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Hotrodding the X-Fi: A Layman's Guide (No 56k) - Page 10

post #136 of 2194
Before

Testing chain: External loopback (line-out - line-in)
Sampling mode: 24-bit, 96 kHz

Summary
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB: +0.01, -0.09Excellent
Noise level, dB (A): -112.8Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A): 112.5Excellent
THD, %: 0.0006Excellent
IMD + Noise, %: 0.0012Excellent
Stereo crosstalk, dB: -110.5Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, %: 0.0012Excellent

General performance: Excellent

After mod, change opamp, ERS paper, new capacitor

Testing chain: External loopback (line-out - line-in)
Sampling mode: 24-bit, 96 kHz

Summary
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB: +0.01, -0.09Excellent
Noise level, dB (A): -113.1Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A): 112.9Excellent
THD, %: 0.0006Excellent
IMD + Noise, %: 0.0011Excellent
Stereo crosstalk, dB: -110.9Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, %: 0.0012Excellent

General performance: Excellent
post #137 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liver View Post
Before

Testing chain: External loopback (line-out - line-in)
Sampling mode: 24-bit, 96 kHz

Summary
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB: +0.01, -0.09Excellent
Noise level, dB (A): -112.8Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A): 112.5Excellent
THD, %: 0.0006Excellent
IMD + Noise, %: 0.0012Excellent
Stereo crosstalk, dB: -110.5Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, %: 0.0012Excellent

General performance: Excellent

After mod, change opamp, ERS paper, new capacitor

Testing chain: External loopback (line-out - line-in)
Sampling mode: 24-bit, 96 kHz

Summary
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB: +0.01, -0.09Excellent
Noise level, dB (A): -113.1Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A): 112.9Excellent
THD, %: 0.0006Excellent
IMD + Noise, %: 0.0011Excellent
Stereo crosstalk, dB: -110.9Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, %: 0.0012Excellent

General performance: Excellent
very slight differences in spec, what about you opinion on audible?
post #138 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liver View Post
Before

Testing chain: External loopback (line-out - line-in)
Sampling mode: 24-bit, 96 kHz

Summary
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB: +0.01, -0.09Excellent
Noise level, dB (A): -112.8Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A): 112.5Excellent
THD, %: 0.0006Excellent
IMD + Noise, %: 0.0012Excellent
Stereo crosstalk, dB: -110.5Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, %: 0.0012Excellent

General performance: Excellent

After mod, change opamp, ERS paper, new capacitor

Testing chain: External loopback (line-out - line-in)
Sampling mode: 24-bit, 96 kHz

Summary
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB: +0.01, -0.09Excellent
Noise level, dB (A): -113.1Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A): 112.9Excellent
THD, %: 0.0006Excellent
IMD + Noise, %: 0.0011Excellent
Stereo crosstalk, dB: -110.9Excellent
IMD at 10 kHz, %: 0.0012Excellent

General performance: Excellent
Maybe this is the limit of the x-fi recording capabilities ?
post #139 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
i tried to get them direct from national semiconductor, they wanted about $19.50 postage, i might as well order them from here, there about £4 or summat
I think that they (National) have increased the price due to high demand. I got the order confirmation March 13, and payed $9 for 3 samples and delivery to Sweden.
post #140 of 2194
hmm- what card was it that you took those specs? Did you change the recording op-amp as well, or just the output opamp?
post #141 of 2194
I'm going to mod mine. But going easy - just changing the opamps for the LM4562 and nothing else. It's my first time at soldering, but I'm up for the challenge. Just 2 questions for you experts:

1. Does anyone know where to get the LM4562 in the UK?
2. Is the conclusion that we don't short the 22uF caps now?

Cheers.
post #142 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by janderclander14 View Post

With respect to the op-amp caps, I preffer not to sort them but replace the full set of 16 caps with higher value ones.

Which cap value do you recommend (that can fit in the available room)?

As they seem to provide current and not transport signal, does high quality cap is really needed in this case (I suppose exchanging 16 blackgates will be quite expensive)? Do standard nichicons may be enough?

Thanks again to cotdt for this awesome thread!
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showpo...9&postcount=89

i asked almost the same quesion. although, i dont know if the same advice still applies?
post #143 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by db597 View Post
I'm going to mod mine. But going easy - just changing the opamps for the LM4562 and nothing else. It's my first time at soldering, but I'm up for the challenge. Just 2 questions for you experts:

1. Does anyone know where to get the LM4562 in the UK?
2. Is the conclusion that we don't short the 22uF caps now?

Cheers.
1.

Opamp:
http://catalog.digikey.com/scripts/p...me=LM4562MA-ND

Power Filter Capactor:
http://www.hificollective.co.uk/comp...dard_type.html

2.

