Jump to content

Welcome to MSFN Forum
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. This message will be removed once you have signed in.
Login to Account Create an Account



Photo

Capped (clipped, whatever) sound with Audigy sound card

- - - - -

  • Please log in to reply
214 replies to this topic

#1
Phaenius

Phaenius

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 177 posts
  • Joined 17-October 12
  • OS:Windows 7 x64
  • Country: Country Flag
OK, here's my problem, I hope to explain it in a good way for everybody to understand. I have an annoying problem with my sound card, or at least I think it's the sound card, no idea what else might be. Situation is like this. I have the feeling that something is capping the sound (like some sort of limiter) on high passages of music and/or if the volume reaches a certain level. If I raise the volume (no matter from where, from sound car volume control, Windows control, or even hardware knob on the front panel), the sound level doesn't get higher, only if few instruments are in the music or voice. When there are more sounds, more instruments, voice, complex music, multiple sounds, harmonics, etc., sound gets capped. It doesn't get distorted, but capped, I hope you understand, it's like something is limiting the maximum output. The software limiter is off, I tested with headphones, directly on sound car front panel, multimedia speakers with built in amplifier, using coaxial output, analogue output on the back and even using optical output on the front panel to input to an external AV receiver via optical SPDIF. The end result is always the same. I tried installing different drivers, nothing works. It did worked fine, when I bought the sound card, but after 2 years or so, now the problem and it's been like this for one year. Is the sound card damaged ? I repeat, it doesn't distort sounds at high levels, just limits them. And I don't listen to insane levels, I do mind my own ears, those are normal levels, it's just sound card won't output more. Does it runs out of power so that is limiting the sound ? What can it be ?

Anyone who encountered this type of problem or have any advice is kindly asked to help me. Thanks.

Those are the specs:

- Sound card: Creative Labs X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion Series
- Headphones: Sennheiser HD550 (used directly on sound card front panel)
- Active speakers: Genius SP-HF 2020 (used via sound card coaxial output and sound card analogue output, both front panel and back)
- AV receiver: Denon AVR-1509 (used via sound card optical output and listened to both headphones and passive speakers)
- Sound card driver (reported by Windows): Creative SB X-Fi ver. 6.0.1.1375 (5/5/2010)
- Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7 x64 Ultimate with Service Pack 1
- Computer power supply: Corsair CMPSU-430CXV2


How to remove advertisement from MSFN

#2
Tripredacus

Tripredacus

    K-Mart-ian Legend

  • Super Moderator
  • 9,970 posts
  • Joined 28-April 06
  • OS:Server 2012
  • Country: Country Flag

Donator

You aren't the only one to see (hear) sound problems on Windows 7.
http://www.msfn.org/...nstead-of-less/

I had the luxury of using the same soundcard I have in my Windows 7 PC when that PC had Windows XP. The problems did not occur in XP. Also, surround sound never seems to work in the OS itself, but does for games.

I will say that you could still have a hardware problem with the card itself, you could check the caps for bulges or leaks.
MSFN RULES | GimageX HTA for PE 3-5 | lol probloms
tpxmsfn1_zps393339c1.jpg

#3
Phaenius

Phaenius

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 177 posts
  • Joined 17-October 12
  • OS:Windows 7 x64
  • Country: Country Flag
As I said, I have this card for about 3 years now and before I upgraded to Windows 7, I had Windows Vista and it had the same problems. I mean not from the start. It worked great, then it started to fade and now this. Maybe some people would never notice, but I am a bit of a Monk (the detective) and I notice everything that is not right. It's annoying to use it like this.

Good think you mentioned games. Those (and movies) seems to sound ok. Only in music this problem. Wonder why. I only use it on stereo devices (headphones, speakers, amplifiers), never on multichannel.

What do you mean by caps ? Sorry, English is not my first language. Do you mean the capacitors ? They do look ok, no swelling or any signs of failure by visual inspection.

