Question Sound Blaster ZxR Microphone issues

Oct 10, 2019
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EDIT : Solved. I messed up connecting my headset, see my last post in this thread.



Hello everyone.

Sorry for the wall of text. I thought it would be better to provide all the details that I can, rather than people having to ask for it and potentially waste your time.

The problem with the sound card is that my microphone sounds echoey and like I'm talking into a tin can. When I record my microphone though, or test it with the driver software, it sounds perfectly fine to me.
Initially I was sure the problem had to be on my friend's computer, but I have a spare headset which comes with a seperate DAC / Amp, and that aparrently sounds just fine.
So the problem has to be on my end. It is worth mentioning, that no other sound cards or sound drivers were installed apart from the Creative ones, when I was made aware of the problem - except for one little thing I'll get to further down.

The sound card is a Sound Blaster ZxR. I have had this sound card for years, and I have never before run into any kinds of issues with it.
It has been used on a variety of motherboards, chipsets and OSes. I have also used it with 3 different headsets, which I still have.
But because I was experiencing a lot of unrelated hardware issues recently, which turned out to be caused by a faulty i9 9900K CPU, I had bought a lot of new parts for troubleshooting.
After I returned the CPU for replacement, I decided I liked the new motherboard better than the old one (it was 2 months old, so still up-to-date), so a few days ago I installed the new motherboard and reinstalled Windows 10 x64 and all the software I usually use.
This was done using a i3 9100F I'm running until I get the other CPU replaced, and all the hardware installed onto the new motherboard is confirmed to be working properly.
I cannot point to a single thing I did differently than previous reinstalls, and while troubleshooting the CPU issue mentioned above, I reinstalled OS several times - so I'm very sure I did everything the same way, it was fresh in my mind.

Obviously onboard sound is disabled in BIOS, and it has never been activated, I always disable it in BIOS while setting up the BIOS for the first time.

The Creative software panel is setup exactly as I always do, which is easy to confirm, since the only settings I change, is turning SBX (surround and other audio enhancements) off. Everything apart from that is at default settings.

I'm aware that it would be obvious to consider feedback, but when headphones are selected in the driver software, front speakers are disabled. Also, echo cancellation and noise reduction is activated for the mic.

I know I just wrote I did nothing differently during instal, but there was actually one thing. I recently purchased a Sound Blaster AE-7, but unfortunately I experienced audio dropouts which I was not able to fix, even with help and beta drivers provided by Creative support. Luckily the shop accepted a return.

But when installing the ZxR this time, I accindently installed the AE-7 beta driver first. I uninstalled it, and afterwards I used Display Driver Uninstaller to remove the wrong audio drivers from the system, hoping everything would be removed.
After that I went on and installed the ZxR drivers, and wasn't aware of any issues, until I was told my mic sounded awful.

When I returned that AE-7, I did not reinstall Windows, I just removed the AE-7 drivers and installed the ZxR drivers, which didn't cause any problems. So I didn't really think much of the mistake I made.

I have made sure to remove the sound card at put it back to be sure it was connected properly. The size of the graphics card coller and the backplate makes it pretty much impossible to try different PCI-e ports.

So in short, the only two things I can think of which has changed, is accidentally installing the wrong driver, and a using a different motherboard.

So I have two questions:

Does anyone know a method to be completely sure all previous Creative drivers are removed (apart from a complete reinstall)?

Can anyone think of some sort of Windows audio setting that I might not be aware of, which could cause this?

Thanks in advance for any comments or suggestions.

Current HW Specs
ASUS RoG Maximus XI Hero (WiFi) (Z390, using most recent BIOS version)
i3 9100F (sound was also working with my i9 9900K)
Kingston Hyper-X Fury (32GB)
ASUS RoG Strix RTX 2070 Super Advanced Edition
Seasonic Prime Ultra Platinum 850
Sound Blaster ZxR
Samsung 970 Evo Plus 500 GB NVMe SSD
 
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Oct 10, 2019
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Thanks I lot, I hadn't thought of that - I'll do that immediately.
It hasn't been neccessary before, so it didn't really cross my mind.
I'll just disable it to begin with, I rarely use this feature, although it is very useful from time to time.

Unfortunately I'm not able to learn if it works until tommorrow, since I can't hear the problem myself, and I most likely won't speak to my freind until tomorrow.
 
Oct 10, 2019
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Unfortunately disabling What U Hear didn't seem to do anything in terms of solving the audio problem.

I have also been adjustig Microphone Boost, but that doesn't help either.

So now I don't really know what else to do. If anyone has any ideas that might help, it would be very much aprreciated if you would share them :)
 
Oct 10, 2019
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I think I have solved the problem, and this is very embarassing.

My headset is connected to a volume knob - or an Audio Control Module as Creative calls it. Due to some experimenting I did with different headsets, I had disconnected the headset a few times, and when I reconnected the headset I forgot to connect the Mic. It was a step I purposely skipped, since I was only listening to the audio coming from the headsets, and I never thought of it again.

The Audio Control Module also has a built-in directional microphone, which is enabled when there's not a headset mic attached. It is surprisingly good, but it has to be placed properly, which it wasn't since I never use the built-in mic feature. That's why there was some audio, but the quality was not particularly good. I thought it sounded decent enough, but I was sitting closer to the ACM/directional mic, when I was trying to fix the problem.

Unfortunately I did this experimenting the day before I swapped the old motherboard for this one, and since the ACM was hidden under some paper, I didn't notice it wasn't connected properly - and since I didn't notice, I could only think of the motherboard as the only parameter that had changed.

I have yet to test it talking to my friend, but it certainly sounds a lot better to me, and I'm pretty sure that the only thing that wasn't working, was my brain.
 
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