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Incredible X-Fi mod *WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY*, 56K WARNING - Page 97

post #961 of 979
Quote:
Originally Posted by 50AE;13673420 
I only replaced the FR/FL opamp. The other channels work ok.
I guess I'm an idiot, because I threw away the old opamp.

This is what I did today.
First, I measured where the connections of the caps go.
The first two caps, well, go from ground to a pair of outs from the DAC frown.gif
The second two go from the DAC to the inputs of the opamp, through some caps and resistances.

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/828/dac.png/

I did unshort the two that go from the GND to the DAC, but no change. Only the left channel works.
I also did measure the voltage of the V+ and V- on the opamp +5V ; -4,96V. They seem to be alright.

I guess my another try will be measuring with my oscilloscope the outputs of the DAC. I hope I haven't screwed this one.


The expense is dirt cheap for what one can potentially learn from this sort of thing. There's probably no cheaper way to do it. Voicing audio components properly is something that almost no one does, and you don't learn how from an idiotic guide like this, that instructs you to short out your power rails. I can't believe this is on so many forums and nobody seems to have mentioned that obvious foolishness.

Moving right along... Since you traced those caps out I can tell you that doesn't look right at all.

You changed only one op amp, correct? Said op amp drove both your left and right single ended channels?

AoutA4 + and - are one pair and will feed one op amp.

AoutB4 + and - are another pair and will feed the second op amp (dual op amp of course).

It seems very strange that those outputs, numbered 4, would be driving your front stereo pair, instead of 1 and 2 that feature their own seperate mute function.

Anyway, I think there's just no way those B outputs should be connecting to ground like that, it makes no sense.Take the caps right out if you need to, make sure the board is clean on both sides, make sure the caps are clean and don't read shorted, look at the underside of the board and see if you actually see the solderpad connected to the ground plane, trace it out more completely. Start from the op amp inputs and work way back to the DAC outputs if you have to.

Those caps you traced should not be going to ground and should not be connected together, once you clear that up you'll likely get your signal back.
post #962 of 979
IT WORKS !!

My mistake was so dumb - it was in the shorting the caps method. I was bending the pins of the caps to get them closer in order to make a bridge. And this is what has happened - the pin of the cap was so bent that it punctured through the ground pathway and grounded. Anyway, these outputs also lead to the non-inverting inputs of the opamp, I traced them.

So, I tried the card after removing the short and - equal sound from R and L !!
One thing though, the L had some of the crackling noise left. So I decided to short the two caps again, in order to make them equal - which means the 4 caps shorted.
Now the crackling noise is veeeery little ot the left, but I can still hear it, especially on high volume. It appears very much on the guitar solos.
Do you have any ideas from what it could be?

I may try to unshorten all 4 caps to see if it will work better.

Anyway, the sound is GREAT!!

I thank you guys very much for your attention!

Edit: I noticed this crackling noise is greatly amplified by low quality (mp3s), it is almost not or not appearant on vynil flac.
I'm not sure if it's the card or it's me, because I listened a lot of vynil quality music before doing the mod.
Anyway, I'm sure it's still on someparts of high quality music, especially on mid distortion guitars.
So yes, there is crackling noise, and it's more apparent on mp3s.

Edit2: I downloaded a tone generator.

So it appears the noise appears at a certain point of amplification, neary after 60%+ of the volume. When it's increased to 61% the L starts to crackle, at 62% the R goes then. So both channels crack.
In the low frequencies, it is more easy to crackle, it starts at 40-50%, and at the middles and highs it is almost a constant, doesn't change from 61 or 62%.

The sound is clean when the volume is below 50%.

Could the opamp be to blame here?


Do the opamp outs directly go to the output without any transistor amplification? If yes, could an overload be the reason, low impendance of headphones and less powerful opamp? Easier crackling on the low frequencies makes me suspect this.
Edited by 50AE - 6/5/11 at 1:45pm
post #963 of 979
So you punched through the solder mask when you bent the leads back down into the board?

No doubt that action put a breaking torsion on the solder pads and attached trace, so you can scroll up to where I discussed a lifted pad/trace and the rectification effect. You can't bend things around like that, particularly not when the components are soldered, the joints are not meant to stretch or take that strain.

