Sound Blaster X-Fi Issues Explored

By on December 29, 2006, 5:48 PM
NGOHQ has an article that caught my interest, they tested the latest and greatest Creative X-Fi soundcard for compatibility on a few mainboards and the results were more than a little disconcerting:

The X-Fi generated crackling noises from 40% (2/5) of the motherboards. Id consider it a high number because PCI cards are suppose to fit and work fully within the PCI specification. If this card fails to work on more than a single motherboard, the manufacturer should investigate and do something about it.
If this article is not enough for you I suggest to head over the official Creative support forums and do a search for "SCP" which is an user-made acronym for "Scraping/Crackling/popping." Be warned that the number of hits for that word might make you think twice about buying a X-Fi soundcard, just like me.




User Comments: 21

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canadian said:
odd. I have on, and it works great. I have used it with 2 mobo's, both by asus.
otester said:
Same here except only one board which is Abit.
ThomasNews said:
I should be thankful I've never experienced these issues. If Irecall correctly, didn't Creative comment on similar months stating that the problem occurred as motherboard manufacturers were the ones not properly implementing PCI on their boards.
spydercanopus said:
I've had two ASUS and one ABIT motherboard with the X-Fi Elite Pro. I love it.
Julio said:
CL forums aside, I have a feeling NGOHQ likes to exaggerate issues with SoundBlaster soundcards as I have received many of these kind of notices/emails from them in the past year or so (sometimes for very minimal kind of problems).
olefarte said:
I can also say I've had no problems with X-Fi. Used it on an Asus and MSI motherboard, both using nForce 4 chipsets. As far as I'm concerned, it's a great sound card.
silikris said:
Man stuff like this gets me so frustrated.THe X-Fi is an excellent card, but because it's so advanced it requires a lot of configuration to work and to sound as good as it can. The guys who tested it probably just slapped it in and started playing. I'll admit to it's detrement the X-Fi needs some tweaking, but anyone who purchases custom parts for their computer should know that to begin with. ESPECIALLY if you're going to be doing some testing. Put it this way. There's no chance in hell the P-O-S C-Media soundcard your mobo came with is going to sound any better than an X-Fi. If you disagree with that then you aren't an audiophile or you're just a n00b.And please, Turtle Beach lovers, don't throw that in my face; have fun in EAX 1.
captain828 said:
man wtf, I'm thinking of buying an X-Fi for my new system(ASUS mobo), but this has really made me think about it twice. Are they just exaggerating? or is this real?I heard Creative isn't very good on getting proper drivers out, but this bad...
zephead said:
i haven't seen any instances of this happening...
johnsonlam said:
Since the internal resampling of SoundBlaster Live I don't trust this company anymore. Now I've changed to M-Audio, though it's product is hard to find (less popular) and the driver is not very good, but it's sound quality beat SB to the ground .... I believe there're many brands which can do far better than Creative, they're losing "marketing" only.
ThomasNews said:
X-Fi fixes the resampling issues of their previous Soundcards. I covered it in some detail in the review, but essentially the resampler has been significantly improved, while in Audio Creation mode you can actually get Bit-Matched resampling free playback :)
ihatenoobs said:
I have had this X-FI card also nothing but problems crackling noises up the arse. I was forced to downgrade to a Audigy 2 ZS now this card is working great no more static or crackling sound. This also affected the sound blaster live 5.1 card creative needs to start fixing this instead of ignoring their customers.
black_death said:
I bought an X-Fi card and it wouldnt work with my mobo because aparently my version of PCI is too old, I didnt even know there were versions of PCI.... but this is the first I've heard of this, so far I've only heard great things about creative cards and especially X-Fi
Per Hansson said:
[b]Originally posted by silikris:[/b][quote]Man stuff like this gets me so frustrated.THe X-Fi is an excellent card, but because it's so advanced it requires a lot of configuration to work and to sound as good as it can. The guys who tested it probably just slapped it in and started playing. I'll admit to it's detrement the X-Fi needs some tweaking, but anyone who purchases custom parts for their computer should know that to begin with. ESPECIALLY if you're going to be doing some testing. Put it this way. There's no chance in hell the P-O-S C-Media soundcard your mobo came with is going to sound any better than an X-Fi. If you disagree with that then you aren't an audiophile or you're just a n00b.And please, Turtle Beach lovers, don't throw that in my face; have fun in EAX 1.[/quote]Not to sound rude but have a look at Creatives forums, I know that NGOHQ seems to have something specific against Creative, but there are literally hundreds of posts with this issue on Creatives forums, and many of the users are very good at tweaking their computers BIOS etc...And if the soundcard follows the PCI spec there are no configuration changes you need to do to make it work, it should just work, that's what the PCI spec is for...AFAIK the only thing you can "affect" the card with is changing the PCI latency, but it has a default value for a reason; to stay within spec...
silikris said:
[b]Originally posted by Per Hansson:[/b][quote]Not to sound rude but have a look at Creatives forums, I know that NGOHQ seems to have something specific against Creative, but there are literally hundreds of posts with this issue on Creatives forums, and many of the users are very good at tweaking their computers BIOS etc...And if the soundcard follows the PCI spec there are no configuration changes you need to do to make it work, it should just work, that's what the PCI spec is for...AFAIK the only thing you can "affect" the card with is changing the PCI latency, but it has a default value for a reason; to stay within spec...[/quote]It has nothing to do with the PCI spec or any settings related to it. The card follows the PCI spec just fine. The card "works" just fine, and the problems that the article is claiming has to do with distortion sounds, not configuration of the PCI bus. The configuration I'm speaking of is done solely in the audio control panel and volume control panel. Two very simple pieces of software to use.
sghiznaneck said:
I've had the X-Fi Platinum since its release and haven't had any problems with it. It's been installed through 2 major upgrades and never a problem.
Per Hansson said:
silikris; no, that I'm afraid is incorrect, I've had the issue myself. And I think Thomas has reported in it in reviews, with the older Audigy based cards.Just have a look at the creative forums, if there was an easy solution there would not have been so many users reporting problems and Creative doing nothing about it. (literally thousands of posts)Here are a few links, first Creative blamed dual channel DDR for the issue, then they changed their mind and said that's it due to an incorrect implementation of the PCI bus on the nForce4 chipset, well many users with VIA chipsets, SIS chipsets and even Intel chipsets reported the same issue, see for yourself;[url]http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/
essage?board.id=soundblaster&message.id=71962[/url][url]ht
p://xfi.blogspot.com/2006/08/x-fi-crackling-continues.html
/url][url]http://xfi.blogspot.com/2006/06/soundblaster-x-f
-crackling-and.html[/url]And if I wanted to whine on about the X-fi I could mention that it no longer has the Digital DIN connection required for Creatives own speakers, like the DTT3500 for example. Which in other words will no longer work, because they do not have the 6 required analog connections, only 4... Creative never mentioned in the specs that their own speakers will not work with their soundcards...[url]http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/bo
rd/message?board.id=soundblaster&message.id=30143&view=by_
ate_ascending&page=1[/url]Here is an issue I reported over 18 months ago, still not even a reply, and I have done many reinstalls of Windows since and upgraded my drivers through the (few) new driver releases that has been and even changed my whole computer to a nForce4 based one the issue still remains...http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/mess
ge?board.id=soundblaster&message.id=18565My next soundcard will not be a Creative product, infact I was just and bought it, it's a Auzentech X-Meridian, gonna install that now and see how it feels ;-)http://www.auzentech.com/site/products/x-meridian.php
Mictlantecuhtli said:
[b]Originally posted by Per Hansson:[/b][quote]My next soundcard will not be a Creative product, infact I was just and bought it, it's a Auzentech X-Meridian, gonna install that now and see how it feels ;-)[url]http://www.auzentech.com/site/products/x-meridian.ph
[/url][/quote]Auzentech doesn't seem to have very active driver development either.I have X-Mystique myself and some games have weird sound problems in XP x64. I wrote Auzentech about it earlier and they released a newer version a bit later, but it didn't fix my problems.Not to mention the lack of proper Linux support, of course, but at least the cards work better than X-Fi in Linux (which doesn't work at all).
xonnix said:
[b]Originally posted by silikris:[/b][quote]Man stuff like this gets me so frustrated.THe X-Fi is an excellent card, but because it's so advanced it requires a lot of configuration to work and to sound as good as it can. The guys who tested it probably just slapped it in and started playing. I'll admit to it's detrement the X-Fi needs some tweaking, but anyone who purchases custom parts for their computer should know that to begin with. ESPECIALLY if you're going to be doing some testing. Put it this way. There's no chance in hell the P-O-S C-Media soundcard your mobo came with is going to sound any better than an X-Fi. If you disagree with that then you aren't an audiophile or you're just a n00b.And please, Turtle Beach lovers, don't throw that in my face; have fun in EAX 1.[/quote]Ok numb-nuts, read through these Creative forum threads and tell me we need to do more tweaking. Yes I disagree, ESPECIALLY with an *****![url]http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/mes
age?board.id=soundblaster&message.id=31426[/url]188 pages, 1871 replies, NO FIX![url]http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/messa
e?board.id=soundblaster&message.id=61926&view=by_date_asce
ding&page=1[/url]122 pages, 1211 replies, NO FIX![url]http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/messa
e?board.id=soundblaster&message.id=74283&view=by_date_asce
ding&page=1[/url]29 pages, 289 replies, NO FIX!Rediculous amounts of troubleshooting performed by the CL customer to no avail.
Ccraig38 said:
i got the x-fi, and i got a asus mobo. i have the crackly/scratchy problem. IT SUCKS. i exchanged the card for a new one, and same thing. so, now i know im in the 40% of people that get that problem. so i guess im just gonna have to live with on board. :/
JasonFH said:
For me at least, I have the Creative Scapegoated nForce4 chipset (Asus A8N32SLI Deluxe Motherboard). I have flawless sound in XP Pro. In Vista Ultimate 64 the SCP is insane. I have tried all fixes that creative has come up with. It sure sounds like a driver problem to me, works in one OS but not the other. (Although creative swears up and down it's my motherboard that is incompatible).
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