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Thread: ZXR - randomly swapping my 5.1 channels around

  1. #101

    Re: ZXR - randomly swapping my 5.1 channels around

    Quote Originally Posted by HT-CL View Post
    Hi timeshifter,

    The Sound Blaster Z series has got compatibility issues with certain motherboards. The newer models are now of USB interface. You may want to consider the Omni Surround 5.1 or Sound Blaster X7 if you want 5.1 surround.
    Are all current-gen i7 boards supported?

  2. #102
    Moderator HT-CL's Avatar
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    Nov 2014

    Re: ZXR - randomly swapping my 5.1 channels around

    Quote Originally Posted by timeshifter View Post
    Are all current-gen i7 boards supported?
    Hi timeshifter,

    I have no answer for that. However, the issue may be related to IRQ assignment as pointed out by another forums user.

    There are some customers who have the problem of getting the card detected even, some have channel swapping issues and they can't be easilly solved.

    There are some customers who have the problem of getting the driver installed for the USB interfaced audio devices but it is different from totally being undetected reported by some customers who installed the Sound Blaster Z / Zx / ZxR.
    Om Vajrapani Hum,

  3. #103

    Re: ZXR - randomly swapping my 5.1 channels around

    Quote Originally Posted by timeshifter View Post
    So you're suggesting that the issues I've seen with having a single GPU are imagined?

    No. You may have found a reproduceable issue, but your analysis is frankly incomplete. I *do not have* SLI. I have a single GPU, a single SoundBlaster Z card, and that is *it* for PCI devices. I have nothing else. Even when listening to music through Foobar2000, the channel swapping still happens, but *only* if the sound card is set to 5.1. In 2.0/2.1, it's fine, no issues. So I'm sorry, but not really, but your analysis is woefully biased, and very obviously non-representative, because really, how many people can afford to SLI higher-end cards?
    timeshifter, No. I'm not suggesting that at all or in the least. I'm simply presenting some things to "have a look at" that may help you troubleshoot your issue.

    I only shared my experience with my system. When I said, "Windowed mode using single GPU presents no issues.", I guess I could have also stated, "...on my system" but I thought that was inferred by the fact that your setup is not the same as mine, your motherboard is different, you are using different software, etc.

    There are many variables at play here.

    Since I've made these changes (to my system) I've also noticed something else. Channel swapping still occurs when using Firefox (my default browser) though it is 'less' than it was previously. I tested also in Chrome and IE and I get zero channel swapping when using Chrome or IE. So the issue is also tied to how a particular software is accessing the audio hardware or how its interfacing with Windows audio layer.

    From reading your post I see you use Foobar2000 (many people do and absolutely love it) and I would suggest to you, have your tried using other audio programs, not to "switch" to... but just to test the channel swapping issue? Try some other variants and see if the issue persists. It is possible that Foobar2000 is causing the issue and you could possibly raise a bug for their support team to take a look at.

    Firefox definitely has issues which sucks for me because I've used it forever but I'm getting used to using Chrome now because I don't have any issues using Chrome on the desktop.

    I do still get channel swapping when ALT-tabbing in/out of BF4 however no other games do this so here again, its something about how some particular software is accessing the audio layer.

    I'm just like you, I want to figure out a fix or a workaround so the irritating hassle will disappear.

    It could very well be the Creative drivers causing the issue. It is just odd that some software that does the same things as other software, don't cause channel swapping.
    Last edited by Cinnabuns; 12-23-2015 at 08:05 AM.

  4. #104

    Re: ZXR - randomly swapping my 5.1 channels around

    I believe I've actually found out what the issue is! Don't get too excited because this MAY ONLY PERTAIN TO MY SYSTEM but it seems like this is the fix. I have not had one single channel swap after performing this fix and so I think the "conflict" has been resolved. My particular system is running Win7 x64 and the motherboard the ZXR with daughter card are plugged in to is a Gigabyte P67-UD7 rev B3. That is just my system however I think many of you can benefit from this fix.