#4
Tripredacus

Tripredacus

    K-Mart-ian Legend

  • Super Moderator
  • 9,970 posts
  • Joined 28-April 06
  • OS:Server 2012
  • Country: Country Flag

Donator

OK I think I know what you are experiencing... Tell me if this makes sense... the range of the music is greater than the range of (some piece of) hardware somewhere along the line.
http://en.wikipedia....lipping_(audio)

If this is the case, it may only be certain songs or types of songs that cause this problem. I have some MP3s that include both a wide range of sounds that I cannot trust Windows 7 to play accurately. These particular songs experience the clipping problem when I play them from an external device through my car stereo, but do not when played through my franken-stereo I built for myself.

I wonder if this problem you experience happens with all songs or just certain ones.
MSFN RULES | GimageX HTA for PE 3-5 | lol probloms
tpxmsfn1_zps393339c1.jpg

#5
Phaenius

Phaenius

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 177 posts
  • Joined 17-October 12
  • OS:Windows 7 x64
  • Country: Country Flag
I read the links, it may look that way, but what can I do in this case ? I mean, the sound card drags it's own power from the power supply, nothing I can do about it. It powers itself from two ways, one via PCI BUS (like any other PCI card) and the front panel is powered by 5V FDD-style socket. Nothing I can do about it. What I don't understand is why the movies and games sound ok and only music behaves in this way. On an additional note, when I am listening to music via Winamp and I also play a movie file, I can clearly hear the capping, the clipping happening on high music passages, even when there are very low passages in the movie. I believe it also has something to do with exclusive mode (or what is called). But is there a way to solve this ?

And another thing I don't get it. SPDIF (coaxial and optical) is a digital interface. Why I can alter the volume in Windows or sound properties, mixer, sound card control panel, whatever and I can still get an effect via the digital output ? I thought you can only alter the volume on the analogue side (I mean AFTER the digital-analogue conversion), to listen to sound card's analogue output (headphones or front line-out speakers), not digital. I thought via digital sound is only bypassed ?!?

#6
Tripredacus

Tripredacus

    K-Mart-ian Legend

  • Super Moderator
  • 9,970 posts
  • Joined 28-April 06
  • OS:Server 2012
  • Country: Country Flag

Donator

Well you have a problem right now (for sure) but I think you're looking at it the wrong way. Right now we do not know if this problem is caused by either hardware or software. The age old "it used to work fine" really doesn't apply in electronics, especially since as they age their individual component tolerances change. The same is true of software, as I expect your Windows isn't running with a RAM Overlay on it, meaning that it too has changed in little ways that are impossible to know exactly.

So we already know that Windows 7 does make changes to audio levels by itself in some way, as you have seen with multiple audio sources, and as experienced by me and others. So far none of us has determined a particular method of disabling this other than using another operating system. So in order to fully test your system you will need to try a different source to see if it is a problem with the software or the hardware.

If you have another hard drive and can install XP on it with drivers, etc and try to duplicate the sound dropping problem. If you do not have an XP to install, you could probably get away with using the Windows Embedded Standard 2009 Trial.
http://www.microsoft...-downloads.aspx

Or I suppose you could even install Linux and attempt to recreate the behaviour.
MSFN RULES | GimageX HTA for PE 3-5 | lol probloms
tpxmsfn1_zps393339c1.jpg

#7
Phaenius

Phaenius

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 177 posts
  • Joined 17-October 12
  • OS:Windows 7 x64
  • Country: Country Flag
Well, I have a better idea. Not install anything, but try booting with KNOPPIX (or if you know something better, please let me know). Thanks for the tip. I will try. Hopefully it has all the drivers required.

