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X-Fi sound bugs? I think I have a solution. - Page 3

post #31 of 57
Thread Starter 
Chu -
Quote:
absolutely not reason to believe their business practices have changed
You speak the truth. They are, well, crooks.

Quote:
but how many of those caps are actually in the analogue single path?
I count 24. 16 of these decoupling caps - C23, C50, C76, C77, C28, C55, C85, C83, C61, C32, C62, C26, C67, C36, C34 and C68 and 8pcs of caps where the audio signal also exist - C18, C19, C20, C21, C48, C49, C102, C104.


Fizzycapola - you should not be surprised, if you readed the TI PS54352 datasheed. The voltage regulator favor mild ESR caps, not low ESR ones, just a mediocre ones. Or it oscilate more. That was what happen when I used Oscon SEPC 820uF 2,5V.
Bad ideas. I should also read first.
That is also why when I soldered there a Samxon RS 3300uF 16V cap the card stop working Even RS series of Samxons are not exactly low-ESR caps, more like slightly better general use, they stop the regulator from working well (that means their specs is MUCH and WAY better that all the stuuupid caps mod people around here did, see there: Pictures/links to crazy cap mods - Chitchat - CapsMod Forum - Powered by Discuz!



So, the volage regulation for the main X-Fi chip is made by TI PS54352 chip.
http://www.ti.com/lit/gpn/tps54352
The recommended use is this:



From this is quite obvious, that Creative design is very bellow specs one and for example - the imput filtering elyte capacity should be at least 100uF and as close to the chip a 10uF (at least) ceramics low-ESR cap. The Creative imput filtering elyte are 22uF Jamicon (!) and I did not yet measure the ceramic one, but I fear it is not "at least" 10uF as it should be.
Measured 15uF. I should desolder it, I think I measure something else with it also...

Same for the output. I see bulk capacity there, a 330uF elyt, 100uF another low esr cap and 0,1uF ceramics. Creative used a 220uF Jamicon witch is not low ESR cap in any way, shape or form...

So now it is clear, why I get the best results with mediocre 470uF Panny FM 16V cap (mediocre because using 16V cap on 1.25V a "bit" soften it's specs) with bridged 4,7uF ceramics are best and why the ultra-low-ESR polymer was not a great there.

My fault. Now I also going to replace the imput filtering "bulk" capacity - by Creative 22uF 16V Jamicon - by me a 150uF 6.3V Nichicon HE :dev: Yet the usage of 470uF Panny FM bridged with 0,1uF ceramic cap is not so great also. I still having the "pause bug"...


Considering what might cause the "pause bug" I do wonder, how well Creative followed up the DAC recommended connections:
http://www.cirrus.com/en/pubs/proDat.../CS4382_F1.pdf








PS. I just replaced the there output opamps from the old useless (they was used even in Audigy (1) !!!) MC4558C ( MC4558CD datasheet pdf datenblatt - STMicroelectronics - WIDE BANDWIDTH DUAL BIPOLAR OPERATIONAL AMPLIFIERS ::: ALLDATASHEET ::: ) to the praised LM4562 ( LM4562 datasheet pdf datenblatt - National Semiconductor - Dual High Performance, High Fidelity Audio Operational Amplifier ::: ALLDATASHEET ::: ) opamps. It was kinda easy, however the changes are minimal. You cannot hear any difference in mp3 bellow 320kBi, that is for sure. When we talking about DTS 768kBi, well, ten there finally is some difference But not so major. It is obvious that complete recap of the Jamicon crap caps has to be done as well, as the audiojacks has to be gold-plated for the subwoofer connection, the whole subwoofer has to be recapped and possibly modified also, so there is a notable difference.

Ask the Nartional Semiconductor for there sample pieces of the LM4562MA in the SOIC NARROW version for free there:
LM4562 - Dual High Performance, High Fidelity Audio Operational Amplifier
And you can replace the there 4558 "things" used for the output channels :dev: There is also another opamps for mic in, line in and some more down there... So maybe a 6 opamps is not a bad idea.


