VOGONS


Audigy 2 ZS Crackle Fix

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First post, by FuzzyLogic

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I've been meaning to try this for a couple of years: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUcQkAmIv2g

The guy who made this video piggybacked the caps and I don't want to go that route. Has anyone here tried recapping his Audigy 2 ZS? What types of caps should I use and what should capacitance be?

Reply 1 of 20, by Pabloz

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the rule is always

same UF, and same or higher voltage replacement.

if you got the card you can check the uf in the capacitor.
the guy did a crap job soldering, with hot glue. not sure if he used the same uf value.

Reply 2 of 20, by firage

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I believe this mod's point is to add capacitance because either the design uF is too low or the caps they used weren't up to their rating.

Someone said the caps on those problem boards are 22uF. My Audigy 1 SB0090 has three 16V 47uF's there. They're just small general purpose power caps.

My big-red-switch 486

Reply 3 of 20, by FuzzyLogic

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firage wrote:

I believe this mod's point is to add capacitance because either the design uF is too low or the caps they used weren't up to their rating.

Someone said the caps on those problem boards are 22uF. My Audigy 1 SB0090 has three 16V 47uF's there. They're just small general purpose power caps.

My Audigy 2 ZS has 22uF Wincap caps. Do you think 47uF will be enough? And I shouldn't worry about getting low ESR, high ripple current caps?

Also... I just realized this thread belongs in the sound forum. Oops.

Reply 4 of 20, by firage

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High ripple and low ESR couldn't hurt, but the originals are so nothing special. If you want it looking really clean, the original diameter + lead spacing is going to become the ruling attribute. There are 4mm options up to 39-47uF, but they're few.

My big-red-switch 486

Reply 5 of 20, by FuzzyLogic

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I got the new caps (Nichicon PW series) in the mail yesterday and put them in today.

cLndN5m.jpg

They are taller, color is a bit off, but they fit in the tight space. The result is flawless audio. I haven't heard a crackle or static yet. So I can confirm that this fixes the problem.

I hope this helps anyone who has this problem.

Reply 6 of 20, by keenmaster486

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So this IS a real problem!

I thought it was just my imagination or some kind of demon in our computers.

(We had these cards at the radio station I volunteer at for a while)

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.
World's foremost 486 enjoyer.

Reply 8 of 20, by Tekaos

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I can confirm that this is the ultimate fix. I tried the driver fix, line-in/cd mute, pci latency and sometimes it worked but it always kept re-appearing.

the originals are 16v 22uf

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I replaced with 50v - 47uf

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The crackle is gone and the card is usable again, I'm very grateful to the person who figured this out.

I'm using the card in a dedicated PC for general midi. I connect my 386 to it though midi 4 pin and line-out of the audigy goes back in the line-in on the 386. Will be testing with munt soon.

A+

Reply 9 of 20, by xXmobiusXx1

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I just got a New open box Audigy ZS 2, however the right channel is not as powerful and the left, it sounds as though the low end is weak. Now I plan on replacing these caps to see if it corrects the issue, however I don't have much info to go off of here. This is what I found on Digi-Key so far https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/nic … 46-1-ND/7365019

Not sure if that is going to be a worth while replacement, or if there is better out there and if there is can you link me to the parts?

Reply 10 of 20, by elod

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Those caps seem to be located near the chip's power supply. Fixing digital crackling is therefore possible, but the symptoms you mention seem to be after the digital-analog part which should have other caps near it.
Take a look around the output jacks, you should see a larger regulator. On the digital side of my Audigy 1 I see the same AMS1117 part, the analog part has an ST 78M05 and ST 79L05. The opamps or the DACs themselves could also be the problem. An oscilloscope would be a great tool to have a look at the various output levels. It could also be a simple contact issue. Maybe try contact cleaner first on the jacks and do several cycles with the connectors.

Reply 11 of 20, by synrgy87

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xXmobiusXx1 wrote on 2020-05-24, 19:11:

I just got a New open box Audigy ZS 2, however the right channel is not as powerful and the left, it sounds as though the low end is weak. Now I plan on replacing these caps to see if it corrects the issue, however I don't have much info to go off of here. This is what I found on Digi-Key so far https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/nic … 46-1-ND/7365019

Not sure if that is going to be a worth while replacement, or if there is better out there and if there is can you link me to the parts?

Your issue may be the capacitors on the output rather than the power caps, there's a lot of caps in general on them.

