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X-Fi Support Syndicate & Owner's Clubhouse

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bud951 said:
As far as EMI due to cables, that may be an issue as I am using the 3 analog wires that came with my speakers. I cant remember if it crackled using toslink with DDLIVE. I will check that out. It sounds much better using the analog out since I get the benifit of the Auzen hardware. I will try moving the analog wires around since they are surrounded by all kinds of other power lines and wiring. So far, other than the crackle, everything is ok since I moved the card. Thanks for the input guys!
no prob - glad to help. As to the PSU, it's defi something to consider (sorry, I didn't take that good of a look at your specs earlier). A PSU that is either overloaded, or beginning to fail can produce stoopifying amounts of EMI . . . it usually isn't too much of a problem, though, as the PSU is generally quite far seperated from the PCI slots . . . unless your PSU is housed at the bottom of your case.

Anyhow, the more advanced these audio adapters are getting, the more succeptable they are to the minute stuff we haven't had to think about over the last 20 years. Sadly, though, as these audio cards become more powerful and easy prey to the other ever increasingly powerful components in a setup, people have gotten on a kick about blaiming Creative (mostly) or Auzen of poor build quality.

TBH - I forsee the audio card going one of two routes - either they start implementing some form of EMI shielding on the card itself, or moving the card entirelly external.
 

bud951

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no prob - glad to help. As to the PSU, it's defi something to consider (sorry, I didn't take that good of a look at your specs earlier). A PSU that is either overloaded, or beginning to fail can produce stoopifying amounts of EMI . . . it usually isn't too much of a problem, though, as the PSU is generally quite far seperated from the PCI slots . . . unless your PSU is housed at the bottom of your case.

Anyhow, the more advanced these audio adapters are getting, the more succeptable they are to the minute stuff we haven't had to think about over the last 20 years. Sadly, though, as these audio cards become more powerful and easy prey to the other ever increasingly powerful components in a setup, people have gotten on a kick about blaiming Creative (mostly) or Auzen of poor build quality.

TBH - I forsee the audio card going one of two routes - either they start implementing some form of EMI shielding on the card itself, or moving the card entirelly external.

My PSU is on the bottom and the soundcard was directly between it and my 2nd 8800gt. Maybe thats why I was having so much trouble before I moved it. I was having hangups at startup and when I wasent playing games or listining to music. Now its just the crackle in the R/F. I havent had a chance to move the cables around yet but I will tape them up and away from everything else if it helps. They just arent that long. Do you know where I can find some longer quality sheilded analog cables with the mini jacks for PC use? Thanks.
 
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bud951

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This is weird, I cant get x-fi alchemy to recognize Fear Combat. I try to update alchemy and it says There is no supported product installed. Does that mean x-fi or Fear? Fear Combat is supposed to be supported by Alchemy. Its the only legacy game I have installed and of course it does not give me EAX in Vista.
 
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This is weird, I cant get x-fi alchemy to recognize Fear Combat. I try to update alchemy and it says There is no supported product installed. Does that mean x-fi or Fear? Fear Combat is supposed to be supported by Alchemy. Its the only legacy game I have installed and of course it does not give me EAX in Vista.
It's possible that it's FEAR Combat - I believe that uses a different executable over the original FEAR and Extraction Point, IIRC . . . not sure, though, TBH. I think the ALchemy drivers need to be able to recognize the game executable to que them to fire up - yeah, I just looked at the most recent games list on Creative's site (http://www.soundblaster.com/alchemy/), and FEAR Combat isn't listed yet . . . Although, TBH, I'm not really sure how it works, as I don't run Vista and haven't messed around with it too much . . .

If you have FEAR or Perseus Mandate, or some other title listed on Creative's site - give that a shot and see if you're having the same issue.
 

bud951

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I found a way to get it working by editing the alchemy.ini file. Sounds pretty good now. I think the new alchemy program restores more of the reverb eax effects. I need to get that working now.
 
