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


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#13 jack_of_java

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 05:09 PM

What amp are you using for your headphones? I think I'm going to do more research into that.

@Andrew: same here...1 or 2 pots? (beyond measuring cups now...lol)

Edited by jack_of_java, 20 May 2007 - 05:19 PM.


#14 Andrewr05

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 05:36 PM

@Andrew: same here...1 or 2 pots? (beyond measuring cups now...lol)

Usually 5-6 cups when I wake up and around 3:30 I drink another 6 or more... :lol:

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#15 jack_of_java

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 05:42 PM

Just another wonder Hard...what about using a desoldering pump when you remove the capacitor? Would that help a bit more in removing the solder from the holes? Or is it still just a suck-job?

#16 hardnrg

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 06:12 PM

I think desolder pumps suck... as in they are rubbish... not that they suck solder... but if you can get it to work, then I guess so?

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#17 Silverfox

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 06:39 PM

Yeah, I didn't have the patience to install the card after doing the op-amp. The consensus seems to be that the op-amp makes a big difference and the capacitor is more subtle.

You n Markie got first dibs on the two spare op-amps I have, so it's a op-amp and a cap for each of you... Jack was too slow so he can just get a slap :lol:


Well this is the kicker of the whole matter ... I don't solder! :lol:

I'm still intrigued by all this though. I'd love to hear one before taking a risk or letting someone take a risk for me on my card ... (hint hint :D)

Looks good though. I noticed a big difference moving from on-board sound as it is already, so this would be quite cool.

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#18 Comp Dude2

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 12:10 AM

Cool mod :) (but i think i will start by actually getting a sound card lol since i have good enough speakers)

I don't know if this would help in the future but you can get soldering irons that are little mini blowtorches (normally used for their portability) that might give you more power than a convential iron.

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#19 markiemrboo

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 12:33 AM

I am glad that I am not the only one that found the cap insanely hard. I also had a problem with the solder being stuck in the hole too. I got fed up in the end and just hammered through the hole with a small sewing needle :lol:

I was under the impression that you was gonna do the mod for ben and jack as you all live in the same area? Though after the frustration of doing your own card I wouldn't be surprised if you told them both to f-off! But if you were going to, then I demand that you give the op-amp to jack instead :D

I did also see someone traced the schematic of the DAC -> op-amp part. The 22uF Jamicon P.O.S caps are apparently in the signal path. Shorting them may give a large DC offset at the output. This wouldn't really be a problem (I don't think) if your preamp has an input coupling cap (probably does). I was thinking of just replacing all the caps with Rubycons. But then I would still have electrolytics in the signal path. I can't win :)
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#20 firky

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 11:03 AM

I think desolder pumps suck... as in they are rubbish... not that they suck solder... but if you can get it to work, then I guess so?



LOL Nrg still not liking the pumps well i like them and ill show you my soldering skills on my 7900 modding latter this week! (unless of cours i kill my card) then im off to buy a X-fi or *TRY* and mod my ZS

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#21 hardnrg

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 12:21 PM

I was under the impression that you was gonna do the mod for ben and jack as you all live in the same area? Though after the frustration of doing your own card I wouldn't be surprised if you told them both to f-off! But if you were going to, then I demand that you give the op-amp to jack instead :D

Yeah I think Jack was thinking the same thing :lol: I'd probably do it again, I'm sure you could drill through the solder quite easily with an 0.8mm or so drill bit. So I might get a set of sub-mm drill bits if I do this mod again - I was aiming to do the same mod on my Audigy2 ZS anyway...

I did also see someone traced the schematic of the DAC -> op-amp part. The 22uF Jamicon P.O.S caps are apparently in the signal path. Shorting them may give a large DC offset at the output. This wouldn't really be a problem (I don't think) if your preamp has an input coupling cap (probably does). I was thinking of just replacing all the caps with Rubycons. But then I would still have electrolytics in the signal path. I can't win :)

I wasn't sure what to do with them... and after the capacitor "fun", I actually forgot to even decide what to do with them :lol: so they're still there, unshorted... I wonder if the offset goes to the J10 (or whatever it is) 10-pin connector at the top for front panel audio... I can only see a DC offset being a problem for headphones/headset connected directly, and I connect headphones via my amp anyway... so it would be more for a once-in-a-blue-moon connection of a headset I guess...

meh... right you are anyway, I'll sort Ben n Jack out with these op-amps n caps... I have another 3 on the way so you can get one from my next shipment :lol:

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#22 markiemrboo

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 01:11 PM

Yeah I think Jack was thinking the same thing :lol: I'd probably do it again, I'm sure you could drill through the solder quite easily with an 0.8mm or so drill bit.


That is a possibility. I have a 0.9mm and 1mm bit, but they are a bit blunted from drilling through FR4 PCB :( If you do attempt it, be extremely careful not to slip and drill out the plated part of the via!

I wasn't sure what to do with them... and after the capacitor "fun", I actually forgot to even decide what to do with them :lol: so they're still there, unshorted... I wonder if the offset goes to the J10 (or whatever it is) 10-pin connector at the top for front panel audio...


Shorting them would mean any DC offset from the DAC gets amplified by the op-amp following it. I don't know the gain of the op-amps though. I'd have thought that the 10-pin connector has some sort of buffer before it similar to the outputs? You could just leave the caps in place for that?

I can only see a DC offset being a problem for headphones/headset connected directly, and I connect headphones via my amp anyway... so it would be more for a once-in-a-blue-moon connection of a headset I guess...


This too :) Possibility of killing headphones there.

meh... right you are anyway, I'll sort Ben n Jack out with these op-amps n caps... I have another 3 on the way so you can get one from my next shipment :lol:


Bwahahhaa. Have fun doing their cards :lol: Also, I think there might be a picture missing in your post. The picture of the new cap in place? We only got to see the mess you made of the vias :D

Edited by markiemrboo, 21 May 2007 - 01:11 PM.

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#23 hardnrg

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 01:38 PM

That is a possibility. I have a 0.9mm and 1mm bit, but they are a bit blunted from drilling through FR4 PCB :( If you do attempt it, be extremely careful not to slip and drill out the plated part of the via!

I'd almost certainly turn the bit by hand, literally by hand, like with fingers, not a hand drill... sort of like track cutting stripboard :)

You could just leave the caps in place for that?

I dunno lol, my electronics knowledge isn't really that good :P

Also, I think there might be a picture missing in your post. The picture of the new cap in place? We only got to see the mess you made of the vias :D

Oi lol... it's not a mess :D I just used a lot of solder so I wouldn't have to redo it ever again :lol:

Yeah I left a pic out... oops... put it in now :)

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#24 markiemrboo

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 01:48 PM

I'd almost certainly turn the bit by hand, literally by hand, like with fingers, not a hand drill... sort of like track cutting stripboard :)


Sounds like hard work :thumbs-up:

I dunno lol, my electronics knowledge isn't really that good :P


Mine neither :)

Oi lol... it's not a mess :D I just used a lot of solder so I wouldn't have to redo it ever again :lol:


:lol: I don't blame you.

Yeah I left a pic out... oops... put it in now :)


Ah ha! You are going to hate me for saying this - *runs off to hide in my secret place so you will never be able to find me* - but you could so get that cap closer to the PCB :D

Oh and nice idea with the masking tape too. Was the op-amp that hard really? It looks kinda easy, but it might just be because it actually looks like quite a large component in the pictures.
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