#8
Tripredacus

Tripredacus

    K-Mart-ian Legend

  • Super Moderator
  • 9,970 posts
  • Joined 28-April 06
  • OS:Server 2012
  • Country: Country Flag

Donator

I've done limited sound testing with Linux. Knoppix should be fine presuming it has the drivers.
MSFN RULES | GimageX HTA for PE 3-5 | lol probloms
tpxmsfn1_zps393339c1.jpg

#9
Phaenius

Phaenius

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 177 posts
  • Joined 17-October 12
  • OS:Windows 7 x64
  • Country: Country Flag
Unfortunately, it doesn't work. KNOPPIX doesn't recognize sound card at all. Now the sound it's even worse in Windows. It gets distorted on certain passages where are enough low frequencies and I noticed if the song is recorded at low volume, when I raise the volume of the sound card, sound is capped. If the song is recorded at high enough volume, it's ok (sort of). It's so weird. I wonder if I damaged the sound card with my listening. I noticed something similar on my Samsung phone. Sound gets distorted on high volume. But as I said earlier, I didn't listened to insane volume. And for sure, ears don't introduce distortions of that kind. It's the equipment. I just want to know where exactly is the problem. If I buy a different sound card, I might end up with the same problem. Could be the insufficient power ? The DirectX drivers or sound card drivers ? Poor shield isolation of sound card or computer itself (susceptible to radio waves) ?

#10
jumper

jumper

    2014 All-American Masters HJ'er

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 498 posts
  • Joined 21-January 11
  • OS:98SE
  • Country: Country Flag
Have you checked the mixer settings for individual levels on each different audio source? You've only mentioned setting the overall volume via various controls.
Design feedback requested:
IHAtool - IpHlpApi tester; call various functions and report results
--status-> framework is solid; 22 api's fully supported; preview release coming soon
ComDlg32 wrapper - ComDlgEx meets IpHlpApi wrapper
--status-> PrintDlgExW working in latest SumatraPDF 8^)
Future projects: ImportPatcher40 - dialog interface; Kexter - IP40+Ktree+Kexstubs

#11
Phaenius

Phaenius

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 177 posts
  • Joined 17-October 12
  • OS:Windows 7 x64
  • Country: Country Flag
I checked and multi-checked everything, own mixer (Creative Console Launcher), Windows mixer, sound properties in control panel, I checked everywhere. Everything seems to be properly set-up.

#12
jumper

jumper

    2014 All-American Masters HJ'er

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 498 posts
  • Joined 21-January 11
  • OS:98SE
  • Country: Country Flag
Check the cabling from the card to the front panel--you could have a floating ground. Is it connected to the correct output (line-out or speaker) ?

Try disconnecting the front panel from the card and testing the line-out and speaker outputs directly off the card. Headphones are usually higher impedance than speakers. Check the manual to see what the card supports (without the front panel headphone amplifier). Make sure you test all outputs with appropriate impedance-matched playback devices.

The on-card and/or front-panel amps for the headphone and speaker outputs could be blown. The line-outs from the card to self-powered (amplified) speakers or a hi-fi system should provide the best sound quality. The external amplification can then deliver all the volume you desire.

Edited by jumper, 17 November 2012 - 06:04 AM.

Design feedback requested:
IHAtool - IpHlpApi tester; call various functions and report results
--status-> framework is solid; 22 api's fully supported; preview release coming soon
ComDlg32 wrapper - ComDlgEx meets IpHlpApi wrapper
--status-> PrintDlgExW working in latest SumatraPDF 8^)
Future projects: ImportPatcher40 - dialog interface; Kexter - IP40+Ktree+Kexstubs

#13
Phaenius

Phaenius

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 177 posts
  • Joined 17-October 12
  • OS:Windows 7 x64
  • Country: Country Flag
The cable to the front panel is a ribbon with many wires, quite similar to HDD IDE cable. Here is a picture of the whole thing. Notice the pins at the back ? A large IDE-type cable goes in there and goes all the way to the front panel (also seen in the picture). http://mjac.co.uk/_a...mpionseries.jpg Unfortunately, that ribbon cable isn't shielded and (others experienced that too) sound is distorted when two of my HDDs work, because those two are connected to an add-in PCI-BUS card controller, which is close to the slot sound card is connected. Trust me, I tried the best configuration possible, given my motherboard model, connectors and peripherals used.

The front panel is optimized for headphones output, a headphone is supposed to go in that socket in the front, with proper impedance. I suppose it's not like in the back. But I do have now connected external self-powered speakers via coaxial output from the front panel anyway. I also used the optical out in the past, with an external receiver. It works best, but still not like it did when I bought the card. I am afraid to further use the receiver to not damage it, if sound card is faulty.