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I never would've guessed there was a configurable .ini file with the drivers. Funny how easy it can be sometimes :D
 

bud951

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I never would've guessed there was a configurable .ini file with the drivers. Funny how easy it can be sometimes :D
Isnt Alchemy a program? Yea it was easier than I thought. I googled it and there were some regpaths already made up on websites with info on how to add it to the .ini file. Editing .ini files is trickier in Vista than XP but just copy, edit, delete old, paste new and boom! I had all of the EAX settings available in FEAR Combat. It actually sounds damm good. Not as good as XP but I will take it over 4 way stereo.
 
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Isnt Alchemy a program? Yea it was easier than I thought. I googled it and there were some regpaths already made up on websites with info on how to add it to the .ini file. Editing .ini files is trickier in Vista than XP but just copy, edit, delete old, paste new and boom! I had all of the EAX settings available in FEAR Combat. It actually sounds damm good. Not as good as XP but I will take it over 4 way stereo.

ALchemy isn't really a program - it's more a set of drivers that bypass the designed limitations of Vista. In essence, it's a work-around to re-enable audio hardware acceleration
 

btarunr

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Alchemy is a compatibility layer that translates DirectSound commands from an application to OpenAL. The EAX effects are processed by the APU and then sent back to be re-sampled to whichever multi-channel configuration the user has (in PCM format) and is sent to the OpenAL subsystem.

Follow the flowchart with the serial number-order of the arrows:



1. Audio data and EAX commands are sent to the driver + ALchemy extension that decode these DirectSound commands.

2. EAX processing to be done, data sent to the CA 20K1.

3. EAX processed, sent back in the raw PCM format, multiple PCM channels.

4. Multichannel PCM data sent to the OpenAL installable client driver in the form of OpenAL commands generated by ALchemy.

5. OpenAL has its own abstraction to the CA20K1 and since the CA20K1 has hardware support for OpenAL, the OpenAL data is sent to the sound card back as output, this time in multichannel PCM like any other OpenAL application.

6, 7: APU > DAC > Output.
 
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Alchemy is a compatibility layer that translates DirectSound commands from an application to OpenAL. The EAX effects are processed by the APU and then sent back to be re-sampled to whichever multi-channel configuration the user has (in PCM format) and is sent to the OpenAL subsystem.

Follow the flowchart with the serial number-order of the arrows:

. . . .

1. Audio data and EAX commands are sent to the driver + ALchemy extension that decode these DirectSound commands.

2. EAX processing to be done, data sent to the CA 20K1.

3. EAX processed, sent back in the raw PCM format, multiple PCM channels.

4. Multichannel PCM data sent to the OpenAL installable client driver in the form of OpenAL commands generated by ALchemy.

5. OpenAL has its own abstraction to the CA20K1 and since the CA20K1 has hardware support for OpenAL, the OpenAL data is sent to the sound card back as output, this time in multichannel PCM like any other OpenAL application.

6, 7: APU > DAC > Output.

that's a lot more concise than how most sites describe it, and even the MS Paint diagram is easier to read without really needing an explanation (but, y'know all the other sites that describe it are aimed at us hardware audiophiles that understand the jargon and concepts already).

If it's cool with you, I was thinking of putting that diagram and explanation in post #1; I'll cite you for it, too.
 

btarunr

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go ahead. MSPaint FTW :rockout:


Edit: Gee I didn't realise the X-Fi support syndicate sigpic was free for use by members :p
 
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Edit: Gee I didn't realise the X-Fi support syndicate sigpic was free for use by members :p

s'all good - I've been thinking about doing something a little better . . . the one I currently use I had just kinda slapped together in like a 5min Photoshop session.

