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Soyo Dragon Plus audio nightmares

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Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
March 17, 2002 1:36:54 AM

I just upgraded my machine to an XP 1700+ on the Soyo Dragon K7V mobo. Installation went as smoothly as could be expected, and to all appearances, things seem to be working fine, with one big EXCEPT:

The C-Media on-board audio, which is supposed to be all that and a bag of BBQ chips, ain't working. It sounds ok with the Windows chimes and tinkles, and the You've Got Mail guy, but when I try to play a real game, the sound is all poppy, tinny and reverby.

I downloaded and installed every version of the audio drivers I could find on the Soyo websites for both the US and Taiwan, and nothing changed. I also downloaded the very latest version of DirectX 8.1 I could find, also to no avail.

For a lark, I tried disabling the onboard sound, and installing the SB Live! Value card left over from the previous incarnation of the machine. The Soyo mobo didn't like THAT one bit, and locked up completely each time I tried to LOAD the SB Live drivers. These crashes during driver installation were so bad, I had to reinstall Windows, and each time, there would be a huge hunk of lost file turned up by Scandisk.

I need to get decent sound running with this board, or its going back to the dealer. This machine is all about games--and yes, i have tried several--and if I have to play them silent, what's the point?

For the record, here is the system as it stands:

Athlon XP 1700+
Soyo K7V Dragon Plus! mobo
256MB Kingston 2100 DDR memory (a single stick, of course)
Antec 400 Watt Power Supply
US Robotics 56K PCI Modem
On-board NIC and Raid disabled
Windows ME

Any thots or suggestions, anyone?
March 17, 2002 1:49:06 AM

it could be possible that there might be a problem with the Mobo.. Buy a New one.. and check it out and return the Bad one, if that's the case.

Once you go AMD, You never Go back!!
March 17, 2002 1:59:05 AM

remove it in device manager .. reboot and disable it in the bios on the way in then uninstall the cmedia drivers .. try reinstalling the SB live after that

lagger

<b><font color=blue>Checking under my North<font color=red> AND</font color=red> South bridges for <font color=green>Trolls</font color=green></font color=blue>
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Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
March 17, 2002 2:01:33 AM

Thanks for the fast suggestion. I certainly hope I don't have to buy a new board before I can return the old one, since they run about $175 a pop! (But geez, at that price, they ought to WORK, right?)

Further information: testing sounds carefully, I discover that all the .WAV files of voices that AOL uses (don't start in on me for AOL, i have had this email for AGES, and its just to late to change now ;)  also sound like the You've Got Mail guy is talking from the bottom of an oil tanker.

By the way, the board OUGHT to be able to install an SB Live!, as long as the on-board audio is disabled in the BIOS first, right? Is this a related problem, or just two separate problems that both happen to do with noises?

Any other suggestions, before I pack this one back to the shop? I don't want take it in only to find out there was some toggle in some mixer or something that would have fixed it... Anyone?
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
March 17, 2002 3:44:48 AM

Thanks for the suggestion, lagger. I tried doing removing the on-board sound exactly as you said, in three steps: first, removing the device in device manager, then disabling it in the BIOS, then removing the PCI Audio Applications and PCI Audio Drivers using Add/Remove Programs.

Unfortunately, I ultimately got back to the exact same point in installing the SB Live drivers that I did before: the actual installation of the SB Live driver itself, which is after the joystick is installed, and (if you use the install disk) after all the play center apps. At that point, it completely locked the machine up again.

Upon rebooting, the machine came back to life, but no sound. If you look in Device Manager at the SB Live (with the exclamation point, of course), it tells you that Windows encountered errors attempting to install the device, and that it will never try to install it again (Doesn't that sound final?). You can go into ASD and tell the machine to try again, but the exact same thing happens over and over--install drivers, hang, install drivers, hang.

I have also tried the SB Live! in most or all of the PCI slots, so that ain't the problem. The only other card in the machine is the modem mentioned above, and of course the vid card, a Jaton GeForce MX400 w/ 64MB of ram.

So, does everyone think that ALL Soyo Dragons behave this way, or is mine special?
March 17, 2002 4:38:21 AM

My plus p4 sound wouldnt work with XP,or ME...only with 98.It played cd's,but no Windows chimes.
I tried every possible cure,nothing helped.Now I have a very modern MB,coupled with an outdated (98) O.S..Oh joy..:) 

If ya don't ask..How ya gonna know.
March 17, 2002 11:39:11 PM

Have you tried moving the 56K around while moving the SoundBlaster? I've had Live cards that would only work in one or two combos with a network card of anysort in the system (thanks to that fancy IRQ). Try moving the 56K AND the Live around. 2&4 and 2&5 (audio & network PCI locations respectively) seem to be the most common working combos.

