No output from center/rear speakers with Sound Blaster Z

Oct 29, 2018
I recently built a new PC, and I migrated my Sound Blaster Z (internal card) to the new system. It was working fine with my Logitech Z906 5.1 system on Windows 10 just weeks ago.

NOW, when I go through the speaker test (either in Windows or in SBX Studio), I get front L/R output, but no center, rear L/R or sub.

I am hooked up to the SB card via analog 5.1 inputs (green, black and orange cables). I double checked the order and made sure the jacks were in the right place per the SB manual.

What I've done so far:

- Disabled o/b audio from BIOS and uninstalled anything Realtek-related from device manager.
- Set "Sound Blaster Z - Speakers" as the default audio device in Windows CP.
- Set audio mode in Windows to 5.1
- Set audio mode in Creative Studio to 5.1.
- Unplugged/replugged jacks and checked speaker connections
- Removed existing SB drivers (the ones that Windows auto-installed) and force installed the latest driver/software from Creative
- Disabled NVIDIA HDMI audio drivers
- Checked inputs/outputs on the Z906 controller & sub

I did find that if I switch the mode in SBX to 2.1 and then back to 5.1, I get audio through every channel - only at the same time. (ex. if I test the left front speaker, it plays the test tone on all channels). So, the connections are right because the software is playing audio through all channels.

UPDATE: I should add, I've even reverted to the MB realtek drivers (uninstalling all SB drivers and turning MB audio back on in BIOS), and I still cannot get a signal from the center, rear or sub.

I'm banging my head trying to figure this out. Is it just time to throw this card in the trash? From what I've read Creative's support isn't improving especially for legacy equipment. Would be a shame though because it had great surround audio before!


Oct 25, 2017
If you can get audio through all channels at the same time when only one channel is outputting audio, the cause may be that you have enabled the surround upmix feature of the speakers.

Some 5.1 channels speakers have the feature to upmix stereo audio to 5.1 channels.

According to the support website of the Logitech Z906, if the LED beside the 3D option is lit, the speakers are playing with simulated surround sound.

You may want to select "INPUT" 1 on the speakers' control console.

Increasing the level of SBX Surround will increase the volume of the rear left and right channels.

Om Mani Padme Hum


Oct 25, 2017

If you are talking about getting the channels swapped randomly, you may want to try to enable HPET on Windows.

To enable HPET on Windows, run Command Prompt as an Administrator, enter the command "bcdedit /set useplatformclock true" and restart the computer.

If enabling HPET on Windows does not help, you can disable it by running Command Prompt as an Administrator, entering the command "bcdedit /deletevalue useplatformclock" and restarting the computer.
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