Sound Blaster Doesn’t Support 5.1 under Windows 7

The bass redirection feature isn’t working under Windows 7 64bit. You can translate it by saying that the .1 in 5.1 doesn’t work.

I recently upgraded my home theater PC with a Creative Labs Sound Blaster Titanium sound card. I diligently send Creative Labs an email before buying it asking if it does what I wanted it to do.

Here’s my email and their response : (sorry for the spelling mistakes I didn’t think I’d be publishing anything at first)

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Subject: CLI – Customer Service Request
Name: Patrick Roy
E-mail Address: (removed for privacy)
Phone:
Self Description: Advanced PC User
Country: United States of America

Inquiry Type: CLIDS_Presales
Order Number:
Order Date:
Detailed Description of Inquiry:

Hi, I’m interrested in buying a Sound Blaster X-FI Titanium HD Sound Card but I have a technical inquiry. I want my music to playback in a party mode on all 5.1 speakers using SPDIF out and dolby live encoding. The front r/l stream must be mirrored to the back r/l speakers. the front r/l stream must be merged and played thru the center speaker. Bass must me redirected to the LFE stream. Does your driver/software support such a setup? I want all my operating system’s sound to be played equaly on all 5.1 speakers (windows login sound, clicking sound…). Is there an option to do that? (without 3rd party software) Thanks, Patrick Roy

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Response :

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Dear Patrick,

Thank you for writing in to Creative.

I would appreciate if you could provide us what is your computer’s operating system please?

With regards to your inquiry, please refer on the link below for more information:

Information about X-Fi Titanium HD: Features and Specifications
http://support.creative.com/kb/ShowArticle.aspx?sid=85594

As stated on this link, this card is not meant to work with multi speaker system as the outputs are mainly stereo.

However, it can support multi-speaker output with the use of an additional Creative daughter board that connects from JP2 connection to provide multiple audio outputs if this board is made available. We do not have an estimated time of when an additional daughter board will be available.

For more information about Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD, please visit:

http://www.creative.com/corporate/pressroom/releases/welcome.asp?pid=13137

If you still require assistance, please reply to this email with any previous correspondence to ensure the quickest and most accurate service.

Best Regards ,

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My response :

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Hi,

First, I’m a audiophile but I also like it in 5.1… I really dont know it you’ll sell a lot of those 200$ card without surround…
Next, My OS is windows 7 64bit but i can change it temporarily until you get drivers out…

The X-Fi Titanium HD isnt a match so can you tell my if the PCI Express Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium does what I previously asked? (please dont point me to a spec sheet as I already read them and they dont answer my question)

Here’s my question again: I want my music to playback in a party mode on all 5.1 speakers using SPDIF out and dolby live encoding. The front r/l stream must be mirrored to the back r/l speakers. the front r/l stream must be merged and played thru the center speaker. Bass must me redirected to the LFE stream. Does your driver/software support such a setup? I want all my operating system’s sound to be played equaly on all 5.1 speakers (windows login sound, clicking sound…). Is there an option to do that? (without 3rd party software). I’m replacing an old computer with a nvidia nforce2 chipset that did all that thanks to dolby digital live encoding.. and a couple of drivers options. I’ll stick to this box until I find a product that can replace it feature for feature.

Thanks for the fast answer

Patrick Roy

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Their response :

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Dear Patrick,

Thank you for your response.

PCI Express Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Sound Card will meet the requirement.

You can turn on the CMSS Stereo Surround option in the Entertainment mode. CMSS Stereo Surround will playback stereo sound from each speaker pair, and to redirect center-panned sounds in the front center and rear center speakers.

If you still require assistance, please reply to this email with any previous correspondence to ensure the quickest and most accurate service.

Best Regards,

Tomasz Skonecki
Direct Sales
Creative Labs Americas

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They clearly said that their sound card “will meet the requirement“. This claim is false and I don’t like being lied to.

Here’s the email conversation after I tried the sound card in chronological order:

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Subject: CLI – Technical Support Request – (PCI Express X-Fi Titanium)
Name: Patrick
E-mail Address: (removed for privacy)
Self Description: Advanced PC Uset
Region: Americas
Country: Canada

Support Inquiry: I need help with a Creative software application
Product: PCI Express X-Fi Titanium
CCPP Certificate Number:
Serial Number: xxxx
Purchase Date: Nov/01/2010

Operating System: Windows 7 64-bit
Creative Model Number: X-FI Titanium
Computer Brand/Model:
Processor/CPU: core 2 duo
Memory: 4gb
BIOS Type/Revision:
System Board/Chipset:

Detailed Problem Description:
My sound card is plugged with the spdif connector to my surround processor and is working fine. I enabled DDL encoding in entertainment mode and it is working great except that my bass redirection isnt working. (LFE is not properly redirected). I have another computer with a competitor card and I alternate (unplug the spdif cable from the back of my amp)with this one to prove that LFE isnt redirected although I have selected the right options in the creative software. Is there a limitation or some driver bug? I m in cssm stereo surround mode.

