin - 3 Fans / Custom
Memory 4x4GB 2133 MHz G.Skill Dual Channel / 6x4GB 1333MHz Samsung Hexa Channel
Video Card(s) Evga GTX 980 SC / Asus Strix 980ti
Storage Various SSD/HD
Display(s) Samsung 23' 2048x1152
Case Sunbeam Transformer Silver / Matrexx 55
Audio Device(s) SB X-fi on all systems
Power Supply Corsair TX 650w / Evga NEX 750B
Mouse Alienware AW558 @ 5000 DPI
Keyboard Asus KB34211
Software XP64/7/8.1/10
Benchmark Scores http://valid.x86.fr/79kuh6
#22
Cracking sounds exist since the x-fi days and still occur on new cards. There driver team can't overcome certain issues it seems all these generations.

One example that can be reproduced on my system.Just enable SVM and you will get cracking after a period of time watching youtube.
 

eidairaman1

The Exiled Airman
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
24,282 (5.76/day)
Likes
7,995
System Name PCGOD
Processor AMD FX 8350@ 5.0GHz
Motherboard Asus TUF 990FX Sabertooth R2 2901 Bios
Cooling Scythe Ashura, 2×BitFenix 230mm Spectre Pro LED (Blue,Green), 2x BitFenix 140mm Spectre Pro LED
Memory 16 GB Gskill Ripjaws X 2133 (2400 OC, 10-10-12-20-20, 1T, 1.65V)
Video Card(s) AMD Radeon 290 Sapphire Vapor-X
Storage Samsung 840 Pro 256GB, WD Velociraptor 1TB
Display(s) NEC Multisync LCD 1700V (Display Port Adapter)
Case AeroCool Xpredator Evil Blue Edition
Audio Device(s) Creative Labs Sound Blaster ZxR
Power Supply Seasonic 1250 XM2 Series (XP3)
Mouse Roccat Kone XTD
Keyboard Roccat Ryos MK Pro
Software Windows 7 Pro 64
#23
Cracking sounds exist since the x-fi days and still occur on new cards. There driver team can't overcome certain issues it seems all these generations.

One example that can be reproduced on my system.Just enable SVM and you will get cracking after a period of time watching youtube.
Never had a problem here and i had a pci512, xfi, zxr
 
Joined
May 4, 2011
Messages
170 (0.06/day)
Likes
51
System Name Arena-Fighter6a
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 2700x
Motherboard Asrock x470 Taichi Ultimate
Cooling Air
Memory 2x16GB 3000MHz CL16 DDR4
Video Card(s) Gigabyte Radeon R9 380 4GB
Audio Device(s) Creative X-Fi Titanium PCIe x1
Power Supply OCZ ZS550
Software Windows 10 x64 Enterprise/Ubuntu 18.10 amd64
#24
Never had a problem here and i had a pci512, xfi, zxr
Same here. X-fi gamer in the past but only for few days and x-fi titanium since almost a decade. This is first time i ever have a problem with sound card and it is not related to hardware itself or its drivers but to specific build of OS.
 

eidairaman1

The Exiled Airman
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
24,282 (5.76/day)
Likes
7,995
System Name PCGOD
Processor AMD FX 8350@ 5.0GHz
Motherboard Asus TUF 990FX Sabertooth R2 2901 Bios
Cooling Scythe Ashura, 2×BitFenix 230mm Spectre Pro LED (Blue,Green), 2x BitFenix 140mm Spectre Pro LED
Memory 16 GB Gskill Ripjaws X 2133 (2400 OC, 10-10-12-20-20, 1T, 1.65V)
Video Card(s) AMD Radeon 290 Sapphire Vapor-X
Storage Samsung 840 Pro 256GB, WD Velociraptor 1TB
Display(s) NEC Multisync LCD 1700V (Display Port Adapter)
Case AeroCool Xpredator Evil Blue Edition
Audio Device(s) Creative Labs Sound Blaster ZxR
Power Supply Seasonic 1250 XM2 Series (XP3)
Mouse Roccat Kone XTD
Keyboard Roccat Ryos MK Pro
Software Windows 7 Pro 64
#25
Same here. X-fi gamer in the past but only for few days and x-fi titanium since almost a decade. This is first time i ever have a problem with sound card and it is not related to hardware itself or its drivers but to specific build of OS.
Part of reason I wont upgrade the OS.

MS were smart theyed drop the windows as a service model
 
Top