Audigy 2 ZS SB0250 front panel

Discussion in 'PAX Download - Audigy Series' started by Edfst, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. Edfst

    Edfst New Member

    Dec 19, 2011
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    I'm at the end of my rope.

    I have Windows 7 x64, and have been trying to make the front panel from my Audigy 2 ZS (SB0250) work with no success at all. I know that the panel is functional.
    I have tried all the available creative drivers and pax driver; the only drivers that actually enable the use of the panel are the kx drivers, but they are of no use to me since I want the decoding functionality of the audio card.
    My main goal is to be able to at least use the SPDIF-in from the panel.

    I might be ignoring something essential in order to make the front panel work, I'm just not sure what. Any help would be appreciated.
  2. twixt

    twixt New Member

    Jun 11, 2004
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    Here are some things I know about the Audigy 2ZS Platinum (Combo of SB0350 Card/SB0250 LiveDrive II) and appropriate Software:

    For the front panel to work properly, three physical things have to be correct with the Hardware.

    1. The 40-pin Ribbon Cable between the Sound Card and the Front Panel Unit must be fully inserted on both connectors. If you cable is loose on the connector pins - the cable should be replaced. It should take firm pressure to either insert or remove the cable from the connector pins on the sound card and panel connectors. Furthermore, if the cable is frayed, worn or damaged where the wire connects to the cable - this could also be a problem necessitating cable replacement.

    2. Fortunately, there is a workaround to having to replace the cable with the same custom cable from Creative Labs. This cable is actually identical in construction to a standard 40-pin IDE Cable - except for the connectors on the end of the cable with custom blank-offs for the removed pins in non-standard places compared to a regular 40-pin IDE Cable.

    Note: You can replace the cable with a standard 40-pin IDE Cable - as long as you can find a standard 40-pin IDE Cable that does not have a single keypin blankoff molded into the cable connectors. There are lots of 40-pin IDE Cables that do not have the molded blankoff - you'll just have to find one.

    If you do replace the cable with a standard "universal" 40-pin IDE Cable, you have to very carefully observe the polarity on the cable when connecting the cable to the pc-boards for the sound card and the panel. The Red Stripe on the cable must be connected so the red stripe is at the same end where the connector is marked with a white triangle silkscreened onto the pc-board for the sound card and panel. Do this wrong - and you may create an expensive paperweight out of either your drive or your soundcard or both. Pay close attention.

    If you don't understand the concept - a local computer technician will. If you replace the cable, have them check your connections to verify correct polarity on the cable.

    Experienced computer techs know how to manually remove and replace IDE Cable-ends. Thus, an old SoundBlaster cable that has cracked where the cable dies into the connector (the most common failure mode) can be refurbished by purchasing a standard 40-pin IDE Cable and replacing the ends using the original connectors - using new wire from the new cable. This is the best solution - as you then cannot install the cable backwards - but it requires sufficient expertise to remove/replace 40-pin IDC Connectors without breaking them.

    2. For the electronics on the Panel to work properly, the panel must be properly powered. This requires a standard floppy-cable-connector which plugs into the white socket on the pc-board for the panel. This connector is keyed - it is quite difficult to get the connection fouled up - but some have managed to do so with floppy drives and baked the floppy drive by doing so. Again, pay attention.

    On most newer power supplies, there is only one floppy connector on one of the cables. If you have something else using that floppy connector, you will have to buy a standard-molex-to-floppy adapter so you can connect the panel to computer power. No power, no spdif.

    3. Creative supply a custom cable to connect between the firewire socket on the sound card and the firewire connector on the panel's pc-board. The firewire connector will not work properly if you make a mistake connecting that cable. Both ends of the cable are keyed so you can't get the connection wrong - but this cable is also vulnerable to fraying and damage.

    Fortunately, this cable is actually far more robust than the 40-pin ribbon cable - but it could still be a problem. If a wire breaks on the cable where it dies into the connector - a competent computer technician is quite capable of removing the pin from the affected socket - resolding the wire to the pin - and reinserting the pin.

    Thus, the firewire cable is easily repaired by a competent electronics technician with bench and soldering experience using the proper tools.

    With the three hardware items taken care of - if you are lucky - things will "magically work". If not, then you've got a software problem "as well" as the hardware problems you've already checked and fixed if necessary.

    Things to try:

    1. If you open the Creative Mixer - you should see sliders or slider options which allow you to change the volume on the Line In 2/Mic In 2 and the SPDif Input. If those sliders are not present - your system has not detected your sound card as a unit with a front panel connected. This problem commonly shows up if the ribbon cable is damaged or the front panel is not provided with power. Fix the cable problems and things "magically work".

    If you are running without the Windows 7 X64-capable drivers released by Creative Labs - there is a possibility you won't see the SPDif In and the Line In 2/Mic In 2 items you want to work with. If so, off you go to get DanielK's Audigy 2ZS Driver Pack - which has Windows 7 64-bit drivers for the things Creative have not supplied by default.

    There is also an ISO available from DanielK that creates installation CD with a complete set of X-64 applications compatible with Windows 7. Google for this, download the rarfiles, assemble the ISO, burn an installation CD and install the necessary software.

    Hopefully this should get you going - or at least pointed in the right direction... :)

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