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Creative Goes After Driver Modder 385

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the shame-on-you-creative dept.
FreedomFighter writes "Since the release of Windows Vista, Creative has promised their Sound Cards as being 'Vista Ready'. Unfortunately, as many unlucky customers did discover, this is not true. What the users actually found were buggy, feature crippled drivers. Creative insisted that features such as Decoding of Dolby® Digital and DTS(TM) signals and DVD-Audio which worked fine in WinXP, would not work on windows Vista. With Creative releasing less than one new driver a year, things seemed bleak. Fortunately, a talented user, Daniel_K, was recently able to 'fix' many of the drivers, enabling the incompatible features and also fixing many bugs. Just today Creative has decided to put a stop to this. They removed all links to his modified drivers, and banned several users who were posting links to the now banned drivers."
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Creative Goes After Driver Modder

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  • Scruffy seconds. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 29, 2008 @07:47AM (#22903870)
    Because Scruffy fails to believe in this company. *sob*

    Creative blows these days. I too used to be a Creative goon, buying nothing but their cards for any of my many boxxen. After one too many fried - after one too many asinine issues with their crap drivers, and even crappier software (it didn't used to be this way - what the hell happened?!)... Well, I'll take onboard sound over a dedicated Creative soundcard any day.

    Seriously, Creative went from awesome to shit. What happened? I still haven't figured that out.
  • by edgrale (216858) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @07:56AM (#22903906)
    I don't usually post but here goes:

    Posted by JohnZS [creative.com] 2) I firmly believe that Daniel K has caught the flack because of the Dolby Digital feature As far as I am aware Auzentech paid a lot of money for an exclusive licence with Dolby to have their cards support this.

    But but... didn't Creative have this feature on their cards? I could swear they did, at least in Windows XP.

  • by atari2600 (545988) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @08:01AM (#22903920)
    From the useless forum thread, it looks like one cowboy decided to make things easy for users suffering from Creative's ineptitude. As noble as his motives are, his methods weren't exactly legal. Looks like he was redistributing altered binary packages and asking for donations for his effort and time. I understand he was trying to help users but again his methods (and not his motives) are suspect. If Creative had any brains, they would probably hire the guy (daniel_k) as a contractor, get his contributions in, pay him a few Euro (or Yen or anything but the US$) and check that stuff into their CVS and call it their own.

    This is what happens when non-technical management + legal team + marketing get together to make decisions (and it's not just Creative...). I've been using a Creative Soundblaster 5.1 Live for the last 7 years - the card cost me 25$ and I've spent over 2000$ in AGP / PCI-Express cards in the same time. I am not much of an audiophile and the card just plain bloody works. Creative makes great hardware - the whining on that forum was driver support for Microsoft Vista but that's another nightmare story...
  • SSDD (Score:4, Informative)

    by GastonTheTruck (1048316) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @08:07AM (#22903940)
    Same thing happened with Win2K/Windows XP on the Live! cards. Creative never bothered to issue working drivers for the cards or the LiveDrive that allowed use of all the features, and the KX Project happened. It's pretty simple, don't bother with their hardware, the most compatible thing they ever produced was the SoundBlaster 16 and everything from there has been a support nightmare.
  • Not really (Score:5, Informative)

    by anss123 (985305) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @08:33AM (#22904032)
    The original SoundBlaster was basically a copy of the Adlib (a soundcard by a small American company) with digital output tacked on. Problem was the implementation was so broken it was impossible to play back audio without crackles and pops.

    The Soundblaster pro was better, but that's not saying a lot. The fact that the follow up - the Sound Blaster 16 - was NOT Sound Blaster Pro compatible is a clear indication how murky the SB Pro's underpinnings actually were.

    Speaking about the SoundBlaster 16. Despite what you may believe the SB16 is NOT a 16-Bit soundcard. It can indeed play back 16-Bit samples, but the drivers simply down converts them to 12-bits.

    The AWE was better but it was basically what the SB16 should have been and the competition by this time made the AWE look silly - and that is not mentioning the rather dishonest 64 simultaneous channels claim their marketing department threw about.