I think so
post #144 of 2194
Thanks a lot Gilly! I had thought Digikey was a US site, but just saw a UK section. That really helped.
post #145 of 2194
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by janderclander14 View Post
Maybe this is the limit of the x-fi recording capabilities ?
I think the limit might be the DAC itself in this case. For example, I expect a better DAC like the Elite Pro to score better. But this X-Fi already scores very well stock.
post #146 of 2194
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showpo...9&postcount=89

i asked almost the same quesion. although, i dont know if the same advice still applies?
unfortunately, no one is sure what exactly these capacitors do, so there is no definitive answer. i know some DAC chip engineers at CS so maybe i can ask them when i get the chance. however, the card does sound a little better shorted. if they were "critical" then if you short them then they shouldn't work at all, or sound strange. to be safe, you can try 22uF 16V Blackgates in that position. if there is any improvement then let us know. if not, then all you lose is a few dollars. i suppose 22uF polypropellenes would be too big, but the actual value does not seem to be critical.
post #147 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by cotdt View Post
unfortunately, no one is sure what exactly these capacitors do, so there is no definitive answer. i know some DAC chip engineers at CS so maybe i can ask them when i get the chance. however, the card does sound a little better shorted. if they were "critical" then if you short them then they shouldn't work at all, or sound strange. to be safe, you can try 22uF 16V Blackgates in that position. if there is any improvement then let us know. if not, then all you lose is a few dollars. i suppose 22uF polypropellenes would be too big, but the actual value does not seem to be critical.
A little more info about caps roles:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&#post10070526

Cap modding for an Elite pro (sadly in japanese, but the pics may help):

http://www.geocities.jp/tag627/X-Fi.html
post #148 of 2194
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by janderclander14 View Post
A little more info about caps roles:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&#post10070526
"Anyway, I shorted out the capacitors for the front 2 channels using small pieces of wire between the capacitor pins. I would say that the sound was a bit brighter and sounded a bit more real - especially for vocals. I measured dc voltages of less than 1mV for both front channels (with no sound playing)."

Very interesting, and in fact bclare's findings mirror mine exactly. Although the caps make the DAC more stable, they are not needed in this situation. Since capacitors degrade sound, they should be removed if they are not required. Manufacterers like Creative don't care about sound quality as much as a potential lawsuit where they could lose millions, and they have no idea what kind of equipment will be used with their card, so I can understand why they would want to play it safe.

Since 3 different X-Fi cards have had their caps shorted with no ill effects but in fact an improvement in sound quality, I would definately recommend shorting these caps.
post #149 of 2194
I just modded the output opamp. I did not touch the input stage. Perhaps that is a source of distinct limitations.

The card is an elite pro. All parameters were that same (bit perfect, with all audio "enhancements" off, and volume at 90%).

I have listened to the card, before and after. The biggest changes for me was to plug my headphones directly into the card itself and not into the breakout box. Large difference between breakout box and direct out from sound card.

[rant]

This is a nice card. I have not heard the uber expensive DAC or DAC / Amp combos, but I like the sound. I like the music it makes.

Perhaps this is due to the eilte pro's inherent quality to begin with? I think Creative has made a very very good product here. I do not think it is a trade off any more between gaming and audio fidelity (at least with Windows XP). From my perspective, get the elite pro and then use it with all bells and whistles for gaming and switch to audio creation mode for the audio fidelity.

I keep wondering about all the questions here at headfi on what DAC or Amp to upgrade to (assuming upgrading from Xfi). I think this is a great card. Creative has made bad first impressions with a lot of the sound blaster line, but the elite pro is something else.

[/rant]

I have to admit my own personal limitations. If the modded card and the stock card were to be A/B tested, I may (low probability) be able to tell the difference. Not being able to A/B test, I can not make a statement that it is that different. That is a personal limitation.

While I was making the mod I fired up the integrated audio on the Bad Axe 2. It is the Intel HD audio. Now that was a huge difference from the modded elite pro and the integrated audio! My lord, I was modding as fast as I could to get away from that!
post #150 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liver View Post
I just modded the output opamp. I did not touch the input stage. Perhaps that is a source of distinct limitations.

The card is an elite pro. All parameters were that same (bit perfect, with all audio "enhancements" off, and volume at 90%).

I have listened to the card, before and after. The biggest changes for me was to plug my headphones directly into the card itself and not into the breakout box. Large difference between breakout box and direct out from sound card.

[rant]

This is a nice card. I have not heard the uber expensive DAC or DAC / Amp combos, but I like the sound. I like the music it makes.

Perhaps this is due to the eilte pro's inherent quality to begin with? I think Creative has made a very very good product here. I do not think it is a trade off any more between gaming and audio fidelity (at least with Windows XP). From my perspective, get the elite pro and then use it with all bells and whistles for gaming and switch to audio creation mode for the audio fidelity.

I keep wondering about all the questions here at headfi on what DAC or Amp to upgrade to (assuming upgrading from Xfi). I think this is a great card. Creative has made bad first impressions with a lot of the sound blaster line, but the elite pro is something else.

[/rant]

I have to admit my own personal limitations. If the modded card and the stock card were to be A/B tested, I may (low probability) be able to tell the difference. Not being able to A/B test, I can not make a statement that it is that different. That is a personal limitation.

While I was making the mod I fired up the integrated audio on the Bad Axe 2. It is the Intel HD audio. Now that was a huge difference from the modded elite pro and the integrated audio! My lord, I was modding as fast as I could to get away from that!
i agree, onboard is pants without an external dac etc.

and tbh, your elite pro comes with some by all acounts amazing DAC's anyway. i think that you were "spoilt" with good quality before :P
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