BTW, y'all - I'm glad to see this still fledgling thread has registered over 6,000 views already, and is the third link listed if you google "X-Fi support," right behind Creative's sites (and it's the 2nd listed if you google "xfi support") :rockout:

Surely hope we're helping people out!!
 

btarunr

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Yup, it takes a TPU effort to beat Microsoft's forums, the MSDN. This thread is the best non-Creative online resource in terms of hitrate and Google's listings.
 
A

Anomaly

Guest
Major problems with X-Fi fatal1ty

Hi all

I'm a newbie here, and I've been reading the posts to find a solution to my problem with my sound card. BTW, great intro page with some useful information @imperialreign, it's just my own stupidity and fear of damaging my new setup that has prevented me from trying all listed solutions.

Here's the skinny. I have complete loss of sound through my Creative speakers (this happened on both the Inspire 6.1 set and now the Gigaworks S750 7.1 set) but if I turn my system volume up on full, there is a faint crackling that sounds vaguely like the track that I'm currently playing. The weird thing is, if I plug my headphones into the creative port in my 5.23 bay, sound is absolutely fine as if there were no problems. Initially I thought it was the speakers so I got the new set (as if I needed an excuse!) I then overhauled my system. Here's some specs:

My first system;
Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe Motherboard
AMD Athlon FX60 CPU
4 X 1gb OCZ Platinum XTC DDR ram (possibly running at 333mhz due to all banks being full)
Western Digital Raptor 150gb HDD
Asus EAX1900XTX GDDR3 512mb PCI-E Graphics Card
FSP Sparkle Epsilon 700w ATX 2.0 PSU
Windows Vista x64 Ultimate Edition OEM
and
THE DREADED SOUND CARD that never worked properly from the start but I thought it was something I was doing wrong.

So I got a new system built up:
Asus Maximus Formula Mobo
4 X 1gb Transcend AXERAM PC2 - 8500 1066mhz Ram
Intel q6600 Quad Core CPU
WD Raptor 150gb (running Vista x64)
WD Raptor 150gb (running XP x86)
FSP Sparkle Epsilon 700w PSU
and the same poxy sound card.

I got the dual-boot system up and running the other day and sound worked great on both operating systems (unlike the first rig when I first installed the sound card and it DIDN'T work for the first day but magically started working on the second), but then it proceeded to shut down to the present problem on XP (after which I then get an error in the device manager on one of the Windows devices - something like Winmm WDM audio something-or-other), now sound won't even work on Vista (but does in the headphones).

I looked at the IRQ 17 which is where my card is listed, but next to it are some intel root thingy's that I really didn't feel like messing with. I looked at flashing my video card but couldn't backup the existing vga bios let alone get the new one to work.

I've done everything (I even called creative in Ireland a couple of times just for them to suggest the same fixes that I wouldn't have the knowledge or the nuts to go through with!) The only thing I would have liked to try but didn't know how, was to sort out the pci resources in the bios, but I'm not even sure that my system would have the option!

After all my ranting and raving, can anyone help me, or has anyone had similar problems before?

I really appreciate your time, and thanks in advance for putting up with me!
 
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so, I take it you're currently running a dual boot system? Which audio card do you have? If you have an X-Fi, which driver sets are you using? Also - your XP install, is it a version of Windows Media Center?


anyhow, first off, just to make sure, you do have onboard audio disabled in BIOS, right?


Do your speakers need to be plugged into a power source (curious, because mine do, and will sound the same exact way as you described, although the headphone plug from the RF speaker works even with power off)?

also, just occured to me . . . go into WIN Device Manger, and make sure that there are no ADI audio drivers installed, either. If there are, r-click on them and disable those drivers, and then see if you have the same issues or not.
 
A

Anomaly

Guest
Hi imperialreign, thanks for the rapid response.

Yes I'm on Dual-boot with XP professional SP2 (not Media Center), but the issue was exactly the same when I have just Vista on a single Raptor HDD on the old rig.

I'm running a Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion which is about 6 months old, I only set the new rig up 3 days ago so I tried the latest web release drivers on Creative's website (I believe I have tried Beta and final releases in the past with no difference to the main issue).