Also, DON'T CLICK ANY OF THE OPTIONS that Creative gives you when installing your card, these are ALL useless crap (cept maybe the sound mixer). Be sure not to overwrite your old GamePort driver, odd as it may seem, Windows' works better. You can always go back and install one or two later if you must, but I have found many of these programs to contain too many conflicts to even mess with. Also, don't forget to remove (in windows) any hardware you are going to reinstall before you reboot.


If I don't get my 90THz AMD Quadraplex system soon, I'm afraid I may just combust right here.
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
March 28, 2002 2:20:57 AM

In answer to my own question above, yes, it appears all Dragons work this way. After futzing with it for many days, I decided it must be defective, and took it back to the shop to exchange it for a "good" one. Well, I installed the new one, and lo and behold, it does the exact same thing.

A few new observations, tho: first, I find that when running the Audio demo which came with the software package, it DOESNT misbehave. When I run the EAX test, the first, un-altered version of the footsteps it uses to demonstrate the various environments sounds FINE. And when it starts to run the same footsteps in various other environments--like a Sewer Pipe or a Concert Hall--it sounds all reverby and nasty, just like the machine sounds when I play any game.

So, somehow, somewhere, I have to be able to get some control over the EAX "feature" and turn it the heck off. I am starting to think there is just some simple switch buried in the software somewhere that I must find and flip, and all my troubles will go away.

But I can't find that switch in the Audio Mixer, which is the only software that came with it the board that has any controls you can use. The demo program, which stands alone, starts its EAX demo without any reverb, but offers no clue whatsoever as to where to look for controls to let you actually make any changes.

Has anybody found the switch I am looking for?

Oh, and btw, before I swapped the mobo for the new one, I also tried it with a modest, generic PCI sound card, with the same results as the SB Live! Guess trying the SB and the generic with this board will be my next step, but I doubt anything will be any different. I REALLY want to like this mobo--especially considering what it cost me--but they sure make it hard...

Thanks for the input, all.
March 28, 2002 8:14:20 PM

This motherboard has design defects. I ran into audio problems too, finally found the solution. SCSI cards and Audio cards do not work unless you do the following:
- latest via 4-in-1 drivers
- cards installed in PCI slot 4 or 5 -- (if AGP is slot 0)

This was confirmed by Creative Labs. They said they are trying to find a solution but have not found any at this time.

Hope this helps,

kalahari
March 28, 2002 10:26:15 PM

i had exactly the same problem with c-media when i upgraded to XP pro, i got the newest drivers for mobo and c-media, now it is fine

I need a 1.5 Ghz Athlon + 512mb ddr ram to write emails......honestly
March 29, 2002 11:58:30 PM

Open the mixer, click on Advanced, go to Sound Effect tab. See if you have Enable Reverberation checked. I gave up on the C-Media sound here and installed my SB Live 5.1 Platinum from my other machine. I couldn't get my Cambridge Soundworks DTT3500 to work the way I wanted with the on-board sound and Wavelab wouldn't work at all. The WinDVD that came with the motherboard only supported 2 speakers, so that clinched it for me. My Hollywood+ and SB were installed.
I guess I lucked out putting my SB in the next to last PCI slot, because everything's working (Hollywood+ in slot 3). The SB install CD hung my machine, I ended up just using the latest WDM drivers SBLiveXPDrvUpdate and whatever applications it installed (on Win2K).
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
March 30, 2002 3:20:30 AM

Yeah, Delirious, I know about that control in the Audio Mixer, but as far as I can tell, its a Fisher-Price control--which is to say you can flip it any which way you want, but it doesn't actually DO anything. In any case, none of the settings there seemed to make any difference.

Tried again and again to really install the updated C-Media Audio drivers--I have several versions from the various Soyo websites--and I am not at all convinced I ever got them to install properly. The zip files just dump a bunch of .inf and .dll and other files into a folder, and leave it up to you to figure out what to do with them. Not only is there no install utility for them--and with about a dozen files, there ought to be--there isn't even a readme to tell you where to put them all by hand. Just updating the driver for the Audio chip thru Device Manager doesn't seem to get the job done.

