Capped (clipped, whatever) sound with Audigy sound card
Posted 29 November 2012 - 12:21 AM
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.
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.
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.
Sure. I replied above. Preamp distorts when raising, EQ is not used.
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.
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.
Number of downloads: 5
Posted 30 November 2012 - 08:47 AM
Posted 30 November 2012 - 08:55 AM
Strangely enough , a few cheap ways exist, and even more strangely, they make use of (another) sound card .
This post has been edited by jaclaz: 30 November 2012 - 08:56 AM
Posted 01 December 2012 - 04:44 AM
I thought you were a "computer audiophile" , and assumed you knew VST, however:
The two pages are a list of VST based Oscilloscopes and FrequenceAnalyzers, but there are also more non-VST ones, examples:
(there are tens of these)
Some "generic" intro can be found here:
You asked for a cheap way to measure signals, while some of these are completely Free, a few - more "robust" or "featured" ones can be bought for some ten bucks, and an optional buffered probe for - say - another ten bucks at the most:
or a "direct" one with a few components you can get from *any* electronic device you were going to throw away or that you can recover from the waste bin:
which I consider "cheap" .
FAQ #1 here is possibly the plainer explanation:
A: Zelscope is a low-frequency oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer software. We believe it can be useful in tuning music instruments, adjusting audio circuits, or doing physics experiments. Acoustics is the most evident area; Zelscope also allows for an easy measurement of short time intervals in mechanics experiments. Zelscope has proven useful in debugging music and sound processing software.
Posted 01 December 2012 - 07:54 PM
A bit of research indicates SUSE has the best change of including X-Fi drivers on the LiveCD. Otherwise, you need to get them from a linux repository and install to a flashdrive (or something.... )
Posted 13 December 2012 - 07:50 AM
As for my problem. Jaclaz, don't know exactly what an audiophile is. I mean, I have an idea, but I am not a perfectionist, I just want things (all things, not just computer components) to work correctly. In this case, as it was a good Creative Labs product at the time, I expect it to deliver far more than it's capable now. I don't have much money (probably required by a "proper" audiophile, who in turn probably it's around 50, has big beard, big belly and a low voice, plus he seems to know everything about audio, the one who uses cables of thousand bucks and stays inside with 5 dollars trousers - I've seen plenty of those), otherwise I would have bought a new card (an expensive one and/or with a good and trusted review) and voila! problem solved. But I'm not and, if not able to solve the problem, at least I would die for to know what is wrong with it, or where the problem reside. Because, as of now, I didn't isolate the problem yet.
I followed your links, Jaclaz, thanks. I downloaded some programs, but I have no idea how to use it. I read manuals, but still I'm in the unclear. I know that computer sound cards aren't exactly the best audio or electronic equipment so, I don't know how they can be used as precise measuring devices. Furthermore, I don't know how to use the two cards to verify each other. I saw some oscilloscopes, spectroscopes, tone generators and so on, but no idea how to use it. It looks that programs are for experts. I wondered if there was a program of some sort to test thoroughly the sound card and report possible problems. I am fully aware that those programs can't communicate digitally with my brain and ultimately each sound card or terminal equipment must have a DAC and the analogue part cannot be seen (or can, but by insanely expensive equipment) by software and/or hardware devices. I mean, a program can't detect a swollen capacitor that can distort sound and a partially destroyed transistor. But it can detect if the problem resides inside the digital area. There can be also a driver issue that most likely can be resolved. I downloaded and installed Daniel K's modified drivers to no avail. For those who don't know, here is Daniel's story http://www.wired.com...aniel_k-who-fi/
Sound is getting capped, clipped and it's distorting to the point I can't listen anymore. I don't know what on earth can be wrong, since, at digital level, the DAC isn't used at all and I use DAC from the active loudspeakers or receiver (I am using optical or coaxial output). In this case, shouldn't the sound be pure from the sound card ? I mean, I can't mess with levels and voltages too high that can normally destroy the equipment. Digital is digital, it operates with bits, not voltages, current and so on. All the damage is done inside the analogue part. So, where on earth distortions and clipping come from ? Can it be the player ? Can it be the sound files (FLAC and properly made MP3s, as I mentioned, CDs sound considerably better, but still not as it should) ? Can it be the sound card ? Again, is there a "to go" an all-in-all at a glance tester that puts the card on the test ?
I am aware I am using your time and wouldn't want to abuse, but this problem is of importance to me. Again, thanks.
Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:27 AM
I had the impression that you knew what to do with these measurements, otherwise it would be pointless.
I mean, let's say hypothetically that Santa Claus makes you find a brand new spectro-foto-turbo-cyber-oscillo-mega-scope, a (fictional) instrument very suited to measure accurately any kind of signals and worth a few thousands bucks, what you would do with it (exception made for using it as a very expensive door holder )?
