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hardnrg

Worklog: Hard-modding the X-Fi for better sound

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[quote name='hardnrg' post='696359' date='Jun 13 2007, 03:22 AM'][list]
[*]turn my soldering iron up to about 90% (50W variable)
[*]heat up the solder joints from the underside whilst pulling on alternate sides of the old capacitor until it came out
[*]sip beer while iron regains heat
[*]hold a sewing needle in some snipe-nose pliers and put the sharp end in one of the holes and heat up the needle and the hole contacts with the iron, pushing down on the needle until it goes down, then wiggle the needle around and pull it out
[*]sip beer while iron regains heat
[*]repeat action with the needle for each solder hole until there is about 50% visible hole inside
[*]sip beer while iron regains heat
[*]pre-trim the new capacitor down to about 7 or 8mm lead length
[*]use one of the offcut leads as a thicker poking device and repeat the action as previously done with the needle, until both holes are completely clear
[*]sip beer while iron regains heat
[*]push new capacitor leads through the holes and solder in place (you'll need a LOT of heat to do this, probably pausing with beer and heating between leads)
[/list][/quote]

Personally, i'd eliminate steps 1,2,4,6,7,8,9+11. Makes it much simpler.

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[quote name='sasybotnoodlehead' post='696438' date='Jun 13 2007, 05:01 AM']Wow nice job hardnrg! Cool mod.[/quote]

Good morning,

Sorry to dig up a thread from the grave but i've a couple of questions regarding this mod.

1. If the onboard components are known to be of dubious quality, does this mean they're prone to failiure?
2. If they fail, would the symptom be absolutely NO sound unless you crank the volume right up and even then only hear faint sound?

As you can probably guess i've got a knackered X-fi Fatalty ( i picked it up knowing it was faulty) but figured for the Edited by UncleFester

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if you can do some capacitor inspection: leakage, bulging, you might find the culprit(s)... the stock ones are low quality and I think trodas on this forum fixed an X-Fi or Audigy by replacing caps...

the capacitors are the most likely thing to fail on the card imo

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[quote name='hardnrg' post='766673' date='Mar 16 2008, 01:01 AM']if you can do some capacitor inspection: leakage, bulging, you might find the culprit(s)... the stock ones are low quality and I think trodas on this forum fixed an X-Fi or Audigy by replacing caps...

the capacitors are the most likely thing to fail on the card imo[/quote]


Thanks for the quick reply! There's definitely sound there, but it's very very faint and scratchy like not all of the signal is getting through. I'll pull the card and inspect the capacitors more closely - have you any reccomendations on what to replace the stock ones with? I can always go to maplins and replace with the same value ones?

Of course the other option is go to PCW and buy another card and then go back an hour later saying i can't get it working and would like a refund - bit cheeky but that really is a last resort.

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lol, I'm not saying anything about the PCW idea... the old switcheroo :lol:

Maplin only do general use capacitors, and while most/all of the capacitors on the XFi are nothing special, you'd probably want to get some decent ones from Farnell... by the time you've bought all the capacitors and paid postage, and then took on the horrible job of replacing them all (unless you can find out which ones are at fault, if the caps are even the problem!) you probably may as well have bought a new card...

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[quote name='hardnrg' post='766916' date='Mar 17 2008, 12:25 PM']lol, I'm not saying anything about the PCW idea... the old switcheroo :lol:

Maplin only do general use capacitors, and while most/all of the capacitors on the XFi are nothing special, you'd probably want to get some decent ones from Farnell... by the time you've bought all the capacitors and paid postage, and then took on the horrible job of replacing them all (unless you can find out which ones are at fault, if the caps are even the problem!) you probably may as well have bought a new card...[/quote]

Having worked at PCW back in the day, this trick is common and easy to execute. Staff can't do a thing about it.

There were a lot of people who got ink for free too ... buy their HP colour cartridge, come in the next day with a receipt, pick one up off the shelf and go to the returns desk ... get refund on "unopened" item ... I knew it happened a lot, but it was impossible to check on security because it was always so busy :lol:

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Just an FYI to anyone interested in this modification.

 

You can easily do this with the X-Fi PCI-E boards as well. I just put a set of lm4562s on my X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty (all of these titaniums are the same, minus XRAM).

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I appreciate all of the infomation presented on this thread. i was wondering if only the main opamp swap and the single capacitor exchange is necessary to improve headphone quality. i only intend on using this card with my headphones (hd580's w/ 300 ohm impedance). which of these mods is most necessary for improving the sound quality? also, if anyone has any of the blackgate capacitors or LM4562's extra i would be interested in purchasing them. thanks for the help.

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The LM4562 op-amp is better suited for line-level output to connect to powered speakers, a headphone amplifier, a stereo amp, or AV receiver.

 

The mods described in this thread are not intended for using the soundcard with headphones connected directly to the soundcard, you would instead connect a headphone amplifier

 

If you only have a limited budget, there are a few op-amps that cope a bit better with driving higher impedance headphones directly from the soundcard, but I wouldn't really recommend putting in the work for the little reward gained.

 

I would recommend the Asus Xonar Essence STX for driving your HD580s, as the soundcard has a built in headphone amp with three gain levels to suit headphones up to 600 ohms!

 

If the STX is out of your price range, then do the X-Fi mods using the LM4562 and build a Millett Starving Student headphone amp or another low-cost DIY amp

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Hi there, i was thinking of giving this a go with my xfi xtreme gamer card, but the op amps are the wrong shape, the pins are on the other sides.

 

Does anyone know if these are still upgradeable with different op amps, and does anyone also know if the capacitor swap is compatable with the card? I don't see why the capacitor wouldn't be compatable as i think it's the same as the one pictured, but worth asking just in case.

 

Thanks, Seb.

Edited by Seb_Allen

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