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Chaintech AV-710 Setup Thread, Including True 44.1kHz Wolfson Output in XP

post #1 of 510
Thread Starter 
Windows XP 32-bit

This is the guide to use if you're interested in getting true 44.1 kHz audio from the Wolfson DAC rather than using inferior and processor-intensive software resampling algorithms to upsample.

1. Install the card into a free PCI slot on the motherboard.
2. Plug your amplification device (ex. speakers, receiver, etc.) into the black "Back Surr" jack on the back of the card next to the optical output. [Previous card revision: "Alt. Out"]
3. Download the Envy 24 Family Driver version 4.73b linked here and install it using Setup.exe (Application) in the Setup directory. This version is the last one to support the following trick:
4. Once the drivers are installed, open up the Envy control panel using its tray icon on the taskbar.
5. Click 2CH if it's not already selected (not 2CH Hi-Sample Rate).
6. Go into the digital output section and enable S/PDIF output, selecting PCM as the sub-option. Click the Auto button under sampling rate.

Done! You'll now be capable of using Kernel Streaming in Foobar to directly send 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz audio content through your sound card's Wolfson DAC.

----------

Windows XP 64-bit

Thanks to sabotaged for confirming that this version works!

1. Install the card into a free PCI slot on the motherboard.
2. Plug your amplification device (ex. speakers, receiver, etc.) into the black "Back Surr" jack on the back of the card next to the optical output. [Previous card revision: "Alt. Out"]
3. Download the Envy 24 Family Driver version 4.60b linked here and install it using Setup.exe (Application) in the Setup directory.
4. Once the drivers are installed, open up the Envy control panel using its tray icon on the taskbar.
5. Click 2CH if it's not already selected (not 2CH Hi-Sample Rate).
6. Go into the digital output section and enable S/PDIF output, selecting PCM as the sub-option. Click the Auto button under sampling rate.

Done! You'll now be capable of using Kernel Streaming in Foobar to directly send 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz audio content through your sound card's Wolfson DAC.

----------

Windows Vista 32-bit

Thanks to n00bler for the updated information. Note that there is currently no way to prevent resampling to 96 kHz with the AV-710 in Vista.

1. Install the card into a free PCI slot on the motherboard.
2. Plug your amplification device (ex. speakers, receiver, etc.) into the black "Back Surr" jack on the back of the card next to the optical output. [Previous card revision: "Alt. Out"]
3. Download the Envy24 Audio Controller Family Driver version 5.40a linked here and install it using Setup.exe (Application) in the Setup directory.
4. Once the drivers are installed, open the audio control panel using its tray icon on the taskbar.
5. Enable 2CH Hi-Sample Rate by clicking the appropriate circle.

Done! If you plan on using the Kernel Streaming plug-in in Foobar, remember to enable the Resampler plug-in and set it to 96 khz. Possibly a better solution for Vista: use Foobar's WASAPI plug-in and do not use the resampler.

----------

Windows Vista 64-bit, Windows 7 32-bit, and Windows 7 64-bit

1. Install the card into a free PCI slot on the motherboard.
2. Plug your amplification device (ex. speakers, receiver, etc.) into the black "Back Surr" jack on the back of the card next to the optical output. [Previous card revision: "Alt. Out"]
3. Download the Envy24 Audio Controller Family Driver version 5.40a linked here.
4. Install it using Setup.exe (Application) in the Setup directory. (Note: For Windows 7, use XP SP2 compatibility mode.)
5. Restart the computer.
6a. If using Windows Vista 64-bit or Windows 7 64-bit: Download and extract the 4.60b XP64 drivers linked here but do not install them.
6b. If using Windows 7 32-bit: Download and extract the 4.73b XP32 drivers linked here but do not install them.
7. In Device Manager (Windows key + Pause Break key -> Hardware -> Device Manager), under "Sound, video and game controllers", find the "Envy24 Family controller", right-click it and click Properties.
8. Go to the "Driver" tab and click "Update Driver."
9. Click "Browse my computer for driver software," browse to the location where you extracted the 4.60b XP64 drivers in step 6. There will be two drivers in the next screen one with and without "64 bits" under the model field. (Info: the non "64 bits" version is actually the current driver 5.40a you installed in step 4, the "64 bits" version is the one you want). It will ask you if you want to continue, click Yes.
7. Restart the computer again.
8. Once the drivers are installed, open the audio control panel using its tray icon on the taskbar.
9. Enable 2CH (not High Quality mode) by clicking the appropriate circle.
10. In Foobar, select WASAPI (envy24 speakers) as the output device.

