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Distorted sound after installing software plus GigaPocket issues

I've recently bought myself a set of Logitech Z5500 5.1 surround sound speakers for my PC and also an external USB Sound Blaster X-Fi 5.1 sound card as my PC currently only has a built-in OEM sound card.

I managed to set up the speakers as per normal, and the sound card works great, with a few exceptions.

Firstly, I initially received the expected sound from the speakers when I first wired them up, but as soon as I installed the software, the output was distorted and crackly and I had no idea how to get the levels back down to normal. However, I had just reformatted my PC and was only running XP SP1, so perhaps the problem could be the fact that I did not have SP2 installed...

I had no idea how to correct the distortion, so I reformatted my PC again and started from scratch, but didn't install the software this time, and so far the speakers seem to be working fine, albeit without the benefits that the software has to offer.

I have since reinstalled Service Pack 2 for XP, but i'm reluctant to install the Sound Blaster software in case I experience the same problem again and lose the use of the speakers - As they are currently working fine, I do not really want to take the risk

My second and perhaps more serious problem is that my built in TV card doesn't seem to want to work with this sound card. I have a Sony Vaio RZ504, and the TV card comes built-in as standard, but for some reason it only outputs sound via the built-in sound card.

The Sound Blaster USB sound card seems to be missing a crucial volume setting which the TV card is reliant on - I am not sure if there are any updates available for the Sound Blaster software drivers, but this seems to be a very serious issue as my GigaPocket software doesn't seem to have an option to choose output sources, and as a result I am unable to watch / record TV, or play my consoles through the A/V connections as I have no sound

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  • 4 more comments 
  • G3M-PH0 Mar 03, 2009

    No, I have not disabled my onboard sound card. How would I go about doing so?

    So far the only program that I have found that isn't working with the new sound card is the GigaPocket software which runs everything from the TV card

    My PC remote control also no longer controls the volume at all, and instead I am forced to use the volume control for the Z5500's, but I can live with that

    A list of my hardware specs can be found here:

  • G3M-PH0 Mar 03, 2009

    Ok, no, I have never accessed the BIOS in this manner.

    I had already entered the Device Manager though and disabled the onboard sound card (This was my initial thought and the first thing I did), but this has not fixed the problem

    The GigaPocket software seems to play saved recorded data fine, but not direct through either the coaxial or A/V ports. However, if I set the onboard sound card as the default, and reccord something with this software, I can then play it back with sound through my new sound card... But of course, this is not really suitable for watching television or playing a game etc

  • G3M-PH0 Mar 03, 2009

    Correct, it was F2.

    I've disabled the sound card completely, but doesn't seem to have solved the GigaPocket problem, although the USB Sound Blaster is now the only selectable sound card on offer

    The sound is definitely being input, but just isn't being output - At least, not through the desired sound card. It seems that the GigaPocket software will only work with the OEM sound card

  • G3M-PH0 Mar 03, 2009

    Any drivers for the Sound Blaster must have been loaded automatically as I haven't installed anything from the disc for fear that it will corrupt and distort the sound again as it did the first time. I have no idea whether there is anything within the supplied software that overcomes the problem of having no sound with certain programs, but seems a bit strange that there are only three volume control settings for the Sound Blaster compared to at least eight for the onboard sound card...

    Here is a comparison between the two:

    As you can see, the Sound Blaster has no master volume, no line in, and no mic input settings, so i'm wondering whether these could be included on the supplied Cd Rom... However, without knowing why I received distorted noise before, I don't really want to take the risk at this time until I know a little more about it

    I do have a digital optical port on both the Sound Blaster and the surround sound commander, as well as one built into my onboard sound card on my PC. Although, I don't have an optical cable long enough to connect any of them together. But I do know what you mean about the lack of a physical line out

    And just to clarify, this is the Sound Blaster I am referring to:

  • G3M-PH0 Mar 04, 2009

    I recently stumbled across the following webpage which is an update for the Giga Pocket software:

    Although it seems that the site is of American origin and only intended for certain American sold models, as detailed in the following list, of which my model (RZ504) is not included:

    However, one thing did catch my eye - The sentence on the page which states:

    "Enhances compatibility with the Microsoft® Windows® XP operating system Service Pack 2."

    Now this has me thinking that perhaps SP2 is the problem here and not either of the sound cards. After all, everything was done at roughly the same time, so I have no way to distinguish what single factor may have caused the Giga Pocket software to cease functioning normally. As I didn't test it out with SP1, it could well have been the installation of SP2 that broke it... I am also guessing that this is just one such example of Giga Pocket being incompatible with SP2

    The question is, if this update software exists for certain US models, then surely there should also be a similar update for UK spec models, including my own.

    I already know of at least one update which fixes a problem with the timer recording manager and DST, but can't seem to find a full update for the whole software

  • G3M-PH0 Mar 17, 2009

    I contacted Sony via eMail well over a week ago and have yet to receive a reply, which means they're either ignoring me or just don't know how to solve the Giga Pocket problem.

    It's frustrating,a s one of the main reasons I bought this computer was because of the Giga Pocket feature and the ability to watch TV through the computer and attach my consoles to it, but now that's not possible without experiencing a loss of sound due to upgrading my sound card. One would think they would be aware of such issues and upgraded the software, or at least released a newer version which supports other sound cards



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Have you physically disabled the onboard sound in the BIOS? By doing this I think most of your other hardware/software would default to the only audio device (your SB).

Post back if you've already done this and I'll see what else I can dig up on your hardware and possible conflicts.

Posted on Mar 03, 2009

  • 3 more comments 
  • John Elliott
    John Elliott Mar 03, 2009

    Have you ever had to go into the BIOS or setup for your machine?

    Different models have different keys which allow you to enter BIOS - sometimes del or f2 or f12 or even hitting the esc key to access a boot options menu. You may find info on which in the user guide for your machine.

    Once in the BIOS go to the integrated peripherals and find the onboard sound, hopefully there is an option to disable it.

    You may even be able to accomplish this within the device manager in windows by opening the Sound, video and game controllers section and disabling the sigmatel audio device (right click + disable).

  • John Elliott
    John Elliott Mar 03, 2009

    Consult your user manual on how to enter the BIOS for your machine, let's try to physically disable the onboard audio in your unit to be absolutely sure there is no conflict.

  • John Elliott
    John Elliott Mar 03, 2009

    I believe you use the F2 key on boot to access the settings.

    Look for an entry for integrated peripherals (or something similar to that title) and see if you can't disable the onboard audio.

  • John Elliott
    John Elliott Mar 03, 2009

    Now that the onboard audio has been disabled in the BIOS we may want to try to reinstall the SB drivers (not necessarily the added software although you may want to give this a try also).

    I did spend some time going thru the support docs for both pieces of equipment (as I know you have) and as you've pointed out - there's just something missing here. One would hope that Sony would address this problem (as my impression is that it would require an update or patch to deal with the TV card audio).

    I wish there was a better answer for you but without a physical line out (and into the SB) and no way to "redirect" the sound output I'm not sure there's much we can do here...There is however an additional setting in the SB driver for Digital Output Only (detailed on this page (located under advanced settings)), toggling/disabling this and testing might be something you want to try.

  • John Elliott
    John Elliott Mar 17, 2009

    I can definitely feel for you, I've setup a similar media system (albeit an aftermarket add on) with my satellite system. When one has the hardware integrated out of the box one would expect the stuff to work with just about anything external, especially when it's name brand.

    Hopefully Sony will get back to you soon and perhaps release an update for your unit that takes care of that...



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