    Creative's first attempt at a PCI soundcard turned out so murky that 1997 era mobos have something called a "SoundBlaster link" to make them happy. Finally giving up Creative bought another company that had made a PCI soundcard and slapped the SoundBlaster brand on it. (SoundBlaster 16 PCI .. or SoundBlaster 512, they had many names for it).

    The SoundBlaster Live! was not PCI 2.1 complainant. If you somehow didn't know that you had to turn off PCI delayed transactions in the BIOS you would get blue screens every now and then. It also caused disk corruption on Via chipsets. Fun fun fun.

    Since then the Live has been rebranded several times. They even spewed out a SoundBlaster Live 24-Bit that did the old SoundBlaster 16-Bit down sampling trick. How nice of them.

    The SoundBlaster X-Fi is much nicer than the Live and the Soundcard I'm currently listening to. But beware, Creative is up to their old tricks even here. They talk a lot about their 24-Bit Crysalizer - for instance - but it is actually a 24-Bit Compressor similar to the 16-Bit compressors used by CD mastering studios. Like any audiophile can tell you a compressor helps cheepo speakers by making the sound a little more vivid and louder, at the cost of less fidelity on high end equipment.

    Also note that the SoundBlaster X-Fi PCIe Xtreme Audio is not an X-Fi but a good 'ol SoundBlaster Live! in new clothes!
  • Re:Not really (Score:3, Informative)

    by X0563511 (793323) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @08:48AM (#22904084) Homepage Journal
    I think I have one of their last good cards. An audigy 2 zs.

    Works great in Linux*, AC'97 had finally been replaced with I2C, and a few other improvements, but they didn't seem to screw things up yet. While I don't know if it down-samples 24-bit to 16-bit, I don't think I could hear the difference anyways - but the 48/96 sample rates do sound clearer (I do synthesizer stuff, so I can generate sound that actually uses those rates)

    * = Excepting the 50-thousand mixer channels and switches that I have no clue what they do...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 29, 2008 @08:50AM (#22904094)
    Let's not forget what they did to Aureal, who made simply some of the finest sounding and most innovative sound cards around at the time. I have an au8830 kicking around somewhere actually...
  • Re:Not really (Score:3, Informative)

    by haruchai (17472) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @09:06AM (#22904172)
    Thanks for the info. I didn't know all that about Creative cards but I did know that they
      had no working PCI solution until they snapped up Ensoniq and re-marketed the AudioPCI.
      I was an early adopter of the AudioPCI, which wasn't available here at the time in Toronto
      as Ensoniq just didn't have the market share.
      So after hearing about the card and it's purportedly solid SoundBlaster compatibility,
      I called up the company, got them to sell me a few cards and they also sent me hardware
      documentation and we were working on a reseller agreement when Creative stepped in and
      swallowed them up.
  • Hardly unique (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mike1024 (184871) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @09:07AM (#22904178)

    Just today Creative has decided to put a stop to this. They removed all links to his modified drivers, and banned several users who were posting links to the now banned drivers.
    It's worth noting that Creative is hardly the only company that deletes posts they don't like in their corporate forums [google.co.uk].
  • by John_Sauter (595980) <John_Sauter@systemeyescomputerstore.com> on Saturday March 29, 2008 @09:09AM (#22904186) Homepage

    I've heard good things about M-Audio kit. However, it appears not to work with ALSA (yet, at least). What are my other choices?

    I use the M-Audio Delta 66 [m-audio.com]. It worked well under Microsoft Windows XP when I bought it, and it works well under the Ubuntu distribution of GNU/Linux now. I have no idea whether or not it works under Microsoft Windows Vista.

