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ter1




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动手打磨X-Fi任何版本,都可以让低端的extreme music模拟输出超过外置DAC01!(多图)

动手打磨X-Fi任何版本,都可以让低端的extreme music模拟输出超过外置DAC01!!更不必说Elite Pro了,但是最好打磨Elite Pro。

The X-Fi is without question the best gaming card, but the sound quality is average at best. As someone who is used to high end external DACs with discrete output, to me the sound quality of the X-Fi can be best described as "low-fi". But rest assured X-Fi owners, we can make it far better! I actually prefer the fully hotrodded X-Fi XtremeMusic over the Benchmark DAC1. Yes, that's what I just said =). It matches the dynamics and detail of the DAC1, but with a wider soundstage, less fatigue, and far more musicality it's not even comparable.

This guide works for sound cards in general and not only the X-Fi, but X-Fi is the most logical choice because of its versatility.

Tools needed:
Solder iron ($2) (I used Hakko 936 but any iron will work)
Solder wick (helps remove stock opamp)
Thin solder (only a little is needed)
LM4562 SOIC (free samples from National Semiconductor)
Blackgate 2200uF 16V (from www.partsconnexion.com or www.percyaudio.com)
ERS Paper (from Partsconnexion or Percy Audio)
任何一种X-Fi card

A sound card consists of a DSP, a DAC chip, and an analog output stage that consists of opamps. Opamps and capacitors are the two worst offenders of sound quality. With any soundcard you can change these opamps to far better ones, remove capacitors no longer needed due to the better opamp, and give it more power by increasing the size of the power supply filter capacitors on the sound card. The sound card also sits inside a computer which is full of EMI radiation that introduces noise and degrades sound quality (especially treble). That's why audiophiles use external DACs. But now you have better shielding technology so it's no longer an issue. You can put a silicon carbide/nickel board on the back of the card. Alternatively, there is this thing called ERS paper that is much easier to apply. Basically, you can do what this guy did:
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=141880

You should still mount the sound card as far away from the video card as you can. The lowest PCI slot should be used if possible. For music, use bit-matched playback in Audio Creation Mode.

Summary:
(1) Replace the stock JRC NJM4556 opamp with LM4562 SOIC
(2) Replace the sound card's power supply capacitors with larger ones that are at least several times the original value. Quality matters, especially specs like ripple current. Blackgates were chosen for this application, but Nichicon KG would also be an excellent choice due to its specs.
(3) Apply the ERS Paper onto the back of the sound card. You need a layer of insulating material between the sound card and the ERS paper since it's electrically conductive.


The mods make a HUGE difference. It's definately worth doing. And it's very easy to do especially with this guide. Takes less than an hour and doesn't cost much money.

Specs
X-Fi XtremeMusic, Platinum, Fatal1ty FPS, and XtremeGamer uses a JRC NJM4556 opamp for the main channels and three ST4558 opamps for the surrounds. They utilize the CS4382 DAC, which we will prove is a very good DAC. The X-Fi Elite Pro uses the JRC NJM2114 opamp for the main, three JRC NJM2068 for the surrounds, and the even better CS4398 DAC, which is the same DAC used in the Lynx, E-MU 1820, Headroom MicroDAC, Musiland MD10, Zhaolu 2.5C and other high end DACs. As you can see, these are good DACs. With these mods, even the "lowly" XtremeMusic will blow them all out of the water.

Impressions of the stock X-Fi XtremeMusic is that it is muddy-sounding, has a plasticky tone that lacks weight, lacks bass impact due to loose-sounding boomy bass. Background is fairly quiet due to a good board layout. Midrange detail is good but not great, while dynamics and soundstage leave much to be desired. I also have a hard time making out the notes when several instruments are playing. There is also not much texture to the instruments. Better DACs have a resonant quality to them that mimicks real life sounds, and the X-Fi lacks it. Still, the X-Fi is better than the vast majority of comsumer sound cards like low-end M-Audios and the Audigy series. It is also better than any portable player I've heard, but that's not saying much.

