Creative Sound Windows Vista Audio Warning

As a follow-up to the Windows Vista Story, Lockergnomie Jerry Whelan just sent me an update about Windows Vista’s audio bugaboos…

It’s unbelievable that Microsoft would dump the HAL Layer for sound cards because doing so kills all the advanced features of all the cards. The real problem comes with home recording – ALL the controls, such as volume mixer, reverb, panning, graphic equalizer, noise removal, EAX effects, stereo tweaks, multiple inputs, and anything else you can think of that makes home recording possible and effective – well, they’re gone and you can no longer use them. In other words, you might as well make your recordings on an old tape cassette recorder.

I have a home recording studio that’s usually pretty busy, but now it’s dead, dead and gone, and all my expensive hardware is now mostly useless. I upgraded to Vista, got the driver for my Audigy 4 Pro sound card, was even getting ready to upgrade to an X-Fi card, when I discovered that the whole range of audio controls was no longer there, and will also no longer be there in the X-Fi card. When I called Creative tech support they informed me, with bitterness, irony, and some weeping, that Microsoft has removed the Hardware Abstraction Layer for advanced sound and has left us all in the dark – darkness and silence. All advanced sound cards have suffered a similar fate, and many video cards too, so everyone who shelled out the money for advanced hardware has been effectively told by Microsoft, “Too bad.”

As I said, it’s unbelievable. I have had to reinstall Windows XP in a dual-boot configuration with Vista so I can use my sound studio again, and am still trying to get everything to work right. Reinstalling Windows XP after installing Windows Vista caused horrible and terrifying disk error problems with conflicting partitions, which took me an entire day to fix, made ten times more difficult because Microsoft has tightened up the controls so severely on how you can install and upgrade the Vista OS. All of this is cold-blooded murder, and all of it relates to the well known tendency of Microsoft to go for the buck whenever possible (and they probably have enough bucks already).

I haven’t wanted to buy a Creative product in years – especially after one of their reps was a complete asshole to me. I have a high definition audio system built into the motherboard on this rig, and Vista’s software has been beyond impressive. I have more jacks than I know what to do with, although I can see how I’d want even more if I were doing anything advanced.

37 thoughts on “Creative Sound Windows Vista Audio Warning”

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  2. If you are trying to do a true home studio through a piece of Creative hardware, something is wrong already.

    If you are dependant on a piece of gear, why update before you are 100% sure that everything is supported?

    If you are not happy, just uninstall. Vista keeps the old copy of XP safe and sound…

    When Mac studios update their OS, it’s no different. Your OS can’t infuse common sense.

    Microsoft can’t force hardware companies to produce new drivers. We all know the early builds have been out there forever to give companies time to build updated drivers…

    Sorry to be snarky, but I run osx, vista, and xp… and I would never start upgrading my little audio studio before I was 100% sure everything was going to work. Audio gear is notoriously difficult to get the setup perfected.

  3. Chris are you saying your on board sound is better than impressive under vista? do you get all the tweaks and twiddles you get with a seperate sound card under XP ? what is your rig?

  4. Wow, that guy makes it sound like it’s Microsoft’s fault. Creative has bungled their Vista driver support, that’s all there is to it. I don’t even use their cards anymore though, so I haven’t experienced any of that first-hand.

    What I *really* don’t get though is that notion at the end of his senseless rant that this is an example of Microsoft’s tendency to “go for the buck whenever possible.” What does that mean? That rewriting the entire audio stack in Vista for quality, reliability, security, and advanced functionality to the benefit of Windows users everywhere is “going for the buck?” If that’s the case, why would you have it any other way?

    Certainly he doesn’t really think it’s Microsoft’s fault those features aren’t working on his Creative card… right? He does realize that no other cards are having those problems, right?

