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Hotrodding the X-Fi: A Layman's Guide (No 56k) - Page 29

post #421 of 2194
Ok frick this ive put this off for too long, I think im gonna go buy a cheap soldering iron at a local store and order the parts tonight. anything changed since the original post? any suggestions to make this modding easier or w/e?
post #422 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imvd85 View Post
GameBlaster, I also have Sennheiser HD595 headphones and I want to ask you do you turn the creative volume knob higher to get the same volume you were getting with these headphones in the x-fi main output before the mod?

I'm asking because in specs the default NJM2114 op-amp has a much higher output current capacity, 60mA vs 26mA of the LM4562, so I assume there should be a difference. People who have used the card with sennheiser HD series or other high-impedance headphones before and after the mod please comment on that.

Thanks.
well at high volume I measured the SQ but I think volume level is same provided that the card were in the lowest PCI slot, what is interesting is that I install my moded X-Fi Elite Pro on other PC (close to graphics card in 2nd PCI slot) I was surprise by the sharp increase in volume as crank it up but it whereas on my PC the increase in volume level is not the same
post #423 of 2194
My nonpolar 1000uF blackgate will still take a few more weeks to be fully settled in but its been about a week now and it performs pretty consistent by now. The resulting sound combined with the 4562 opamp is *very* nice. The basses are very strong (try portishead's first album on this baby..) without being boomy, the highs are detailed and clear and the sound as a whole is quite pleasant. Fluid and natural of character (try norah jones, dido). It can definately *wow* you when good music is played at proper volume.

(observed over a pair of mordaunt-short speakers and sub, still eagerly waiting for my headphones to arrive, not in a A/B comparison so take it with some salt.. it sounded ok before but now its much more lively and dynamic, subjectively ofcourse..)

With these modifications the XFi becomes a very usable source component for music, which it isnt really in its factory form. Highly recommended!
According to cotdt it can even stand up to atleast the cheaper DACs, I havent tested this as I dont have a DAC (thank you, cotdt, i owe you a beer. you posted your mod at the perfect time for me ) nor feel like i need one at this point. The stock Xfi sound is really in a different league. So doubters, yes go find that iron and try this at home! Its really not that hard and you don't need soldering experience to pull this one off (insert standard disclaimer)

I'm not sure what the current opinion is on the 4 22uF capacitors near each opamp.. Is it clear what theyre there for yet and if they can safely be shorted in all setups (using amp, headphones directly in xfi, etc.)
post #424 of 2194
I'm very excited about this, before this mod became popular I was considering spending a lot more on an external DAC to do bitperfect to.

Are any of you guys going to the head-fi meet by any chance? I have all the parts but not too much experience soldering or anything, would anyone mind helping me out ?
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post #425 of 2194
nvm
post #426 of 2194
Hmm was going to get a dac ah lite to then i saw this, might as well mod mine and not have to monkey around with using onboard for my mic. Time for new headphones instead! Great mod work

Anywhere to get the blackgate cap without having to order by fax/mail/phone?
post #427 of 2194
Today I got three Elna Silmic II 25V 1000uF capacitors from Digikey. Still waiting to get the LM4562's probably next week.
post #428 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by GameBlaster View Post
well at high volume I measured the SQ but I think volume level is same provided that the card were in the lowest PCI slot, what is interesting is that I install my moded X-Fi Elite Pro on other PC (close to graphics card in 2nd PCI slot) I was surprise by the sharp increase in volume as crank it up but it whereas on my PC the increase in volume level is not the same
The position of the sound card couldn't have been the reason for the different volume levels. There are two system volume knobs to check, that is the Master volume (which is the one related to the hardware, in our case Creative) and the Wave volume (which is related to Windows OS and for best perfomance it should always be 100%, this way you avoid digital attenuation). And don't forget the application's own volume, which is also digital. Plus, in applications like winamp there are also different ways of volume control, linear and logarithmic, that affect greatly the way volume changes (for winamp go to output plugin's configuration window to check).
Quite possibly the two computers had different wave or application volume settings.

