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Onboard Sound Vs. Add in Sound Card

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by ROBSCIX, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. Tacoboy

    Tacoboy Master Guru

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    Connect an optical input DAC to the on-board sound card, Creative Labs will sell you SBX headphone surround sound software, for $30, that will work off your Realtek ALC1150 audio processor.
     
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  2. DW75

    DW75 Maha Guru

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    The Creative ZXR, when used together with LME49710HA metal can opamps, is unmatched by any other sound card currently. The sound quality is amazing. No one should use the stock JRC2114D opamps in the IV stage that the card comes with. They are complete trash. Just note that this upgrade will require 6 opamps. It will require 2 x LME49710HA metal cans on adapters for each channel to replace the JRC2114D opamps in the IV Stage. The JRC2114D is a dual channel opamp, and the LME49710HA metal can is a mono opamp, so you need two on an adapter in each socket. The stock LME49710NA opamps used in the buffer stage are single channel, so these require only one LME49170HA metal can opamp as a replacement. I highly recommend anyone who has this card to use these opamps. It beats any other sound card out there in terms of sound quality. Soundstage, detail retrieval, treble extension and cleanliness, imaging, bass tightness, and musicality are all vastly improve.

    Edit: I will mention as well, be very careful where you buy these opamps. They are sold at low prices on EBAY by many sellers in China, and almost all are fakes. Buy in the USA or Canada only to get genuine samples.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
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  3. DW75

    DW75 Maha Guru

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    Also, do not use any of the "Pro Studio" settings in the drivers, and leave everything at stock. All of these are just gimmicks which mess the sound right up.
     
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  4. meimeiriver

    meimeiriver Member

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    Thanks for the great advice! :) Are the Windows 10 drivers anywhere near stable, though? (And does it even support Win10? Everywhere I look, they talk about Windows 8).
     

  5. DW75

    DW75 Maha Guru

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    I will mention as well, be very careful where you buy these opamps. They are sold at low prices on EBAY by many sellers in China, and almost all are fakes. Buy in the USA or Canada only to get genuine samples. I do not use Windows 10. I am on Windows 8.1, and everything is very stable. I do know someone else though who owns the ZXR, and runs Windows 10. They have no issues either. The Windows 10 driver is here.

    https://support.creative.com/Downlo...lename=SBZxR_CD_L13_1_01_05.exe&ShowDetails=1

    Yes, creative support sucks, and they are slow to update drivers. No one can deny that. I was told about a month ago that a new driver was coming for Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 soon. It is still not out yet. Regardless of that though, the card is very stable with the latest driver.

    Edit: I linked you the previous 2015 driver by accident. I updated the link with the latest 2017 driver.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
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  6. meimeiriver

    meimeiriver Member

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    Thx for the warning about the Chinese opams. Everywhere I look, though, on legit sites, it say the LME49710HA is out of stock or obsolete. :( Are there newer ones to be had? LOL, now that you brought it up, I don't want to run the ZxR 'stock' any more. :)

    EDIT: On a TI site, I found a man saying the OPA1611AID would be its replacement. There seems to be an OPA1611AIDR version too. Which one do I need? Sorry, ths is my first foray into opamps.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  7. DW75

    DW75 Maha Guru

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    Yes, they are not easy to get these days. If you want, you can always start with replacing just the JRC2114D opamps with LME49860NA opamps. They are in the same family as the LME49710HA, but a step down, and still more easily found. This seller on EBAY at the link sells authentic LME49860NA opamps. It is a simple replacement. Just take out the two JRC2114D opamps, and put these in their place. With just this upgrade alone, you will notice a much tighter bass response, improved soundstage, and a removal of harsh and grainy treble response that the stock JRC opamps have. You get two of them here for 11.95 US.

    https://www.ebay.ca/itm/2x-LME49860...186298?hash=item2317dc90ba:g:d5AAAOxyY3ZR0O-L
     
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  8. DW75

    DW75 Maha Guru

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    The LME49710NA stock opamps used in the buffer stage are good opamps. Having them paired with the LME49860NA opamps in the IV stage will already make the ZXR sound miles better than with the JRC2114D opamps. In its stock state, the weakness of the ZXR is those trash JRC2114D opamps. Once those are replaced, even with the LME49860NA, the card actually sounds like it should. The metal cans are the best, but they are expensive, and harder to get. I will look around and see if I can find some authentic ones anywhere. For 12 bucks though, buying two of the LME49860NA opamps is a great upgrade to start with.
     
