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Hotrodding the X-Fi: A Layman's Guide (No 56k) - Page 108

post #1606 of 2194
X-Fi Fatal1ty mods

There are several common mistakes presented in this (and others) threads. One of the most funny is using a known good audio capacitor to filter voltage in digital part of the card (eg. for the main CA20K1 chip). Pictures/links to crazy cap mods - Chitchat - CapsMod Forum - Powered by Discuz!

Another serious mistake is keeping the known bad Jamicon caps on the card. They are not only audio grade caps, they are also not low ESR caps usable for voltage filtering and on top of that, they are known to fail caps - bad caps in short, see there: Horrible pictures of dead caps - Identifying Bad Capacitors & Related Symptoms - CapsMod Forum - Powered by Discuz!

Third mistake is to use tantalum caps. 10, 15 years ago this have a sense, as they was small, yet superior in ripple and response. Todays the Kemet caps simply suxx, compared to Panasonic FM ones. But Davmax explained it far better and in great detail there: Understanding ESR and max ripple - Capacitors Modification - CapsMod Forum - Powered by Discuz!

Of course, feel free to ignore that all and do whatever you want to do


If you care slightest bit about the quality of your X-Fi, then you might check this pic I made - it show all caps numbers and voltages on them by 20Mhz scope:



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


So, the recommended by me caps replacement list goes this way:

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

I already partialy made this recap and I got numerous of improvements, but like I say - who did not want to know, he did not want to know, so
post #1607 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by trodas View Post
There are several common mistakes presented in this (and others) threads. One of the most funny is using a known good audio capacitor to filter voltage in digital part of the card (eg. for the main CA20K1 chip).
honestly, i couldn't disagree more on this point. the reason we use blackgates is not because they are audio quality, but because the distortion and bass roll-off is low, per their specs. the lower quality cap you use, the more phase distortion and attenuation occurs. because of the nature of electrolytics, a high-pass RC filter can "form," thus causing attenuation. phase distortion can badly ruin the low frequency sounds, blending them all together.
in an ideal situation, we wouldn't need a filter cap, but because dc is required for the circuit to work a cap is used to reduce the dc current so as not to damage audio components.
post #1608 of 2194
does anyone have schematics for the breakout box? I want to replace the opamps for the inputs mostly.
post #1609 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker010 View Post
does anyone have schematics for the breakout box? I want to replace the opamps for the inputs mostly.
it'll be easier to find datasheets for all of the ic's and figure out which are the opamps that way. go to alldatasheets.com and enter the first set of numbers on each ic.
post #1610 of 2194
for the flexijack on the elite pro, is it possible to replace U2 and U5 with LME49860 as well? I already replaced U3 with LME49860

I'm referring to this picture X-FI-MOD-084b - eSnips, share anything
post #1611 of 2194
seeker010,

"...for the flexijack on the elite pro (SB0550), is it possible to replace U2 and U5 with LME49860 as well?..."

Only if interested in "influencing" recordings.
I say "influencing," because improvements are virtually nil, over stock 5532 opamps.

More "detectable" changes are from adjusting coupling capacitor pairs C27/C15, (Line-IN -> U3) and C29/C14 (U3 -> U2/U5 differential opamps, feeding AKM ADC)

Current values, my installation:
C15/C27: TDK MLCC X7R, SMT 1210, 22uf @ 16vdc (matched to +/- 0.2uf) - (stock: Wincap NP, 10uf @ 16vdc)
C14/C29: Panasonic FM, 68uf @ 16vdc (matched to +/- 1uf) - (stock: Jamicon 47uf @ 16vdc)
- above combination performed with accuracy transferring analog from Studer-Revox B77 MkII final mix tapes

If hardcore and need to improve low-freq (20~200hz) recording performance:
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/3908953-post1563.html

Updated SB0550 picture:
X-FI-MOD-109 - eSnips, share anything

Updated Changes/Descriptions in TXT format:
X-FI-MOD-109 - eSnips, share anything
post #1612 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by cotdt View Post
Anyway, I reviewed my basic physics and figured out how the ERS Paper worked... and realized that they are WAY overpriced for what they are. You can probably make your own "ERS Paper" by obtaining a sheet of copper mesh and sandwiching it between two sheets of paper. I am sorry I advocated the use of this overpriced product, but it does work.

btw, I think the ELNA Cerafine sounds amazing too! They are warmer than the Blackgates. BTW, 1000uF is all you need.