PS2. parts list for SB0460 - X-FI Fatal1ty:
RapidShare: 1-Click Webhosting
parts list for SB0550 - X-FI Elite Pro:
RapidShare: 1-Click Webhosting
...a good start

A few interesting (but not mine, Bichi's work) X-Fi mod pictures:
post #32 of 57
Thread Starter 
Why not use tantalum caps
http://www.hindawi.com/GetPDF.aspx?d...08827510212341
Read conclusion about noise in tantalum cap
The most important sources of fluctuation consist in regenerative microbreaks, fluctuation of polarisation and mechanical strain. The frequency dependence of noise spectral density in mHz region gives information on slow irreversible processes of tantalum pentoxide crystal-isation and oxide reduction. The self-healing process can improve sample quality due to leak-age current and noise reduction.

Or there:
Low Noise Balanced Microphone Preamp
I also recommend against the use of tantalum capacitors, and regular readers will notice that I have not suggested them for any project (although there was one suggestion that you could use them if you wanted to). The only capacitor fault I have ever had to track down with an intermittent short circuit was a tantalum bead type - it was neither fun, nor easy to find :-(



So, using tantalum caps in X-Fi are bad idea, alrough they might look as good choice at first and I must admit, I was considered them at first as well, but then I looked more deeply and contacted experts and they all recommended against it.
post #33 of 57
Thread Starter 
I made progress. I took my time and skills and measured the voltage by scope on ALL the X-Fi caps. Hard work, but there we go:



In picture it looks this way - green are caps that has audio on them with stereo output, WinAMP playing...

Code:
C177 (1.23V)     - 220uF 16V Jamicon -> 1000uF 6.3V Samxon GC
C16 (0.7V)       - 100uF 16V Jamicon -> 470uF 6.3V Samxon GD
C46 (5V)         - 100uF 16V Jamicon -> 470uF 6.3V Samxon GD
C107 (4.7V)      - 47uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
C186 (5V)        - 47uF 16V Jamicon -> 47uF 25V Panny FM
C205 (0V)        - 47uF 16V Jamicon -> 47uF 25V Panny FM
C20 (2.47V)      - 22uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
C33 (3.3V)       - 22uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
C56 (-5V)        - 22uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
C72 (-5V)        - 22uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
C74 (12V)        - 22uF 25V Jamicon -> 68uF 16V Panny FM
C75 (-12V)       - 22uF 25V Jamicon -> 68uF 16V Panny FM
C101 (5V)        - 22uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
C114 (5V)        - 22uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
C124 (3.3V)      - 22uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
C172 (5V)        - 22uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
C206 (0V)        - 22uF 16V Jamicon -> 47uF 25V Panny FM
C209 (0V)        - 22uF 25V Jamicon -> 47uF 25V Panny FM
C27 (5V)         - 10uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
C43 (8.8V)       - 10uF 16V Jamicon -> 100uF 10V Panny FM
C91 (5V)         - 10uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
C108 (2.16V)     - 10uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
C115 (2.4V)      - 10uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
C119 (3.3V)      - 10uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
C123 (2.3V)      - 10uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
C136 (5V)        - 10uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
C151 (3.3V)      - 10uF 16V Jamicon -> 150uF 6.3V Panny FM
C18 (2.4V aud)   - 4.7uF 16V Jamicon BIPOLAR -> Black Gate N 4.7uF 50V
C19 (0V aud)     - 4.7uF 16V Jamicon BIPOLAR -> Black Gate N 4.7uF 50V
C21 (2.39 aud)   - 4.7uF 16V Jamicon BIPOLAR -> Black Gate N 4.7uF 50V
C22 (2.47)       - 4.7uF 16V Jamicon BIPOLAR -> Black Gate N 4.7uF 50V
C48 (2.26V)      - 4.7uF 16V Jamicon BIPOLAR -> Black Gate N 4.7uF 50V
C49 (2.26V)      - 4.7uF 16V Jamicon BIPOLAR -> Black Gate N 4.7uF 50V
C102 (2.4V aud)  - 4.7uF 50V Jamicon -> Black Gate C 4.7uF 50V
C104 (2.4V aud)  - 4.7uF 50V Jamicon -> Black Gate C 4.7uF 50V

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. It is possible to remove all the marked with green audio caps C18, C19, C21, C22, C48, C49, C102 and C104 if you did not use the AUX IN analog 2 channel CD in and the 10 pins Creative connector, for witch the 6 pcs of the bipolar caps are used to separate the AC3 6 channels signal (5.1).