----------

Revisions

August '07:

-added more information about driver installation
-changed "Alt. Out" to "Back Surr" as most cards seem to use this label for the jack

October '07:

-added Vista setup information [courtesy of Head-Fier Flagger]

November '07:

-added drivers specific to XP 64-bit and revised Vista section

March '08:

-new drivers for Windows Vista 32-bit (5.20b --> 5.30b)

July '09:

-new method for Windows Vista 64-bit and Windows 7 32-bit

September '09:

-new method for Windows 7 64-bit

December '09:

-different final driver version for Windows 7 32-bit
post #2 of 510
And you're doing this without upsampling in Foobar? I can't get it to work...what are your Foobar settings?

EDIT: Never mind...got it working! Thanks...I was always upsampling to 96Khz to use the Wolfson Dac.
post #3 of 510
Thread Starter 
Ah, I'm glad it's working for you. To my ears, using direct 44.1kHz sounds more neutral than software upsampling, plus it uses up far less CPU cycles. Enjoy!
post #4 of 510
Hi infinitesymphony. I've discussed this with you before, but I had to end up using DirectSound v2.0 because Kernel Streaming kept shutting down whenever my modem kicked in. Otherwise I have all the same settings. Tho the rate says 48K on auto, as soon as FB2K starts playing my flac files, it switches to 44.1K. So is everything optimum?

BTW, after using the 4.73b driver a few weeks I noticed that the volume would suddenly be lower on startup, and a trip thru the mixer showed that indeed sliders were lower in 2 or 3 places. By themselves. Finally I got tired of constantly readjusting and put in the 4.51c driver. It has a different looking panel, but all the adjustments you talk about are there and the volume setting has been rock solid.
post #5 of 510
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bonjonno View Post
So is everything optimum?
Yep, sounds good... You might think about upgrading to cable/DSL, or getting an external modem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bonjonno
BTW, after using the 4.73b driver a few weeks I noticed that the volume would suddenly be lower on startup, and a trip thru the mixer showed that indeed sliders were lower in 2 or 3 places. By themselves. Finally I got tired of constantly readjusting and put in the 4.51c driver. It has a different looking panel, but all the adjustments you talk about are there and the volume setting has been rock solid.
That's strange... My guess is that some other program is interfering with the controls. For example, Winamp and Windows Media Player have both been known to change the Windows Mixer volume settings when using the volume slider (and also when you start the programs) instead of using their own internal volume controls. But, I'm glad 4.51c fixed the issue... I doubt it'll be much different from 4.73b; the latter is what I recommend only because it's the latest working version.
post #6 of 510
Thanks for the guide, works well.

Is there any other tweaks you can use with this card?

Also I can't seem to get Kernel Streaming to work?

I get this error - "Unrecoverable playback error: KS output error: error opening device"
post #7 of 510
Thread Starter 
If you'd been upsampling to 96kHz before, make sure that Foobar's resampler isn't in the Active DSPs list. That error is almost always the result of a mismatch between the sample rate that Foobar outputs and what the sound card expects.

The other tweak capable with the AV-710 is only useful if you're interested in using its optical (TOSlink) output. It involves flashing the card to Prodigy firmware, and in the process, all of the analog outputs are disabled.
post #8 of 510
Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitesymphony View Post
If you'd been upsampling to 96kHz before, make sure that Foobar's resampler isn't in the Active DSPs list. That error is almost always the result of a mismatch between the sample rate that Foobar outputs and what the sound card expects.

