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1903 v145 and SoundBlaster Z

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xMorpheousx416    41

I know it's been a while since first bringing this up, but since the release of 1809, my system has had issues with SB's control panel not being able to recognize the full 5.1 surround system.  I had to leave Windows sound set to 5.1, and SB set to Headphones.  Creative hasn't released a driver for that series since March of 2017, and despite them stating in an email they're "working on it", I wasn't convinced they could fix it anyways.

 

But.. I digress.

 

However, after installing 1903, I still had nothing.  Until now.

 

It's been something within the last two CUs, either 116 or 145, I now have full function back.  If I get a chance, I might run back thru the list of fixes for each one, see maybe if I can understand or recognize what it could have been, but I doubt it.

 

So.. I won't be looking this gift horse in the mouth.  I just hope now, that future updates/upgrades (until I get the newest sound card), the sound system remains stable and usable. 

 

 

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George P    5,183

That's good news, fingers crossed it stays working.  Sound problems are the worse in my experience.

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Nogib    921

I do recall seeing the other day on the official SB reddit that they were looking at some 5.1 issues on the Z and Zx on 1903.  Who knows at what pace Creative will do anything but maybe worth keeping an eye on.

 

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xMorpheousx416    41

I'll have to check out that subreddit.  I'm probably one of the last few remaining geeks that haven't joined reddit since it's inception... so maybe what I've experienced can help someone else.

 

Also note:  For those reading this thread.  CU .145 is a Release Preview update... so, if anyone else is having issues with their sound card, you'll have to sign up for the Insider Previews via Settings.  I'm on the lowest rung of the ladder "Updates and Fixes Only".

Not going to say it helps, but in this case.. whatever changes were made, did.

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NickEclipse    3
Posted (edited)

I'm the guy on Reddit with the issues. Two guys I have spoken with, one with a Z like mine, another with a ZxR report no issues. I wrote so much stuff on that Reddit, I don't need to repeat anything here. But I created an account just to say I subbed to the Insider Release Previews and I'm installing and testing the updates to see if these fix my particular issue. I'll get back when done.

I agree on the fact drivers for that line are long overdue. I guess it didn't sell well? Less and less people get external Sound Cards these days, except audio enthusiasts, and then there's more competition to Creative now than ever. That would explain their lack of motivation and/or ressources to develop as many drivers' updates as they otherwise could. If that makes sense.

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NickEclipse    3

Issue persists for me. Thanks to Nogib for posting that subreddit by the way.

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xMorpheousx416    41
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, NickEclipse said:

Issue persists for me. Thanks to Nogib for posting that subreddit by the way.

Here's what you can try.

 

Having the latest version of their driver handy, go into Device manager.  Remove Sound Blaster from the list, but don't remove the software.

Go into Windows Sound.  Just type: sound   in the start menu, open Sound Settings.

Set the system to 5.1 and test it.

If you have all speakers up.. reinstall the SB drivers, use the Repair option.

 

Restart when done.

 

Keep in mind, these issues I have had, surround (no pun intended) the Z series card.  Not Zx or ZxR.  Not sure if the core drivers are different... similar to say, the same Nvidia release works on a 610, 650Ti, 750, and above series cards, but different features may be installed for each type.

 

On that subreddit, I joined in as Charvelx04.

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NickEclipse    3

Nah forget about it. I un-installed/re-installed these drivers like over 10 times. Trying all kinds of methods. Driver cleaner, safe mode, PAX modded drivers, manual installation through .inf, etc. I'm done LOL. But thanks for the tips. Yeah, mine is a Z also.

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NickEclipse    3
Posted (edited)

I'm using a Home Theater via TosLink by the way. Not PC Speakers. So I can still get compressed 5.1 through SPDIF-Out with WIndows' own DTS/DD encoders, since my HT can decode it. But the Speakers device is now silent (when it worked before), and DTS Connect & DDL are now broken (won't load in SB's Control Panel, and yes, I've re-installed them countless times too). Like I said, every steps I've taken are explained in the subreddit linked. I don't feel like re-writing all over again. Problem I'm pretty sure isn't on my end, and I'm also pretty sure I've done everything I could to make it work. The ball is now in Creative's and Microsoft's camp. Sound quality is definitely inferior with MS's encoders vs Creative's encoders. But it's definitely still 5.1 at least.