  5. I have a computer that I just built. I installed Windows Vista, there are not any drivers from Asus to make my sound card work. I have been looking for three days for a PCI add on card until ASUS comes up with a sound driver. He is correct, all the sound crads i have looked into, that supposedly have a Vista driver, are Beta versions and very limited. Now… I try to put my windows XP install dics in to go back to XP….Well… Vista blanks out the install button (it will not highlight). You can not un=-install Vista once it is installed! There also is not a driver from NVIDIA yet to run the PCI Express cards in SLI mode! I can not get any support from ASUS, they put you on hold for 20 minutes and then come back on and say we’ll have a tech call you. Hmmmnnn. I guess i jumped on new technology to early again.

  6. Hey if yas wanna play with vista use it for media server till sp1 or sp2 3 4 5 ect.. You can always reinstall XP onto a computer. No matter what OS is installed Vista Linux WinNT. Just boot from the CD and do a clean install.

    PS. I work for a cable company. I tend to get the more difficult home theatre and PC Networking issues given to me to resolve. I was given a call for a customer who had just bought a new DELL INSPERON (spelling?) notebook.

    All the functionality seemed ok except for one area WIRELESS.
    The dang thing wouldnt connect to the gateway modem no matter what i did. So I got my trusty DELL XP laptop outa my Van and wallah i could connect.

    The point is its not just Creatives sound support thats laxed…

  7. Bad Luck. Being a real enthusiasist and well wisher of WINDOWS, I up graded my XP to Vista Ultimate. There itself started my bitterness with my powerful PC. My family is away & I am in ME, MSN MEssenger/Yahoo MEssenger are the real solace to me till I upgrades to Ultimate. The smug has mentaly tortured me, even I could’nt log in to net, even the system itself shutting down when ever I am switching to net, a full one week of life with out net. Again I was forced to reinstall XP, but in all the way Reinstalling Windows XP was mfailed.after installing Windows Vista caused horrible and terrifying disk error problems with conflicting partitions, which took me to buy another hard disk and inatalled XP (I did’nt get a mind to uninatall Vista and throw into garbage) made ten times more difficult because Microsoft has tightened up the controls so severely on how you can install and upgrade the Vista OS in a different partition of the single master HDD. I have had to reinstall Windows XP in a dual-boot configuration with Vista so I could use my sound again, and am still trying to get everything to work right with the ambitious Vista, I would not say Vista is bad, but MS is too BAD. Now for the sake of Vista I removed my Creative sound Blaster Live 24 bit and trying to use on board Intel Hi-Definition, I am not satisfied even in this, to say everything became horrible. I am running out with my patience. I lost inexpensive contacts with my beloveds. With big pandamonium Vista longed with out taking care the commom user’s multimedia life, MS has to know common users are the real revenue generators to MS. I checked with MS team here, I repeated 5 times the word Ultimate to make her understand the word, then I lost the hope of getting technical support from them. Creative team (the main dealer) mute guys. What to do now, I am in a double mind to pick another sound card from the naughty shelves.
    Good Luck.

  8. So I have had major frustration with Vista and Creative too. I bought new disks, two new licenses and media for Vista, and did a clean install of Vista and Office ultimate. I have an XFi card I bought with the extra memory in prep for the install. I ended up lunching one disk, and moving the Audigy to the kids machine. Lots of issues with Vista and the sound service until I booted in safe mode, and installed the latest XFi driver. The new driver for the XFi card (2.13.0012) from Creative stopped the BSODs and the Crystallizer WORKS. I am so happy to be hearing my 500w speakers again with Vista and XFi working. The key seemed to be loading the drivers in safe mode. No matter what else I did for 2 days, I couldn’t get the drivers to load without a BSOD. Hope this helps someone else.
    Now, if someone would just send me a link to a decent equalizer for Vista… I used to use SurMix from Creative with XP, but it uses HAL so doesn’t work with Vista… I need an EQ … any help?

