Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Causes Skips in Video/Audio

Last response: in Components
Share
March 20, 2007 10:53:48 PM

System Specs
Motherboard: ASUS P5N-E SLI (nForce 650i SLI)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
RAM: 2 x [1GB DDR2 667mhz]
GPU: ATI Radeon X800XT
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS

To some this may seem like a minor annoyance, but these annoyances add up, you know.

The Problem
The main problem is that when watching a video of any type, randomly the video will skip ahead to a further point in playback (simulated example), typically around a half a second ahead. The audio and video remain synchronized when this happens. I'll spare you the details but I've created a simple program that is able to detect these playback skips over time and not only is the Realtek onboard audio immune from this issue, but it doesn't happen when I put the sound card in my old computer (with an ASUS A7N8X Deluxe motherboard, an nForce 2 chipset).

It doesn't happen with typical audio-only sources such as MP3's presumably due to a higher buffer size or something, but it will happen if they are in a Matroska container for example, even if there's no video.

I'm not overclocking and the sound card is the only PCI device installed in my system for all intents and purposes. I installed a TV tuner this morning but I've had this problem for weeks. It has had no positive or negative effect on the problem.

Things I've Tried to Fix It (Bold signifies workaround)
1. Set hardware acceleration for the sound card to Basic (works, but undesirable)
2. Set LDT Frequency in BIOS to 1x from 5x (this solved another problem I had with the card that I'll briefly detail later; it does not solve the skipping issue)
3. Changed memory timings
4. Underclocked memory to 400mhz
5. Adjusted northbridge voltage (returned it to Auto when done; didn't help)
6. Updated BIOS (I've tried v0401 and v0505 along with the version that came with the board; didn't help)
7. Posted at other forums (I CAN'T post at ASUS forums; I get an error message about too many connections.. They suck.)
8. Disconnected non-system hard drives
9. Disconnected USB devices
10. Clean install of Windows after partition deletion/recreation and format
11. Uninstalled video driver and tried without one (used the skip-prone Matroska audio files for this; same effect as video)
12. Uninstalled ethernet driver and tried without it
13. Uninstalled nVidia IDE drivers and tried without them
14. Tried without PCI Management Bus or any other motherboard drivers installed
15. Adjust PCI latency for the sound card and "game port" using PCI Latency Tool. I've tried the default of 32 along with 16, 0, 64, and 248. I may or may not have tried 128; I can't remember and I doubt it matters. None solved the problem.
16. Monitored DPC Latency using DPC Latency Checker to see if skips correspond with DPC delays; they don't
17. Tried different drivers (uninstalling the previous one and using Driver Cleaner), including the ones that came on the CD, ones from December 2005, and the most recent available of 2007, all with the same results
18. Disabled onboard audio in the BIOS (also tried at clean installation of Windows with onboard audio never having been enabled; didn't help)
19. Disabled onboard audio in device manager and uninstalled old devices
20. Disabled USB in the BIOS
21. Disabled parallel port in the BIOS
22. Disabled serial port in the BIOS
23. Used Windows XP's Performance management console in order to log a vast amount of information every second about computer status, CPU usage, page faults, etc. I can't link any occurrence in around the same time as the skip to being the cause of the skip itself.
24. Disabled firewire controller in the BIOS (and in device manager)
25. Disabled firewire controller on the sound card
26. Disabled nForce LAN in the BIOS
[NEW] 27. Tried kX Project drivers. There were one or two times shortly after installing when I thought I heard some popping but I never heard it again after that. They glitch with Oblivion (mainly related to footsteps) unless hardware acceleration is set to Basic; gaming isn't their strong suit. But other than that, I have NO PROBLEMS with these drivers! They work perfectly! No skip-forwards, BSOD's: nothing!
a. [As mentioned before] Tried sound card in another computer. No problems exhibited.
b. [As mentioned before] Tried onboard audio. No problems exhibited.

I don't know what else to try. I'd like to get this card working properly on my system.

Some Background Info
Now to briefly go over the other problems I've had with this card and this motherboard...
Instability. When gaming (or even playing a MIDI file, as someone in another forum pointed out) and simultaneously playing an audio stream of 24-bit/48kHz quality (e.g. background music with iTunes), the sound will go high-pitched and berserk. Any new audio streams created on the device will be corrupted and sound horrible too, but the high-quality background music stream (iTunes) will be fine. When the 24-bit/48kHz stream is ended (iTunes is closed), the computer will either reboot itself, have a MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTION BSOD (the end result of the analysis of this was _VAL_UC_EN_PCC_BUSCONNERR_0) and reboot itself, or lock up.

This doesn't happen when the card is in my old computer, when the card is set to Basic acceleration, when using the onboard audio, when the background music player is set to 16-bit/44.1kHz, or when the LDT Frequency in the BIOS is set to 1x (instead of the default of 5x). By performing the latter option I've been able to keep that particular problem at bay - it doesn't happen at all like this no matter what the settings.

What Else Can I Try?
That's what I'd like to know. Any ideas? For now I'm using the onboard audio for playback of videos' audio and the Sound Blaster for games and everything else. It's troublesome, though. I'd also like to know of suggestions on how to isolate this problem.

If you have this card (or another Sound Blaster) and a modern nForce motherboard (4 or above), or if you have any of these problems, I'd be interested in hearing about your experience!

If you have one of these problems and you're not a gamer, the kX Project drivers are a great alternative to Creative's drivers and I highly recommend you give them a try.

I'd still prefer being able to have EAX capabilities, so for now I'm keeping with my previous plan - Realtek for videos, Sound Blaster for everything else. The kX Project drivers seem to prove that this is a problem Creative can solve via their drivers. How nice it would be if they did.

Thanks in advance!
SireeBob
March 27, 2007 4:55:52 AM

I upgraded to a Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer and the problem persists, but continues not to happen with onboard sound. (The instability problems - BSOD's/squealing/MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTIONs - are gone with this card, however.)

Hmmmm.
March 3, 2009 3:44:10 PM

I have an Fatality SB X-Fi.. I've had the Same problem that you do, with no cure in sight. I've look around and done a lot of research as well. My old SB Plat Pro Audigy 2 ZS had no problem on the same pc.. As soon as I upgraded, I've had the problem ever since. I'm a big gamer so those drivers aren't an option for me. :/ 

My current rig:
ASUS P5N Deluxe
E8600 3.2GHz
4g of Dominator ram.
2x ATI 4870s

I've tried with and without OCing the CPU and Ram. I've tried uninstalling drivers, reinstalling.. etc etc.. Plus a lot of what you have done as well.

If there is a fix out there, I'd really like to find it. Help?

If anyone knows of one...

Tragon@gmail.com

Thanks! :) 
Related resources
August 20, 2009 8:02:31 PM

if you are running windows vista or windows 7, the problem will not go away, they still havent gotten the drivers right for those os.... there are some third party drivers people have had great success with.... so keep looking, or see if win update will find working drivers
!