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How to best Setup X-Fi Titanium HD to avoid 44.1kHz Low Performance Issue

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hey guys

 

So I learned this weekend the X-Fi TI HD has problem with outputting Sample rate of 44.1kHz, due to not having hardware support for this Sample Rate. So the recommendation was to set it to 96kHz instead.

 

I ask you. what's the best way to do it? Right now I'm using it in Audio Creation Mode, which allows me to set the Master Sampling Rate to 96kHz, and also Windows 7 is setup to 96kHz 24Bits output.

 

My doubts are, is the "interpolation" of the audio, since almost everything is 44.1kHz, done by Windows or by the Hardware of the Sound Card? Does it do a good job? I now have to use Foobar in the default output mode, since Wasapi and ASIO will try to give me Bit-Perfect output, so, 44.1kHz Sample Rate, which is the one affected, right?

 

Thanks guys! Since not many people have this sound card, most went with the Essence STX, there are few documented articles about this issue and how to avoid it.

post #2 of 22

Wait, what? One very major point of the X-Fi DSP over its predecessors was acoustically transparent sample rate conversion. We're not talking about the Live! or Audigy cards here, which had DSPs designed strictly around 48 KHz instead of 44.1 KHz and had poor sample rate conversion.

 

You should be fine with the ASIO and bit-matched playback setup.

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

It seems I made a mistake!

 

I read about this problem the X-Fi HD had with 44.1kHz, and I thought they were talking about the X-Fi Titanium HD! ahahhaha yeah. didn't know there was a product with similar name!

 

So, the Titanium HD really is Bit-Perfect? hmmmm That's very good to know! I just wish there were some serious data from someone measuring the card with proper hardware for that, not just RMAA, which doesn't give true results most of the cases.

 

I should use ASIO over Wasapi then?

post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec246 View Post

Hey guys

 

So I learned this weekend the X-Fi TI HD has problem with outputting Sample rate of 44.1kHz, due to not having hardware support for this Sample Rate. So the recommendation was to set it to 96kHz instead.

 

I ask you. what's the best way to do it? Right now I'm using it in Audio Creation Mode, which allows me to set the Master Sampling Rate to 96kHz, and also Windows 7 is setup to 96kHz 24Bits output.

 

My doubts are, is the "interpolation" of the audio, since almost everything is 44.1kHz, done by Windows or by the Hardware of the Sound Card? Does it do a good job? I now have to use Foobar in the default output mode, since Wasapi and ASIO will try to give me Bit-Perfect output, so, 44.1kHz Sample Rate, which is the one affected, right?

 

Thanks guys! Since not many people have this sound card, most went with the Essence STX, there are few documented articles about this issue and how to avoid it.

 

Bit perfect only works until the data reaches the DAC. The interpolation is done by the DAC itself. 

post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec246 View Post

It seems I made a mistake!

 

I read about this problem the X-Fi HD had with 44.1kHz, and I thought they were talking about the X-Fi Titanium HD! ahahhaha yeah. didn't know there was a product with similar name!

 

So, the Titanium HD really is Bit-Perfect? hmmmm That's very good to know! I just wish there were some serious data from someone measuring the card with proper hardware for that, not just RMAA, which doesn't give true results most of the cases.

 

I should use ASIO over Wasapi then?

 

The X-Fi HD USB is a very different device. All "X-Fi" USB devices actually lack the EMU20k1/EMU20k2 found in almost all of the internal X-Fi cards like the Titanium HD and do their processing in software, and the X-Fi HD USB doesn't have 44.1 KHz from what I've heard (which is extremely baffling for a device pitched at audiophiles).

 

The X-Fi Titanium HD, like most of the other X-Fi internal sound cards, does have the DSP with bit-perfect capability. The only drawback is that you need to be in Audio Creation Mode for bit-matched playback and ASIO to work.

 

I tried WASAPI in Audio Creation Mode, but it doesn't switch the card's sample rate like ASIO does, so I don't recommend it.

post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks man! That has taken all my doubts aways! I will use ASIO for now own.