  9. dear mister
    bill gates is the biggest thief of the planets but I think god will punish him ,I had a problem with the creative card but considering that vista don’t deserve the matter ,i don’t use it.So i continue with XP to enjoy the wonderfull sound of the SB audigy!
    what I can tell you is that you would have less problem if you do like me ,just use two disks in wich you install a system,avoid partitions,and get a box where you can put the disk in a drawer that you change when you want to change disk and system(it’s a cambo with hard disk)
    hope you understood
    sorry for my english but I’m more francophone but I prefer to surf on english sites (they are more clever !)
    good bye for now

  10. I have windows Vista Ultimate + Creatives X-Fi Platinum I don’t have any of the problems that you guys seem to have.

    My system is very very fast though

    Abit AB9Pro motherboard
    Intel E6600 2.4 GHz proccessor reclocked to 3.0 GHz on 1334 FSB
    4 GB DDR2-667 memory dual channel run sincronously
    5 HHD in 2 separate raid 0 drive setups. All HDD 200 GB or larger
    EVGA 7950GT KO video card
    Creative Labs X-Fi Platinum
    Samsung DVD-/+RW
    Lite On Blu-ray Disc Drive

    One secret to getting good performance is to go into power options & chage from the default balanced to perfomance. Otherwise you will by running the proccessor substantially slower than stock 95% or more of the time. Vista is very slow to upgrade to stock speed otherwise. with the performance setting it runs the full rated speed all the time. This is true on any proccessor that has power management features built in.

  11. Hey! There is a driver for Creative Soundblaster Audigy 4 (SB0610) on Creative-s site, and even Creative Media Source 5 for Vista … and it’s workin’…
    But I really miss the plain EQ for it.
    Hope it won’t last too long ’till we’ll have Creative Tools on Vista ;)

    Be patient!

  12. I installed the new SB Drivers for Vista, the speakers/headset are working but my mic still doesnt respond, or any inputt device for that matter.

    I also see a problem with the gameport, not that I would use it, any suggestion how to fix the Mic ?

    Thank you

  13. I am experiencing similar issues with my Audigy 2 Platinum card while using Windows Vista Ultimate. My 5.1 speakers operate only in 2.1…I have no EAX controls. I have no WAVE option in Playback only in Recording. Now it’s using SPDIF OUT and that isn’t listed on the Mixer controls options either. So there’s no way to adjust it’s output. I have installed the latest windows and creative drivers to no avail.

  14. I swear, some people can be so sarcastic! Sorry, but this guy is 100% correct in what he says about Microsoft. I purchased a new laptop with sound onboard and the sound is a total joke. Come to find out the card is not supported! (Keep in mind this card is onboard1 I did not put this card in myself by choice!) I then track down a new X-fi card, being a confirmed SB consumer and always having wonderful luck, I put it in and run drivers for it and gee, guess what… same results! I then in turn go back to Creative and they tell me it is not supported by Vista either! Well, sorry, this seems to be the issue, (IMO), with any half decent audio card. We are not talking some low end card with no “bulk” to it. At least Creative got back to me about it. I have made inquiries to Microsoft in every way I possibly could and it is like talking to a wall! Not one reply back! What really burns me is, I purchased the new laptop for multimedia pruposes just as the original poster did and I am basically screwed until someone decides to remove their head from their butt and pay attention to what people want. My simple question is this….all this stuff about making the audio better….in what aspect were they thinking they made the audio better? Security someone said? Gimme a break! I don’t EVER recall having to do an update to my audio because someone found a back door to my pc through my audio device! What is the sense of having an audio card if you are used to being able to perform certain tasks with it before and now they are supposedly doing a “new and improved” vbersion and they take EVERYTHING, yes EVERYTHING out of our grasps? Yes, in my conclusion of all of this, I got screwed for $1200.00! I thought prostition was illegal?

  15. I’ve got an Audigy 2 zs platinum pro. Half my inputs no longer work in Vista, no EQ, no surround. Whether this is M$ or Creative at fault its a bad situation and one of them needs to get their act together!

  16. Sure you can always go back to XP,,,, idiots how about if the system has been built for Vista and there is no such a thing as a driver for the mother board to run under the XP system? now you are screwed, now you are stuck with a piece of junk. lets face it Microsoft has us by the balls and we the consumers do not have the guts to boycott them.
    I say thumbs up for EU that is putting Microsoft feet to the fire. Wish we in North America learned to be free too and get off that dream of being superior. Wake up they are brainwashing us.