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  9. meimeiriver

    meimeiriver Member

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    Thx again for all your help. Feeling really psyched about the whole process now. :)
     
  10. DW75

    DW75 Maha Guru

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    No problem, happy to help. If you buy the card, try it for a couple hours with the stock opamps first. After that, then replace the JRC2114D opamps with the LME49860NA. Right away, you will notice the improvements I am talking about. Have you ever replaced opamps before ? Be aware that they can only be put in one way. If you put the opamps in the opposite way, this can cause permanent damage to the sound card or opamps. When replacing, you will notice that the JRC2114D opamps have a dot on them. Pay attention to this. When you replace with the LME49860NA, you want to put them in with the dot on the same side.
     
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  11. meimeiriver

    meimeiriver Member

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    No, I haven't replaced opamps yet (but I planned to wach a zillion youtube vids first, before embarking on the process). Good tip on the dot! Thx. Don't want to destroy my card, of course. Kinda really makes you wonder why they're shipping the ZxR with that crappy JRC2114D to begin with.
     
  12. DW75

    DW75 Maha Guru

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    It was just a way for them to save 10 bucks on each card. Also, there is one seller on EBAY that has authentic LME49710HA opamps on an adapter. It is a seller in China, but they are not listed for the usual low prices like the fake sellers in China for these opamps. This seller is well known on headfi for selling only authentic opamps. He offers a single LME49710HA metal can on an adapter at the link. If you want to upgrade the stock LME49710NA opamps in the buffer stage, you can get yourself two of these. This will give you a big improvement in sound with the ZXR.

    https://www.ebay.ca/itm/1PCS-LME497...832199?hash=item33dc2656c7:g:GZ8AAOSwmBhaB~Ei
     
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  13. meimeiriver

    meimeiriver Member

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    Pardon my ignorance, but as I was ready to order from that Chinese dude (yes, this is happening!), I just realized you spoke of an 'adapter' here. What is this adapter you speak of, if I may ask? Something with 2 sockets that converge to 1, I reckon? I just want to make sure I order all the parts I need.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
  14. DW75

    DW75 Maha Guru

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    That is just the DIP8 adapter that the opamp is soldered onto. It is included in the listing and the opamp is already soldered to it. The listing has everything you need to replace the LME49710NA opamps in the buffer stage on the sound card. You will need to buy two of those LME49710HA from that seller. Each one will replace one of the LME49710NA opamps on the sound card.

    Regarding the IV Stage, that would require 2 x LME49710HA metal cans on each adapter, but no authentic seller online has those available. The only ones available are those single opamps. This is why I recommend getting the 2 of the LME49860NA opamps to replace the 2 JRC2114D opamps in the IV stage.

    In simple terms, the opamps in Buffer Stage (LME49710NA) are single channel opamps, and need to be replaced with single channel opamps. The IV Stage (JRC2114D) opamps are dual channel opamps. They need to be replaced with dual channel opamps. The LME49860NA is a dual channel opamp. In order to replace the JRC2114D opamps with LME49710HA opamps, you would need 2 on each adapter like this at the link.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=dua...AUIDigB&biw=1709&bih=882#imgrc=KaX-g91o4sjphM:
     
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  15. DW75

    DW75 Maha Guru

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    This is what you need. You need 2 of the LME49710HA opamps at the first link below, and 2 of the LME49860NA opamps at the second link below. The first auction is for one opamp on an adapter, so you need to buy two of them. The second auction is for 2 of the LME49860NA opamps, so you only need to buy one auction.

    https://www.ebay.ca/itm/1PCS-LME497...832199?hash=item33dc2656c7:g:GZ8AAOSwmBhaB~Ei

    https://www.ebay.ca/itm/2x-LME49860...186298?hash=item2317dc90ba:g:d5AAAOxyY3ZR0O-L

    This will be a huge upgrade to the stock audio on the sound card. It literally is a night and day difference in fidelity.
     
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  16. meimeiriver

    meimeiriver Member

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    Thank you very much again! Just placed the order! :)

    N.B. Looking at the first one, I suppose (due to its soldered-on) height, the cover of the ZxR may not fit any more; but I doubt this will affect audio-quality (looks like the capacitors are 'horizontally' shielded by a copper barrier to begin with).
     
  17. DW75

    DW75 Maha Guru

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    Yes, you will need to remove the cover, but it is no big deal. It does not affect the sound quality of the card at all. Both of those sellers you bought from sell guaranteed authentic opamps. Be sure to post after you have everything set up, and compare the stock card opamps to the upgraded opamps. I know you will be super impressed.
     
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  18. meimeiriver

    meimeiriver Member

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    I will definitely let you know! :) And thanks again.
     
  19. meimeiriver

    meimeiriver Member

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  20. DW75

    DW75 Maha Guru

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    Correct, is 4 opamps that can be easily replaced. Unless you are capable with a soldering iron, it is not recommended to attempt upgrading the others. Did you already buy the sound card ? If not, you should grab that and test it out for a couple days before you get the opamps in the mail from EBAY.
     
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