Pops and crackles by SB PCI 128

Discussion in 'Sound Cards and Speakers' started by stringZ, Jun 12, 2009.

  1. stringZ

    stringZ Geek Trainee

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    Dear Hardware Forums Community!

    I'm experiencing distortion (pops and crackles) problem with my old Sound Blaster PCI 128 sound card in my P4 computer with ASUS P4P800E-Deluxe motherboard. I have the latest BIOS and drivers available from ASUS' related Official Site as I have the latest, official Sound Card Driver available from Creative. There are patches and fixes out there on the 'net, including the PCI Latency Patch for VIA chipsets and Patch for Creative Audigy series which both are created by George E. Breese intended to eliminate the popping/crackling problem at these kinds of cards. Unfortunately none of the two above works for me, because my motherboard has not VIA chipset (P4P800E-Deluxe comes with Intel chipset not VIA), and my sound card is exactly what Mr. Breese enumerates unsupported in the readme.htm of the Patch for Creative Audigy series mentioned earlier, because it's not Audigy series.

    The crackling is the most noticable, when the integrated Promise SATA/RAID Controller is running. I have a SATA Hard Drive attached to it, so the controller operates every time using this HDD. Unfortunately, I can't move this HDD to the motherboard's SATA controller because it doesn't work properly.

    Tried messing around with PCI Latency settings in BIOS (tried all the options) and also Turbo/Standard performance modes. None of them solved my problem.
    I really like SB PCI128, because it has a built-in amplifier and very good sound quality. I want to continue using it and don't want to buy a new because these annoying incompatibility problems.

    Thanks for your help
    stringZ
     
  2. Anti-Trend

    Anti-Trend Nonconformist Geek Staff Member

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    Hello, and welcome to HardwareForums (not Tom's hardware -- we're smaller, and hopefully friendlier!)

    The SB128 was a pretty decent card, even had rudimentary soundfont support and a hardware mixer. People tend to buy soundcards based on meaningless gimmicks these days, so I respect you for knowing a good card when you hear one. That said, if your mobo has a high amount of buss noise, try muting the analog inputs such as mics and line-ins. Does the noise go away?

    If that doesn't fix it, it could be a small component on the PCB that's gone south. It is after all an old card, and it does have parts that wear out over time. Unless you're of the electrical engineering persuasion and happen to have the necessary tools (including a multimeter and/or oscilloscope), you're better off replacing the whole card. Anything with an EMU chipset in it would be a good replacement, since it has a 100db SNR, SoundFont2 support, and a hardware mixer. That means you're looking at a SB Live!, Audigy 2, or Audigy 4 sound card. Note that most Audigy 1's and almost all of the other Creative cards today are glorified AC97s, so it would be a downgrade from what you have.
     
  3. stringZ

    stringZ Geek Trainee

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    Dear Anti-Trend!

    Thank you! I totally agree, btw.

    No, unfortunately, this is not so easy. What I hear is not noise, not even bus noise that could be eliminated by muting the mixer. It pops and crackles randomly distorting the actual sound being played, because of a PCI latency problem. What I could find out Googling around is that PCI 2.1/2.2 timing uncompatibility that might cause this and this might be a lack of a feature in my motherboard e.g. supporting legacy PCI cards. This problem is also present at some older Creative SB cards, such as SBLive!.

    Unfortunately I'm not an electrical engineer either. This is not a hardware malfunction in the sound card itself because I have two of these cards and both produce pops and crackles when they're in my motherboard. I just want to use this sound card for recording sound, digitizing old casettes and turntables and listen music. I'm hoping there's some BIOS or driver fix.

    Thanks.

    Ps: sorry for tomshardware, I posted it to thw first, but forgot to replace when I posted here.
     

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