Edited by NickEclipse

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NickEclipse    3
On 5/25/2019 at 10:30 PM, xMorpheousx416 said:

Here's what you can try.

 

Having the latest version of their driver handy, go into Device manager.  Remove Sound Blaster from the list, but don't remove the software.

Go into Windows Sound.  Just type: sound   in the start menu, open Sound Settings.

Set the system to 5.1 and test it.

If you have all speakers up.. reinstall the SB drivers, use the Repair option.

 

Restart when done.

 

Keep in mind, these issues I have had, surround (no pun intended) the Z series card.  Not Zx or ZxR.  Not sure if the core drivers are different... similar to say, the same Nvidia release works on a 610, 650Ti, 750, and above series cards, but different features may be installed for each type.

 

On that subreddit, I joined in as Charvelx04.

Oh, one last thing. I was on Release Preview setting on Windows Insider Program. I now set it to Fast, and got a new update coming in called Windows 10 Insider Preview 18898.1000. We'll see if that one fixes things. But I highly doubt it.

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NickEclipse    3

As expected, my particular issue isn't fixed. And I may very well run into other issues now that I'm essentially running a Beta Test version of Windows. Gonna try and see if I can roll-back on that one...I should have stuck to 1809 from the beginning.

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NickEclipse    3
Posted (edited)

Rolled back to the previous "stable" version quick and without issues. Had I known this was this quick and easy, I would have rolled-back to 1809 the same way. Unfortunately, I erased the Windows.old that time before noticing my sound issue. Ah well, you gotta burn yourself to learn. I won't do a fresh install just to get back to 1809, I customize my OS too much, and would have way too much stuff to backup, plus the time involved. I'll live without DTS Connect and Dobly Digital Live for now.

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+DevTech    1,510
On 5/25/2019 at 5:37 AM, xMorpheousx416 said:

I know it's been a while since first bringing this up, but since the release of 1809, my system has had issues with SB's control panel not being able to recognize the full 5.1 surround system.  I had to leave Windows sound set to 5.1, and SB set to Headphones.  Creative hasn't released a driver for that series since March of 2017, and despite them stating in an email they're "working on it", I wasn't convinced they could fix it anyways.

 

But.. I digress.

 

However, after installing 1903, I still had nothing.  Until now.

 

It's been something within the last two CUs, either 116 or 145, I now have full function back.  If I get a chance, I might run back thru the list of fixes for each one, see maybe if I can understand or recognize what it could have been, but I doubt it.

 

So.. I won't be looking this gift horse in the mouth.  I just hope now, that future updates/upgrades (until I get the newest sound card), the sound system remains stable and usable. 

 

 

 

 

53 minutes ago, NickEclipse said:

Rolled back to the previous "stable" version quick and without issues. Had I known this was this quick and easy, I would have rolled-back to 1809 the same way. Unfortunately, I erased the Windows.old that time before noticing my sound issue. Ah well, you gotta burn yourself to learn. I won't do a fresh install just to get back to 1809, I customize my OS too much, and would have way too much stuff to backup, plus the time involved. I'll live without DTS Connect and Dobly Digital Live for now.

 

Driver problem.

 

Driver gets bug fixed.

 

Sooner or later, they push out the update.

 

All in all, a HUGE INCREASE in response speed by glacier-SLOW Creative!

 

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George P    5,183

Yeah, I figure when it's something that worked in one version fine but doesn't in a newer version that it's a 50/50 chance it's a driver that needs to be updated.    The only way to tell for sure is if you update to yet another newer version or a CU a month later, and the problem isn't fixed, then odds are greater that it's driver related and the hardware maker needs to fix it.

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+DevTech    1,510
52 minutes ago, George P said:

Yeah, I figure when it's something that worked in one version fine but doesn't in a newer version that it's a 50/50 chance it's a driver that needs to be updated.    The only way to tell for sure is if you update to yet another newer version or a CU a month later, and the problem isn't fixed, then odds are greater that it's driver related and the hardware maker needs to fix it.