The other tweak capable with the AV-710 is only useful if you're interested in using its optical (TOSlink) output. It involves flashing the card to Prodigy firmware, and in the process, all of the analog outputs are disabled.
Weren't people replacing the caps and such, or is everybody just using external amps?

It's like a 25' optical run for me to get to my deck, and that can't be changed.

maybe I'll have to monoprice a long ass toslink cable... Oh wait it doesn't work under vista yet anyways.
post #9 of 510
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fatjohnny View Post
Weren't people replacing the caps and such...?
All of the DIY guys are into replacing almost everything and just imagining the card as a pre-made PCB. But, doing that is more like a "mod" than a "tweak."

Sorry about Vista... I know I won't upgrade from XP for a loooong time. Right now, there are virtually no positives (unless you consider the user and hardware interfaces to be an improvement) and plenty of negatives.
post #10 of 510
thank you infinitesymphony

i've since moved to another device, but long ago i do remember the AV-710 was capable of using the wolfsen dac without having to force the hi-rate mode

you've saved me the trouble from writing my own guide (i've been meaning to test different drivers to see which one did the trick and looks like 4.73b does!)
post #11 of 510
Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitesymphony View Post
If you'd been upsampling to 96kHz before, make sure that Foobar's resampler isn't in the Active DSPs list. That error is almost always the result of a mismatch between the sample rate that Foobar outputs and what the sound card expects.

The other tweak capable with the AV-710 is only useful if you're interested in using its optical (TOSlink) output. It involves flashing the card to Prodigy firmware, and in the process, all of the analog outputs are disabled.
Hello infinitesymphony.

I have a myriad of questions I'm hoping you can help me answer.

1)I am going to be installing a PC in my car. I am looking for a good sound card that will deliver music in crystal clear quality. The sound card will be connected to an external DSP from Alpine using a TosLink Optical connection(this is the only way to connect to this Alpine DSP). If I buy the Chaintech card and apply the "trick" you posted, will it deliver the sound quality I'm looking for? I don't know anything about upsampling or whatever, I just want to hear clear music from the soundcard.

2)I have heard of F00bar2000 but have never used it. Can this trick be used in WinAmp? If so, what are the benefits of applying the trick? Will the Chaintech card deliver true 44.1 kHz audio through WinAmp and through the TosLink Optical out? If you're wondering why I prefer WinAmp, it's because it has the DFX DSP plugin. And as far as I know, there is still no version of DFX for Foobar.

3)Does the Chaintech support EAX 2.0? And if it's connected using the optical out, will I still have access to the many EAX DSP effects such as "Concert Hall", "Stadium", etc? Even after this "trick" is applied?

4)Even with this "trick", does the Chaintech card sound as good as the E-MU 1212M or 404 cards?

Thanks in advance
post #12 of 510
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by isamu View Post
1)If I buy the Chaintech card and apply the "trick" you posted, will it deliver the sound quality I'm looking for?
The workaround I posted only applies to analog output. I'm not sure that the AV-710 outputs bit-perfect audio by default... Many users flash the card to another sound card's firmware for the best results. See: Help flashing AV-710 to Prodigy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by isamu
2)I have heard of F00bar2000 but have never used it. Can this trick be used in WinAmp?
Yes, as long as you use a plug-in for Kernel Streaming and/or ASIO (basically, they do the same thing--circumvent Windows's internal mixing).

Quote:
Originally Posted by isamu
3)Does the Chaintech support EAX 2.0?
No, the AV-710 doesn't support any form of EAX or hardware acceleration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by isamu
4)Even with this "trick", does the Chaintech card sound as good as the E-MU 1212M or 404 cards?
Well... Sound quality is subjective, but having heard both cards firsthand (I own the 1212M and my girlfriend owns the AV-710), I'd say they're not even close--they shouldn't be, considering that the 1212M costs five times more. The 1212M is one of the most resolving sound cards I've ever heard, and its DAC chip (CS4398) has been used in recording studios for several years in Digidesign's top ProTools|HD interfaces. However, like the AV-710, the E-MU cards / audio interfaces don't support EAX.