  • Re:Not really (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 29, 2008 @09:21AM (#22904254)

    The original SoundBlaster was basically a copy of the Adlib (a soundcard by a small American company)
    Adlib was Canadian, actually. They were based out of Quebec City.
  • Re:Not really (Score:5, Informative)

    by anss123 (985305) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @09:27AM (#22904278)
    You're right. For Linux the audigy is better than the X-Fi, but whenever they get working drivers the X-Fi is the better card. One nice feature of the X-Fi is an option bitmaching similar to Via Envy cards. That bypasses the need for resampling altogether, though the resample engine in the X-Fi is very good.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 29, 2008 @09:37AM (#22904338)
    Unless you're doing pro or semi-pro audio work, an Intel chipset with on-board HDA audio will be more than fine for what you want to do. In fact newer onboard audio is probably fine for the majority of users these days, unless you've got a super-cheap board that introduces noise on the output.
  • Re:Shorting stock? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Martin Blank (154261) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @10:14AM (#22904544) Journal
    Their highest since the stock bubble was $15.75 in Dec 2004, and their highest on record is $37 on 04 Mar 1994. They have outlasted the competition in the consumer market by either buying them or leveraging agreements to outsell them, while still producing hardware ranging from passable to very good. I've purchased three cards with their logo: SoundBlaster AWE64, Audigy 1, and X-Fi. Hardware-wise, they've been good enough, but with the exception of the first, I've had to fight with drivers on numerous occasions. I was severely disappointed when they swallowed up Aureal, the best sound hardware I've ever used (not that there's not better; I've just not used it), because I knew it would just disappear. I bought five Aureal-based cards for myself and family, and still have one in my Linux system, and would gladly join the line to buy a new, pure Aureal card.

    Incidentally, Creative expects an operating loss for the third quarter ending on Monday, but expects to post a net profit for the quarter. They're able to do this because they've sold their headquarters to another entity for $179M to be amortized on the books over five years, and will lease it back. Their financials have been all over the place over the last few years; this is going to happen to some extent, as they are a technology company, but this looks worse than most to me, though I'm not a financial analyst.

    I wonder how much longer until someone buys them outright. At this point, even golden parachutes for the executives would be fine if it means that they no longer had anything to do with the company.
  • Re:Not really (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 29, 2008 @10:16AM (#22904552)
    if you are looking for truly good sound from your PC, you should look at the multitude of 24-bit/192kHz devices available for home recording.. even if you have no interest at all in strumming a few chords or banging out a synth line, you can still enjoy the plethora of i/o available and the audiophile quality. of course you'll have to ditch the computer speakers and get yourself a set of decent powered monitors, but if you think you can tell the difference between 44khz and 192khz, you'll definitely need some decent hardware.

    there have been some really giant steps forward with some of these usb/firewire interfaces and you can even run a surround sound setup if you like. for the price of whatever the top-of-the-line creative card goes for, you can get a pretty good pro audio solution. watch out for u-he tho, as they are owned by creative. i have never used a u-he card, but if they take after the consumer grade cards you should steer well clear.
  • Re:Not really (Score:2, Informative)

    by Hal_Porter (817932) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @10:42AM (#22904728)

    Creative's first attempt at a PCI soundcard turned out so murky that 1997 era mobos have something called a "SoundBlaster link" to make them happy. Finally giving up Creative bought another company that had made a PCI soundcard and slapped the SoundBlaster brand on it. (SoundBlaster 16 PCI .. or SoundBlaster 512, they had many names for it).
    Actually it has to be like that. The original SoundBlaster standard for Dos used ISA system DMA. Dos games would program the DMA countroller themselves.

    PCI doesn't support that since it's oriented towards busmaster DMA where the controller is on the card so you need a sideband connector so the old Dos games can run unmodified. At some point distributed DMA started to be supported PCI bridges, so the Dos application could write to the DMA controller but a PCI soundcard could catch the write and emulate it with busmaster DMA. But in the first release of PCI you needed a sideband connector so that old Dos games could use ISA DMA. Then again, I suppose if Creative had got it right then DDMA would have been a mandatory part of PCI from the start.
  • by Martin Blank (154261) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @10:55AM (#22904818) Journal
    It appears that Creative is realizing what they've gotten themselves into. Originally, they'd removed everything that daniel_k had done, but they're relenting on the Audigy Support Pack [creative.com], which I gather is a separate item. I wonder if they will relent on the other one, as well.
  • Re:Not really (Score:5, Informative)

    by anss123 (985305) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @11:31AM (#22905038)
    I think I meant to write "Bit-Matched Playback". It simply means that the sound card plays back with the same bitness and sampling rate as the original sound. Today's Soundcards resample the sound into 24-bit/48KHz before playback, but even the best resampling algorithm introduces errors. With Bit-Matched Playback the soundcard is unable to play back two sounds with different sampling rate simultaneously but the output is more correct.

