More sound problems in XP

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Now that I got my sound working at all, I'm having really bad quality problems. It sounds like I'm listening to a radio in a tunnel. I checked all the connections, tried all the options I know of, still not right :(. I'm running XP Professional, SoundBlaster Live with latest drivers, Athlon 1ghz, Boston Acoustic speakers (if that makes any difference).
 
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Now that I've had the problem for a while, I've discovered a few quirks: it has no effect on Age of Empires 2, but it makes HalfLife so unbearable I need to turn off my speakers. Only sometimes does it disrupt Winamp, but sometimes when I'm scrolling with my mousewheel or click on something in Explorer it makes hissing noises.
 
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Nobody seems to know what's wrong :( . Someone told me to download new EAX drivers for Unreal Tournament but that didn't do anything (particularly since I don't play Unreal). If I run Half-Life in Direct3d mode as opposed to OpenGL the quality is somewhat better but still not what I would consider acceptable. I know it's not a Half-Life incompatability problem because other people play it on XP.
 
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Did you download and follow the install instructon for SBLiveXPDrvUpdate.exe
Sound Blaster Live!/ Live! Value/ Live! 5.1 Windows XP Driver Update, Revision: Revision 2 Date: 11/29/01 Size:9.03MB

I also found this, from http://www.soundblaster.com/support/faq/welcome.asp?cat=15&scat=17&faqtype=2&prodfamily=3#faqstart:

Will I have some missing features?

Windows XP's native drivers do not support certain feature such as multi-speaker output, EAX effects, Dolby Digital (AC-3) decoding or additional functionality provided by Creative's own set of applications. In this case, you may wish to re-install the audio solution again to restore the missing features.


I tried re-installing but it seemed that Windows XP's native drivers couldn't be replaced with the set of drivers on my Installation CD. What should I do?

This happens because Windows XP has a driver version number that is newer than that in your Installation CD. In such a case, you need to force install the set of drivers in the CD. To do this, you need to Update Driver from the audio device property page. The steps are outlined above. Alternatively (recommended), you can download the latest Windows XP web update and install this update. In addition, depending on your product, you may choose to order the CD that contains the latest applications.
 
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Yep, installed that. There doesn't seem to be any errors in the installation (aside from the fact that it doesn't work).
 
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I use the sound blaster live on a similar opperating system. I have found that when I use the effects I get hissing noises whenever the PC is trying to proccess real time. This could be from moving data around, to scrolling with the mouse. I have been able to minimise this by not using the effects, except for listening pleasure. I know sometimes in older hard drives and such, you can actually hear the hard drive opperating through the speakers. Maybe these are related, kind of like the program is picking up the frequency of the data being proccessed within the PC and amplifying it. Just an alien far out guess.
 
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I guess that's what it is, but I need a solution - just living with it is not an option, unfortunately.
 
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The Sound Blaster instructions sounded like they would work. Have you contacted them directly about your problem?

Another option is to get a more generic sound card that works. At one time I would use nothing but Sound Blaster, but have switched to Yamaha and I am having no problems with any OS I run, which includes XP and Linux.
 
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