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Hotrodding the X-Fi: A Layman's Guide (No 56k) - Page 14

post #196 of 2194
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henmyr View Post
I was going to do this mod on the XtremeGamer, but ran into some problems. From what I can see, the original op-amps in the Xgamer has its "pins" on the wrong side of the amp, so some bridge or something has to be done to get the new amp in place. Check the photo of it:



Anyone got any advice on how to proceed? Is using small bits of iron wire a good thing? First solder the wire to the xgamer and then solder the new amp to the wires?

EDIT: It might be possible to just bend the pins a little on the new amp to get it in place.

EDIT2: I have made another photo where both op-amps are beside each other to compare sizes. The new amp the the right of the old amp. The new amp is not soldered yet.

oh yikes... looks like the opamp packaging is different on that card. you'll have to find an adaptor... maybe browndog makes one.
post #197 of 2194
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBSCIX View Post
Alot of guys are using these LM4562's on soundcards latley they sound amazing. Do you guys find the ERS paper helpful? I understand it should work rather well seeing how "Noisy" the inside of a PC case is electrically speaking.
i ended up covering the motherboard inductors with the ERS paper. did get rid of the scrolling noise.
post #198 of 2194
Are DIP to SOIC adapters easily available and/or easily added to the board (opamp swap)?
post #199 of 2194
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by M3NTAL View Post
Are DIP to SOIC adapters easily available and/or easily added to the board (opamp swap)?
yes, you can use DIP8 with the browndog adaptors. personally, i think it's easy enough to swap SOIC opamps and with my trusty Hakko 936 can do it in under a minute.
post #200 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by cotdt View Post
yes, you can use DIP8 with the browndog adaptors. personally, i think it's easy enough to swap SOIC opamps and with my trusty Hakko 936 can do it in under a minute.
Thank you for the tip - I am handy with an iron (use a Weller WTCPT) - and if it is as simply as you say, I will just swap it like that. It is a bit cheaper since the adapters are pricey.

You are saying that your on board sound card can now drive power hungry headphones? Currently (stock) it makes my HD650 sound the worst they have on anything.
post #201 of 2194
Could one of you fine gentleman possibly share some of your tips on desoldering the opamps? I think soldering is easy enough but I am just terrible at this desoldering stuff.
post #202 of 2194
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by M3NTAL View Post
Thank you for the tip - I am handy with an iron (use a Weller WTCPT) - and if it is as simply as you say, I will just swap it like that. It is a bit cheaper since the adapters are pricey.

You are saying that your on board sound card can now drive power hungry headphones? Currently (stock) it makes my HD650 sound the worst they have on anything.
you'll need an amp for most headphones. For IEMs, it's probably better not to use an amp.

AngryGuy - you get a small scizzor or snipper and just cut off the legs of the opamp. then use your solder iron to get rid of the leftover legs.
post #203 of 2194
Alright Cotdt, I was the one you were originally talking to about this project. Great to see the success on your thread (11 pages, woah). Anyways, I am finally getting up the courage to do this, and I am going home next weekend. I am planning on taking my x-fi home, ordering all the parts THIS weekend, and buying a soldering iron all that stuff.

Do you think you could get me an exact parts list as well as links to the pages you ordered them on. Im trying to find the exact parts you used (like the EXACT, not just same voltage or w/e, because I am unsure if I will get the right ones). It would help me out alot if I got a parts list from you. After that I can probably do the rest myself. BTW any sites that ship to Canada would be nice.
post #204 of 2194
I honestly don't know where I went wrong with my Audigy but there are so many possibilities. The good news is that I was successful on replacing the opamp of the Xtrememusic. I still need to order a capacitor and some ERS paper to finish the mod.

Thanks a lot, cotdt, sounds great.

I didn't short the caps, are we back to thinking that this is a good idea? I guess I will try this next.
post #205 of 2194
how are the Burr-Brown OPA-2604 opamps?
post #206 of 2194
Can anyone tell me which parts they used?
post #207 of 2194
I've just swapped out the capacitor on my X-Fi for the 2200uF 16V Blackgate. Initial impressions are exactly as cotdt said - warmer and more defined bass (which addresses my main gripe with it).

Still burning it in - have only been using the modded X-Fi for 30mins. I haven't changed the opamp, but think it's already been a worthwhile upgrade. If you're new at this, do the capacitor replacement first. The joints are bigger, so it's easier to practice here first.

Some points:

1. I had problems melting solders with my 25W iron. Once it's on the card (e.g. the original solder, or if you want to readjust a solder you've just added), it's very difficult to remelt it. The heat just gets conducted away by the card. I recommend at least a 30W iron. It's really cutting it close at 25W.

2. cotdt bent his Blackgate above the X-Fi chip - this is a good idea. Mine is protuding perpendicularly out from the card. This looks nicer, but it extends outwards a lot, so I can't use the neighbouring PCI slot. Unfortunately, I've made the "legs" on my capacitor very short, so bending it is no longer an option.

3. how does one make small joints? My solder globules are pretty large - ok for the capacitor, but I'm really worried about the opamp. I really don't have the confidence to make such small joints.
post #208 of 2194
Some pictures of my X-Fi after doing cotdt's capacitor mod. Here's the view from the top with the new 2200uF Blackgate attached. It completely dwarfs all the other capacitors on the X-Fi:


Another view showing the whole soundcard. Note that the Blackgate protrudes out by quite a bit - occupies 2 PCI slots now . Fortunately, there's a very short riser card at the end of my motherboard (for the audio connectors of the onboard sound). It fits fine in there, so I didn't waste any PCI slots in the end.


A close up of the Blackgate - note that the legs have been trimmed to fit perfectly. Almost looks like it came straight from Creative like this. From this view looks pretty professional if you don't mind me saying so .


Here's the bit I'd prefer to hide - I soldered it from behind. Here you can see that see my l33t DIY soldering skills aren't great at all. The brown paint of the X-Fi board is also a bit melted as I was chasing solder globules around to move them into position. Anyone know how to make the solder joints smaller? I could really do with some tips here. The X-Fi works 100% fine, no crackles or anything, and the bass is noticably improved. But my handy work is anything by delicate:
post #209 of 2194
Thread Starter 
That is some beautiful work, db597! I do prefer to see the giant capacitor mounted the way you did it, but I wanted to mount mine in the lowest PCI slot possible to minimize noise, so I had to bend it. Well, you'll soon see that the opamp upgrade is an even more significant mod. For soldering the opamps, you want to press the LM4562 into position, heat the opamp legs on the PCI board and draw solder into it.The hot legs on the PCI board is what melts the solder, so all you need is thin solder wire. Even a huge thick iron tip is okay because the only thing it does is provide heat.

I know many have gotten away with low-watt irons, but personally I think they are likely to damage the board and components because you have to heat them for a very long time (especially since the ground plane is a huge copper heatsink). Use at least 50W, better would be 100W, so that you can work faster and that means less possibility of component damage. It's also much easier.
post #210 of 2194
No offence but it's not the soldering iron.There's a saying "a bad workman always blames his tools".

The reason your having trouble is your lack of experience with solder.

Solder has flux in it to help it apply it self to the surface, because your over heating the solder, this is burning away and the solder becomes impossible to work with.

It's only a case of practice.Have you some old electronics you can practice on?
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