    So I'm aware of what I posted above in the last few posts and I'm here to say that, yeah, I was wrong. I had channel swapping still albiet LESS so after forcing the system to re-assign IRQs. For a couple days this lessened the issue to the extent that It was hardly annoying but after a short time, like a week, the issue was back in all its glory, all the time.

    Channel swapping when I moused around over different youtube videos, left rear, right rear, left front, center again... freaking SSOOOO annoying.

    I was actually looking at another system issue and stumbled on this solution so here it is. This fix has been in place now for 3 days and I have not experienced one single channel swap so I'm posting this here so others might benefit.

    Windows uses a "High Precision Event Timer" and devices that are plugged in to the PCI/PCIe bus rely on these timings to operate correctly. If you look under the Device Manager under System Devices you can see this guy in there.

    SOME motherboards, particularly mid to higher end motherboards come with a built in physical device on the motherboard that allows the motherboard to dictate events that occur along its architecture.

    The issue is the OS using Windows built in software HPET (high precision event timer), or is it using the motherboards hardware driven (which should IN THEORY be faster) HPET.

    I ran some commands to force windows to use the onboard Gigabyte HPET since I have always had it enabled and tHOUGHT that Windows was using it because it was enabled on the board. I THOUGHT that the "High Precision Event Timer" installed in Device Manager WAS the driver/device FOR the onboard Gigabyte HPET device... IT IS NOT.

    It is separate!

    So I have my onboard HPET enabled and Windows has its OWN software HPET virtual device running these two things were conflicting causing the audio card to flake out.

    I ran some quick tests on both Gigabytes HPET and Win7 HPET using DPC Latency checker and some command line bcdedit switches that toggle Windows to use the onboard or its own. I found that using Windows built in had better latency on my particular board. Like 700micro seconds vs. 7 micro seconds.

    In any case it didn't matter. What DID matter was that I PICKED ONE. I decided to use Windows HPET so I went in to the BIOS and DISABLED HPET x64 TIMER. Now there was no device for the OS to recognize or use and Windows had no choice but to use its own. Now I get no channel swapping at all and I've tried the numerous things that cause it to happen and none of them do anything any more.

    So TLDR; just TRY disabling HPET in the BIOS completely for your motherboard. Use Windows only in-built HPET and see if the issue isn't resolved.

    This MAY also work if you enable it in the BIOS and FORCE Windows to use it, otherwise the two will conflict.
    Last edited by Cinnabuns; 03-20-2017 at 01:25 AM.

  5. #105

    Re: ZXR - randomly swapping my 5.1 channels around

    UPDATE, I have 0 channel swapping when the BIOS HPET is completely disabled EXCEPT for running KODI while using a web browser. KODI is Open Source so it may depend on one timing whille Windows has favored a different one causing the issue. However, when setting BIOS HPET to Enabled and x64 bit, AND setting Windows to use it with the command:

    bcdedit /set bcdedit /set useplatformclock true

    in an Elevated command prompt, I have no channel swapping at all, even with multiple Firefox instances open and KODI open and playing video.

    So basically in a nutshell, you need to pick a timer that Windows should use. NOT give it the "option" of deciding on its own.

    I have not tried setting BIOS HPET to off, and issuing the command "bcdedit /set useplatformclock true" which tells Windows to use TSC+LAPIC ONLY.

    from this thread:

    From the thread:

    TSC+LAPICs Low performance (slow timers + syncing) = 2.76MHz
    LAPICs low performance (slow timer - no syncing) = 3.5Mhz
    TSC+HPET medium performance (slow and fast timer + syncing) = 3.8Mhz
    HPET high performance (fast timer - no syncing) = 14.3MHz

    The thread states that some users reported a few less FPS using HPET however, it DOES resolve the channel swapping issue (mostly with a few issues) so I'll happily take it!

    If you have HPET enabled and have NOT forced Windows to use it via the Administrative Command Prompt it will use
    HPET+TSC+LAPIC and decide on its own which SEEMS to be causing the channel swapping.