35 caps total
-------------
 1x Samxon GC 1000uF 6.3V (d8)
 2x Samxon GD 470uF 6.3V (d6.3)
 1x Panny FM 100uF 10V (d5) P12919-ND
 4x Panny FM 47uF 25V (d5) P12923-ND
 2x Panny FM 68uF 16V (d5) P12921-ND
17x Panny FM 150uF 6.3V (d5) P12917-ND
 6x Black Gate N 4.7uF 50V (d5) - d6.3 can fit
 2x Black Gate C 4.7uF 50V (d5) - d6.3 can fit
post #34 of 57
great work if I had an x-fi I would be most pleased by your reaserch. Although now that I don't have one I definatly don't want one!

another reason not to use tantalum is that they are not allowed to be used in satalights due to the high faliure rate and mining tantalum destroys the rainforest.
post #35 of 57
Errr... I've always thought tantalum are a lot more reliable than aluminum electrolytics as long as you're a bit generous with voltage specs and make sure they don't see any reverse voltage.

Maybe I've been lied to, but from what I've learned/been told, tantalums are pretty much superior in every way, including reliability as long as they're not stressed with high or reverse voltage, their only real downside being cost and possible ethical concerns ?

Although the problem is if they do fail, they fail short circuit...
post #36 of 57
Thread Starter 
kipman725 - thank you, I hope others find my informations usefull. I try my best.
As for tantalums, they are simply wrong to use for audio, witch is the IMHO most important reason. Mentioning their irreversible changes and what happen when they fail I see as not that relevant.
It is also a good question what cap production destroy nature the most. I would say elytes, because given the wast volume of fake bad caps that are made, they must definitively have huge impact. Where tantalum caps are very rare sight.
Regardless, the new polymer tantalums seems to be pretty good ones. But don't be fooled by moders who already wasted their cards with tantalums - altough they used Kemet tantalums, and Kemet made these new ones, they did not use the polymer tantalums. Why? Because Kemet made only SMD version of them, not the dip ones, so...
Regardless - best cap is no cap.

Since with my limited english I can't top quote like this, I use it:
Quote:
Only the most starry-eyed audiophile will tell you that putting electrolytics in an audio signal path is a good idea, if there is some other solution that will work.
X-Fi with Panny FC caps - definitively a improve over the cursed bad caps Jamicons:


X-Fi w/o decoupling caps at all - sounds notably better that with Pannyes:



splaz -
Quote:
Maybe I've been lied to
You have been lied to. Please read the linked documents to educate yourself. I'm not going to quote it all there for you

PS. have you ever asked how come, if the tantalums are so superior, you did not see them on overclocking mainboards at all as the small caps witch are many times very important...?
post #37 of 57
Thread Starter 
Interesting discovery!

I had enought of waiting and I decided to test, if the d6.3 caps (remember, the original ones are just d4) will fit there. So I took my poor X-Fi (I wish I get my hand on some dead X-Fi for this testings, but...) and started soldering on it again, even when I did not have to caps in my hands yet, sadly.

So, I desoldered them all and cleaned the holes nicely, because I knew I will solder them right back, but first I need to test the d6.3 caps there...



So far, so good. Then I get the caps - I picked up a 8 pcs of - luckily to still have a few of them here and there - 120uF 16V Panny FM caps that are d6.3 - tought they are not bipolar and not audio caps either, but I was not going to solder them there - I just wanted to made some progress and to make sure we can fit a d6.3 caps there... So I just stick them thru:



And they fit! Hoooray!

Another pic:



And then I make the most important discovery yet. I suspected that before, but I was not sure. These 6 bipolar caps are for the Creative 10-pin connector 6 in/out channels separation.
The two ones are not bipolar, but normal caps and they are for decoupling of the CD-in (AUX IN) input.