What I don't get it is why I can control the output volume via mixer even on digital outputs ? Those volume controls act on digital level ? I thought only on finals (I mean via analogue outputs, the 3.5 mm connectors at the back).

Still, what puzzles me the most is why if the sound is recorded loud int he first place, everything works ok, since I don't need to raise the volume. If the sound is recorded low, I have to raise the volume on the sound card and then it gets capped, like sound card doesn't have enough power (like occurring in clipping). But how much power can a common sound card use ? Certainly not much.

#14
jaclaz

jaclaz

    The Finder

  • Developer
  • 14,676 posts
  • Joined 23-July 04
  • OS:none specified
  • Country: Country Flag

Unfortunately, that ribbon cable isn't shielded and (others experienced that too) sound is distorted when two of my HDDs work, because those two are connected to an add-in PCI-BUS card controller, which is close to the slot sound card is connected. Trust me, I tried the best configuration possible, given my motherboard model, connectors and peripherals used.

Well, though it won't probably help for the capping, if I were you I would already have "converted" the "ribbon" cable to a "round one" (and shielded it by using some aluminium foil or the like):
http://www.overclock...ng_cable_guide/
http://www.overclock...ide-cable-guide

jaclaz

#15
Phaenius

Phaenius

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 177 posts
  • Joined 17-October 12
  • OS:Windows 7 x64
  • Country: Country Flag
I already have a couple of those already shielded IDE round cables left overs from various motherboards. Problem is the connector. Ir needs a little adapting, some pins are blocked. As you said, it may help with the buzzing and radio interference, but won't probably solve the clipping, which seems somehow power related.

Edited by Phaenius, 18 November 2012 - 03:50 PM.


#16
jumper

jumper

    2014 All-American Masters HJ'er

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 498 posts
  • Joined 21-January 11
  • OS:98SE
  • Country: Country Flag
Forget about the front panel until you confirm the card is working correctly at the back . You need to isolate the "capping" problem.
Design feedback requested:
IHAtool - IpHlpApi tester; call various functions and report results
--status-> framework is solid; 22 api's fully supported; preview release coming soon
ComDlg32 wrapper - ComDlgEx meets IpHlpApi wrapper
--status-> PrintDlgExW working in latest SumatraPDF 8^)
Future projects: ImportPatcher40 - dialog interface; Kexter - IP40+Ktree+Kexstubs

#17
Phaenius

Phaenius

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 177 posts
  • Joined 17-October 12
  • OS:Windows 7 x64
  • Country: Country Flag
Sorry for the late reply, I've been busy. I checked at the back. Same thing. Meanwhile, sound is getting distorted on certain passages, difficult to explain, it manifest itself at high frequencies, it's something similar to when you are trying to encode a wave, using a too low bit rate or sampling frequency. Bottom line is sound gets distorted. I wonder what really happened. It's annoying since I don't know if the sound card is damaged and if so, why this happened. If I buy a new sound card, it could happen again.

Another thing I noticed is that problems appear on "rich" passages of music, I mean with lots of instruments, voice, all sort of frequencies and harmonics. With simple sounds, on few channels, looks ok. Also, on movies and games, it seems ok. Another thing is the Windows 7 mixer (which I don't get it). I attached a picture. Please look at the annotations on the picture.

Edit: I downloaded a third party VU-meter and sound level is at -10 dB at max, I believe it's way too low, don't know if that's what is causing problems or not.

Attached Files


Edited by Phaenius, 28 November 2012 - 11:23 AM.


#18
jumper

jumper

    2014 All-American Masters HJ'er

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 498 posts
  • Joined 21-January 11
  • OS:98SE
  • Country: Country Flag
To the right of the top-left-most arrow is the WinAmp Mute button and then a Volume slider. You have the slider set very low. To get more volume, slide it all the way to the right and Pump Up the Volume! :yes: Then turn down the volume at the speakers until it doesn't distort. B)

In the picture, the VU meter pointed to by the arrow show no color and appears to also be indicating low playback volume being sent to the system mixer. Press Alt+G to check WinAmp's internal equalizer and preamp levels.