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Their standard corporate response:

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2010/11/22 Creative Americas Customer Support (removed for privacy)

Dear Patrick,

Thank you for writing in to Creative.

Please kindly provide  the serial number, the model number of your soundcard?

With regards to your concern, please note that the Bass Redirection only works with 5.1 speaker systems and above.

Please visit this knowledge base article on how to set and enable the Bass Redirection for your X-Fi Titanum at:

http://support.creative.com/kb/ShowArticle.aspx?sid=66139

The drivers and application for Windows 7 for PCI Express X-Fi Titanium can be found on the link below. Please download and install:

1. Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Driver 2.17.0008
http://support.creative.com/Downloads/searchdownloads.aspx?strString=XFTI_PCDRV_LB_2_17_0008.exe&ShowDetails=1

2. Product Identification Module Update

http://support.creative.com/Downloads/searchdownloads.aspx?strString=PID_W7PCAPP_US_2_11_01.exe&ShowDetails=1

3. Creative Console Launcher 2.61.35

http://support.creative.com/Downloads/searchdownloads.aspx?strString=CSL_PCAPP_LB_2_61_35.exe&ShowDetails=1

If you still require assistance, please reply to this email and include any previous correspondence to ensure a quick response.

Best Regards,

Agata
Worldwide Customer Response
Creative

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My quick reply:

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Hi,

I’m using this  model: http://us.store.creative.com/PCI-Express-Sound-Blaster-XFi-Titanium/M/B001E25KDK.htm)
Serial: Is there an easy way to get it by software? I ran the “Creative System Information” tool but I haven’t found the serial anywere in it …

My setup is 5.1 speakers that are really working in 5.1 with a 5.1 preamp and power amp connected to my sound card via spdif and dolby digital encoded by the sound card. I can hear sound from all 6 speaker independently including the sub but not on the computer with your sound card. With the creative sound card, all the other speakers are working except for the lfe. I have read the kb article you mention and I did activate the redirection correctly. The only difference from the kb is i’m in entertainment mode and as stated in another one of your kb it should work in both these mode. I think there is a problem with dolby digital live / DTS encoding and lfe redirection over spdif. To be clear, i’m playing a stereo mp3 in entertainment mode and in cssm 3d surround mode and I hear the music on all 5 speakers except on my subwoofer even when I activate the bass redirection.

Thanks,

Patrick

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Their stupid answer:

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Dear Patrick,

Thank you for getting back to us.

With regards to your enquiry, it is advised for you to try playing a diffrent audio that has bass so that you can further isolate the problem.

If you still require assistance, please reply to this email and include any previous correspondence to ensure a quick response.

Best Regards,

Melody
Worldwide Customer Response
Creative

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My answer:

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I play  a 10 hz stereo wave that do a crescendo up to 1000 hz. There is lots of bass. Please dont treat me like an idiot. Have you a better answer?

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Their better answer :

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Dear Patrick,

Thank you for reply back to us.

Sorry for the inconvenience caused. With regards to your inquiry please be informed that the Bass redirection features is not available in Windows 7 platform. The features which used to have in Windows XP platform might not be available in Windows 7 environment.

What we could assist you is to feedback your request to the relevant development department. As such, it will be up to the development team to determine if this is within the product means. If this is possible then, perhaps they may be able to implement in the update.

However, we do not have information on whether this request will be implemented. We appreciate your interest and when Creative does announce latest updates/products we typically include information on our http://www.creative.com website. We encourage you to look at that resource for product information.

In case if you need any clarification, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you.

Please retain all the previous correspondence when replying to this email.

Best Regards,

Vemala
Worldwide Customer Response
Creative

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So let me recap that: I asked Creative Labs if their product do what I wanted before buying anything and they said it will work. After buying it and running some test I found out that their product doesn’t work as advertised. Now they ask me if I want them to send a request to their development team!? I want my money back or a fix in a timely manner.

I had a Creative sound card in 1994 (it was a 22khz 8bit card) and I always had trouble with their drivers at that time and never bought any other product since then because of that. I tough that after 16 years they must have improved but no they obviously did not. Creative Labs are renowned for their crappy software and they deserved it. I for sure wont recommend any time soon any of their products.

It’s not a missing feature! Its a simple bug. Please fix it.

Update 2010/12/02

I’ve send a simple email with the URL to this post to Creative. Here’s their response:

Dear Patrick,

My sincere apologies for the previous email.

With reference to your inquiry, I had escalated your issue to our Advanced Technical Support for further investigation/verification. And based on their response, “Bass Redirection” feature is not applicable to optical connections, it only for analog.

If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to get back to us.

Best Regards,

Vemala
Worldwide Customer Response
Creative

FAIL! I’ll update this post when I have new information.

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