In any case, I threw in the towel on the on-board audio (which is annoying, because its supposed to be one of the hot features of this board, and is the "A" in the Dragon name), and tried the SB Live! in PCI slot 4. Sonuvagun, damn thing loaded right up. I haven't tested extensively yet, but I know I can play Daiblo II with sound now, so that is a good sign.

I guess I didn't try it in all the slots before. I remember reading SOMEWHERE that the SB Live would be happiest in PCI 2, with the modem in 4 or 5. That may be true on some other board, but on this one, a soundcard in 2 or 3 will just plain crash the machine. I can tell you PCI 4 works; whether 5 would work as well, I haven't tested.

So, in the end, the board SEEMS to be working--if you consider disabling the hotsy-totsy 6-channel sound and putting in a 2-year-old, previous-generation sound card working. I guess I am no worse off than I would have been with a different board, except that I paid for a fancy high-end board, then turned off almost all the features...

Bottom line, if you are thinking of buying the Dragon: I wouldn't, if I had it to do over again. Yes, it's working, but it took 2 weeks to figure it out, at least part of the features just plain don't work, and its REAL fussy about what cards go in what slot. Way more trouble than its worth, especially for a board that costs between $150 and $200.

Thanks for all the help, everyone. I hope I don't have to call on you again soon! ;) 

--Potshot
March 30, 2002 1:44:35 PM

I recently built a system for a friend using the Soyo Dragon Plus and had absolutely no problem with the audio. When putting together a system I always get the latest bios and download the latest drivers for everything. I have a Soundblaster 5.1 in my computer and based on prior experiences with integrated cmedia sound cards I expected the sound to be horible, but actually it was quite nice. When hooked up to my altec lansing speaker the cmedia sounded just as good as the sb 5.1. Both systems where running Window XP Pro.

I never tired to install my SB 5.1 in the new system, and I can't remeber whether the games I played on it may not have had EAX enabled, but as far as I could tell the sound was perfect.

I never use the drivers on CDs. I would recomend that you always update the bios and install the latest via 4 in 1 drivers in addition to downloading the latest device drivers off the internet.

It is also a good idea to remove all the old audio drivers before putting in a new sound or video card. I have had problems in the past when I failed to remove the old drivers first.
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
March 30, 2002 4:42:00 PM

I'm glad you had a good experience with this board. I can't explain my troubles, I can only describe them.

I do have the very latest Via 4-in-1 drivers and the latest BIOS for the mobo. I have downloaded and attempted the best I could to install EVERY version of the C-Media drivers I could find on 3 separate Soyo sources: soyousa.com, as well as both the Taiwan and US servers listed by the "check latest version" option on the installation CD. (The installation app accesses a Soyo site directly, if you have your internet connection on, of course.) One version was listed as being for both Me and 2K; the others were Me-specific. I have no confidence that I got any version installed correctly, because, as I said before, the zip files contain several different files and no documentation at all, and just updating the driver through Device Manager doesn't get the job done. (Sometimes it flat-out fails, sometimes it pretends to work, but makes no difference.)

As for removing old drivers, this was a clean install of WindowsME. In fact, its been SEVERAL clean installs on a formatted and reformatted and reformatted hard disk. There were no old drivers to remove.

I can't imagine what could be conflicting with the on-board audio, cause there is basically NOTHING in the machine right now: a GeForce 2 AGP card, a US Robotics 56K modem, two IDE hard drives, a CD and CD-RW, and of course, a floppy. That is it. Nothing fancy at all.

Of course, as I mentioned in my last post, I finally bagged the C-Media and put my SB Live! Value in PCI 4, and it seems to be working OK. Naturally, I followed the 3-step removal process to get rid of the C-Media before putting the SB in: remove it in Device Manager, reboot to CMOS and disable it there, the use Add/Remove Programs to remove the Apps and the Drivers.

In any case, my 14 days to return the board to the vendor has now run out, so I own it, for good or for ill. It's working ok with the SB, so as I said, except for the extra bucks I laid out for features I turned off, I am ok for now. But a high-end, full-featured board costing almost $200 should NOT be this much trouble, especially not with most of its features (LAN, RAID, overclocking, 6-channel Audio) all disabled. To struggle with a $60 board I could understand, but not with one like this.

And I am not alone. If you scan back through this forum, you will find a LOT of people having trouble with this board, particularly with the audio and the RAID. Some day, I will no doubt try to put a RAID on this board...I hope that goes better than this did.

Again, thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I wouldn't have even gotten to the place I am without it. But I have tried all the obvious stuff, and none of it worked. Which is not good at all.
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