The board has it's own Asus Extreme audio card that I just put to one side, I then disable the HD audio in the BIOS.

The Gigaworks speakers are externally powered, I leave it plugged in at all times (as were the Inspire 6.1), all I do is switch off the control box every night.

In terms of audio drivers (in Vista at present), all I can see installed are ATi T200 Unified AVstream Driver, and Creative SB X-Fi. Should I disable the ATI T200 Unified AVstream Driver? I just wanted to double-check.

Thanks again.
 
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Audio Device(s) Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro PCI-E x1
Power Supply Kingwin Mach1 1200W modular
Software Windows XP Home SP3; Vista Ultimate x64 SP2
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Anomaly said:
Hi imperialreign, thanks for the rapid response.

Yes I'm on Dual-boot with XP professional SP2 (not Media Center), but the issue was exactly the same when I have just Vista on a single Raptor HDD on the old rig.

I'm running a Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion which is about 6 months old, I only set the new rig up 3 days ago so I tried the latest web release drivers on Creative's website (I believe I have tried Beta and final releases in the past with no difference to the main issue).

The board has it's own Asus Extreme audio card that I just put to one side, I then disable the HD audio in the BIOS.

The Gigaworks speakers are externally powered, I leave it plugged in at all times (as were the Inspire 6.1), all I do is switch off the control box every night.

In terms of audio drivers (in Vista at present), all I can see installed are ATi T200 Unified AVstream Driver, and Creative SB X-Fi. Should I disable the ATI T200 Unified AVstream Driver? I just wanted to double-check.

Thanks again.
odd, I've never seen that ATI driver before - not really sure what it's purpose is. Doing some digging, it seems people have had issues with that drivers for various other hardware problems . . . you can try disabling it and see what happens with your sound.

everything else is looking peachy, though . . .

when do you experience the audio cut out? is it only when using Win Media Player, or only while gaming, both, etc?



<edit>:

come to think about it - the headphone jack on the X-Fi front panel works, right? How about plugging the headphones in directly to the back of the card? Do your speakers work if you plug them into the front panel?
 
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Anomaly

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odd, I've never seen that ATI driver before - not really sure what it's purpose is. Doing some digging, it seems people have had issues with that drivers for various other hardware problems . . . you can try disabling it and see what happens with your sound.

everything else is looking peachy, though . . .

when do you experience the audio cut out? is it only when using Win Media Player, or only while gaming, both, etc?
I disabled the ATI driver and no change to anything noticeable. I still get the sound through the speakers when the system volume is turned up to max. It sounds as if it would on full volume (heavily distorted), but at a really low volume level (if that makes sense!), even when I plug in the headphones I can still hear it through the speakers until I check the box on the audio console that says 'Automatically mute speakers', then I get normal sound through headphones and nothing at all through speakers.

In terms of the cut out of sound in general, I have not found a specific time when it is lost or when it returns. I used to try to ascertain whether the system was overworking but that can't be the case otherwise it would drop out during gaming. In Vista and XP I have had no normal sound all day today (ever since boot up), but last night I was playing Crysis for over 3 hours with no issues. There is no consistency whatsoever for loss or regain of sound. Occasionally it will comeback out of the blue, I will have been playing music on media player all day waiting and it will come on and scare the crap out of me!

I really can't work it out. The only thing I can think of (being a useless tool at this sort of thing) is that I should try to seek a replacement. I may try disabling the front panel first though. What do you think?

Usually when the sound comes back on it stays on for a few hours, when it goes off again it stays off for days sometimes without any normal sound.
 
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Anomaly

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come to think about it - the headphone jack on the X-Fi front panel works, right? How about plugging the headphones in directly to the back of the card? Do your speakers work if you plug them into the front panel?
Unfortunately I only have a single jack on the front panel, the Gigaworks have to be plugged into the 4 coloured jacks that are on the back of the card. The real bummer is that I use the system as my media system to as I have the 7.1 Gigaworks all around my living room. We haven't been able to watch a DVD in a couple of days now!
 