To improve driver security Microsoft has been increasing the amount of automatically running some types of drivers in a mini-Hyper-V type VM environment and it exposes odd bugs in many drivers.

 

Creative can design a new silicon chip and layout a PCB and make a whole new marketing campaign faster than it can update a driver!

 

They seem to show signs of wanting to clean up that act.

 

Their hardware is HUGELY more sophisticated than Realtek but they must have been just financially hammered by the UNIVERSAL "good enough" HD Audio on all motherboards, so I try to be calm and patient about these issues.

 

It also looks like their "secret but obvious" plan to disable Dolby Digital Live on each update (to avoid license fees I guess) now seems to be ended as there seems to be some sort of Windows supported integration of Dolby that bypasses the need for the special Creative Applet to enable it. So, the new driver update works REALLY WELL.

 

Also, I've now updated to 1903 on most of my home computers and it REALLY ROCKS on making the older ones FASTER in a very noticeable way.

 

 

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xMorpheousx416    41
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, NickEclipse said:

Rolled back to the previous "stable" version quick and without issues. Had I known this was this quick and easy, I would have rolled-back to 1809 the same way. Unfortunately, I erased the Windows.old that time before noticing my sound issue. Ah well, you gotta burn yourself to learn. I won't do a fresh install just to get back to 1809, I customize my OS too much, and would have way too much stuff to backup, plus the time involved. I'll live without DTS Connect and Dobly Digital Live for now.

Understandable.   Sorry you're having so much trouble with it all.  I was peaved about it for some time, and didn't really want to go back to 1803 because I favored 09's dark theme.  30 years of computing, and we finally have native dark theme/mode support so we're not blasting our eyes with a constant white screen.

 

I only wipe the system completely clean once in a great while.  Having hundreds of thousands of files, in tens of thousands of folders (just on the main drive) takes more time than I like to spend unless it makes complete sense to do so.  I also have Windows Explorer settings manually changed for the different types of files, and modified right click menus.. which, when going from any version to the next, 1803 to 1809 to 1903, wipes ALL of that out.  Setting Explorer back to all it's default settings.  "We'll leave all your settings just as they are" my ass.  This isn't a thorn in my side, as much as it is a 2x4 against the back of the head.  Takes about two, maybe three hours to reset all my folders manually.

On four different machines.

 

Quote

Unfortunately, I erased the Windows.old that time before noticing my sound issue.

Once everything seems to be running stable, I do this anyways.  I also got notice when updating past 1809, and being in the release ring, it stated "you have ten days before you cannot rollback"... so, Windows was going to do that for me regardless.

 

 

My board comes with the Realtek ALC1150 chipset with Sound Boost 7.1, but I'm a dedicated sound card club member.  There's just too much you can do with a dedicated card, that no onboard can do.  And even more so, if say, Creative's AE9 hits the streets.. and you can swap out the op-amps for different sound set ups, as well as an external DAC.

 

https://www.pcworld.com/article/3324369/exclusive-first-look-creative-labs-high-end-sound-blasterx-ae-9-breaks-cover.html

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+DevTech    1,510
2 minutes ago, xMorpheousx416 said:
Quote

Unfortunately, I erased the Windows.old that time before noticing my sound issue.

Once everything seems to be running stable, I do this anyways.  I also got notice when updating past 1809, and being in the release ring, it stated "you have ten days before you cannot rollback"... so, Windows was going to do that for me regardless.

OMG - When I go through one of the "difficult" updates and I can login OK, the FIRST thing I do is KILL Windows.old so there is NO chance some weird alien influence or random electrical storm could start a ROLLBACK!

 

If it was up to me, the Upgrade Assistant would have a "Never Look Back" checkbox. :)

 

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NickEclipse    3
1 hour ago, DevTech said:

To improve driver security Microsoft has been increasing the amount of automatically running some types of drivers in a mini-Hyper-V type VM environment and it exposes odd bugs in many drivers.

 

Creative can design a new silicon chip and layout a PCB and make a whole new marketing campaign faster than it can update a driver!

 

They seem to show signs of wanting to clean up that act.

 

Their hardware is HUGELY more sophisticated than Realtek but they must have been just financially hammered by the UNIVERSAL "good enough" HD Audio on all motherboards, so I try to be calm and patient about these issues.