>Another thing is the Windows 7 mixer (which I don't get it). I attached a picture.
Are you saying that clicking on the Mixer button at the botton of the System Volume control does nothing? Try double-clicking on the Volume control in the systray to open the mixer.

Once you find the system mixer, report the levels found there. Make sure you select all volume controls in Options->Properties.

You should also explore the Audio tab of the Multimedia Control Panel, especially Playback: Advanced Settings->Performance.
Design feedback requested:
IHAtool - IpHlpApi tester; call various functions and report results
--status-> framework is solid; 22 api's fully supported; preview release coming soon
ComDlg32 wrapper - ComDlgEx meets IpHlpApi wrapper
--status-> PrintDlgExW working in latest SumatraPDF 8^)
Future projects: ImportPatcher40 - dialog interface; Kexter - IP40+Ktree+Kexstubs

#19
Tripredacus

Tripredacus

    K-Mart-ian Legend

  • Super Moderator
  • 9,970 posts
  • Joined 28-April 06
  • OS:Server 2012
  • Country: Country Flag

Donator

Not all MP3s are created equal. They can have different gain levels at the same sampling rate. Have you tried playing with the EQ built into Winamp?
MSFN RULES | GimageX HTA for PE 3-5 | lol probloms
tpxmsfn1_zps393339c1.jpg

#20
Joseph_sw

Joseph_sw

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 217 posts
  • Joined 03-August 08
  • OS:98SE
  • Country: Country Flag
well its Audigy,
there was time when Creative deliberately crippled the drivers for NT6 (it was work flawlessly under NT5).
Probably done to 'encourages' the users to 'upgrade' (read: buy) the sound card for newer OS.

#21
jumper

jumper

    2014 All-American Masters HJ'er

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 498 posts
  • Joined 21-January 11
  • OS:98SE
  • Country: Country Flag
It looks like Phaenius is just playing a CD in this test. He should also try the same CD in Windows CD Player as an alternate audio source and compare results.
Design feedback requested:
IHAtool - IpHlpApi tester; call various functions and report results
--status-> framework is solid; 22 api's fully supported; preview release coming soon
ComDlg32 wrapper - ComDlgEx meets IpHlpApi wrapper
--status-> PrintDlgExW working in latest SumatraPDF 8^)
Future projects: ImportPatcher40 - dialog interface; Kexter - IP40+Ktree+Kexstubs

#22
Phaenius

Phaenius

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 177 posts
  • Joined 17-October 12
  • OS:Windows 7 x64
  • Country: Country Flag
Thanks all for replying. Unfortunately, problem's still there.

To the right of the top-left-most arrow is the WinAmp Mute button and then a Volume slider. You have the slider set very low. To get more volume, slide it all the way to the right and Pump Up the Volume! :yes: Then turn down the volume at the speakers until it doesn't distort. B)


Well, I tried that, trust me, I tried everything. This is the highest setting in Winamp volume that doesn't cap. If I move the slider to the right (higher volume), sounds doesn't get higher, low frequencies get cut altogether, only mediums and high pass by and, at rich sound (lots of instruments, voice, etc.), it gets heavily capped, I mean, if someone is progressively yelling let's say, volume stays the same, sound card is clipping the sound. If I move the Windows mixer up, sound get heavily distorted, especially at bass levels.

In the picture, the VU meter pointed to by the arrow show no color and appears to also be indicating low playback volume being sent to the system mixer. Press Alt+G to check WinAmp's internal equalizer and preamp levels.


I did checked. It's at default. If I raise the preamp, sound gets distorted. EQ is flat. Mostly because I set the EQ from the Windows mixer and/or external amplifier or active speakers.

Are you saying that clicking on the Mixer button at the botton of the System Volume control does nothing? Try double-clicking on the Volume control in the systray to open the mixer.

Once you find the system mixer, report the levels found there. Make sure you select all volume controls in Options->Properties.