 

What I don't get is why the Audiophile way is using Audio Creation instead of Entertainment, doesn't make much sense. But that's the way it is, Audio Creation from now on!
 

post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

 

The X-Fi HD USB is a very different device. All "X-Fi" USB devices actually lack the EMU20k1/EMU20k2 found in almost all of the internal X-Fi cards like the Titanium HD and do their processing in software, and the X-Fi HD USB doesn't have 44.1 KHz from what I've heard (which is extremely baffling for a device pitched at audiophiles).

 

The X-Fi Titanium HD, like most of the other X-Fi internal sound cards, does have the DSP with bit-perfect capability. The only drawback is that you need to be in Audio Creation Mode for bit-matched playback and ASIO to work.

 

I tried WASAPI in Audio Creation Mode, but it doesn't switch the card's sample rate like ASIO does, so I don't recommend it.

 

hmm, may I know how do you confirm that?

post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec246 View Post

So I learned this weekend the X-Fi TI HD has problem with outputting Sample rate of 44.1kHz, due to not having hardware support for this Sample Rate. So the recommendation was to set it to 96kHz instead.


Poppycock. As others have said.

The EMU20kx chips do their SRC at around -135 dB (so you will never hear it no matter who you are or what equipment you have, it isn't physically doable) and will play (as everything else does) single-rate native and SRC into it. So if they're set to 48khz (which is default for Windows and a lot of other soundcards), they're doing SRC into that unless you have a 48k source (e.g. a DVD).
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

Wait, what? One very major point of the X-Fi DSP over its predecessors was acoustically transparent sample rate conversion. We're not talking about the Live! or Audigy cards here, which had DSPs designed strictly around 48 KHz instead of 44.1 KHz and had poor sample rate conversion.

It's Audigy 1 and only Audigy 1. The others don't have the best SRC engine ever, but it's still good enough that I'd be legitimately surprised if you could actually hear it (it too exists extremely far down there in the depths of never-neverland). Audigy 1 has an SRC "bug" related to it's DSP/firmware that forces it to always engage SRC and pump everything to 48khz no matter what the input is. They fixed this with Audigy 2 and so on, unless you enable CMSS or EAX processing (and you should have neither enabled for music listening - not because they do anything "nasty" but because on those cards those features do nothing outside of games). The ZS and 4 improved on that further by going to I2S among other things. But as Creative's datasheet for the 20kx specifies, the SRC engine is superior to basically anything else ever conceived, and there's no reason to shy away from it ("bitperfect" always makes me chuckle - what a minute and inconsequential thing to lose sleep over), the whole notion of "always absolutely perfect digital playback" is a bit insane (and it's truly an unattainable goal).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec246 View Post

What I don't get is why the Audiophile way is using Audio Creation instead of Entertainment, doesn't make much sense. But that's the way it is, Audio Creation from now on!

There's really no reason to avoid Entertainment Mode in favor of Audio Creation Mode, unless you're caused some distress by knowing that SRC is happening (and it's not like you're magically solving all problems running in ASIO or anything like that) - but the drivers/hardware is setup to run 48khz by default in Entertainment Mode to accommodate DVD playback as well as music playback. It can only lock at a single frequency, so they pick 48k. It does the SRC in the DSP hardware (and it does it cleaner than the file's noise floor will be), so you're good to go in either mode. In AC mode with ASIO you're running lower latency and with a lot of the post features disabled, in "purist" terms, sure, it gains you some infinitely small advantage, but there's much bigger fish to fry - we're talking maybe a fraction of a % of difference by going to all the hassle, compared to the massive flaws introduced by your headphones, speakers, etc. It doesn't kill you to do either, but it seems like a lot of work and worry for nothing imho. redface.gif
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by kn19h7 View Post

hmm, may I know how do you confirm that?

 

The sample rate in the Audio Creation Mode control panel doesn't switch whenever I use WASAPI. It does with ASIO.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post
It's Audigy 1 and only Audigy 1. The others don't have the best SRC engine ever, but it's still good enough that I'd be legitimately surprised if you could actually hear it (it too exists extremely far down there in the depths of never-neverland). Audigy 1 has an SRC "bug" related to it's DSP/firmware that forces it to always engage SRC and pump everything to 48khz no matter what the input is. They fixed this with Audigy 2 and so on, unless you enable CMSS or EAX processing (and you should have neither enabled for music listening - not because they do anything "nasty" but because on those cards those features do nothing outside of games). The ZS and 4 improved on that further by going to I2S among other things. But as Creative's datasheet for the 20kx specifies, the SRC engine is superior to basically anything else ever conceived, and there's no reason to shy away from it ("bitperfect" always makes me chuckle - what a minute and inconsequential thing to lose sleep over), the whole notion of "always absolutely perfect digital playback" is a bit insane (and it's truly an unattainable goal).