In my opinion, you're better off looking for a card that doesn't require tweaking to get bit-perfect digital output. If EAX is important to you, definitely consider looking at Creative's X-Fi series. Creative invented EAX, so they have the best support for it (all the way up to EAX 5.0). Most X-Fi cards use the CS4382 DAC, which apparently sounds pretty good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by isamu
Thanks in advance
You're welcome.

----------------

After re-thinking about your question for a minute, I have a question for you:

What does the card's sound quality matter if you're only using its digital output? Also, if you're going to an external DSP, couldn't it perform some of the same functions as EAX?
post #13 of 510
Thanks for the info.

Are there any threads on how to do any of that modding/tweaking?

My machine was running horribly on XP so a fresh start was one of the few positives. My incredibly old TV tuner program and almost everything still works, just pathetic drivers support has been the one thing making it frustrating.

I do seem to be getting a 'subdued' amount of sound out of the 7/8 jack even in 2 channel mode, it doesn't sound like 'back' it just sounds like a quiet version of what is coming out of the front speakers, is that what I'm actually trying to get out of the wolfson?

TIA many times over.

Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitesymphony View Post
All of the DIY guys are into replacing almost everything and just imagining the card as a pre-made PCB. But, doing that is more like a "mod" than a "tweak."

Sorry about Vista... I know I won't upgrade from XP for a loooong time. Right now, there are virtually no positives (unless you consider the user and hardware interfaces to be an improvement) and plenty of negatives.
post #14 of 510
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fatjohnny View Post
Are there any threads on how to do any of that modding/tweaking?
Threads:
AV710 modding?
Modding the AV-710: My experience so far
Is the Chaintech modable?
modding Chaintech AV-710

You might want to start by looking at the Tweaks section of this review:
Chaintech AV-710 Review

I never bothered with the jumper mod because I'd read a few responses that said the jumpers only affected the VIA outputs, which of course doesn't help when you're using the Wolfson output.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fatjohnny
I do seem to be getting a 'subdued' amount of sound out of the 7/8 jack even in 2 channel mode, it doesn't sound like 'back' it just sounds like a quiet version of what is coming out of the front speakers, is that what I'm actually trying to get out of the wolfson?
Yes. Under normal conditions, that output would function as the back speakers in a surround arrangement while the VIA DACs fed all of the other channels. The digital output trick allows you to use the Wolfson DAC to output the front two channels (L/R) without having to select 2CH Hi-Sample Rate, which would automatically upsample everything to 96kHz (or 192kHz, depending on which you select).
post #15 of 510
Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitesymphony View Post
Threads:
AV710 modding?
Modding the AV-710: My experience so far
Is the Chaintech modable?
modding Chaintech AV-710

You might want to start by looking at the Tweaks section of this review:
Chaintech AV-710 Review

I never bothered with the jumper mod because I'd read a few responses that said the jumpers only affected the VIA outputs, which of course doesn't help when you're using the Wolfson output.


Yes. Under normal conditions, that output would function as the back speakers in a surround arrangement while the VIA DACs fed all of the other channels. The digital output trick allows you to use the Wolfson DAC to output the front two channels (L/R) without having to select 2CH Hi-Sample Rate, which would automatically upsample everything to 96kHz (or 192kHz, depending on which you select).
Thanks again, I'll probably disable the front since I don't use it anyways.

The cool thing I guess is that I'm using the vista beta driver and do seem to be getting something out of the Wolfson so maybe I'll run my old 2.1 pulse logitechs off that.

I did search a ton and found most of those links, but thanks again and sorry for being a pain in the ass.

I thought maybe something as 'simple' as replacing a cap or two could be done to 'up the juice' a little.

I'm lucky I guess that I have sensitive headphones at least.
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