Hi,
I bought one of those big ELNA big capacitor too but the sound card did not work. Mine is 4700uf, 35V. I used a short cable to solder it to the sound card too. I put back the old capacitor then it works. Any idea why? The short cable used is from the car speaker wire, copper color. I would think it would work.
I shorted the 22uf caps too and it seems the bass is more pronounce.

Thanks.
post #1613 of 2194
Random Murderer -
Quote:
There are several common mistakes presented in this (and others) threads. One of the most funny is using a known good audio capacitor to filter voltage in digital part of the card (eg. for the main CA20K1 chip).
Quote:
honestly, i couldn't disagree more on this point. the reason we use blackgates is not because they are audio quality, but because the distortion and bass roll-off is low, per their specs. the lower quality cap you use, the more phase distortion and attenuation occurs. because of the nature of electrolytics, a high-pass RC filter can "form," thus causing attenuation. phase distortion can badly ruin the low frequency sounds, blending them all together.
in an ideal situation, we wouldn't need a filter cap, but because dc is required for the circuit to work a cap is used to reduce the dc current so as not to damage audio components.
OMG, no disrespect, mate, but... did you actually bother to even read what I write? You obviously did not understand it, but that is obvious. Did you even TRY reading it? Or you quickly jump into the "no no no, this is wrong, wrong, wrong" mode, rejecting all arguments?

Quote:
phase distortion can badly ruin the low frequency sounds, blending them all together
Now please tell me, where in the CA20K1 chip is present a AUDIO in ANALOG form?

You are in pure digital world there, mate. You should use the best cap, suitable for the TI voltage regulator, check the datasheets there: http://www.ti.com/lit/gpn/tps54352


Hence using a good known audio cap in pure voltage filtering and for purely digital chip is pure nonsense at least. This was already established long time ago in this thread by many others as well.
Of course, feel free to reject any artuments at all and believe in your own reality I just merely suggesting you to do not make an imbecile of yourself

Just a suggestion, of course.


Why not use tantalum caps - done especially for bitchi
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, tantalum caps is a bad idead, 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. So, draw your own conclusions, dear reader.


Bad_dude -
Quote:
I bought one of those big ELNA big capacitor too but the sound card did not work. Mine is 4700uf, 35V. I used a short cable to solder it to the sound card too. I put back the old capacitor then it works. Any idea why?
Of course. Just right above I linked the pdf datasheed of use voltage regulator. You modified the wrong capacitor and wrongly. The datasheet recommend use a relatively medium-quality low ESR cap.
If you use anything more serious, you get into bad troubles. The regulator shut down, effectively stoping functionality of the card. It happen for me too, when I for fun used a 3300uF 10V Samxon RS cap. Now I use 1000uF 6.3V Samxon GC cap and all works well.
Another good choice will be a Panasonic FM cap, somewhere from 470uF to 1200uF. Keep the voltage as low, as you get. Actuall voltage on the cap is 1.23V on my Fatal1ty.

The mod with the crazy big Ceraphine cap worked for the user cotdt, because he used a 10 000uF 63V cap and using a 63V cap on 1.2V will give only a very small fraction of it's specs, so the voltage regulator made it.
You used 35V Ceraphine cap - hence much more of your cap specs are utilized - and that shut down the voltage regulator effectively.

Please note that also using very high spec cap, like Sanyo Os-con SEPC polymer (I used 820uF 2,5V one) is not ideal. Once again, a good (Jamicon is BAD CAP), but relatively mediocre cap is recommended. Os-con cause osclations in voltage, as bitchi measured well on scope.

Quote:
I shorted the 22uf caps too and it seems the bass is more pronounce.
Of course. Last thing you want between yourself and your audio is known BAD Jamicon cap. Jamicons are not audio caps. Jamicons are no low ESR caps for voltage filering. Jamicons are known to fail miserably, Jamicons are not good for anything. They are a known bad caps, and I cannot say that more urgently.

And if you read my text above, you will know that user cotdt THINK he heard anything better, but is can't, as he just messed up with DIGITAL PART of the card, where things it either work, or not. Cannot be imporved by using good, quality audio caps.
This is laughable at best.
Check my recommendations.