  17. I require a sound card driver for my Vista operating system. Vista always requests a driver for Multimedia Audio Controller and I have tried the ligit disc which came with it in the box but doesnt work.

    My sound card is a Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi ExtremeAudio

  18. He’s right! At first my surround sound worked fine on vista at first. However, somewere along the line with updates all the setting for surround sound mysteriously disappeared leaving me with only two speakers working. My expensive surround sound is now useless because vista is no longer supporting it. It removed all options except for a two speaker setup. I could stupidly blame a company like creative, but its not their fault. Microsoft removed the support, and overwrote my sound setup and drivers leaving me with their drivers. Granted creative does not offer drivers since my sound system was supposed to be plug and play windows automaticaly sets it up. Windows no longer detects or allows for any surround sound setup on my pc. So microsoft is to blame for removing support of these products.

  19. My 5.1 sound system was working fine on my Windows XP machine. I am now using it on a new Vista machine and it is now only a stereo sound system. Checking the advanced settings on Vista, the optical connection for my Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Extreme Audio is listed as only 2 channels. Also most of all the good controls on my sound card are missing. I have a blu-ray drive and now have to watch blu-ray movies in F*#!*%! stereo !!!

  20. it’s bad enough that i’m crippled with parkinson’s disease and have to pay a s— load of money to try to cope daily and then comes the rip of buying this windows vista thing here and loosing my creative sound card which i LOVED.
    Most all the articles i read are rocket science to me. Jeezzz is nothing in life simple anymore? Hell, i take enough Aricept daily for parkinson’s dementia to float bill gates bank roll, if it’s something simple that i should do to get my creative soundcard to work in this machine, why don’t mic’soft just say it, if not, just reimburse me. I wish i were back in the days when i was a radio anouncer, i’d legally let the public know about the RIP. sorry, now i’m getting mixed up and very tired. I just wan

  21. i’ve spent the last week 8 hours a day sarching the internet for a stereo mix solution for vista and the sigmatel sound.

    conclusion is that the functionality is there, however, the options are hidden/disabled/left out of the registry and installation process for most HDA devices.

    perhaps some rogue sigmatel or idt employee can let that secret leak, i’m waiting.

    in lieu of that, you can use an external usb sound box live sound blaster live. it has some limitations but with a VAC as well you can get your mic and the wav captured so that you can webcast pc audio as well as your mic/line in.

    i doubt this is a riaa issue, they have no leverage with microsoft, but i suspect ms is taking the low profile so they dont draw more attention to their monopoly issues.

    I would bet it is also a cooperative decision with the pc manufacturers with their sound card suppliers.

    however, if everyone keeps buying anyway, where is your leverage to get them to support the functionality taken away.

  22. Yes!!! Everything this guy says is true. If you’re a musician and you use your computer as a studio, amplifier, and recording device you are now F**k’d.

    You can no longer select input devices of your choice to be mixed with output of your choice. For example: I have a guitar processor which has a usb out, which I can play along or practice with any material, sound and video in XP. I upgraded to Vista and now I cannot mix anything. I have a choice – I can listen to my guitar OR I can listen to multimedia applications – but I can’t do both. The mixing functionality has been removed.

    I also have a program called GuitarPro and I can no longer export midi to a wave file.

    Vista is useless to me. I had to downgrade to XP to regain use of all my musical equipment and software. Windows 7 has the same sound functionality so it looks like this change is permanent, so musicians will have to find an alternative to microsoft products in the future.

    Even playing mp3 files have been degraded. I seems like microsoft has installed some sort of dynamic compressor which deteriorates the sound.

    None of this is Creative’s fault, it’s all microsoft. Even Zoom (the makers of my effects pedal) can not circumvent what microsoft has done.

    Way to go microsoft!!!!!!

  23. FYI Vista is shit and I reinstalled new OS Windows 7 after 2days on Vista. Vista gave me so much headache in 2days Windows 7 hasnt even given me 1.

    anyway cheow meow lol I checked back at this site after 2yrs from my first post. Ill check back here in another 2yrs!!!! cheers ppl

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