What I asked you was, provided that only master volume is used and all other volume controls are 100% or out of the equation, is the new op-amp weaker than the default op-amp when driving your HD595s?
post #429 of 2194
well I've been at my X-fi for a while now since getting my Blackgates and Nichcons yesterday afternoon. I replaced the 4 Jamicons next to my main op-amp first and they went very smoothly. The Nichicons I got to replace them are quite a bit larger, but they fit nicely as they are not any wider, just taller.

here's a pic of them from a slight angle so you can see



Then I moved on to the power cap. For some reason the negative leg was really in there! the solder just would not melt at all!!! I had to crank my soldering iron up to like 700F just to get it to melt! I'm not sure what the problem was, but it wasn't flux bc I used it... I'm still struggling to get the hole clear so I can get the new Blackgate installed... the rest of the caps went easily enough so I'm not sure what the deal is with this one...
post #430 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imvd85 View Post
The position of the sound card couldn't have been the reason for the different volume levels. There are two system volume knobs to check, that is the Master volume (which is the one related to the hardware, in our case Creative) and the Wave volume (which is related to Windows OS and for best perfomance it should always be 100%, this way you avoid digital attenuation). And don't forget the application's own volume, which is also digital. Plus, in applications like winamp there are also different ways of volume control, linear and logarithmic, that affect greatly the way volume changes (for winamp go to output plugin's configuration window to check).
Quite possibly the two computers had different wave or application volume settings.


Of course I don't have to mention that since I'm advanced user ,

(Winamp + ASIO.dll + Creation Mode + Bit-perfect Playback ) and the mixer settings were all the same in both PC setup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imvd85 View Post
What I asked you was, provided that only master volume is used and all other volume controls are 100% or out of the equation, is the new op-amp weaker than the default op-amp when driving your HD595s?
well I didn't install new power filter caps yet, but I don't think the new op-amp weaker than the default op-amp from my judge of listening.
May be the differentiation in my both PCs has something else I'll repeat this in other different PC and see what will be revealed.
post #431 of 2194
soloz2, what are the specs for the 4 capacitors you replaced the old Jamicons? Any sign of improvement in the sound?
post #432 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seba View Post
soloz2, what are the specs for the 4 capacitors you replaced the old Jamicons? Any sign of improvement in the sound?
They are Nichicon FG series audio grade caps. 22uf 25v. I purchased them from Percyaudio along with some ERS paper and the Blackgates.

here is a pic of a Nichicon right next to the stock caps


and the blackgate 1000uf 16v next to the stock 220uf 16v


A close up of the LM4562 and Nichicons


A close up of the Blackgate power cap



And the finished product



I'm using Vista so the driver issues are still troubling and SQ is not as good as in XP, but the modded card sounds slightly better then the unmodded card in XP. I'm sure as support grows I'll be able to get even better sound out of this card. For now I'm very pleased with the results. The noise floor is much lower, with better imaging and stereo separation. The soundstage is wider, so it should be even better for gaming. Bass is slightly more impactful as well. I'll have to wait for the caps to burn in of course, but for it sounds better from the get-go which is what I had hoped for.

I cannot comment on how much difference the Nichicon's made as I did that mod along with the Blackgate. Overall I think the largest difference was made with the new LM4562 op-amp.
post #433 of 2194
So do you guys still short out the... what are they called??

And perhaps could someone give a detailed parts list with URL linkings (can they be shipped to Canada?). Im gonna do this in a couple weeks and I still cant find all the parts I need online.
post #434 of 2194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pm@c View Post
So do you guys still short out the... what are they called??

And perhaps could someone give a detailed parts list with URL linkings (can they be shipped to Canada?). Im gonna do this in a couple weeks and I still cant find all the parts I need online.
I'm not sure why you can't find all the parts... you can get a sample of the op-amp from national and the caps and ERS paper can be had at Partsconnexion

I did not short the caps, but instead replaced them with audio grade caps
post #435 of 2194
Is there anywhere to order the caps and ERS paper ONLINE and not over the phone or fax? It baffles me that a store can have a website yet require a phone order :X
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