Cretative X-Fi Surround 5.1 modded for audiophile -- USB audio
Sep 16, 2009 at 2:28 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 36

madwolf

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prod17751.jpg


This X-Fi surround was purchase for a friend to be used as a USB to SPDIF
solution for the Ibasso D10. But after the mod my friend thinks that this solution is good enough. The creative X-Fi implementation of the USB to audio is one of the best in the industries. Certainly better then the EMU 0404, Xital DG2, PCM2906 (used in the D10), PCM2702E (used in the predator). These are without ASIO and limited to 16bit/48Khz.

The USB interface on the X-Fi support USB2.0, ASIO with buffering and 24-Bit/96kHz.
The week link in the X_Fi lies in the DAC and the Audio amplifier.
The DAC section it uses the Cirrus Logic 4361, Which is still better than the PCM2702 (used in predator) but not as good as the WM8740 (used in D10). Comparing only the USB and DAC combination the X-fi would beat the Predator and the D10.

But the Amplifier section is really basic and horrible on the X-fi. So I applied the following modification.
X-FiModded.jpg


A. Change the stock op-amp from TDA1308 to a OPA2365 (Only the LR is changed the rear, surround and bass is untouch)
B. Added WIMA capacitors in parallel to the bypass cap from the DAC to the Amplifier.
C. Ceramic cap for Power Supply.
D. Nichicon Fine-Gold to replace the stock output decoupling cap. There are 2 no of Wima Cap on the underside of the PCB.
E. Sanyo OS-CON for the Power supply coupling for Audio Section, there is one more for the Digital section, not shown.

Because of the simplicity of the amplifier section this mod is only suitable for IEM and not for full size headphone.
The complete solution is less than SGD$100 or US$75.

As a complete solution for laptop -> USB -> DAC+AMP--> IEM, I would prefer this to a predator.

You need to install the drivers to make use of ASIO or to play with the different DSP x-fi feature otherwise it is optional.
I tested it will all DSP functionality of the X-fi off, and only in headphone mode.
 
Sep 16, 2009 at 12:07 PM Post #2 of 36

ROBSCIX

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Very cool. I am judging by your post that you like the sound quality.
Modificatiosn is really what puts PC audio hardware in another category as you can improve it yourself!

Great stuff.
 
Sep 17, 2009 at 9:46 AM Post #6 of 36

madwolf

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I am sure you will like your HD595, I have it as well.

I suggest your get used to the sound of the HD595 first before deciding if you need something. The reason why I got the HD595 is because it goes well with almost anything. Even direct out from your laptop.
 
Sep 17, 2009 at 2:06 PM Post #7 of 36

auD!o

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Quote:

Originally Posted by madwolf /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I am sure you will like your HD595, I have it as well.

I suggest your get used to the sound of the HD595 first before deciding if you need something. The reason why I got the HD595 is because it goes well with almost anything. Even direct out from your laptop.



Alright, thanks for an honest answer.
 
Nov 17, 2009 at 3:46 PM Post #10 of 36

Zaluss

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I had this unit for awhile and I'm very pleased seeing this mod. When I'm brave enough maybe I'll open it up and try it myself.

Or maybe just pay you to do it for me :p

Quick question: Do you use the creative software or just the native USB sound card drivers. For windows XP in this case.

I've had popping issues with Vista/7 for the X-FI usb drivers.
 
Dec 11, 2009 at 2:31 PM Post #11 of 36

madwolf

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With the creative drivers there is no pop or click even with a USB hub in between with lots of devices connected to the hub.

With native windows drivers there are some click and pop. I am using XP have not tried Vista or 7
 
Feb 13, 2010 at 7:02 AM Post #12 of 36

Infoseeker

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Anyone know if the RCA on this thing is considered a clean line-out? Or a line-out at all?

I have one of these and have been wondering forever.
 
Apr 1, 2010 at 8:06 PM Post #13 of 36

shake

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Very interesting hack. I've taken apart mine and tried to find things to mod, but I'm not very good at tracing these things. Could you post more pics of the mod if you have time? Also, do the 'D' caps affect the headphone out or the RCA outs? Or both?
 
Apr 2, 2010 at 4:13 AM Post #14 of 36

powerarron

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The same issue with madwolf, my speaker kept making popping sound lika mad even with creative drivers!! I've tried uninstalling, restarting, and re-installing the driver, bit none of them works for the popping issue!! my OS is win 7 64bit. Could anyone help? or I will do back to my Xonar...
 
May 19, 2010 at 1:31 PM Post #15 of 36

pterodactilo

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What mod could I do to use this same card with AKG K601 headphones? In another thread about modding  PCI x-fi cards the OP recommended LM4562 opamp. Can I use this one with the x-fi surround USB too?. Also is it feasible to unsolder the DAC and changing it by another better one one? It seems difficult as the DAC has quite more pins that the opamps.
 

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