Enter the National Semiconductor LM4562
The LM4562 is a new opamp specifically designed for audio application and that's why it's a league above all other opamps for audio. Pretty much everyone I know who has used this opamp has been amazed by it. At the time of this writing, it's a league above the best OPA and LT and AD opamps I've tried. It has a PSRR (power supply rejection ratio) and CMRR (common-mode rejection ratio) above 120dB, so it doesn't care about the poor quality power that computer sound cards get! This will give sound cards that use them an edge over all DACs except ones that use an expensive discrete analog output.

From http://www.national.com/pf/LM/LM4562.html:
To ensure that the most challenging loads are driven without compromise, the LM4562 has a high slew rate of ±20V/µs and an output current capability of ±26mA. Further, dynamic range is maximized by an output stage that drives 2k loads to within 1V of either power supply voltage and to within 1.4V when driving 600 loads.

One thing about the NJM4556 opamp is that it's a weird size longer than the usual SOIC opamp, but the card itself supports the smaller SOIC standard just fine. I cut off the NJM4556, desoldered the remains using a copper wick, and soldered on the LM4562. Make sure it's in the original orientation, which you can tell by the lettering.



Pretty small, but still easy enough to solder.



The NJM4556 has been removed. It's a terrible opamp and deserves to die.



Put the card back in and notice the massive transformation. There are too many improvements to describe for this one! If you use the surround sound, you can also replace those three with LM4562 as well. The M33078 is the input opamp, and that can also be replaced if you do recording.



Next up we will replace the power filter capacitor. The 470uF Jamicon that Creative uses has a record for failing and leaking brown crap. We will replace this with a 2200uF 16V Blackgate and hotglue it in place. Make sure the orientation is correct if using polar capacitors. Even if you're not a beleiver in changing power filter caps, the Blackgate has 1/5 of the ESR as other capacitors, excellent ripple current results, and is one of the only electrolytic capacitors that last nearly forever, as in dozens of lifetimes longer than other electrolytics. Nichicon KG would also be an excellent choice due to its specs. Anyway, the effect of this mod is tighter bass and greater warmth. I say that the choice of capacitor does matter. Take a listen before the next mod. This is essential because the next mod changes the sound signature and you may or may not like the change.



We will now shield the DAC chip, DSP chip, opamps, and the entire backside of the soundcard. There are many options, from Texas Instruments to ERS Paper. This is not snake oil. Shielding really makes a difference. I used ERS Paper, which is electrically conductive so you need an insulation layer between it and the sound card. This mod made the sound noticeably warmer and more analogue-sounding. The digital, hyper-detailed sound is now gone and some will miss it. You will notice it right away and would probably want to turn up the volume since now it is less fatiguing. Who would have thought that shielding makes such a big difference?

Update: After 20 hours, the sound has changed from the Blackgates burning in (previously it was too warm). Now I definately think that the shielding paper should be used. The LM4562 will eventually be renamed to the LME4986. Just giving you guys a heads up.

Other Mods:
The X-Fi uses Jamicon capacitors, which are known to either fail or deviate very significantly from their specs over time. A complete recap is not unreasonable. You can buy Panasonics from Digikey, or Nichicons from Percy Audio.

There are other mods but I don't have the schematics to the X-Fi so I don't know how to apply them. If others discover new mods I can add them to the list.

Short the 22uF caps near each opamp (there are 4 of them for each one). I definately recommend it as others beside myself also think that shorting improves the detail and realism, with no ill effects on the card. They seem to be decoupling caps, not coupling caps, and make the DAC more stable. Not needed though, it's perfectly stable without them.

