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

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#1
In spring 2006 I finally get my hands on X-Fi Fatal1ty card. The reason for upgrade from my Audigy2zs was mostly the pause bug, BF2 support (I started play BF2 a lot) and the X-ram thing, that provide 64MB soundbuffer that should dramaticaly reduce PCI load - hence give me some speed-up :D Or so I thought. The first nasty surprise when I actually get the card in my hand was this:



Not only the unnecessary long legs, but mainly the capacitors type - Jamicons. Jamicon cap's are bad, they are known to fail - eg. over time lost most of their specs.
At first, everything work great, except some weird noises when BF2 is loading sounds. (maybe the card did not like OGM playback when there is going writing samples to the X-ram? Or my A9R480 Sapphire Grouper mobo is up to blame?) However after like 2 months are the pause bug back.

When I say pause bug, I mean this. Using any player, play a AC3 5.1 movie while using 5.1 speakers on analog connection. Decoding filter has to be AC3 filter and it has to use 24bit output to generate enough data to trigger the failure. Now randomly pause and unpause the playback. Sooner ot later the channels start play from wrong speakers and/or there is terrible noise from all speakers comming after the unpause. This is a pause bug. I had it on Audigy (1), Audigy2zs and after two months on X-Fi as well.

It was obvious that the X-Fi is need to be recapped and the Jamicons changed to good, preferably audio caps - but NOT for all positions. The catch is, that Creative did use one capacitor type for all positions - eg. for the voltage filtering as well, as for the audio output. That is nonsense at best. Audio and computers capacitors don't mix!
So, they simply put Jamicons everywhere. Not something that I would expect from 260$ pricetag (spring 2006, mind you) product :hitwall:





Now why I started this thread.

Well, to begin with, some weeks ago (to 14. 8. 2006) I started to play Mafia - a original Czech game of the 1930 NewYork organized crime. You simply work your way up in the organization at prohibition times, drive old cars, steal, murder and finally seek salvation from the hands of cops... During play it sometimes in these briefing talking scenes is seems to starting to lost some samples. I thought that the Czech programmers engine simply could have some quirks with 64MB of sample buffer on X-Fi Fatal1ty. After all, as the game release there was not such a thing as X-Fi, right? However the more I play and the closer to the end I was, the more often it happening. And it kinda suxx to go on mission and not know the briefing, right? However as I finished the game, the problems are gone, so...

So then I started play Prey :) And when shortly in game in one spot appears more sounds at once (your girl scream, mechanic move, buttons, alien...), the whole computer freeze. I remember the Jamicons and quickly pull the X-Fi out and replaced the big Jamicon (originaly a 220uF 16V) with Panny FM 470uF 16V as well, as two 100uF Jamicons with 120uF Panny FM ones.



The results.

I finished whole Prey in few days of hard gaming w/o crash or any problem. I went back to Mafia and - whoa, samples aren't lost anymore again. My apology, Czech programmers. I did not trusted in yours skils... :redface: In adition, the pause bug is - GONE! :D

Pause bug - long story:
Pause bug
Long time ago I decided to upgrade my speakers. It was when Matrix Reloaded was released and I realized my own homemade apm + speakers are simply not enought. They can't handle the extremly low-frequency effects designed for subwoofers to "shake your world and body" combined with the music. The fight scene with many copy's of Agent Smith verzus Neo was shiny example of my speakers inequality - beside every friend visiting me was constantly asking where I bought them, because they play, well... very well :good:
So, to make some use of my SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 output I choosen a Genius SW-5.1 wooden speakers, because they sound damn good (with some modifications, better opamps, cables and stuff). Now the best AC3 decode was a AC3 filter. It sound damn good, however there also come the price. Every time I pause ANY movie using ANY player (Mplayer, Mplayer Classic, BSplay, SoubtitleWorkshop DS preview play, etc) and then quickly unpause it, it sometimes swap random channels. And believe me, hearing subwoofer efect from mid speaker and speaking of actors thru the subwoofer is not exactly exciting...
It was also (SB Live! 5.1) not capable of 24 bit output.

To fix this ughly pause bug and get 24bit, I go and bought Audigy soundcard. Later are revealed that the Audigy is not exactly 24bit at all and my ears kinda relalized it anyway. And futhermore, not only the quality of sound did not improve over SB Live! 5.1, but the pause bug become more frequent and it add a whole new trick. Most times the "channel swap" was not enought. Now it mostly push hi-volume noise into most or all channels...! Believe me, suddently hearing high volume noise from all the 6 channels will make you jump :angry:

To get true 24bit output AND get rid of the pause bug I bought later an Audigy 2 ZS card (after checking and realizing the simply Audigy 2 card witch friend has with same speakers, did not improve much of the sound), but the pause bug did not disappeared at all. That make me kinda furious and angry.