    Look at http://www.digit-life.com/articles2/multimedia/creative-x-fi.html [digit-life.com] for a very good rundown of the SoundBlaster X-Fi.
  • Re:Not really (Score:2, Informative)

    by carpe.cervisiam (900585) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @11:33AM (#22905048)
    Sound card, shmound card. If you want really good sound go with a vacuum tube [aopen.com];-P
  • Re:Not really (Score:5, Informative)

    by Novus (182265) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @11:44AM (#22905112) Homepage
    While Creative's cards sucked in many ways, they weren't quite that bad.

    The original SoundBlaster was basically a copy of the Adlib (a soundcard by a small American company) with digital output tacked on. Problem was the implementation was so broken it was impossible to play back audio without crackles and pops.
    True. Clarification: the Sound Blaster 1.0 required a new DMA transfer to be started every 64 KB, causing an audible pop while the next transfer was set up. Playing only short sound effects avoided this, and the Sound Blaster 2.0 added support for automatic DMA restarting. Note also that the original Sound Blaster had major problems with DMA sampling rate precision (for example, 22050 Hz came out as 22222 Hz).

    The fact that the follow up - the Sound Blaster 16 - was NOT Sound Blaster Pro compatible is a clear indication how murky the SB Pro's underpinnings actually were.
    Not really true. Although there were the occasional problems, the SB16 was mostly SB Pro compatible in my experience (as in supporting stereo PCM and OPL3 FM synthesis).

    Despite what you may believe the SB16 is NOT a 16-Bit soundcard. It can indeed play back 16-Bit samples, but the drivers simply down converts them to 12-bits.
    Not really. None of the SB16 programming references I can find support this, nor any documentation. That said, with the signal-to-noise ratio on some earlier models, telling the difference could be hard.

    that is not mentioning the rather dishonest 64 simultaneous channels claim their marketing department threw about.
    True, for the AWE64 (an AWE32 with a 32-channel software synth to double the channels). Also, the FM synth was hooked up to two of those 32 channels, leaving you 30 to work with.

    The SoundBlaster Live! was not PCI 2.1 complainant. If you somehow didn't know that you had to turn off PCI delayed transactions in the BIOS you would get blue screens every now and then. It also caused disk corruption on Via chipsets. Fun fun fun.
    Also, the Windows drivers were horribly broken in many ways in my experience. The only way I ever got crackle-free recording in Windows was with the kX Project [narod.ru] drivers.
  • Re:Scruffy seconds. (Score:5, Informative)

    by electrosoccertux (874415) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @11:51AM (#22905164)
    Not necessarily. The Ipod clearly has the majority market, but that didn't stop them from making a crap alternative.

    I've wished since about week two of owning my Creative Zen Touch (40GB) that I had bought something else. Namely, the Ipod. Creative is a pain to deal with if you have support issues. So is their player. Disconnected three times after being on hold 17 minutes each time (HMMM....). If you just want something to listen to music with, their players will work. But don't expect any of the promised firmware updates to fix any issues with the player, so make sure you know all the current problems with it. The problems with mine? Scrolling accuracy to select songs is horrible. 10x worse than the Ipods (which is perfect). You move your finger down the strip to move the selector bar that selects songs, and the UI responds a quarter second later. On top of the that, it's inaccurate and unpredictable. Sometimes moving your finger 1mm will move the song selector one song, sometimes not at all, and sometimes it'll jump down three. You simply can't select songs safely when you're driving. In contrast, the Ipod's scroll wheel is predictable and goes where you want it. Every single time. Move thumb 1mm, it moves 1 song (or might be 2mm I don't know).