==========================================================================
第二篇:

Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Opamp Upgrade

A short background to the mod


The Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi, based on the all-new CA20K1 DSP created a storm upon release in August 2005. It brought new technologies to the already well established Creative live range, including EAX 5.0, supporting 128 hardware voices and up to 4 effects on each, and on some models a dedicated 64MB buffer for sound; the card was a boon for gamers. Technology familiar to users of the SB Live/Audigy families, like ASIO 2.0 support ensured it remained a feasible entry-level audio production card. Once the usual Creative glitches with chipset compatibility were resolved, the card established itself as a firm favorite with gamers, home cinema buffs and amateur audio producers alike.

One group, however, remained quite unsatisfied with Creative's new offering: audiophiles. Despite using a quite respectable CS4382 digital-analogue converter (and the even better CS4398 on the high end Elite Pro cards) and offering vastly superior quality to most of their previous consumer sound cards, the X-Fi was let down by a poor choice in opamps and too many cheap capacitors in the signal path. In late 2006, a little known company called Auzentech claimed this small market all for itself upon the release of the incredible X-Meridian 7.1. They used socketed opamps, high quality polymer capacitors throughout the card, superior DACs and a better designed analogue stage. Subjective audio tests suggested that Auzentech's offering had vastly more detail, tighter bass, more natural highs and provided a much less tiring 'live' sound when compared with Creative's card. However, Gamers were left unimpressed, as like so many cards before it, the X-Meridian only supported EAX 2.0.


The aim of this modification is to bring the sound quality of the X-Fi somewhat closer to that of cards like the Auzentech X-Meridian, meaning you will end up with a card with excellent sound quality and retain good gaming performance. Although listening tests are obviously subjective, I have yet to meet anybody who's performed this mod who has not been bowled over by the quality improvement. If you take the time to do it properly, it is unlikely you will regret it. It goes without saying that this mod is irrelevant to anybody using only the digital output of the card, since the DAC + analogue stage will be in the target device and those on the card go unused.

LM4562s Galore!

This mod depends heavily on your ability to solder small, surface mount components and will obviously invalidate any remaining factory warranty on your card. OCWorkbench and the author of this article accept no responsibility for the failure of the modification process. We do not recommend that you attempt this mod unless you are totally confident with your soldering skill.


The best thing to do if you're not experienced with PCB-level soldering is to take some old hardware you would otherwise dispose of and experiment with de-soldering and re-soldering components on the board until you can get a clean, shiny & tidy solder joint on every leg of the SMT component you just soldered with no crossed traces. You will probably find this mod much easier using some de-soldering wick and will most certainly need some very thin solder (of which you will only add a minuscule amount to each leg of the IC). These instructions apply to any 'full height' SB X-Fi card. The Xtreme Audio is not a 'true' X-Fi card, and I've not seen any of the half-height Xtreme Gamer cards to know if they use a similar analogue stage.

Firstly, you will need your choice of OPAMP. I used a National Semiconductor LM4562 in SMT packaging (full part number is LM4562MA for the SOIC part, which is what you want) because it's very highly regarded by Audiophiles. You can get them as samples from National Semiconductor themselves or alternatively, they should be available from good electronic component distributors in your country. Of course, if you chose to use a different OPAMP, you need to ensure that the pin-out, size and electrical tolerances are suitable. I will leave you to do your own research but it is the general consensus that you will find it hard to do any better than the recommended part. Most will only want to replace the main line-out channel's opamp and as such only need 1. If you aim to replace all of the output channels, you will need 4 of these. If you record with your card and want to do the line-in as well, you will need 5, and that's a lot of soldering! For the purpose of this article, I only replaced the main line-out channel's opamp since I only use 2 speakers.



This card is out victim for today's work; an HP OEM SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Music. One of the later production runs complete with heatsink, it is identical to the retail card but for lacking the largely irrelevant AD_EXT and SB_IO connectors at the far end of the card.