Yet about year and half back I invested again into Creative crap and bought a full-featured X-Fi Fatal1ty for enhancing my BF2 play experience and eventualy geting rid of the pause bug. That was likely the last time I bought anything from Creative. Not only I have to mod drivers to work/install on Win2k a bit, but they also suxx and the pausebug is still here.
I managed to get rid of it for some month or so, after I replace some major caps on the X-Fi, but as the other caps aging (and they are bad brand of caps also - something that is hard to believe in a $260 pricetag at the buy time product) I get the pause bug yet again.

So there you have proof, that Direct Show decoders seeking could be a problem, when using 5.1 output with 24bit AC3 filter settings and quickly do many random pause/unpause of a AC3/DTS movie.

It (the pause bug) travel with me on many different mainboards/CPUs and happen even in completelly new mobos - and even now, when I have mobo with all good caps and completely recapped PSU. I planing to get rid of it by complete X-Fi recapp + add enhanced and brutal PCI voltage filtering for the X-Fi + shielding the X-Fi.

Later.

So I added the frontpannel later (moth or so), but in like a week, problems and pausebug are there again. Frontpannel is full of Jamicons too, and it obviously accelerated the dying of Jamicons on card or so. I pulled it out, yet the pause bug is still there. No crashing, luckily.


I would like to hear from X-Fi and perhaps also Audigy2(zs) users about their experience and possibly about their sound bugs. There is so many people on Creative forum that claim to have similar issues as me, so... I wonder in how many cases this could be avoided just by using good caps and not Jamicon crap...



To completely recap X-Fi you need:

X-Fi Fata1ity
-------------
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. http://img120.imageshack.us/img120/165/xfiopampscouplingcapsgoan9.jpg

1x Samxon GC 1000uF 6.3V (d8) Big Pope
2x Samxon GD 470uF 6.3V (d6.3) Big Pope
17x Panny FM 150uF 6.3V (d5) P12917-ND Digi-key
1x Panny FM 100uF 10V (d5) P12919-ND Digi-key
2x Panny FM 68uF 16V (d5) P12921-ND Digi-key
4x Panny FM 47uF 25V (d5) P12923-ND Digi-key
6x Black Gate N 4.7uF 50V (d5) - d6.3 can fit Sonic craft
2x Black Gate C 4.7uF 50V (d5) - d6.3 can fit Sonic craft

(you can ship the Black Gates and only remove the original caps off the card, if you are not plan to use the 10pin Creative connector and the AUX-IN connector near it)


Audigy 2zs
----------
3x 100uF 16V d6.3 (Jamicon) - P12922-ND
5x 47uf 16V d5 (Teapo) - P11196-ND
35x 22uF 16V d4 (Jamicon) - P11213-ND
5x 10uF 16V d4 (Jamicon) - P11212-ND
11x 4.7uF 50V d4 (Jamicon) - P10315-ND
3x 1uF 50V d4 (Wincap) - P10312-ND

(digi-key.com product numbers used)
 
Last edited:

peach1971

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#2
I love people like you who have the motivation to fix problems by soldering.
Good old days... :)

Pause bugs:
I have them when playing F.E.A.R. Combat, map "Asylum" (could be a CPU bottleneck issue though?). But I have the Audigy One btw.

Never had any pause bugs with that card before.
But I was very disappointed to look at RightMark Audio Analyzer results regarding IMD sweep tone.

What you wrote about these Jamicon caps just fits to what I think about Creative´s overall product quality.
 

raven009

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#3
i have had the exact same problem that you had with ur xfi. I have a audigy 2zs and the audio just got so bad so i switched to the onboard audio on my motherboard which for some reason works a lot better.
 

KennyT772

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#4
i have a zs and it hasnt had any problems...yet. looks like i need to bust out my 15w soldering iron soon.
 

raven009

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#5
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#6
peach1971 - hehe, good old days rulez, don't they? :cool: ;) :toast:
And how else I should fix the problem? When I know what is broken and I also know that RMA did not help me a bit, becuase I got the same card with same bad caps, so I took the chances and do a 5-min fix by my hands :D And it turned to be great, so... sharing the knowledge ;)
But could you please specify how do you mean with the pause bug in Fear? As I tried (excuse my lame english) to describe it, pause bug is only happening for me when I pause and then unpause movie (eg. 5.1 audio stream) going to 5.1 analog audio output. You get it how in a game? Pausing and unpausing game? :rolleyes: Please help me to understand the nature of your bug.