    Other issues:
    -after about 6 months of use the "forward/skip" [>>|] button halfway breaks. By that I mean sometimes you want to fast forward in the song (this is another frustrating thing I'll get to later) so you have to hold down the forward/skip button until the slider gets to the point in the song you want to listen to...so you let go of the fast forward, and then, strangely, the player skips to the next track. Apparently sometimes taking your finger off this button after having it held down tells the player to stop fast forwarding and skip to the end of the song.
    -As for fast forwarding, it's the most un-intuitive design ever. It isn't at all easy like on the Ipod, where you press the middle button and then move your thumb around the wheel. When you do this, the Ipod moves the slider that marks what part of the song is playing. You find the part you want, stop moving your thumb on the wheel, press the middle button again, and it plays. On Creative's players, you have to press forward and hold it down for about 5 seconds to skip 30 seconds. A total PITA. Like to listen to your songs gapless (IE you've ripped a CD as one whole MP3)? Be prepared to hold that button down and watch the UI for 20 seconds--(the slider movement speed increases exponentially, which means) when you finally hit the minute mark you want to listen to, and thanks to the laggy UI, you let go and find that it keeps moving ahead for the equivalent of two-ish minutes. Then it starts playing. So until you get used to letting go early, you'll be holding "[|]" down for another 5 seconds till you get back to wherever you originally wanted to be. On top of all that, the player doesn't anticipate "jee, you know, this guy is scrolling forward and this part of the song isn't in my memory, I better spin up the harddrive to be ready for it", it waits until you've stopped fast-forwarding, and then decides to spin up the harddrive, load that part of the song, and play it. And then if you overshoot where you were fastforwarding to, it does the exact same thing, it stops spinning and waits till you've stopped rewinding to spin up the harddrive and load that part of the song (which can't be good for the harddrive anyways, I'm sure this is what broke my first harddrive in the Zen Touch. Thankfully no problems with the warrant replacement). Like I said, don't expect to use this when you're driving.
    -If something about your player breaks, be prepared to pay the shipping costs [and insurance if you want to be safe] on your end as well as $35 (when mine broke this was how much it was, it has now changed to $25) as a "processing" fee.
    -good luck finding player covers if you want it protected. There's two that I know of, but they're both only available online. One is leather and costs something l
  • Re:Not really (Score:5, Informative)

    by anss123 (985305) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @12:08PM (#22905272)
    I guess back in the early nineties most people didn't play music on the PC, but you have to admit that 64KB is pretty darn short.

    I do actually have a reference for the 12-Bit thing. Let me dig it up. Ahh, here it is: http://www.crossfire-designs.de/index.php?lang=en&what=articles&name=showarticle.htm&article=soundcards&page=10 [crossfire-designs.de]
    It's a good article about early sound cards. Take particular note to "the ADC could dissolve only 12 bits! Many users could prove this doubt-freely in their attempts, however this has never been officially confirmed."
  • Re:Scruffy seconds. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Z00L00K (682162) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @12:23PM (#22905364) Homepage
    There is still competition, but Creative is a big brand on the market today.

    Alternatives exists:

  • Re:Not really (Score:3, Informative)

    by Novus (182265) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @01:35PM (#22905818) Homepage

    I guess back in the early nineties most people didn't play music on the PC, but you have to admit that 64KB is pretty darn short.
    "Music" usually meant FM back then, not PCM, at least on the Sound Blaster. 64 kB is a lot if you only have 640 kB of RAM, so this was only really a problem for Soundtracker-like (.MOD) music formats where the player generated a long PCM stream on the fly from a few brief samples.

    I do actually have a reference for the 12-Bit thing. Let me dig it up. Ahh, here it is: http://www.crossfire-designs.de/index.php?lang=en&what=articles&name=showarticle.htm&article=soundcards&page=10 [crossfire-designs.de]
    It's a good article about early sound cards. Take particular note to "the ADC could dissolve only 12 bits! Many users could prove this doubt-freely in their attempts, however this has never been officially confirmed."
    That's the ADC, not the DAC; they're talking about recording, not playback.
  • Re:Not really (Score:3, Informative)

    by triffid_98 (899609) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @01:51PM (#22905906)
    Damn straight. If your computer was running DOS, and you didn't have SB16 support, you were boned. That was their big competitive advantage. Regardless of whether you had Turtle Beach, or some other semi-compatible with better features, it was a hassle and you never saw much benefit from it since the software didn't recognize anything but SB or Adlib. The SB16 just worked.

    Of course we haven't been running DOS for a while now, even on board sound is fairly reasonable these days. So they no longer matter, just like say, 3Com, and for pretty much the same reason.