And replace the opamps. They clearly help also. I replaced all 4 of them + added much better caps fol voltage filtering to them = whole new level of sound reproduction.
It might take you even a while to adjust yourself to how much "sharper" and more precise are now the sounds that are supposed to be like that, actually sound. For the first time, of course

PS: I think I made myself, my X-Fi mods and intentions clear in this thread there: X-Fi sound bugs? I think I have a solution. - Bad Caps Hardware Discovery & Solution - CapsMod Forum - Powered by Discuz!
post #1614 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by trodas View Post
*tons of info*
well, i found something out about the power filter caps: creative has replaced the 220µf 16v jamicrap with a 220µf 16v g-luxon, if it makes a difference. the cap is black with gold print, so it *looks* like a panny or nichicon hz.
post #1615 of 2194
Neither Jami nor G-Luxon is high quality stuff. I would spend a dime or so more for Nichicon or Panasonic.
post #1616 of 2194
Hey guys, great work here. I too would like to mod my x-fi with an opamp and a blackgate but dont trust myself with a soldering iron. Is there anyone in the UK who has done the mod and are confident enough to do it again? I can get the necessary parts, pay shipping and a fee if necessary.

Please PM me if you can help!

Cheers
post #1617 of 2194
Random Murderer - of course it makes difference. G-Luxon is total and utter crap, but before it start dying (witch is somewhat rapid process) it have like 2x better specs. Hence the card work well for a bit longer, perhaps... Truth is - this is also a bad cap and almost the worsest one EVER. One G-Luxon exploded close to my face - I was not harmed, but I lost my hearing partly for some time, so... Do NOT go anywhere near them. I'm not kidding.
Just check these pictures:
Horrible pictures of dead caps - Identifying Bad Capacitors & Related Symptoms - CapsMod Forum - Powered by Discuz!
...and no, I do NOT making this stuff out.


CyberTheo - exactly. Neither of them belong anywhere near usefull hardware. Customers have been cheated once again badly...


Tez - sorry, Czech republic there, a bit farer from you that you might like... But where you get your Black Gate caps anyway and witch ones? I have my eye on Black Gate N caps, 4.7uF 50V d5 for the 8 remaining audio caps on my X-Fi
post #1618 of 2194
I used Panny FM in my X-Fi XtremeMusic SB0460 mod and initially OSCON and later tantalum as power decoupling caps in Elite SB0550 mod. I have a ESR meter and I measured the ESR of Panny FC/FM 10uf, 22uf, 47uf/25v caps vs. Kemet or Sprague tant. The tant ones actually have better ESR for above values. You need to use good name brand tant caps. I tested a few no name tant caps for the same value, and some of them have ESR 1.2-2.0ohm, while the Kemet and Sprague have around 0.2 - 0.5ohm.

For decoupling, tant is still a pretty good choice, but more expensive. And tant has far less leakage current comparing to regular electrolytic and OSCON caps. If you check some LDO regulator datasheet like this one, manufacture actually recommend 0.1-1ohm output cap ESR as stable region.

The OSCON makes the sound quite stiff, I think it's mainly because of its extremely low ESR and very high ripple current. Also with all OSCON decoupled, my RMAA noise level is actually 2db higher comparing to using tant. I believe the ultra-low ESR actually make the regulator (even 78M05) less stable. It needs to be in series with a small value resistor when OSCON is used.

Of course, tant is not for everything. When used as coupling cap, they make the high weaker and not as transparent. Its capacitance to frequency is not linear.

Caps are used for fine tune the sound. Recap is an ART work, not mechanical work.

My current SB0550:
DAC opamp U7: LME49720 metal can w/ SOIC-DIP adapter, 2 x 0.1uf MLCC + 2 x 10uf tant decoupling
ADC opamp U3, U2, U5: LME49860
all tant power decoupling
DAC coupling: 4x22uf MLCC
ADC coupling: 22uf MLCC + 68uf tant
+/-12V, +5V power filter: FM 470uf/16v
DSP power filter: FC 1000uf/6.3v
DAC power filter: FM 100uf/25v
+5V regulator: replaced onboard ua78M05 to LM317T w/ 10uf Cadj

post #1619 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by eboy2003 View Post
Caps are used for fine tune the sound. Recap is an art work, not mechanical work.
agreed, and just like any art form, perfection is a matter of opinion.
post #1620 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by trodas View Post

Tez - sorry, Czech republic there, a bit farer from you that you might like... But where you get your Black Gate caps anyway and witch ones? I have my eye on Black Gate N caps, 4.7uF 50V d5 for the 8 remaining audio caps on my X-Fi
I would be willing to ship to the Czech Republic, please get back to me if you are willing to do this mod for me. In terms of the Blackgates, I just want to use a 1000uF 16v for the main power cap.

In terms of where to get them in the UK ive found:

The Hificollective shop

They do not stock any 4.7uF rated ones though
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