Creative SB X-Fi Sound Card and Weird problem

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Creative SB X-Fi Sound Card and Weird problem

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:41 pm

I have a Dell XPS 410 that was one of their best back in the day. I've been running Windows 7 for years on this PC. And recently I breathed new life into it by upgrading the storage to a Crucial MX-100 SSD and the video card upgraded to a Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti. Considering this computer is now over 7 years old, it rocks (very fast).

However, (after these latest upgrades), I've now got one weird issue. The PC is hooked up to Bose companion speakers (which sound great). However, when I am listening to music, I occasionally hear what sounds like a thumping noise interspersed within the music. And it doesn't seem to matter what I am playing. It will just happen at random and then things go back to normal. I know it has nothing to do with the speakers because I tried headphones and it does the same thing. I haven't tried any games yet since the new video card and SSD have been installed. But this sound issue with the music is very weird!

Does anyone have any idea on what could cause this? I uninstalled the Creative sound card driver from my PC (in Device Manager) and also got rid of the creative programs out of Control Panel. I had planned on manually selecting the driver off the Creative website and reinstalling it. However, before I could do that, my PC automatically updated the driver upon restart of the computer. It is driver version 6.0.230.4 dated 02/28/14.....which appears to be correct. I thought about trying out a new sound card to see if that makes any difference. But I would have to order online since there are very few sound cards sold in the local stores these days.

I really didn't want to spend more money on this rig. Are there any other options other than trying new sound card? And if there's nothing else I can try, what sound card would be recommended with this PC? Thanks for any replies.

Note: I did run the DirectX Diagnostic tool (dxdiag) from the start menu; and there are no driver conflicts reported.
Last edited by scott784 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
scott784
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Re: Creative SB X-Fi Sound Card and Weird problem

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:06 pm

Do you keep a cell phone or other wireless device close to the box?

This sounds like an EMI/RFI problem, and finding the source of these can drive many to strong drink.
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Re: Creative SB X-Fi Sound Card and Weird problem

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:28 pm

Captain Ned wrote:Do you keep a cell phone or other wireless device close to the box?

This sounds like an EMI/RFI problem, and finding the source of these can drive many to strong drink.


I do have another Bose speaker. Unlike the Bose speakers I use on my XPS 410, this one is Bluetooth and it's used for my laptop (notebook). And while it's been close to my XPS 410 lately, this Bluetooth Bose speaker has been turned off the whole time. Other than that, the only other device near my XPS 410 is my Panasonic cordless house phone (but the home base for the Panasonic phone is downstairs).

PS I've heard the sound cards are not like video cards as far as going bad. And the sound comes out sounding great. It's just that intermittent thumping that was not there before I did my upgrades on the XPS 410. It's weird.
Last edited by scott784 on Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Creative SB X-Fi Sound Card and Weird problem

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:32 pm

Have you removed and reseated the sound card? Slim cheese I know, but who knows what might have fallen into the slot when you were working in the case. Bust out the Costco canned air and give everything a good blow.
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Re: Creative SB X-Fi Sound Card and Weird problem

Postposted on Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:35 pm

Captain Ned wrote:Have you removed and reseated the sound card? Slim cheese I know, but who knows what might have fallen into the slot when you were working in the case. Bust out the Costco canned air and give everything a good blow.


No removal of the Creative sound card (sits on the bottom of my XPS tower). And it appears to be seated correctly. I haven't gotten out a can of air recently, but it's not too dirty inside the case.
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Re: Creative SB X-Fi Sound Card and Weird problem

Postposted on Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:24 am

scott784 wrote:(sits on the bottom of my XPS tower)

That right there argues for a removal/blow out/reset.
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Re: Creative SB X-Fi Sound Card and Weird problem

Postposted on Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:39 am

I know this will sound weird but do you happen to have a CFL light bulb near your computer.I have seen badly designed ones (leaky bad filter design?)do some pretty on things.I had one in a deskop lamp making weird static come over my speakers.
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Re: Creative SB X-Fi Sound Card and Weird problem

Postposted on Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:49 am

Try unplugging everything on that power circuit but the computer, speakers and monitor to see if that helps. If you have a laser printer on the same power line I have seen them dim the lights before.

Also you can try isolating the power to the bose speakers...If something is drawing power on the same line dropping the voltage down below the minimum the amps could get a heartbeat i would think

Gluck!
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Re: Creative SB X-Fi Sound Card and Weird problem

Postposted on Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:15 am

I appreciate the comments of everyone. I had no CFL light bulbs nearby and had done things to include blowing out the tower (wasn't really dirty inside). Reverting to the onboard sound stopped the problem. However, the onboard sound on this Dell XPS 410 didn't sound as rich as what was being produced with the sound card.

This led me into looking for a replacement sound card. Of course, I guess a lot of people know there's very limited selections in local retail stores (to include Best Buy and local PC shops) since the newer PCs don't usually have dedicated sound cards anymore. But since I wasn't even certain that a new sound card would resolve the issue, I wasn't in the mood to shop online nor pay a lot of money to get one. So I ended up with a Diamond Xtreme Sound card for $20 bucks from BB.

The good news is that it appeared to resolve the problem. And while I am not an audiophile, the sound does seem better than what I experienced during the limited time (earlier this week) that I used the onboard audio after the problem first presented itself. Maybe there was a purpose in sound cards afterall on these older systems! At any rate, I am just glad that this weird issue appears to be resolved.
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