I have a Soundblaster Z sound card and a modmic 1.0, I have a 2m extension cable but otherwise the mic is plugged directly into the sound card in the mic slot. On a Xonar D2X the mic is crystal clear with its maximum +20Dba boost and its perfectly load enough. However on the Soundblaster Z on the +20Dba boost there is an amount of hiss in the background and the mic is a bit quiet. On the +30Dba setting the voice is loud enough but the amount of hiss is terrible. I have also tested a pair of PC360's on the card with its built in mic and it too hisses in the background.
So its the sound card that is introducing the hiss as far as I can tell, removing the extension and plugging in directly and using a different mic all result in a background hiss with any amount of boost set in the software. I have tried adjusting all the settings I can find in regards to microphones in Windows sound settings and in the Soundblaster control panel, nothing produces a cleaner sound that just basic maximum volume and +20Dba, the CrystalVoice settings all make things worse.
So what can I do about it?
I have a few possibilities I thought of:
1) Running my mic through my Xonar. I prefer the SBZ surround sound effect over Dolby headphone which is why I got the card but the mic input is really bad on the SBZ and great on the Xonar so mixing both should work. But Windows and games don't much like multiple sound cards and I think its a recipe for disaster having both installed in the machine at the same time.
2) A microphone preamp I assume would boost the signal from the microphone so I wouldn't need to boost it on the card and should produce a clearer sound? Certainly without boost on within the card there is no hiss so if I could boost the mic input before it gets to the card that should work?
3) The card is actually faulty and I should be talking to creative?
Any other ideas about how to fix the problem?