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odd . . .



y'know, just for shits and giggles . . . open up the Creative Volume Panel, Windows Media Player (if installed), and Windows Volume Panel (Start>Control Panel>Sounds and Audio - then open up speaker volume and device volume). Go to your mixer settings in all the windows, and look for anything that is almost all the way down - either a master level, wave, line out, etc.

In the Creative Volume Panel, also check to make sure you're audio is setup for playback through a speaker setup, instead of a headphone - and also check the THX panel for anything odd, too.

The way you're describing it there, it's making me think that some types of media are almost muted, while other's aren't being affected . . .


if everything seems fine there . . . yeah, you can try disabling the front panel. I guess just unplug it's power source, and/or remove the cable that connects to the X-Fi.

I really don't think that would impede output from the back of the card, but, I'm not certain. I know it's a dumb question, but you do unplug the headphones from the front panel when not using them, right?
 
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Anomaly

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odd . . .



y'know, just for shits and giggles . . . open up the Creative Volume Panel, Windows Media Player (if installed), and Windows Volume Panel (Start>Control Panel>Sounds and Audio - then open up speaker volume and device volume). Go to your mixer settings in all the windows, and look for anything that is almost all the way down - either a master level, wave, line out, etc.

In the Creative Volume Panel, also check to make sure you're audio is setup for playback through a speaker setup, instead of a headphone - and also check the THX panel for anything odd, too.

The way you're describing it there, it's making me think that some types of media are almost muted, while other's aren't being affected . . .


if everything seems fine there . . . yeah, you can try disabling the front panel. I guess just unplug it's power source, and/or remove the cable that connects to the X-Fi.

I really don't think that would impede output from the back of the card, but, I'm not certain. I know it's a dumb question, but you do unplug the headphones from the front panel when not using them, right?
Yeh, I have a case door that I always keep closed so I rarely plug the headphones in!

I tried tinkering with the mixer but all levels were on full. Interestingly enough the THX controls appear to have dissappeared, ever since reinstalling Vista I don't seem to have the volume control in the system tray either so I can't even run the diagnostics. I only have the Windows looking speaker but it does control the audio console too so I guess its ok.

I'm not current;y in a position to be able to unplug the console but I'll try it tomorrow and post any updates on that.

Also, I just spent the last half hour uninstalling and reinstalling all Creative drivers and programs, I didn't even get a crackle from the sound (and I still didn't get the creative system tray control!)

I really am losing it with this card!
 
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hmmm . . . not having the Creative's Volume Control Panel isn't set to load at startup. Go to Start>Programs>Creative>Sound Blaster X-Fi>Volume Control Panel. It should put the icon into the taskbar. r-click on the icon and make sure 'Load at Startup' is checked. Also, double click on the icon to bring up the audio console, and double check to make sure that "synchronize with Control Panel" is selected.

Some ques . . . where'd you buy the Fatal1ty Champion from? Was it brand new or open box?


TBH - some of the issues you mention make it sound like it's a software issue, others make it sound like it's hardware (especially considering that it was acting the same on your old system), and the fact that you're having the same issue in Vista as you are in XP.

You've changed out the motherboard, the CPU, and the DRAM - same issues mean to me that it can't be a problem with the PCI BUS.

Your video card isn't known for a being a problem at all with the X-Fi's, except for EMI. - by chance, though, you do have the X-Fi as far away from the video card as possible, right?

If it was just the Vista install, I'd recommend installing the ALchemy drivers and OpenAL drivers; you can still give that a shot, though, but I really don't think it'll fix anything.