 

I thought it was also an issue with the Live! cards and their EMU10k1. It was certainly a common complaint in reviews of the day. The Audigy 2 might have been the first to work around that whenever the DSP wasn't being used.

 

Note that my knowledge of the Audigy series is very limited, since I basically skipped straight from a Live! Value to the X-Fi Prelude.

 

Also, the whole notion of switching to Audio Creation Mode just for ASIO and bit-matched playback is more hassle than I'd like when I spend most of my time in Game Mode, so instead I just stick to Game Mode and use Winamp with an OpenAL plugin in an attempt to bypass the Windows mixer. (Unfortunately, foobar2000 doesn't have any sort of OpenAL output plugin I know of.) It may or may not be bit-perfect, but I don't hear any flaws in the music.

post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 

Yeah, it sure is a bit of a pain to be switching all the time from modes using the Creative Control Software, so most of the time I play my games on Audio Creation mode, I don't think Game Mode should bring too much improvement, maybe 2 or 3 fps.

 

Using ASIO with Foobar now, and I agree that speakers has a much greater influence to the sound than the 0.5% the DAC can made using the wrong setup, so it shouldn't be so important. Maybe I can hear some some difference when my HD558 arrive, although they won't be using a Headphone Amp.

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

 

The sample rate in the Audio Creation Mode control panel doesn't switch whenever I use WASAPI. It does with ASIO.

 

 

 

oo thanks.. Is the current playback bitdepth also reflected in the control panel (since foobar doesn't show current output bitdepth when using ASIO)?

 

...I'm just too lazy to install the console launcher = ="

post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

I thought it was also an issue with the Live! cards and their EMU10k1. It was certainly a common complaint in reviews of the day. The Audigy 2 might have been the first to work around that whenever the DSP wasn't being used.

My understanding is that the Live! cards do not natively want to perform SRC, because their SRC engine is not very good and Creative worked around that (they can re-lock like other cards of the era). The Audigy 1 does hardware SRC, but the spec is like -90 dB (which is good not great, it isn't full theoretical for DVD or CD is the gripe) and because it can only apply DSP effects at 48khz (which I think is still true of X-Fi and Recon3D, another reason they preference 48khz), it has to SRC in and out of 48khz. The problem is, for whatever reason, the Audigy 1 ALWAYS has that enabled (I think it's a firmware fault, iirc) - so even if you have EQ, CMSS, EAX, etc all off, it's still pumping through that DSP path. The Audigy 2, ZS, etc will truly turn that OFF and re-lock, but if you turn the DSP on, they have to jump into 48khz. The X-Fi uses that "ring topology" and will apply the DSP at 48khz and do SRC in and out (with much higher fidelity) to eliminate the issue entirely. I've never actually heard anything naughty from my Live! or Audigy cards, the original "discovery" of the issue was that Audigy 1 boards won't live up to their ASIO/recording marketing because of the SRC (it doesn't let them clock right). The Live! has some other issue with it's clock that makes it a bad choice for recording, but I forget what it is - it will probably come to me while I'm going down the road to work or something. But that was originally why Creative started taking heat around 2003 because the Live! (especially the higher end ones) and the original Audigy were marketed for project studios and multimedia use as well as gaming and DVD playback, and they'll fall short of the M-Audio and Hercules boards for the recording side due to that. AFAIK the 2 ZS and beyond are absolutely AOK for this though, and I've never had issues with ASIO drivers on the 2 ZS locking where they should or applications working with the Creative ASIO thing. redface.gif
Quote:
Also, the whole notion of switching to Audio Creation Mode just for ASIO and bit-matched playback is more hassle than I'd like when I spend most of my time in Game Mode, so instead I just stick to Game Mode and use Winamp with an OpenAL plugin in an attempt to bypass the Windows mixer. (Unfortunately, foobar2000 doesn't have any sort of OpenAL output plugin I know of.) It may or may not be bit-perfect, but I don't hear any flaws in the music.

