My story begins in October 2006. Like many people around that time, I installed my brand new Windows Vista operating system. I was pleased to find that a lot of devices had fully working drivers and Vista was actually quite good contrary to everything I had read.
The only devices missing adequate drivers were my economy printer and my beloved Audigy 2 sound card. The printer driver was clearly incompatible but it cost less money than a black ink cartridge would. The Audigy however was strange. The beta driver wouldn’t stick to 5.1 speakers, wasn’t decoding Dolby Digital and failed the Vista speaker test. Not only that, but it seemed EAX hardware sound had been lost due to lack of DirectSound support in Windows Vista.
Bummer. I sat and waited for Vista to reach the stores and perhaps a good driver would appear. January 31st 2007 marked the date of Windows Vista launch. It also marked the date that Creative Labs chose for my beta driver to expire. I pulled the card out, removed all traces of Creative Labs software and used onboard sound instead.
Fortunately they released another driver a few weeks later so I plugged in my soundcard, and installed the new driver.
…did I say new driver? I meant the same driver, but with expiry date removed. The driver I’m taking about is the current driver version 2.12.0002. Again I had 2 speakers only, multichannel audio wasn’t working in the slightest. The microphone wouldn’t mute, the driver was seriously sabotaged to say the least. After much researching, I finally found that newer and better working drivers were available, yet Creative Labs chose not to release them!
Please Note: The follow method is the advanced manual method. I strongly suggest you try the recently added Audigy Series Vista Driver Installer Package before you try this manual install.
If you’re going to try it, make sure there’s no Creative processes running and uninstall your current drivers with the Guru3D Driver Sweeper.
How to get 5.1 sound back again…
The drivers are hidden away in the latest X-Fi drivers, but need to be extracted from the Setup.exe (using WinRar)
The drivers I’m talking about are SBXF_PCDVT_LB_2_15_0002.exe that cover most X-Fi sound cards.
Once you’ve uninstalled any previous drivers, download the latest X-Fi drivers, right click on the “SBXF_PCDVT_LB_2_15_0002.exe” icon and “Extract to SBXF_PCDVT_LB_2_15_0002”.
A folder will appear called “SBXF_PCDVT_LB_2_15_0002”. Inside this folder you will find another folder called “Drivers”. Here you will find working Audigy/Audigy2/Audigy4 drivers. Launch the “Setup.exe” to install the May drivers.
Simply reboot to reclaim your multichannel audio once more.
If for some reason these drivers don’t install for you, perhaps try kX Mixer by Eugene Gavrilov. It’s a nice freeware utility and driver set that works well in Windows Vista. The only drawbacks with this solution are the lack of EAX support and ghastly skinned interface.
I hope this helps out somebody who is stressed with the poor driver support in Windows Vista. Later on I shall post about the mistruths Creative Labs told regarding DTS and Dolby Digital in Vista and then I’ll show you how to get them working.
I’m kinda bored typing at this point. If you’ll excuse me, I need a cup of strong tea.