I doubt it's your speakers - maybe, slightly, a bad connection at their power connector to a wall outlet - you might try a different wall outlet if possible, or a different outlet on your control box. If you're up to it - remove the X-Fi, enabled onboard audio, and plug the main speaker connector into the onboard outlet on the motherboard, or try to connect them to some other device (like a tv or home stereo). TBH, though, I get the feeling it's not speakers.

My only other thoughts, at this point, would be to completely wipe the creative drivers and software off, and then install just the audio driver (if it came with Vista drivers), the audio console and the volume control panel from the Installation CD - don't even worry about any of the software at this point.

Make sure the card is 100% fully seated in the motherboard slot, too.

But, TBH, I'm starting to think the card might have been faulty out of the box and needs to be RMAed.


<edit>

I'm curious . . . what all were Creative's recommendations?
 
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An interesting question that pertains to both the X-Fi Elite Pro and the Auzen X-Fi Prelude 7.1 was posed to my by a user, let me share the PM conversation, it is useful:

bratan said:
Hello Btarunr,

First of all, thank you for your posts, reading them with interest. New here, as well new to HD:). I did submit a question about sound options (mobo+HTIB vs. Prelude vs. HT Omega Claro Plus vs. Asus D2)
http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?t=50909
and wanted to ask you about the Prelude.

Is front panel header taking stereo output directly from LM4562?

Sorry for repeating this question from my post: is Prelude capable to output 24bit/96kHz 7.1 TrueHD/DTS-HD for BD/HD-DVD using s/pdif? How about analog output HD? 5.1 digital spdif? 5.1 digital spdif for games?

The Prelude was an option number one for me, but unfortunately I did not yet (10 days) receive response from Auzen about these questions using their e-ticket system. And people are talking (newegg) about their poor customer support, so I am hesitant.

Highly appreciate your answers.
Thank you,
bratan
Hello,
The LM4662 is the OPAMP for the front channel routed to a dedicated AKM DAC. The FP_Out pin header isn't routed to the LM4662 but with a bypass logic to the CA20K1 processor, just thru the Front channel's DAC (bypass logic as in the system driver chooses the FP output vide the Intel Azalia specifications of 2006 (includes the pin-header layout, jack sensing logic and the ability to mute the Front Channel / All channels of the analogue output if a headset is plugged into the FP_Out. As per the Azalia specifications, the CA20K1 audio processor infact has 10 channel audio out, just like the CMI8788, some high-end onboard CODEC's such as ALC888, ADI1988B, etc. Channels 9, 10 go to the front-panel output and aren't routed to an OPAMP and the DA conversion are carried out by the Front-channel DAC. Don't confuse Front panel out to Front channel. Front channel is the Front-left Front-right speaker output in the stereo setup commonly having a green coloured 3.5 mm connector.

Besides the LM4662 gives out a screaming 5V output to the Front channel analogue out. You really don't need that when running even the most up-market headsets. A normal headphone/headset/in-ear monitor can use the direct output of the AKM DAC upto 2V, if it's routed to the 5V OPAMP, you will encounter distorsions, extreme loudness, loss of variations, etc. which can be corrected only by lowering the volume by software (Volume Panel) and as you know, lowering the system volume while connecting a low-input device such as a headphone to a screaming OPAMP, will cause loss of audio information, get the logic? am I clear enough?

So my verdict, it seriously isn't a big deal if the FP_Out isn't routed to the OPAMP, it need not be. Even in the X-Meridean, the FP_Out goes thru a similar bypass mechanism.




rgds,
btarunr.
 
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bassmasta

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odd . . .




The way you're describing it there, it's making me think that some types of media are almost muted, while other's aren't being affected . . .
I know the answer! before I gave up on my x-fi, I found that sometimes it felt like putting 5.1 or 7.1 through random jacks, regardless as to whether or not you have more than two speakers. i.e. in BF2, sometimes I could only hear gunshots from behind me in 2.1, and in AOE 3, I couldn't hear gunshots unless I used my rear speakers as side speakers {to simulate 7.1}