I was very disappointed to look at RightMark Audio Analyzer results regarding IMD sweep tone
That is exactly where we try seek improve with the Elna RSF caps. I bet you are interesed in that, don't you? :D

these Jamicon caps just fits to what I think about Creative´s overall product quality
This need to be carved in stone and beat into heads of people that did not understand - yet :p


raven009 - yep, no wonder. Audigy2zs use inferior caps as well, so... No wonder you had these bugses. I had them with Audigy2zs too, and that is mainly why I upgraded for X-Fi. Just to get the same problems after like 2 months of usage like 10 or 12h per day... :banghead:
Your onboard audio does not have these problems, because it does use better caps. That it is. If you exchange your caps on your Audigy, you can use it w/o bugs and with improved sound as well ;)


KennyT772 - maybe you did not have 5.1 or 7.1 output? Did you use frequently the 24bit quality? AC3filter for 24bit quality output? DTS used much? And how much you use the computer and how your card is old?
All that seems matter a lot. People with just stereo or headphones output does not seems to having these problems. Also I noticed that slower computers are less likely to be affected with these problems ;) I going with all timings tightest possible and overclock as far, as possible (not PCI bus, tough), so... I stressing the X-Fi badly :D


Now some technical update.
I took the time (because some users questioned why use 6.3V cap in the place of the big 220uF 16V Jamicon) and measured voltages on the caps I exchanged.
On the big one (voltage supply for main X-Fi chip)s exactly 1.25V, so a 2V polymer cap is more that enough there. 4V polymer or 6.3V electrolyte cap if fine there, as long as it have as big capacity as possible. 510uF 4V Sanyo Os-con polymer come to my mind as purrrfect candidate :D
On the other 100uF caps I exchanged to 120uF 16V ones are 5V (obviously filtering gate voltages) and 0.59-0.6V on the other one (close to the main chip one). Also there could be used lower voltage caps, if need. But the small caps aren't made much for low voltages in mind. (but IIRC Nichicon HE caps are like 100 or 150uF and 6.3V ones too)
 

jms45

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#7
I love people like you who have the motivation to fix problems by soldering.
Good old days... :)

Pause bugs:
I have them when playing F.E.A.R. Combat, map "Asylum" (could be a CPU bottleneck issue though?). But I have the Audigy One btw.

Never had any pause bugs with that card before.
But I was very disappointed to look at RightMark Audio Analyzer results regarding IMD sweep tone.

What you wrote about these Jamicon caps just fits to what I think about Creative´s overall product quality.

the pause bugs your having in fear is down to only having 1gb of ram, i know this because me and 3 of my friends all play fear a lot and all of us had 1gb of ram, after i got another gig of ram the pause's during play are now gone and my friends also followed suit and are enjoying playing without the pauses, if you run the game and minimize to desktop and crank up your task manager you'll see fear will be using 680+ meg of ram, the pause's are being caused by the memory swaps from hard disk to ram.
 
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#8
Hmmm, I never had a problem with Fear on 1G ram when I played it, however I was using W2k SP2, highly optimized. So 680MB of ram was not a problem at all... ;) Of course 2G is always nice to have :D
 

jms45

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#9
Hmmm, I never had a problem with Fear on 1G ram when I played it, however I was using W2k SP2, highly optimized. So 680MB of ram was not a problem at all... ;) Of course 2G is always nice to have :D
i wouldn't say it was a problem,more of an annoyance, after all i did play the game for a year before i actually got the extra memory, but i always kinda thought it was a little stuttery due to my graphics card's or something, even though at the time i was using 2x 7600GT's in SLI and the performance test was telling me i was getting 60 fps minimum, after that i started questioning what was actually going on, so as i said i paused the game and minimized and seen that 686mb was in use while it was paused, obviously that would fluctuate during actual gameplay causing more loading to and from virtual memory, during online play though it wasnt anywhere near as bad with the stuttering as it was in the single player mode, more than likely due to loading the next scene's AI and the sounds for the AI as the stutter would happen only during heavy gunfights, but after i got the extra gig all that has gone and fear runs really smooth constantly.
 

KennyT772

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#10
I use 5.1 output all the time and output is always in 24bit.
Ever now and then I will get a sound glitch, but I have written this off as bad coding much as you have. It isn't anything affecting game play only a anomaly I cannot reproduce.
 