What you can do now is short the whole of it out. Use a piece of fine gauge magnet wire and jump out the entire trace from the DAC output pins to the next connection node beyond the caps, such that you fully bypass the now likely faulty cap connections.
post #964 of 979
Hey, I noticed the sound also crackles the same way on the other channels.
So I really suspect an overloading problem.
The sound doesn't crackle at full volume with speakers, but only with headphones.
What's your opinion about it.
I am very sure that THERE's no a TRACE of crackling when the volume is low with headphones connected and when it is on MAX with the speakers.
post #965 of 979
Do you mean "other channel" or "other channels".

If it's only with headphones, try a different pair of headphones, and clean the connector out, as well as check the condition of the joints for it.

Your new op amp likely has more drive capability than did the original, look up the datasheets and find out, but it's quite unlikely it should crackle on overload. My view is that's just not the issue.

If it's all your channels, including previous, obviously that would point to the power supplies feeding them. You might as a last resort poke around the areas you worked on with a sharp stick while listening to it and see if any noise picks up.
post #966 of 979
Incidentally, there might a chance that you're suffering a type of overloading effect, but not for the reason you're thinking.

The stock board uses a low gain-bandwidth opamp. That lessens the criticality of layout and bypassing to some degree. Not to say that it's a bright idea, but it allows them to get away with locating the "local" bypassing to what would be considered a remote location from a more broadband perspective, where the bypassing should be "at" the pins, not an inch or two or three away and not shared amongst 2 or 3 or 4 + op amps, but that's the kind of **** they pull on a regular basis.

So what happens when you "upgrade" to a higher bandwidth op amp.... well.. you better truly upgrade your bypassing to keep up with it and that doesn't mean slap in the biggest cap you can find that was recommended on some forum it means adhearing to proper design physics and techniques.
post #967 of 979
Hello. I needed to know if the creative X-Fi Titanium HD is alright to purchase if one plans to apply this mod.
Thanks
my pc.
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 920 @ 3.65 1.19V Asus X58 Sabertooth Asus DirectCU 5850 @ 850\1200 CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 1600Mhz 8-8-8-24 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Seagate 1TB 7200 Hp dvd1260 CM N520 Windows 8 Professional 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
19' Dell1910 1440x900 TVS GOLD Mechanical Keyboard (Cherry Blue) Corsair 650TX CM HAF 912 Advanced 
MouseMouse Pad
Razor DeathAdder Black Edition Razer Goliathas Speed 
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Reply
my pc.
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 920 @ 3.65 1.19V Asus X58 Sabertooth Asus DirectCU 5850 @ 850\1200 CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 1600Mhz 8-8-8-24 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Seagate 1TB 7200 Hp dvd1260 CM N520 Windows 8 Professional 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
19' Dell1910 1440x900 TVS GOLD Mechanical Keyboard (Cherry Blue) Corsair 650TX CM HAF 912 Advanced 
MouseMouse Pad
Razor DeathAdder Black Edition Razer Goliathas Speed 
  hide details  
Reply
post #968 of 979
I think you're asking the wrong question
post #969 of 979
Quote:
Originally Posted by sratra;13781949 
Hello. I needed to know if the creative X-Fi Titanium HD is alright to purchase if one plans to apply this mod.
Thanks

Very late reply Ha ha

Well that card was created by creative as an audiophile card so that sheep coud replace the op amps in.. This would be stupid to do almost as in snake oil.. I would not do it replace the op amps in that card because it would be a roll of the dice to get a better sound quality out of the card.eek.gif

btw i have that card n yes you could go on ebay buy a cheaper card as this thread is indicating follow this thread and come out ahead in SQ for a fraction of the cost;)
post #970 of 979
Hey all,

Did the opamp and cap mod on my XtremeMusic a couple of years ago. Didn't really like the sound pre-mod -it was way too digital and cold, but afterwards.. my god what a difference. It has sounded like a far more professional card since then. The new opamp and cap I used brings out an analogue feel and warm sound from it. I sadly do not remember the part numbers, but they were neither the cheapest nor the most expensive.

Lately I've been on the lookout for the newer gen of audio cards, and the Asus Xonar Essence seems like a killer card with all high-grade components. But whenever I kick some heavy tune action into my X-Fi it never fails to call forth a smile by pure bewitchment.

Anyone who went from a X-Fi mod to Xonar Essence and care to share their experience?

Cheers
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