    If you have HPET in the BIOS disabled, Windows uses TSC+LAPICs Low performance (slow timers + syncing) = 2.76MHz and decides which is best on its own. (which turns out to not be a good thing)

    If you have HPET enabled in the BIOS and FORCE Windows, using "bcdedit /set useplatformclock true", Windows will use the onboard HPET timer only (Plus TSC...) and may resolve some issues.

    I wonder why Creative does not have any information regarding this issue in the database for users to search...

    If you guys find anything else out testing, please let me know and I'll update further if I find any unaccounted for issues.

    Again, this is on my system Gigabyte P67-UD7 rev B3 with Sandy Bridge 2600K processor @4.4ghz.
    Last edited by Cinnabuns; 09-13-2017 at 06:39 AM.

  6. #106

    Re: ZXR - randomly swapping my 5.1 channels around

    UPDATE*** (Previous post also edited) (Please refer to this one)

    Ok so I've experimented and using the HPET Timer on the mother board and forcing it in Windows using the bcdedit command does produce "better results". Please note though that Microsoft (MS) RECOMMENDS ONLY enabling this in bcdedit as a troubleshooting workaround fix to issues (which is what we are having). So... I've tried multiple combinations to save you all the trouble and what I've come up with is:

    For Windows 7 specifially, other OS's were not tested. Any later OS Win10 > and onward leave HPET in the bios disabled. It is a deprecated option.

    DISABLE High Precision Event Timer (If you have it as an option or if you have it enabled in your BIOS) in the BIOS.

    DISABLE the option in BCDedit to FORCE in the OS (there should be no entry to "Use system timer")

    Windows will use what it will use now with no impedence from the HPET timer in the bios. YES, your timer resolution will be decreased from 14~ Mhz to less Mhz however Windows will control the timers and the Creative driver WILL work better.

    You MAY still get some audio switching but changing focus from window to window or Pause/Play (if you're using Kodi) will re-sync everything because Windows will not be relying on a timer that is not its own (and doesn't know where it is). It will instead KNOW where everything it is tracking is at or WAS at and it will sync them accordingly.

    It is a bit of deprecated standard that there is an HPET 64 timer on motherboards it seems. It SEEMS like this is something you'd WANT to have enabled just from the naming convention, "HIGH PRECISION" event timer. It seems way better than than anything else "Windows" could have going (and it is) however since Vista, the standard has changed and software devs have tilted towards letting Windows manage events in the OS and its is BEST to just let this happen they way its been designed. USB is something else that relies heavily on processor timing and pops in an interrupt requests to the processor all the time.

    There is 1 main timer Windows uses and 1 fallback that's still being used. When HPET is enabled and then forced via BCDedit, Windows seems to STILL use it "new" default but also seemingly "combines" that with the system timer and tries to keep those two sync'd while still having its own fallback software timer. This makes a total of 3 timers that the OS is trying to sync.

    Its not proper and its not right but the best course of action seems to remove variables from the equation. With HPET Onboard Disabled, there are only 2 timers that produce contention and the later of those two is usually only involved with older software/drivers, so Windows for the most part, manages everything fine on its 2 timers only falling back to the older standard when its requested. It doesn't do this smoothly all the time but it does DO IT eventually (either sometimes by pausing/playing or by switching focus). It does however keep track of things it seems.

    If you have the HPET enabled, Windows does seem to at time lose track of things.

    Those are just my findings, I hope it helps other people out as I've dealt with channel switching in my 5.1 setup in Firefox/Chrome/IE while I'm multi-tasking.

    Any thoughts are appreciated, super frustrating issues which it would be REALLY NICE if CREATIVE would put SOMETHING about this issue in their official support FAQ or other.

    Enabling this option in BIOS may fix timing issues with SLI or Crossfire and reduce ingame stutter but the side effects aren't worth it IMO.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Cinnabuns; 09-13-2017 at 06:40 AM.

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