    Don't hate on the SB16. Regardless of whether or not it was true 16-bit it was the de facto standard for PC gaming for many years. In fact I remember wanting one quite badly when they first hit the market and I was stuck with my PoS Adlib card.
  • kX driver too? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 29, 2008 @01:54PM (#22905928)
    The new version 5.10.0.3540 of kX Audio Driver [narod.ru], which includes Vista support, has apparently been removed [driverheaven.net] yesterday from the narod.ru server for "violation of rules". Any relation to this story?
  • Re:Not really (Score:2, Informative)

    by mr_jrt (676485) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @02:13PM (#22906050) Homepage
    Aww dear...don't get me started on Creative.

    I bought a Live! Player 5.1 with my ABit VP6....and I went through so many hassles getting it to work I damn near broke down in tears. I was only 17 and had saved up from my first job for some kick-ass hardware, only to find that it would blue screen almost every other game of Tiberian Sun. Without net access, I spent weeks fiddling with various settings until I eventually found working solutions using the PCI delay settings in the BIOS.

    All was well until I finally bought a second P3 for my VP6.....and all went to shit again. I tried the kx drivers....but the dev at least admits they didn't work in SMP setups...unlike Creative, who insisted that they did.

    I eventually solved my problem by doing what I should have done in the first place....I dumped my SoundBlaster and got a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz off eBay.
  • Re:Not really (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 29, 2008 @03:44PM (#22906550)

    Not really true. Although there were the occasional problems, the SB16 was mostly SB Pro compatible in my experience (as in supporting stereo PCM and OPL3 FM synthesis).
    It's been a while, but IIRC, there was an incompatibility in 8-bit stereo playback modes between the SB Pro and SB16. I think it was that the common way of playing 8-bit stereo on the SB Pro required setting a mixer bit that didn't exist on the SB16, which meant that on the latter your code didn't work and ended up playing the 8-bit stereo sound as 8-bit mono at double rate.

    In any case, having programmed the SoundBlaster directly in DOS, I'd agree that they weren't as bad as the grandparent post indicates. They acted pretty much exactly as you'd expect for a DAC and a timer glued onto the DMA chip. I thought they were a lot more reliable than the SB Live! boards, which had many more problems with PCI compatibility -- due to apparently overly strict timing restrictions which made Creative resort to nastiness like reprogramming chipset registers -- and non-SMP-safe drivers in Windows.

    Despite what you may believe the SB16 is NOT a 16-Bit soundcard. It can indeed play back 16-Bit samples, but the drivers simply down converts them to 12-bits.
    Not really. None of the SB16 programming references I can find support this, nor any documentation. That said, with the signal-to-noise ratio on some earlier models, telling the difference could be hard.
    It wasn't the driver -- pretty sure it was the ADC/DAC that were less than 16-bit (12-bit or 14-bit), a shortcut not restricted to Creative.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 29, 2008 @03:59PM (#22906640)
    Creative decided to bring back the Audigy Support Pack, which enables the original card's features at Vista. http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/message?board.id=Vista&message.id=30402#M30402 [creative.com]

    daniel_k wrote: Dale removed everything I posted, including the Audigy Support Pack, that does not enable any "new" feature, except those present in XP drivers. I think you went too far. Now Audigy owners are left in the dark, no Equalizer, no CMSS, no DVD Audio, no Hardware MIDI, no Dolby/DTS decoding.

    I checked with management, and it was decided we would bring back the Audigy Support Pack thread and allow you to continue in that endeavor. As long as no intellectual property of Creative is distributed, we will have no problem with it. I will get the thread reposted shortly. Dale
    It is worth noting that it appears that daniel_K did also released drivers that enabled features that never were available for cards even under XP. So I do understand part of the reaction of Creative. These are still banned I guess.
  • Re:Not really (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Saturday March 29, 2008 @04:42PM (#22906914) Homepage Journal
    That's awesome, heh. Only thing is, it's a gimmick. The famed "tube sound" is the interaction of all of the components and is heavily dependent on the output transformer(which causes the "sag") and tube voltage. If you have a tube with a high-cranked voltage and a fat power transformer attached to the output it sounds much better than simply slapping a cold-running tube to the preamp or ass-end of a digital signal chain. Many musical electronics simply chuck a 12Ax7(running at a wimpy plate voltage) into their products and then laud said products as sounding like a mic'd AC-30 or some nonsense. Digital modelling is so good nowdays that being half-ass about tubes dosen't make much sense. Either go all-digital, or all-tube.
  • This is unbelievable (Score:5, Informative)

    by brad77 (562411) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @04:43PM (#22906926)