You expressed the wish to have cheap measurement devices for signals, not for learning overnight (and by sheer magic) a few month's worth of electronic design, troubleshooting and engineering (and some more months of practice besides the theory).
Short of using (appropriately) a signal measurement device you have only two options, that should however be BOTH tried:
- try that same sound card on that same PC system with another OS (install or "LiveCD")
- try that same sound card on another PC system (and with another OS install and/or "LiveCD")
if it still malfunctions, then there is definitely a hardware issue of some kind.
But let's say (still hypothetically) that there is an actual issue on that sound card hardware and that by pure chance my crystal ball is tuned and I could tell you that you have to replace the chip marked as IC18 on the board, what would you do?
Have you the experience/capability/tools to desolder a SMC, find a replacement and re-solder it properly?
Again with all due respect, you seem to me more like Robert De NIro in Analyze This , I guess your next move will to shoot a pillow....
Posted 14 December 2012 - 06:01 AM
Maybe I wasn't made myself clear in my asking. I asked for an easy and convenient way to test a sound card. Some kind of program that will auto-put the sound card to the test, auto-run a set of tests and reports afterwards if it finds something wrong in the digital section, something that feedback wrong, you know, like in a HDD, it reports all sort of stuff about them, stuff you don't normally know. That's what I wanted to know. I am not an expert, don't know how to use electronic devices (although I am a college electronics engineer - I don't know the exact term in English), I have basic electronic knowledge, but I don't work in that area. So far I think I narrowed my problems to two aspects, the clipping and the THD, which, by my ears, is very bad, but don't know how to measure it, other than subjective impression, by actually listening.
I am not crazy, not a perfectionist and I don't want to waste anyone's time by inventing things, I just want to know what the heck is wrong, where is the problem. And, totally apart from the computer sound cards, why my Samsung phone also sounds bad, with harmonic distortions all of a sudden as well. I mean, common, two sound cards and a phone, 2 (at least) different equipment ? I know for a fact that human ears and brain can not induce harmonic distortions, I think I do have a good musical ear, I know distortions when I see (hear it) it.
I would make Santa use it and report the results.
Sure. And I am doing it with my bare hands. Replacing the SMC and everything there is around it (i.e. the whole sound card). If I am sure that solves the problem and what's more important, if it doesn't repeat. I know I can buy a new sound card, but if it only works for a limited time, I can't replace it every month or so. That's why I am trying to isolate the problem. Why does this happens ?
I am not nervous like Robert De Niro in that movie. Just a sad bunny.
Posted 14 December 2012 - 06:50 AM
The "chain" is:
- Audio Source ->
- Hardware (PC) ->
- Software (Os) ->
- Software (player) ->
- Software (driver) ->
- hardware (Sound card) ->
- hardware (loudspeakers/earphones/etc) ->
- Perception (subjective, your ear)
The appropriate and suggested procedure is to try item #6 while keeping the same items #1, #2, #7 and #8 with different items #3, #4, #5.
Then trying another item #6 (and if needed an appropriate corresponding item #5) while keeping untouched items from #1 to #4 and from #6 to #8.
This is enough to understand if the sound card has an issue (hardware) or *something else* is the problem.
You either conduct these two tests or you will be - besides sad - a doubtful, insecure bunny for a long time .
Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:20 AM
Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:46 AM
Look, basically you were asking for suggestions, they were given to you, and they are (IMHO) good ones, you can choose to either follow them or to not follow them , in the first case, just do what you were told, avoiding the unneeded nitpicking, if the second, you can as well avoid the nitpicking as it would be pointless.
Just for the record however, you are fundamentally wrong:
- different drivers #5 on same OS #3 may well give different resuts, as well different (compatible between them) OS's #3 with same drivers #5 may give different results.
- as well the motherboard #2 may - for *any* reason - provoke a malfunctioning of the sound card #6 (as an example by providing low voltage or current or "dirty" power, among other things)
Posted 14 December 2012 - 08:57 AM
Also, from experience, you may encounter some discomfort at the higher frequencies... also it may be possible that dogs in your area may not appreciate when the high frequency range ceases to be heard by you.
Now, these aren't going to be miracle files, but are intended to assist you in properly tuning your system. I do not use these types of sounds anymore because I have found actual songs to use for testing purposes. If a correction cannot be made via your controls then you will need to explore the other options. I disagree with your assertion that #3 is not the issue, since it is known that Windows 7 handles audio differently than Windows XP.
Posted 14 December 2012 - 09:15 AM
And be aware of the risk of unclogging cables sending asterisks through them!
Posted 14 December 2012 - 09:25 AM
And be aware of the risk of unclogging cables sending asterisks through them!
So from what I understand, once the sound issue is solved, beware that all those previously missing sounds will suddenly come free and be heard all in one cacaphony?
Posted 14 December 2012 - 09:29 AM
No more simply "check if there is no full moon when sending spinning asterisks" or "only do that during daytime":