I have to rant on Creative/Win7/Dell!

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by PCMusicGuy, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. PCMusicGuy

    PCMusicGuy [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,180
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2006
    A few months back I researched how to get my existing 2.1 setup (bookshelves, a separate power amp, and a dedicated powered subwoofer) to work on my laptop at the office. My goal was to use all components, have the bass properly redirected, and not spend more than about $100.

    Well, I achieved my goal. I bought the X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro USB for about $50, and after a few hours fighting driver issues, I got it working. As it turns out, the morons at Creative have drivers you can download off the 5.1 Pro USB page that will not install. Not the old drivers, the current drivers, or the beta. My understanding is the the product number SB1095, specifically, is missing from all of their installers. You must use the Creative Software AutoUpdate or resort to 3rd party drivers like PAX. Still, with that minor hassle resolved, I was able to get everything hooked up, configured and playing great.

    Fast foward to today: If I am using the laptop only for playing music, it works great using DirectSound as the output. With the heavy multitasking that my job requires, however, the DPC latency is all over the place, and the sound skips, tears, and distorts like crazy. I did experience this with the built in IDT HD Audio and started using WASAPI for all of my music listening. That worked great and never had a hiccup with the music. As it turns out the X-Fi will not work with WASAPI at all, nor with any other ASIO or Kernel Streaming methods because it is locked to 48kHz and my library of music is all 44.1kHz. Foobar gives me an unsupported format error no matter what bit depth, buffer size, or dithering option I choose. DirectSound is the ONLY thing that works and it severely sucks due to DPC latency issues with Windows 7 and this Dell E6510. So other than switching back to XP, I think I'm screwed. I'll have to keep listening to my headphones on the built in IDT using WASAPI and when I want to crank up the 2.1 setup, I'll need to stop using my laptop for anything other than music.

    If anyone has any suggestions that I might be able to try I'm all ears. I've pretty much exhausted my abilities of internet searching in hopes of a solution.
     
  2. YeuEmMaiMai

    YeuEmMaiMai [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    15,043
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    USB is software driven so when you load up the system and max it out, you will get dropouts. Use the internal card and the headphone jack
     
  3. MrGuvernment

    MrGuvernment [H]ard as it Gets

    Messages:
    19,169
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    So how is this a rant on dell, they did nothing wrong, and windows 7.. seems more like a creative problem as Creative has always been known to have shody drivers and half arsed hardware.

    have you tried something like

    http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml

    ?
     
  4. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    13,067
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
    Heh.. Their drivers have been problematic at times... but they do have some really good hardware. Granted they do have some sucky hardware.. but that is pretty much true of any electronics company.

    Any USB sound card is basically going to suck compared to a real sound card.. not matter who makes/sells the USB sound card.
     
  5. JohnDC

    JohnDC Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    384
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    For music an HRT Music Streamer II will run rings around most internal sound cards, so be careful when you generalize. And no drivers required. It is also a pretty decent little DAC (it has analog output only).
     
  6. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    13,067
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
    Heh.. well for that price they better be good.
     
  7. MattyC

    MattyC Gawd

    Messages:
    797
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007

    Always? I dunno. In recent history? Very much so. One of the many reasons I said 'forget it' and went optical out to a receiver years ago. *shrug*
     
  8. JohnDC

    JohnDC Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    384
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    You can certainly spend more than $149 on an internal sound card also!
     
  9. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    13,067
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
    Yep,
    And as you see I have a higher end Creative card in my sig.

    Bought it used when it was still $200 new.

    Before that I had an X-Fi Extreme music which was moved to another computer at my house.

    Previously I had an Audigy.. finally gave it to a family member when I bumped up to the X-fi.

    Before that, a Live!

    In any case, I don't get the lower end crappy cards (software based).

    I can't stand the sound quality on on-board or lower end cards. Any time I upgrade, the newer card must have better sound quality.
     
  10. PCMusicGuy

    PCMusicGuy [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,180
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2006
    I'm very familiar with the DPC latency tool. It's how I know the IDT HD hardware/drivers from Dell aren't that great once you are actually multitasking. And maybe I don't know enough about Windows 7 internals to criticize them, but I can say for sure under the same usage scenario on XP, I never experienced this kinds of audio drop outs or problems.

    I'm also well aware that USB is not the first choice for music, but what other options are there for a laptop? Sure there are better USB DACs, but I've not found any with a dedicated subwoofer output that will properly route low frequency based on an adjustable crossover. Sure, I could build something using MiniDSPs or similar but it seems there are no cost effective solutions in existence for using a laptop as a source for music to both headphones and bookshelves with a dedicated sub.
     
  11. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    13,067
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
  12. PCMusicGuy

    PCMusicGuy [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,180
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2006
    Didn't even know that one existed. If I get fed up with the Creative card I may have to order that one and try it.