This images shows the locations of the opamps on the X-Fi card; likely you will want to replace just the front line out, labeled in green if you do not use surround sound or care too much about the line in recording quality. All of the opamps are interchangeable, despite being a different size and model numbers. The LM4562 is a suitable replacement for all. Obviously, replace as many or as few as suits you. Ensure you retain the correct orientation of the part, otherwise your time soldering it on will be wasted! Work slowly and ensure that your connections are clean. A good solder join is visibly shiny. If you have problems with the output after changing the opamp go back and check your connections for continuity to the nearest component with a multimeter. The slightest fault in the connection can result in no sound or sound heavily biased to one channel.

The proof is in the pudding



Old and new: The LM4562MA is on the left and NJM4556 on the right; notice the size difference.



Hopefully, once you've completed the mod, your card will look something like this.

Looks (& sounds) like it's working OK! Give it several hours playback to allow burn in before making a judgment on the sound.

In conclusion, this is a fantastic mod for very little cost. The result is truly a night & day comparison with the original X-Fi. Be proud that you now have a studio-quality sound card for the price of a consumer one!




加入QQ群“X-Fi/专业声卡”13042853参加讨论。


[ 此贴被ter1在2007-07-21 21:45重新编辑 ]
顶端 Posted: 2007-07-21 21:32 | [楼 主]
ter1




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动手打磨X-Fi任何版本,都可以让低端的extreme music模拟输出超过外置DAC01!(多图)

第三篇:

Ok so I did the opamps and the blackgate on my xfi elite pro.

First impressions (using seni 595's right into the xfi box) is that my bass went missing (im guessing I need to burn in these electronics or get an amp to drive my headphones), but mid's and highs are more define.

I am new to this whole audio scene but there is a difference from before the mod and after, a better sound. 

Here are some after pictures:


The Blackgate:



Blackgate mounted: (had some trouble fitting the leads into the stock hole, trimmed the leads of the blackgate down with a dremel to fit).















ERS paper locked in place with the PCI card slot plate: (make sure none of the edges are touching any electronics, I folded edges into themselves).




Second layer of ERS paper on the bottom:



以上的对于X-Fi的修改是head-fi的版主(Headphoneus Supremus)建议并发起的,可能也有不对的地方。
我也懒的翻译了,这点e文,估计初中水平应该就能看懂吧。。。

你应该已经看到了无数打磨Audigy 2 ZS的文章/图片了,但是打磨X-Fi(尤其是Elite Pro)会有更好的效果。国外的论坛早就开始讨论了,结论就是低端的eXetreme Music都可以超过外置DAC01的效果,喜欢动手的朋友可以试试to make a unique card ever!~


QQ群:13042853


[ 此贴被ter1在2007-07-21 21:59重新编辑 ]
顶端 Posted: 2007-07-21 21:51 | 1 楼
garic

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Re:动手打磨X-Fi任何版本

要好好顶
顶端 Posted: 2007-07-21 22:19 | 2 楼
yelanxin

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有已经打磨好的卖麻?

有已经打磨好的卖麻?
顶端 Posted: 2007-07-21 22:20 | 3 楼
basaratales

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。。。。。。。。。。。。

顶。
.
顶端 Posted: 2007-07-21 22:28 | 4 楼
ter1




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更多的图片。。。











顶端 Posted: 2007-07-21 22:32 | 5 楼
ter1




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以上说的是提高模拟输出,下面的方法可以提高X-Fi的数字输出!!!

以上说的是提高模拟输出,下面的方法可以提高X-Fi的数字输出!!!

Digital Sound Card Mods
===================================
This E-MU PCI card has several opportunities to improve the S/PDIF out, including reducing the output voltage (3X the spec), improving power delivery and precisely matching to 75 ohms. After the mod is installed, the S/PDIF output is 500mV peak-to-peak. The impedance is perfectly matched to 75 ohms and the risetime is an unprecedented 5 nsec, allowing use of very short S/PDIF cables. The manufacturer cannot design it this way because they would likely fail emissions testing. However, most audiophiles are expected to use high-quality S/PDIF cables, so the emissions should not be an issue.

