Creative X-Fi - EAX not working

Hey guys, I've been a long time M-Audio Revolution user - but discovered recently that what I thought was surround all these years was matrixed surround (Stupid me :ange:). Anyway, I looked at a billion sound cards (A lot anyway) and didn't find any that sounded perfect. But gaming is a priority and so is surround support via an external receiver, so I thought I'd give this Creative a shot despire the horrible rep because of it's local availability (easy return) and it does everything I need (DTS Connect and DDL encoding). People also hyped up EAX to some astronmical level, and after seeing some examples on the Creative site I thought it would be impressive. So I popped in BF2, a game that supports EAX 5.0 - set all in-game and external settings for EAX on and at normal levels...nothing. The guns sound identical if I shoot them in a small room or of I shoot them in a large open field.

I tried new drivers (Was very nervous to do so, but it didn't break anything - everything works good on my Win 7 64-bit PC so far *fingers crossed*) and that didn't do it, adjusted settings (It was on the Game mode already), I tried turning it on and off and comparing - I can't hear anything! I am using the encoder to get DTS Digital out of my Logitech Z-5500 speakers - but does this somehow mess up EAX? Do I need to run something first like ALchemy to make EAX work? I thought it was as easy as click the box and start gaming...but silly me it isn't. I now know EAX is a largely dead technology, but it irks me highly that it isn't working properly on the games that support it - I'd really like to sample it first hand but either it makes a miniscule difference or it's not on.

I'm not experienced with Creative stuff, I've been a content M-Audio user for the past 6+ years and would like a true surround sound gaming experience which the M-Audio (Albeit great sound quality) will not provide. And if you think Creative makes bad drivers, at least they make more - the community had to squeeze M-Audio for a long time to get a Vista 64-bit driver, and they've never released another one - that's the same driver I had working on my Win 7 installation. If I mess with Revo settings too much it would also BSOD - though Creative doesn't like me messing with a few certain options too many times (I tried turning off and on while listening for a difference - oops, crashed my PC doing that - but no crashes during games or anything so far).

Please help, I want to sample EAX before I decide to return this card and go with either an Asus or HT Omega and forego EAX support completely.
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  1. EAX is more of a gimmick than anything else.
    It basically adds a small amount of distortion, Echo and delayed compression to certain sounds.
    It is not true sound experience. Just some garbage added in.
  2. First thing is to turn DTS off as it has nothing to do with gaming it's for movie decoding and home theatre recievers etc.
    Most Creative cards have a mode selection.
    Either Entertainment or Gaming.
    You'll want to select Gaming.
    Turn your speakers down and click mute volume icon before switching modes.
    The EQ will allow you to enable EAX.
  3. *Sigh* Yes DTS has something to do for gaming when I have it hooked up through an optical cable and my Z-5500's (Soon to be an Onkyo receiver and Definitive Technology speakers) decode DTS and DD. If I turn it off, it will go to 2 channel - the maximum possible over an optical/coaxial cable. I'm not an idiot, I'm an audiophile - though I'm willing to accept lesser quality on the PC because nary anyone makes anything of real quality. It's already on Game mode, other modes are Entertainment and Audio Creation modes.

    The whole reason I am using this and not my old sound card is the ability to ENCODE in DTS/DD which is necessary to play games in true surround through a digital link and not with analog cables which are inferior quality (And once I switch to the receiver will be more troublesome to hook up, as I think they would have to go to the DVD Multi Channel input, though I'd need several adapter cables). Please take note of the difference, pass through is what is used on movies encoding is what is used on games (My old card did this and matrixed the surround channels). DTS provides superior sound quality, it's 1536 kbps sample rate, DDL is 640 kbps, and well analog is probably much lower than either of those two.
  4. Well which decoder are you using the Z-5500's built in or the soundcards or both at the same time?
    EAX is not a surround sound format.
    The only 5.1 audio that can be passed over S/PDIF is compressed DD/DTS.
    If you want surround sound in games when using the optical (digital) out from your X-Fi, you need to use DDL.
    Otherwise set everything to 5.1 (including the games and windows), enable DDL, turn on EAX.
    Turning on CMSS-3D helps with sound quality in games.
  5. I am using the Z-5500's decoder, I don't want to hook the Creative up via analog connections. I was under the impression that EAX was an effect that was supposed to emulate how things "really sound". I thought DTS and DDL were mostly the same, with the exception that DTS was higher bitrate. I did not try this, but I will switch modes and see if this changes anything. If that also doesn't work, I'll try disabling encoding and see if just 2 channel audio will enable EAX.

    EDIT: Just tried DDL - no different. I tried disabling the encoder completely, but then I get no sound. Unlike my M-Audio the Creative isn't nice enough to at least output stereo over the digital cable which is the maximum a digital cable can support unencoded. If EAX requires analog, then for all intents and purposes this card has no EAX support for me. Time to return it and buy a superior quality sound card, maybe an Asus or HT Omega. Thanks for the suggestions.
  6. I've heard that Auzentech makes some good audio cards.
  7. Auzentech makes horrible sound cards from a quality standpoint. The all fail just after a 1 year according to many many complaints, and the company has no support. People should stop recommending that company to anyone as their support is even worse than Creative. Auzentech has a F rating from the BBB and according to everyone I've seen who has dealt with their support, you'll be lucky if their support even TALKS to you - let alone processes your RMA or even returns your fixed card or replacement. I'm amazed no one does any research on the internet because this was obvious to me once I started looking around, Auzentech has a horrible record for reliability and their cards always break from what I'm seeing complaints are always of the same buzzing then no sound and it happens at just over a year - I don't think that's just coincidence given the high number of people reporting the same things.

    I went with an HT Omega Claro Plus+, much better track record, I haven't heard any real negatives about HT Omega other than it's not cheap - but I got this one on sale which helped my decision. Auzentech uses Creative chips anyway, so you're still too close to the problem source which is that crappy X-Fi chip. I'm already noticing on my one week old X-Fi Titanium (Which is going back tomorrow when my Claro Plus+ gets here) that the DTS Interactive encoding will randomly turn off and back on when I'm playing games. It happened less frequently three days ago, happened only once, then yesterday only once, now today it's happened three times...not good signs.
  8. I'll take your word for it about customer support but as for horrible quality not in my experience.
    Been running two Auzentech cards without so much as a hiccup.
    One card is nearing 2yrs of continuous use.
    Half of Auzentech's current cards use C-Media chips same as HT Omega or Asus.
    The also have good drivers unlike Creative.
    We don't mind a little bashing here as long as its Creative lol!
  9. LoL! well, I only know a few people with Auzentech's and they all love them. I think the company switched hands a few times to. It went from Auzentech -> Blue Gear, and appearantly back to Auzentech. Earlier cards didn't use Creative chips and according to Davcon they either stopped using Creative or only certain models must be using them.

    Anyhow, I did't mean to get you on a rampage. I was just reporting what the people I know that have the cards thought of them.
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