    I've been a long time Creative user, and they've lost me with this one. I have used Soundblaster cards since the 8-bit Soundblaster Pro. Since then I've owned the Soundblaster 16, AWE 32, and a couple cards in the Audigy series. For over 15 years, I've used Creative's cards almost exclusively (aside from a brief stint with the Pro Audio Spectrum 16).

    When Vista SP1 was released last week, I didn't see it in Windows Update because the latest driver available for my Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro was not compatible with the update (see this KB article [microsoft.com]). This driver hasn't been updated since March 2007, and didn't work all that well to boot. Analog 5.1 surround was sketchy, and the sub channel didn't even work.

    Daniel_K came to the rescue in my situation. I needed to uninstall my drivers to upgrade to SP1, then install his driver package get my card working again. The installation went very smoothly, and my card is working better than it ever has on Vista. There are some quirks, but all surround channels are working as they should, and sound quality seems to be improved over the previous drivers (although this could easily be attributed to the placebo effect).

    The last thing that Creative should be doing is going after Daniel_K. If anything, they should hire the guy to teach their driver team a thing or two.

    Sadly, this is not likely a technical issue, but a marketing one. Creative seems to have made a deliberate decision to leave Audigy users in the cold in an effort to get them to upgrade to their new X-Fi series. Problem is, it doesn't seem to be working. Peruse Creative's support forums [creative.com] and you'll see post after post lamenting their substandard driver support with promises to avoid their cards in the future.

    Creative's strategy may work with casual customers with a sub-$50 card, but not for others who have invested over $200 for a high-end Audigy card with a breakout box. Those people are still looking for return on their investment, and will be the first to walk away from Creative when they get snubbed.

    Hopefully this is a misunderstanding, and Creative will work out a deal with Daniel_K. If this doesn't happen, they stand to lose some of their most loyal customers. Given their track record so far, the outlook doesn't look good.

  • by Zan Lynx (87672) on Saturday March 29, 2008 @05:26PM (#22907224) Homepage
    You can get perfect positional audio with headphones that have a head position tracker. Not otherwise.

    See, your brain is always comparing the left and right volume of discrete sounds and knows that when you turn your head left, sounds behind you should get louder. If they do not, then your sound position sense is confused.

    Most people will unconciously turn their head when trying to pin down a sound location.
  • by Devistater (593822) * <devistaterNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Saturday March 29, 2008 @06:31PM (#22907692)
    There's a diffearance between Dolby Digital, and Dolby Digital Live.
    DD is the 5.1 sound you get from movies.
    DDL is the ability to do real time encoding so you can hear say surround sound from games on a DD sound stream.

    If this technology isn't present, you have to use an ANALOG sound connection for a game to get surround, it can only do stereo (not surround) on digital for anything other than movies/tv shows.

    This is a 6 year old technology from SoundStorm on nvidia nforce 2 motherboards and creative hasn't bothered to put it on thier sound cards yet.
  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Sunday March 30, 2008 @04:39AM (#22910212) Journal
    Don't worry,the hairyfeet has got you covered-Audigy [megaupload.com] and X-Fi [megaupload.com].Don't you just love the power of the Internet? I don't even have those cards(currently running a Live! I got give to me when I built a gamer a new rig)but I snatched the drivers in case I happen to get one give to me,or I get one cheap when Creative buys the farm.I used to ALWAYS have a creative card,but their asshatery got so bad I just couldn't bare to support them with my $$$.Really stupid move,Creative.Geeks are the ones buying your cards and then you piss them off with this IP crap.Just dumb.

The most delightful day after the one on which you buy a cottage in the country is the one on which you resell it. -- J. Brecheux

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