 

It also looks like their "secret but obvious" plan to disable Dolby Digital Live on each update (to avoid license fees I guess) now seems to be ended as there seems to be some sort of Windows supported integration of Dolby that bypasses the need for the special Creative Applet to enable it. So, the new driver update works REALLY WELL.

 

Also, I've now updated to 1903 on most of my home computers and it REALLY ROCKS on making the older ones FASTER in a very noticeable way.

 

 

Yes, I also suspected they want to kill DDL to have to stop paying licensing fees. Creative_Ryan on reddit is saying the dev team is "looking into it" to see if my issue is on MS's side of things. Whatever that means, their latest SB Z drivers are still from 2017...Two guys, one with a Z, another with an ZxR stated they have no issues whatsoever on their side, I'll have to take their word for it, but do they have a TosLink setup as I do? I don't remember from all the back and forth of the conversations. But another guy with a Z reported the same issue as mine.

Yes, the OS should run faster, especially on computers with older CPUs, since they optimized the Specter vulnerability protection with Google's Retpoline patch.

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NickEclipse    3
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, xMorpheousx416 said:

Understandable.   Sorry you're having so much trouble with it all.  I was peaved about it for some time, and didn't really want to go back to 1803 because I favored 09's dark theme.  30 years of computing, and we finally have native dark theme/mode support so we're not blasting our eyes with a constant white screen.

 

I only wipe the system completely clean once in a great while.  Having hundreds of thousands of files, in tens of thousands of folders (just on the main drive) takes more time than I like to spend unless it makes complete sense to do so.  I also have Windows Explorer settings manually changed for the different types of files, and modified right click menus.. which, when going from any version to the next, 1803 to 1809 to 1903, wipes ALL of that out.  Setting Explorer back to all it's default settings.  "We'll leave all your settings just as they are" my ass.  This isn't a thorn in my side, as much as it is a 2x4 against the back of the head.  Takes about two, maybe three hours to reset all my folders manually.

On four different machines.

 

Once everything seems to be running stable, I do this anyways.  I also got notice when updating past 1809, and being in the release ring, it stated "you have ten days before you cannot rollback"... so, Windows was going to do that for me regardless.

Yes, I really love the Dark Theme also. You can also change the cursor's color with 1903. Kind of useless, but I find mine now blue kind of sexy.,.Matches with the thumbs up/down I give on YouTube LOL. Just kidding. One of the main reason why I held back from updating to Windows 10 over 7 was the UI. Loved the Aero theme. Preferred the Vista one though. So I had my 7 looking like Vista. I knew about Classic Shell and Spybot Anti-Beacon, so the Start Menu and the Telemetry weren't really my main concerns.

I finally decided to jump ship. And with Classic Shell, Dark Theme and a little app called System Transparency, Windows 10 now looks pretty good to me. Forget about UI patching with this OS though, it's a nightmare, and each major updates break it anyway. Yes, I noticed they changed Explorers' setting with this update. It also brought back the Shortcut Arrows which I always remove. But it wasn't a big deal to get everything back as it was. Then everything seemed to run fine, I can almost  swear I even heard sound just fine, when I had Speakers Device on default. Then it did some minor updates and after a reboot, sound was broken on Speakers.

I tried to delete these small updates, but no success. And by then I already removed the Windows.old to get those precious GBs back on my SDD. Obviously I didn't test the system long enough before taking the decision. But I also wasn't aware rolling-back was that easy and that fast. I thought it was a pain in the A. So that also helped influence my decision to delete it that fast before noticing my Sound Card issue. Will know for the future, but I hope Creative does something about this.

+DevTech talked about a mini-Hyper-V type VM environment for the drivers, which I wasn't aware of. I hope it is related to this, and Creative does something. They did update drivers for old X-Fi cards, I find it odd they're slow on the Zs which are way newer (I have an X-Fi ExtremeMusic from way back to 2004-2005 I think? No TosLink on it for my HT though, so no use on testing it on Win10 for me). But +DevTech's explanation makes total sense. Anyway, as I said, I tried the Pre-Release build which is like a Beta of Windows 10 2020. And that didn't fix the issue. So the ball is more in Creative's camp than it is in MS's camp now in my opinion. I'll keep an eye out on reddit to see if I get any update on this.

