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Sound Card Issue

Trish's Escape from Hardware Hell Help Board » Hardware » Audio and Input Devices (mouse, keyboard, joystick, etc.) » Sound Card Issue « Previous Next »

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Peter Rejto
Posted on Thursday, June 8, 2000 - 1:55 pm:   

I recently built up a new computer using an Abit BE6 and a PIII 600E running Win98SE. I chose this board because it had two ISA slots, one of which I am using to run a Xefiro Sound Card....a very expensive pro-audio Dig I/O. The Xefiro card can be installed using a variety of settings in control panel and can be enabled with or without an IRQ. I currently have it configured without an IRQ, but setting one has not changed my problem. When I use a DV editing program (Ulead) large .avi files play back with very choppy audio. The same is true with the windows media player. This is true only of large files....small files play back fine. The ZA-2 audio card has settings for different DMA buffer sizes ranging from 4K to 64K. My regular large .wav files play back well at 8K. If I go much higher than that I run into problems playing large .wav files and do not solve the .avi prob.
I received the following message from Xefiro:

I'm not sure what to tell you.. smaller DMA buffers are better
for system performance as long as you don't get any buffer
over-run errors.. the easiest way to get rid of over-run errors
is to increase the DMA buffer size.. but if any application is
using little tiny buffers then a large DMA buffer setting on
the ZA2 will result in choppy audio."

I don't know if my problem is unique to the ZA-2 card, or if I might expect similar results from a generic ISA or PCI sound card (whch I would have to buy to experiment with!) Any help or ideas would be much appreciated!
Danny Albers (Danny)
Posted on Thursday, June 8, 2000 - 7:50 pm:   

Just humor me here, I am having a wild thought that just isn't formed enough to express in public.

What brand/model of hard drive are you running and how much ram do you have.

As well have you ( you probably have) made sure that all your drivers, including the mainboards, are up to date, including your mainboard BIOS?

What gets me here is that small files play fine in the two programs, but large files do not. This strikes me as a resource problem of some kind for that reason.

I have seen the same issue, in regards to choppy sound in large AVI and WAV files caused by an extremely fragmented hard drive. But since your system is newly built, I doubt that this is your problem.

Also, could you post the web address for Xefiro as I would like to add it to my bookmarks and also check out the full product specs for this card.
Peter Rejto
Posted on Friday, June 9, 2000 - 3:44 am:   

Hi Danny,

Thanks for your reply! I'm using two seagate ATA/66 drives (though currently running at ata/33 speed. The main drive is a brand new 28GB Seagate ST328040A Barracuda, and the other a Seagate ST310232A Medalist. My drives are not fragmented! The bios was reflashed with the latest update... I will check on updating the mainboard drivers. As for ram I have 256MB at 100mhz. Zefiro's site is: (sorry for the mispelling in the first post!)
Scott Wilson
Posted on Saturday, August 5, 2000 - 9:47 pm:   

I installed a Sound Blaster Live onto an Abit BE6 Rev2. The problem I had was no sound at all with wav files. I fixed this by going into the bios and disabling com port 1 and 2. This free'd up two IRQ's so the sound card could use one of them. The problem seems to come from the fact that this mobo has two extra IDE ports that use two more IRQ,s than most mobo's, the sound card couldn't find any IRQ's to use. I found this by going into the device manager, clicking on the computer icon in device manager and noticed there wasn't any sound card using any of the IRQ's. Hope this helps.
Posted on Saturday, August 5, 2000 - 11:48 pm:   

Very odd, most of the ATA66 solutions I have used require no IRQ. For example, Promise's ATA 66 controller.

But, why not just disable the IRQ's for the IDE channels not in use? I guess if you have no plans to use the ports, it simply does not matter.


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