This might not sound so important to you yet, but... I asked myself "What if I did not even use these connectors?" "Do I really need the caps there at all, or for the BEST possible quality is better to get rid of them completely?"

I mean - there is one thing better that good audio cap in the passing of audio signal. And that is wire - or no cap in this case.

So out of a pure luck and based just on a intuition I tried the X-Fi w/o these caps and quess what - it played and playing well still!

This is an important solution and very cheap audio improvement only for people who not use either of these connectors!

Amazingly and not unsurprisingly, once the Jamicons are out of the audio loop now completely, the detail level in music increased hearably once again.
However there is a side issue to that improvement. Now I can hear some compression distortions even at 320kBi, witch is considered as very high bitrate! Also, any more importantly, many many and many my mp3 music files contain some slight errors in music, that are now also possible to hear well...

In short, you might want to consider doing these mods (I'm being very frank here) because you will hear more that you might wish to hear
post #38 of 57
Trodas, some of your pictures in post #31 looks like Bichi's work in this thread http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f46/ho...no-56k-226975/ . I'm a big fan of giving credit where credit is due, and loathe people that take credit from others. I hope that's not what I'm seeing here.
post #39 of 57
Thread Starter 
Not some, all the thumbnails in fact
I'm not against giving credits where it belongs either, but I must admit that I forget to menion guy that openly vows how he would ignore me and never help me, not to mention posting my private comments in the open forum.
Bad thing, tough. Fixed
post #40 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by trodas View Post
Interesting discovery!

I had enought of waiting and I decided to test, if the d6.3 caps (remember, the original ones are just d4) will fit there. So I took my poor X-Fi (I wish I get my hand on some dead X-Fi for this testings, but...) and started soldering on it again, even when I did not have to caps in my hands yet, sadly.
I have two X-FI extreme music cards that I got off a friend of mine who messed them up attempting the X-FI mod. I will give you one for testing if you can fix (and mod) the other. Or we can work out some other kind of arrangement. PM me back if your interested, they have just been sitting on my shelf for a fue months collecting dust and im wanting to do something with them. Edit: I meant to put this in a PM oh well its here now.
post #41 of 57
Thread Starter 
Well, I got your PM, you got my reply
There is, unfortunately, no telling if I can repare at least one of these cards or not. I'm not God, just mere human that screw things up sometimes even all by himself
So, no guarantee there at all.
Of course there is nothing to lose on two already damaged cards, lol... But I'm from central Europe, so...


PS. some people wrote me PM asking about few things, so I threw them there as well:

Quote:
As you said from your thread here, you bypass all the 6 bipolar caps if you don't use the AUD_EXT is that correct?
False. Perhaps my english is too limited (not my native language either) or I explained it wrong, but... I did not bypass them. I removed them and the sound is notably more rich in details
No wonder. Last thing you want to stay between you and your audio is bad caps Jamicons.

Correct is, that this make useless the 10 pin connector.

Quote:
What about the other two polarized caps beside the AUD_EXT, you short them too?
Not short. Remove. Yes, These are for the CD audio input, AUX_IN is the connector even named, and if you did not use them, well... off they go. Quite possibly they are connected to the 10 pin one too, but I not use any of these, so... I did not even bother to check.

As long as they are off the audio loop, I'm happy.

Quote:
Another question, I want to tap 12V from the card to the opamp
I recommend very much against this.
Many reasons.
To list just a few:
1) is is useless mod, all you gain in audio signal strenght will be lost on your potentiometer into your aplifier
2) 12V cause notably more heat-buildup and hence more noise/distortions
3) the 12V line is not stabilized/filtered well, witch add to these noise/distoritions problems greatly
4) at the 12V, the opamps are going to draw over twice the amount of current, hence the stabilizing capacitor(s) are now more that twice underrated and for space limitations and by the design - this is going to cause huge problems with voltge stability...
If the subwoofer opamps play hard, then since the wires did not get 2x thicker that the original ones and there is not cap at the end one, then the most important L and R channels are going to not have stable voltage at all... There should be a 470uF Samxon GD cap near every of the opamp, but...
5) the little ceramic caps near the voltage inputs are probably not even rated at 16V, chances are they are 10V or 6.3V ones. This mod kill them, hence the voltage fluctuations will be even more dramatic, causing distortions.

