Sound Blaster Z speaker/headphone switcher breaks audio

Shadowbolter

Estimable
Nov 30, 2015
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4,510
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Good morning everyone

Recently I built a new computer and was very excited to use some new gear with it however I seem to be having a little bit of an issue with the audio.

Firstly the audio works and works very well. It sounds crystal clear in both my headphones and speakers however, when I go to use the switch function in the Sound Blaster Z software and move the slider to change audio outputs from speakers to headphones or vise versa, sound just turns off completely. For example, I could be listening to pandora and it'll be in the middle of a song and when I make the switch the audio will just stop but the seek bar will keep moving. Pausing does not work either. Its fixed by reloading my webpages or sometimes I have to exit my web browser entirely and start it again for the sound to be fixed. Same thing with games meaning I have to not be in them and if I am then audio doesn't come back at all until after restarting it. In other words, if I want to use the switch function, I can't be doing anything and I'm inclined to believe that this is not 100% correct on how this is supposed to work and even then there's been 1 instance so far where I've had to restart completely for audio to come back and its only been a couple days that I've had this machine. It should be noted that switching back to the original output does not work either (So play something with sound out of headphones, switch to speakers, everything breaks, switch back to headphones, nothing as well). Lastly, audio will be just fine until I touch this switch setting. There are no breaks, scratchy-ness, buzzing, etc. It works great until I try to change outputs.

Some items:
Motherboard: MSI Gaming Z170A M5
Speakers: Klipsch ProMedia 2.1
Heaphones: Sennheiser G4ME ONE
OS: Windows 10 (64bit)

This is a brand new setup and a fresh install of everything and as far as I know, the most recent versions of all drivers and OS updates. I've tried doing some searching on my own but I just can't seem to figure this out. Changing bit rates, tinkering with various surround options as I saw suggested in other places (changing 2.1 to 5.1 and disabling the speakers I don't have for instance) and a handful of other small and minor adjustments. I've tried using the Audio Switch 3rd party software but I have not tried SBZ which was another thing I found just this morning.

The only 2 things I have not tried so far is simply removing the Sound Blaster Z sound card and plugging things in directly to the motherboard and reformatting and using Windows 7. Neither of which I would rather do but if push came to shove I would do it (Especially redoing my OS again since that's not fun at all). Aside from this issue, everything works perfectly.

Any help or guidance on this would be greatly appreciated. If anymore information is needed please let me know.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
i take it that you have your speakers hooked up to the rear of the soundcard and your headset hooked up to the case jacks on the front.

if you plug the headset in, windows will automatically set it as the default device. if you unplug it should default back to speakers.

if you have them both plugged in (i havent tried this on win10 but it should be the same or similar) generally in sound playback devices (right clicking volume icon selecting this) you can swap default devices from headphones to speakers and back.

or did you mean you were doing it this way already and not using the sbz software?
 

Shadowbolter

Estimable
Nov 30, 2015
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4,510
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Actually no, headphones are not plugged into the front of the case and I did not think of that. Both speakers and headphones are plugged into the back directly into the card. I will try though when I can. I assumed both things had to be on the card for things to work the way I was trying to get them to.

For the sound switcher, I was using the function in the Sound Blaster Pro Studio software (See below). During some experiments I was trying I did try switching them with AudioSwitcher and that didn't work either.

http://images.bit-tech.net/content_images/2013/02/creative-sound-blaster-z-review/software-3b.jpg
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
as long as the case audio header is connected to the soundblaster z's output for it, the front will use the card too.

http://s968.photobucket.com/user/stulid/media/IMG_2919_zps4db0b541.jpg.html connector on card.
case audio cable end http://ask.creative.com/wwimages/audio_int/xfi/xfi_extremeaudio_frontpanel2a.JPG

i'm thinking there is some sort of bug or glitch in the soundblaster software related to that function. i would try swapping with windows audio devices instead. this is not a 3rd party program but built into windows itself.
 

SinxarKnights

Distinguished
Jan 3, 2007
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It appears to 'reboot' the sound output system when you switch modes or plug headphones into the front panel port. It has done this since at least the X-Fi series. However in the X-Fi card software it clearly states to close all audio producing programs before doing it and some applications must be restarted for the changes to take effect. Winamp used to just freak out and crash when using the control panel do do anything.

My onboard audio (some crappy realtek) doesn't have this problem but I can confirm it is just the way the newer Creative cards are.

 

Shadowbolter

Estimable
Nov 30, 2015
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4,510
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Oh geez, I never saw that connector for hooking up the front panel to the card, I just did it to the motherboard as I've always done. This is also the first sound card I've ever really tried to use so its been quite an uphill struggle to figure out how it all works.

I will give this a try when I am able.
 
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