Edited by NickEclipse

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NickEclipse    3

Speaking of Spybot Anti-Beacon. You have to disable the blocks to make Windows Insider Program work. But it's just a matter of re-enabling it back when the updates you want are done.

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+DevTech    1,510
1 hour ago, NickEclipse said:

Yes, I also suspected they want to kill DDL to have to stop paying licensing fees. Creative_Ryan on reddit is saying the dev team is "looking into it" to see if my issue is on MS's side of things. Whatever that means, their latest SB Z drivers are still from 2017...Two guys, one with a Z, another with an ZxR stated they have no issues whatsoever on their side, I'll have to take their word for it, but do they have a TosLink setup as I do? I don't remember from all the back and forth of the conversations. But another guy with a Z reported the same issue as mine.

Yes, the OS should run faster, especially on computers with older CPUs, since they optimized the Specter vulnerability protection with Google's Retpoline patch.

I have had to battle with every Windows update to get the digital link to my Yamaha receiver working with Dolby Digital Live,

 

- Sometimes believe it or not you have to switch from Creative Speakers to Creative SPDIF and vice versa. (YES, it was Creative Speakers that drove the SPDIF output!)

 

- Sometimes there is an obscure setting buried deep in a byzantine path of Creative TABS and buttons so examine all NON-OBVIOUS paths in any UI you can bring up from Creative.

 

 

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+DevTech    1,510

Also, the latest settings default to 2.1 so you have to re-enable 5.1

 

Also the "Configure" option is greyed out in Windows sound selection, by if you click on the the "properties" button and then the TAB with DTS and Dolby, clicking on Dolby and then TEST gets you a test sound from all the speakers!

 

TIP: even in 1903 it helps to pin the Classic Control Panel to the taskbar so you can pull up various settings easy.

 

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NickEclipse    3
Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, DevTech said:

I have had to battle with every Windows update to get the digital link to my Yamaha receiver working with Dolby Digital Live,

 

- Sometimes believe it or not you have to switch from Creative Speakers to Creative SPDIF and vice versa.

 

- Sometimes there is an obscure setting buried deep in a byzantine path of Creative TABS and buttons so examine all NON-OBVIOUS paths in any UI you can bring up from Creative.

 

 

Yes that is exactly my issue. No sound is coming out from Speakers Device, but SPDIF-Out works just fine. So it uses Windows' DTS/DD Encoders instead of Creative ones. And they don't sound as good to me. Distant and low sounds sound quieter, and have less kick to them on my HT, at least in games. But I can always use my SBX H7T headset if I want louder audio in games.

Oh I tried all sorts of settings. From the kHz, the Bit, disabling/enabling audio enhancements and exclusive control. And that is what trying to select DDL or DTS Connect gives me no matter what. Disabling DTS/DD in SPDIF-Out returns a different error message saying those formats aren't supported, instead of the "exclusive use" error. And again. I messed with the exclusive use settings, doesn't change a thing. See attachement.4xb1TtC.jpg

It's as if Windows' encoders are taking over Creative ones.

Edited by NickEclipse

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NickEclipse    3
Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, DevTech said:

Also, the latest settings default to 2.1 so you have to re-enable 5.1

 

Also the "Configure" option is greyed out in Windows sound selection, by if you click on the the "properties" button and then the TAB with DTS and Dolby, clicking on Dolby and then TEST gets you a test sound from all the speakers!

 

TIP: even in 1903 it helps to pin the Classic Control Panel to the taskbar so you can pull up various settings easy.

 

Indeed, you can only configure Speakers device. It's Creative's drivers tricking Windows into believing it is a 3.5MM cables setup, when it is TosLink. SPDIF-Out is technically only 2.1 uncompressed. But compressed 5.1 works just fine, and I tested DTS/DD in SPDIF-Out's menu, and indeed all speakers work. As does the surround coming from any source that sends compressed 5.1 signals. But as I said, Windows' encoders don't sound as good as Creative ones. At least to me.

Edited by NickEclipse

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NickEclipse    3

Thanks for trying to help by the way.

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