Do you use XP still? confused_face_2.gif

When I had an X-Fi, I basically did what you're describing, or left it in Entertainment Mode, and lived with it (I game, but not often). Audio Creation can cause issues with some games (it won't let the card do the h/w EAX and other features), just as a note for other people. I don't have the table from Creative where I can snag it, but basically there is some validity to switching modes as the manual talks about. I find it annoying though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kn19h7 View Post

oo thanks.. Is the current playback bitdepth also reflected in the control panel (since foobar doesn't show current output bitdepth when using ASIO)?

...I'm just too lazy to install the console launcher = ="

In Windows 7 it should be, so if you set the output to 48khz for example, it should be 48khz. But with XP I'm less sure of that, because you're side-stepping kmixer and so on (and in general it's possible to "lie" to the XP audio stack and tell it you're doing something that you aren't, 7 seems not to do this and syncs with the audio drivers fairly well). I don't know as much about Vista, but I'm inclined to say it's similar to 7. If your DtoA has a display, that's the easiest way to check, it should show fs when it relocks at least. Sample depth is less relevant to worry about - if it's set to 24 it will just throw 0's on top to pad it up, and if it's set to 16 it will be cutting off 0's (for the most part). 16/48 should be what it wants to default to, so all you should have to do is change to 44.1 (and again, if your DtoA has a readout, it should tell you this at least when it relocks).
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post
Do you use XP still? confused_face_2.gif
When I had an X-Fi, I basically did what you're describing, or left it in Entertainment Mode, and lived with it (I game, but not often). Audio Creation can cause issues with some games (it won't let the card do the h/w EAX and other features), just as a note for other people. I don't have the table from Creative where I can snag it, but basically there is some validity to switching modes as the manual talks about. I find it annoying though.

 

XP? Not on my primary computer, which runs Win7 64-bit. I do have a secondary desktop that runs XP for game compatibility purposes and has my X-Fi Prelude in it, though.

 

Also note that sometimes, I get "mode lock" issues where I can't switch modes. I don't know what causes this or how to fix it. But if I'm locked into Game Mode, it's usually not a problem for me because I rarely need ASIO and I demand the DS3D/OAL/EAX hardware acceleration.

post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

XP? Not on my primary computer, which runs Win7 64-bit. I do have a secondary desktop that runs XP for game compatibility purposes and has my X-Fi Prelude in it, though.

Also note that sometimes, I get "mode lock" issues where I can't switch modes. I don't know what causes this or how to fix it. But if I'm locked into Game Mode, it's usually not a problem for me because I rarely need ASIO and I demand the DS3D/OAL/EAX hardware acceleration.

Yeah I had the "mode lock" thing too - if you spend enough time manually starting and stopping all of the services associated with the X-Fi drivers it can sometimes sort it out, but rebooting is the faster fix. I really did not like the X-Fi driver package coming up from Audigy, and I'm tickled with the Recon drivers and their stability.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


In Windows 7 it should be, so if you set the output to 48khz for example, it should be 48khz. But with XP I'm less sure of that, because you're side-stepping kmixer and so on (and in general it's possible to "lie" to the XP audio stack and tell it you're doing something that you aren't, 7 seems not to do this and syncs with the audio drivers fairly well). I don't know as much about Vista, but I'm inclined to say it's similar to 7. If your DtoA has a display, that's the easiest way to check, it should show fs when it relocks at least. Sample depth is less relevant to worry about - if it's set to 24 it will just throw 0's on top to pad it up, and if it's set to 16 it will be cutting off 0's (for the most part). 16/48 should be what it wants to default to, so all you should have to do is change to 44.1 (and again, if your DtoA has a readout, it should tell you this at least when it relocks).

 

...I was just asking if the current playback bitdepth is displayed in the Audio Creation Mode control panel when using ASIO ==

 

I'm using the Titanium HD soundcard as DAC, which apparently doesn't have any display by itself...

And from my understanding, the soundcard's clock should be switched accordingly to the current playback file's sample rate when using ASIO instead of fixed at a certain value.

 

Btw I'm using win7 x64 and don't have the "mode lock" problem, I switch between entertainment and audio creation modes frequently.

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