S/PDIF mod Details:

1. Change pulse transformer
2. Impedance match to 75 ohms
3. Add power decoupling to decoder and driver chips
4. Improve digital coupling caps
5. Remove various filter components

其中shielding可以提高下面这么多!!

I try tune X-Fi Digital Audio (Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic)

RESULTS(Optical loop-back)
Noise level, dB (A): -104.8 >>> -147.8
Dynamic range, dB (A): 104.0 >>> 133.1
THD, %: 0.0002 >>> 0.0000
IMD + Noise, %: 0.0027 >>> 0.0003
Stereo crosstalk, dB: -103.3 >>> -145.7


Very EASY Tune

HOW TO:
1.
Gets Green Carbon Random #16 (Sweden) GC#16
(Green silicon carbide) for an absorption Electro-Magnetic
I dont know english-name.
2.
8mm in thickness create board (USE Green Carbon Random #16)
I used epoxy.
3.
X-Fi separates and ..fixation.. a little.

Impression is Very Clear!!!!!!


[ 此贴被ter1在2007-07-21 22:48重新编辑 ]
顶端 Posted: 2007-07-21 22:32 | 6 楼
yelanxin

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Re:动手打磨X-Fi任何版本

那个大电容象大烟囱。。。
顶端 Posted: 2007-07-21 22:52 | 7 楼
Lg314

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11

Blackgate真是到那里都是救星啊~~
顶端 Posted: 2007-07-21 22:58 | 8 楼
风之波纹

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Re:动手打磨X-Fi任何版本

哇....翻译有么...
顶端 Posted: 2007-07-21 23:21 | 9 楼
cgduan1990


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Re:动手打磨X-Fi任何版本

哇,有翻译我也没有X-Fi
顶端 Posted: 2007-07-21 23:23 | 10 楼
风之波纹

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Re:动手打磨X-Fi任何版本

开始听厌了...不知有没高手帮忙改呢
顶端 Posted: 2007-07-21 23:25 | 11 楼
zyzs




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动手打磨X-Fi任何版本,都可以让低端的extreme music模拟输出超过外置DAC01!(多图)

我出一块行货x-fi fat版,谁有兴趣买回去改吧
顶端 Posted: 2007-07-21 23:38 | 12 楼
RickyLeung

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Re:

DAC01啥咚咚
顶端 Posted: 2007-07-22 01:46 | 13 楼
yelanxin

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Re:动手打磨X-Fi任何版本

Quote:
估计初中水平应该就能看懂吧。。。


我大学毕业了,为什么我看不懂???

顶端 Posted: 2007-07-22 01:53 | 14 楼
wf007




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打摩

指望通过换几个电容和运放就能明显提高声卡音质的做法是不切实际的自欺欺人。
顶端 Posted: 2007-07-22 08:13 | 15 楼
furfur


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Re:

其中shielding可以提高下面这么多!!

I try tune X-Fi Digital Audio (Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic)

RESULTS(Optical loop-back)
Noise level, dB (A): -104.8 >>> -147.8
Dynamic range, dB (A): 104.0 >>> 133.1
THD, %: 0.0002 >>> 0.0000
IMD + Noise, %: 0.0027 >>> 0.0003
Stereo crosstalk, dB: -103.3 >>> -145.7
---------------------------------------------------------
这个绝对是胡扯,多半是把RMAA从外录变成内录的结果。
顶端 Posted: 2007-07-22 08:31 | 16 楼
neshhu




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Re:动手打磨X-Fi任何版

很好 很强大 结果很疯狂 过程很hifi。。。。
顶端 Posted: 2007-07-22 11:57 | 17 楼
ter1




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Re:动手打磨X-Fi任何版本,

顶端 Posted: 2007-07-22 12:17 | 18 楼
利尔123


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11

换那么大的电容会不会对高频造成不好的影响啊?
顶端 Posted: 2007-07-22 12:27 | 19 楼
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