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Problems with dedicated sound card after swapping motherboard (Maximus XI Hero (WiFi)

MadsModsat
Level 7
Hello everyone.

Firstly - I'm not at all sure I'm in the right forum, but I did spend some time trying to find the correct place for this question, which is more about my sound card than my motherboard, at least I think so. The Sound card manufacturer, Creative, doesn't have a forum anymore. So I hope I'm in the right place, but I apologize if I'm not.

The thing is, I have had a Sound Blaster ZxR for years, on a variety of motherboards, primarely ASUS motherbords, but also some from MSI. It is not really important what manufacturer, I know, but the fact that it suddenly doesn't work, after using it on multiple systems and different brands, adds to my confusion regarding why I can't make it work this time.

The sound card has never caused any issues before, however when I installed my new Maximus Hero XI (WiFi) motherboard the other day, my microphone sounds awful.. -or that is what everyone else tells me. It is echoey, and people describes it sounds like I'm talking into a tin can. But when I record the audio from the mic, or use the playback test function, it sounds as one would expect from a PC headset - not brilliant, but good enough.

I have installed both the card itself, the drivers for it, and every single piece of software exactly as I usually do.
It is a fresh installation of Win 10, and I cannot think of anything I have done differently than how I normally go about installing a new system.

Initially I was sure that the problem was on my friend's end. But I have a different headset which comes with it's own USB DAC, and when I use that, everything is fine... -so it has to be something on my end.

I have tried all the solutions I could think of. The onboard sound is disabled, and has never been enabled, even when installing Win 10 for the first time.
I have uninstalled and re-installed the drivers for the ZxR multiple times. When the problem initially occured, my other headset with the USB DAC I mentioned, hadn't been installed. So I'm confident, that the only audio drivers that had ever been installed when I was made aware of the problem, was the Creative Drivers.

I have removed the card from the PCI-e slot and reseated it, after a reboot, which didn't change anything. My graphics card is blocking most other PCI-e sockets, because of the backplate and the cooler.

On the software side of things, every single setting I can think of related to the sound card, is exactly as it has always been on different systems.

The sound card turns off the desktop speakers, when the headset is selected. Some sort of feedback would make a lot of sense, but there's no audio coming from my speakers when I use the headset.

I'm thinking there might be some setting on Microsoft's side, that I'm not aware of - so finally, after the wall of text, my question is: Has anyone ever come across something similar, and maybe could point me in the right direction? I'm thinking that the issue isn't really related to the motherboard, but it did only occur after I began using this particular MB.

I have of course searched on google, but the few forum topics that do come up, isn't really about the exact same issue, and some of the threads never really come to a conclusion.

Thanks a lot in advance for any input, every suggestion will be much appreciated - and sorry for the long text. Please let me know if there's any other info that could help clarify things.
Maximus XI Hero (WiFi) / I9 9900K / Corsair Vengeance 3333MHz (32 GB) / Seasonic Prime Ultra Platinum 850 / RoG Strix RTX 2080 Super OC / SoundBlaster ZxR / Samsung 970 EVo Plus NVMe / Corsair Obsidian 750D / RoG SWIFT PG279Q & PG278Q / Win 10 x64
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2 REPLIES 2

Guitarmageddon1
Level 9
MadsModsat wrote:
Hello everyone.

Firstly - I'm not at all sure I'm in the right forum, but I did spend some time trying to find the correct place for this question, which is more about my sound card than my motherboard, at least I think so. The Sound card manufacturer, Creative, doesn't have a forum anymore. So I hope I'm in the right place, but I apologize if I'm not.

The thing is, I have had a Sound Blaster ZxR for years, on a variety of motherboards, primarely ASUS motherbords, but also some from MSI. It is not really important what manufacturer, I know, but the fact that it suddenly doesn't work, after using it on multiple systems and different brands, adds to my confusion regarding why I can't make it work this time.

The sound card has never caused any issues before, however when I installed my new Maximus Hero XI (WiFi) motherboard the other day, my microphone sounds awful.. -or that is what everyone else tells me. It is echoey, and people describes it sounds like I'm talking into a tin can. But when I record the audio from the mic, or use the playback test function, it sounds as one would expect from a PC headset - not brilliant, but good enough.

I have installed both the card itself, the drivers for it, and every single piece of software exactly as I usually do.
It is a fresh installation of Win 10, and I cannot think of anything I have done differently than how I normally go about installing a new system.

Initially I was sure that the problem was on my friend's end. But I have a different headset which comes with it's own USB DAC, and when I use that, everything is fine... -so it has to be something on my end.

I have tried all the solutions I could think of. The onboard sound is disabled, and has never been enabled, even when installing Win 10 for the first time.
I have uninstalled and re-installed the drivers for the ZxR multiple times. When the problem initially occured, my other headset with the USB DAC I mentioned, hadn't been installed. So I'm confident, that the only audio drivers that had ever been installed when I was made aware of the problem, was the Creative Drivers.

I have removed the card from the PCI-e slot and reseated it, after a reboot, which didn't change anything. My graphics card is blocking most other PCI-e sockets, because of the backplate and the cooler.

On the software side of things, every single setting I can think of related to the sound card, is exactly as it has always been on different systems.

The sound card turns off the desktop speakers, when the headset is selected. Some sort of feedback would make a lot of sense, but there's no audio coming from my speakers when I use the headset.

I'm thinking there might be some setting on Microsoft's side, that I'm not aware of - so finally, after the wall of text, my question is: Has anyone ever come across something similar, and maybe could point me in the right direction? I'm thinking that the issue isn't really related to the motherboard, but it did only occur after I began using this particular MB.

I have of course searched on google, but the few forum topics that do come up, isn't really about the exact same issue, and some of the threads never really come to a conclusion.

Thanks a lot in advance for any input, every suggestion will be much appreciated - and sorry for the long text. Please let me know if there's any other info that could help clarify things.


I noticed recently reports of a september update "breaking" audio. Could this apply?

https://www.windowslatest.com/2019/09/14/microsoft-confirms-windows-10-kb4515384-breaks-audio/

Maybe try uninstalling that particular update? Or does the behavior occur without that even installed?

MadsModsat
Level 7
Thanks a lot for your reply, sorry for not responding until now.

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.
Maximus XI Hero (WiFi) / I9 9900K / Corsair Vengeance 3333MHz (32 GB) / Seasonic Prime Ultra Platinum 850 / RoG Strix RTX 2080 Super OC / SoundBlaster ZxR / Samsung 970 EVo Plus NVMe / Corsair Obsidian 750D / RoG SWIFT PG279Q & PG278Q / Win 10 x64