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#11
jms45 - oh, yes. Then this is clearly a situation where more ram is need ;) Nothing to do with X-Fi caps then :D


KennyT772 - so, you do have some bugses in audio - thanks for admiting it. And as for the source of them, I was talking with Alex (autor of AC3 filter) a lot and it looks like the "bad coding" is only happening on Creative cards... ;)
That might give you a hint where the problem is - and as time progress, you will see more and more of these quirks - unless you recap the card ;)
 
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#12
Sorry for delay, I was awfully bussy recently, but it shall be a bit better now :(
This is a picture of X-Fi Fatal1ty by user Raggingbone that continue to have crashes and stuff with the card:



No wonder when the Jamicon for main X-Fi chip is alredy leaking! :banghead:

Now back to the topic. There should be two types of caps on X-Fi. One for voltage filtering, one for Audio transmiting. (and the audio transmiting include the 4,7uF caps that need to be bipolar) Hence first type of caps need as high capacity and as low ESR as possible. My suggestion is:

1x 220uF 16V = 1000uF Samxon GC 6.3V (BigPope)
2x 100uF 16V = 120uF Panny FM 16V (digi-key P12922-ND)
3x 47uF 16V = 47uF Panny FM 25V (digi-key P12923-ND)

28x 22uF 16V = Elna RFS 25V (digi-key 604-1051-ND)
10x 10uF 16V = Elna RFS 25V (digi-key 604-1050-ND)
8x 4.7uF 50V = Blck Gate N 4.7uF 50V (http://www.soniccraft.com/black_gate_capacitors.htm )

Other capaciors are mostly nowhere near the need specs or specs of the recommended parts. Sorry.
 

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#13
Ewww. I think I'll inspect the caps on my X-Fi.

I've never had a problem with it, but now that I know the caps are junk I'll have to watch it and try to head off any problems.
 

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#15
This is exactly why I dint buy creative crap, its overpriced shit. Heed this creative, my ONBOARD sound has never acted up or been retarded - with the exception of the adi1988b codec, but drivers are out fixing the popping and clicking now, and im in the midst of making uber modded drivers.

creative, please, go bankrupt soon.
 
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#16
Thanks but id rather wait and buy a new card than to play Doctor with my X-Fi :)
 

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#17
The X-FI is in need of intensive care before its even left the factory nevermind the shelf\box :p
 

KennyT772

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#18
jms45 - oh, yes. Then this is clearly a situation where more ram is need ;) Nothing to do with X-Fi caps then :D


KennyT772 - so, you do have some bugses in audio - thanks for admiting it. And as for the source of them, I was talking with Alex (autor of AC3 filter) a lot and it looks like the "bad coding" is only happening on Creative cards... ;)
That might give you a hint where the problem is - and as time progress, you will see more and more of these quirks - unless you recap the card ;)
does the same with my karajan onboard or another sound card, bad coding indeed or just too much overclocking.
 

peach1971

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#19
Oh, haven´t read this topic for a while.
So, the `pause bug` is gone (I upgraded to a new CPU).

I was very disappointed to look at RightMark Audio Analyzer results regarding IMD sweep tone

That is exactly where we try seek improve with the Elna RSF caps. I bet you are interesed in that, don't you?
I´m VERY interested, cause I pretend to be able to hear the high frequency crap of this card.
I produce a lot of music with my PC(s), and the difference between the HF quality of an Audigy and my 8CH card (Marican Marc 8, http://www.marian.de/products/marc_8_midi ) is awesome.
It was often frustrating, cause I thought I messed up on a mastering job (also converting 24Bit to 16Bit), but in the end it was clear: It´s a lack of HF qualaty regarding the Audigy. ;)
 

Attachments

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#20
Replace them all.

I dare you =D

Anyone have a terribly buggy one they wanna sell me super cheap? :)

I like how you did that though, picture of a bad cap... read further.. BAM! a whole farm of the little suckers.

I am however impressed these problems are still not corrected.
 
Last edited:

Ketxxx

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#21
Their not corrected because Creative are crap, their customer support is dreadful, they ignore reported problems, your lucky if creative ever issue updated drivers for their products, product quality is horrible, their overpriced.. do I really need to go on? :p
 

peach1971

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#22
Naw you don´t :)
 
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#23
No, don't go any futher, please...

The problem is, like with Microsoft, that Creative get itself established in the bussiness of soundcards and BF2 simply sounds awesome only on X-Fi... :nutkick:

So, they got us by the balls :rolleyes: That is the problem right there :shadedshu


peach1971 - the soundcard looks pretty neat, the 4 output channels design seems to be well done ;) I like the SMD ceramic caps as well ;)
 

pt

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#25
Their not corrected because Creative are crap, their customer support is dreadful, they ignore reported problems, your lucky if creative ever issue updated drivers for their products, product quality is horrible, their overpriced.. do I really need to go on? :p
just like asus :p
(had to show my hate)

altought all of that above they do some good mp3 :)