Just to mention a few problems with this mod.

Quote:
I want to use LME49720 on this card, the max voltage for this opamp is 17V, and the spec is better if I supply more volts to it
Only if you can keep the voltage clean and stable and that it is, when all 4 opamps are in operation.
Believe me, with current design, that is not going to happen.
I considered this mod, I considered even a very little version of it - increasing the UA78M05C output voltage from 5V to 6.3V by adding a resistor between the 7805 base and ground...
When I realized that the already overstressed voltage supply to the opamps is going to get even more stressed, I drop this idea as bad.

Not all caps are best when low ESR, for example the main voltage regulator is not very happy with too low ESR caps, but that is sort of odd thing
post #42 of 57
Hey trodas, thanks for the long explanation Now I almost done with the mod. What I done is basically what you done, but I didn't use any opamp at all plus I use 1000uF 16V Sanyo WG.

It sounded great, but there are some side effects when I use no opamp, firstly it wasn't that loud as before and everytime I adjust the volume too much there is power spike shutting down my amplifier, so I guess I'll put LME49720 after all

There are few more mods I wanted to do. I'll report later
post #43 of 57
Thread Starter 
Final look - the thread should be renamed to "X-Fi holocaust", as I removed everything I did not use/like

Bad caps Jamicons are OFF my machine, HOOORAY!

The dynamic seems to be improved slightly, but that could be just in my head...
However replacing the suxxking Jami-crap working as DAC voltage stabilization and be connected on the FILT+ pin COULD change/improve the sound...
(bear in mind that my audio output AFTER the X-Fi is reasonably suxxking low-end one, and I did not have so good ears... so maybe someone else spot much more noticable difference - or dismis my claim of slight improvment there)




Voltage stabilizing for opamps is very important.


Voltage filtering for the main X-Fi chip


Useless stuff is gone now.


Better voltage stabilization for the Wolfson audio codec can't hurt too :P

X-Fi holocaust
removed everything I did not use

PS. moders should rather consider rather AD8599 opamps, it has much better audio: Analog Devices AD8599 - Dual, Ultralow Distortion, Ultralow Noise Op Amp
post #44 of 57
Whoa! cool mod there Trodas but I don't want to left my card bare. I changed most of the caps too, but on unimportant plus on Wolfson ADC I just leave it alone since I don't use them anyway

One more mod you can try, is to bypass the muting transistor, I bypass the whole circuit and directly connect them to RCA out from opamp output, sounded a little better too. I done this because my left channel got distortion (full of spikes at high frequency), with this circuit bypass, it sounded better and the spikes is gone
post #45 of 57
Thread Starter 
Thanks I like to keep my card as bare, as possible and use only things I use I hope this would give me the best audio quality

Quote:
bypass the muting transistor
Hmmm! All in all, this is not a bad idea either. The card is "muted" till the drivers did not kick in and unmute it, that is the audio "click" or more likely a "wave" that bumps when windowns load the drivers...

I quess you did not hear that now, because your output is all the time open, right?

When bypassing them, one lose the ability to mute the card by software (or by the front pannel/remote), but come to think, I never need that

Rarely I use the mute button on remote of my speakers.

So maybe there is really a time to check on these components ...

Quote:
I done this because my left channel got distortion (full of spikes at high frequency), with this circuit bypass, it sounded better and the spikes is gone
It is likely that during the opamps soldering you produced (or it was there from the start?) a shortcircuit that when on load, produced various disconnections and reconnections that you hear as the high-frequency spikes and distortions.
Simply resoldering the left channel muting transistor would be sufficient to get the bugs out

As for the muting transistors - do you know what are they?
The gang of 6 of them on the top of the card, just above C19 and C18 seems to me more like transistors to shutting down the 10 pin Creative connector in/out signals?

The four ones in front if the L/R opamps are only four...

What are these six 02Nf "things" with six legs before the opamps anyway?
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