May also try this with my SB0350

Reply 12 of 20, by xXmobiusXx1

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That may be, luckily those caps are all the same 16v 22uf, so if the it isn't the beginning of power delivery I could just replace them with higher quality Nichicon's. Though it perplexes me that for a new card that was never used the caps are bad.

Edit: they are not all 22's and I think I have pinpointed the Audio caps, they are near the front panel header and have brownish gold lettering. Their rating surprisingly is 16v 4.7uf. Now I could be wrong, it's really hard to path trace on this PCB. Wish there was a schematic to go by.

Reply 13 of 20, by synrgy87

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xXmobiusXx1 wrote on 2020-05-27, 10:00:

That may be, luckily those caps are all the same 16v 22uf, so if the it isn't the beginning of power delivery I could just replace them with higher quality Nichicon's. Though it perplexes me that for a new card that was never used the caps are bad.

Edit: they are not all 22's and I think I have pinpointed the Audio caps, they are near the front panel header and have brownish gold lettering. Their rating surprisingly is 16v 4.7uf. Now I could be wrong, it's really hard to path trace on this PCB. Wish there was a schematic to go by.

The voltages and values do differ although a lot of them are 22uf and all a similar / same physical size, I've expect the output caps to be a higher capacitance than 4.7uf but I've not traced the paths out myself or looked in detail on that side of things.

It seems some of the cards had issues from factory and others were fine with no noticeable differences, maybe there were a bad batch of caps used at the time, Be interesting to note if someone has done this but replaced the 22uf caps with other 22uf caps rather than increasing the value to 47 or 100 etc. It seems the working cards without the issue still have 22uf caps in that area.

Reply 14 of 20, by ShovelKnight

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xXmobiusXx1 wrote on 2020-05-27, 10:00:

Though it perplexes me that for a new card that was never used the caps are bad.

Electrolytic caps can and will go bad in storage, especially if the device in question has never been powered on or has been sitting unused for a very long time.

My experience in dealing with vintage audio tells me that equipment that has been in use is usually more or less OK (although recapping never hurts) while equipment that has been sitting unused needs full recap to work properly.

Reply 15 of 20, by synrgy87

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ShovelKnight wrote on 2020-05-27, 12:59:
xXmobiusXx1 wrote on 2020-05-27, 10:00:

Though it perplexes me that for a new card that was never used the caps are bad.

Electrolytic caps can and will go bad in storage, especially if the device in question has never been powered on or has been sitting unused for a very long time.

My experience in dealing with vintage audio tells me that equipment that has been in use is usually more or less OK (although recapping never hurts) while equipment that has been sitting unused needs full recap to work properly.

^^ This, Always fun when you power something on that's never been used or been in storage for years and then 16 capacitors pop 😁

Reply 16 of 20, by xXmobiusXx1

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So I have installed the 4 16v 47uF's and noticed slightly better audio output but the left is still a tad weak, so it looks like I will have to go through and re-cap the board starting with all of the 16v 22uF's first and see what happens.

Reply 17 of 20, by AustinLonghorn

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Wanted to chime in on this thread - I really wasn't imagining the popping sounds coming from my Audigy 2 ZS!

As firage pointed out earlier, the originals are 4mm. 5mm Nichicon 16V 33µF (UFG1C330MDM) caps from Mouser.com seemed to work out nicely, too, and resolved the issue!

Probably a little taller than they ought to be, but I didn't have any clearance issues putting the card back in the PC:

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Reply 18 of 20, by auron

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might be wrong here but as i understand it, these "fine gold" caps you picked are meant for the audio signal path, while you put them around those VRMs where something with low ESR and even a little upgrade to capacitance is more appropriate. there's a reason why the original caps in that particular spot always fail, they were clearly misspecced for that application.

Reply 19 of 20, by cyclone3d

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Looking back I think it was more that Creative got a rather large bad batch of capacitors.. or multiple bad batches of capacitors.

The whole crackling thing started with the Live! series and went through the Audigy 2 series.

Back then Creative was blaming it on the motherboard and chipset manufacturers who in turn were blaming it on Creative.

I only ever had one system that I had the crackling problem. I moved the card to a different PCI slot and it went away.

It does make me think that maybe the couple cards I had stop working over the years may have just needed the caps replaced.

This wasn't originally a problem that started happening months or years after brand new cards were installed. It happened immediately upon installation so the theory that the caps were going bad because they weren't specced high enough doesn't make any sense to me.

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