You should also explore the Audio tab of the Multimedia Control Panel, especially Playback: Advanced Settings->Performance.


Sure it does. I attached a picture to this post with the levels, with annotations. Volume levels are low, if I raise them, sound gets either capped (clipped) or distorted.

Not all MP3s are created equal. They can have different gain levels at the same sampling rate. Have you tried playing with the EQ built into Winamp?


Sure. I replied above. Preamp distorts when raising, EQ is not used.

well its Audigy,
there was time when Creative deliberately crippled the drivers for NT6 (it was work flawlessly under NT5).
Probably done to 'encourages' the users to 'upgrade' (read: buy) the sound card for newer OS.


Don't know what exactly is NT6 or NT5 (XP and Vista ?), but when I bought this card, it was the latest model and now I am using latest drivers.

It looks like Phaenius is just playing a CD in this test. He should also try the same CD in Windows CD Player as an alternate audio source and compare results.


No, I am playing FLAC files. I do own the discs, but I am finding annoying to switch discs, so I am using FLAC copies. When I play the CDs, true (don't know why), sound is more rich and powerful, but not as it should be, but clearly better than the FLACs. Isn't FLAC suppose to be lossless ? Anyway, I found out that playing CDs in Windows Media Player, sounds better than Winamp. Isn't Winamp faulty ? I am using directsound as output in Winamp (v5.6.23)

Thank-you all for trying to help. I know it's time consuming for you and I appreciate this. I just want to find out what's wrong. I have other sound related problems and I want to find out where exactly is the problem, to isolate it, to not inflict more damage to my other equipment and to solve it.

Attached Files



#23
Phaenius

Phaenius

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 177 posts
  • Joined 17-October 12
  • OS:Windows 7 x64
  • Country: Country Flag
This is very annoying. Sound is clipped, now the high frequencies are heavily distorted, sounds lacks any clarity. I could have accepted this, but I activated the on-board sound card and result is the same. Even on my phone sound is distorted and is sounding horrible. I don't know where did all come from. I didn't listen to high volumes, I didn't set the EQ aggressively, I know for a fact that my ears and/or passive equipment (speakers, headphones) can't generate such distortions, it's like voodoo. Now I can't listen anything. I know this is subjective, some people might not even notice, some won't make such a deal, but all I can hear now is a distorted sound. I wish there was a cheap way of measuring all sorts of signals to find out what's wrong. I don't have testing equipment and after all, one's ears are the ultimate test. Either it sounds clear and tasteful, a rich and natural sound, or a distorted and horrible one. Before I should buy another card, I must know what caused all this. My computer monitor has audio capabilities. A few months after purchasing it, one speaker is completely dead, the other sounds like it has membrane broken. Amplifier seems ok, tested with headphones. It seems someone put an audio curse on me.

#24
jaclaz

jaclaz

    The Finder

  • Developer
  • 14,676 posts
  • Joined 23-July 04
  • OS:none specified
  • Country: Country Flag

I wish there was a cheap way of measuring all sorts of signals to find out what's wrong.

Strangely enough :unsure: , a few cheap ways exist, and even more strangely, they make use of (another) sound card :w00t: .

Check ;):
http://bedroomproduc...er-vst-plugins/
http://bedroomproduc...-vstau-plugins/


jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz, 30 November 2012 - 08:56 AM.


#25
jumper

jumper

    2014 All-American Masters HJ'er

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 498 posts
  • Joined 21-January 11
  • OS:98SE
  • Country: Country Flag
You can also try testing with a different OS. Assuming you don't dual-boot, a Linux live-CD should do....
Design feedback requested:
IHAtool - IpHlpApi tester; call various functions and report results
--status-> framework is solid; 22 api's fully supported; preview release coming soon
ComDlg32 wrapper - ComDlgEx meets IpHlpApi wrapper
--status-> PrintDlgExW working in latest SumatraPDF 8^)
Future projects: ImportPatcher40 - dialog interface; Kexter - IP40+Ktree+Kexstubs




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users