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Discussion Starter #1
Hello there fellow people of the internet, I was hoping that someone on this site would be able to help me out with an issue that I've been having for months and months with no remedy in sight.

A friend of my mine recommended me this site and said there are some great people on here who know their stuff.

A bit of info

I have an iFi Zen DAC with which I use to expand the experience of sound on my PC whilst listening to music, playing games or anything sound related and it does this job wonderfully and there are no complaints there.

It is connected to and is powered via USB 2.0 and outputted to headphones via a 6.35mm adapter to a 3.5mm plug on the headset.

I also have several other DAC's with the same standard setup that also have the same problem as i'll describe below, it's worth mentioning that I've had several different units of all the DAC's so it's safe to rule out a faulty one.

I also have a Sound Blaster ZxR which works perfectly with none of the issues of the DAC's.

The Problem

So the problem is a bit strange and complex so i'll try explain it as best I can.

Typically when I want to record desktop audio or when I'm listening to stuff or playing games and want to record sessions I would use AMD Relive or perhaps Streamlabs or OBS or some other app that allows me to record the desktop audio.

But whenever I try to capture desktop audio with any sort of USB DAC it will not capture the desktop audio whatsoever. However, I can play sound through it fine and there is no issues capturing my mic or an input which can be heard fine.

For example, If I where to play a game and record it with Streamlabs on a DAC then there would be no audio from the game or desktop present in the recording, but the mic would be recorded fine if at all used.

If I record and playback the recording of what should be music or a game session or whatever the case is, all there is just loud static noises like a radio that's not tuned to any channel and my mic of course, which sounds fine.

The same is the case for any other USB DAC that I use, recording desktop audio is just not possible at all no matter what I do or use.

The sound card mentioned above which is PCI-E has no issues at all capturing desktop audio and works perfectly.

  • It's worth mentioning that I'm only using stereo and no surround sound at all such as 7.1.
  • On board audio works fine for capturing.
  • Jack's, Optical in / out and HDMI work fine for capturing.

Things i've tried

So I've tried all the obvious things such as different DAC's in case it was faulty, updates, firmware upgrades, windows upgrades, resetting / re-installing windows and disabling all other sound things such as drivers / hardware and redoing them all including USB controllers.

I've tried it on other people's PC's and it works fine.

I've tried different rates bit rates on the audio too from 44 all the way up to 384 with no changes, I've also tried every single USB port I have on the pc both before and re-installing them all.

So It seems the problem is down to my PC, perhaps it's the USB or perhaps it's the motherboard or something but I would really appreciate some help with this as it's driving me mad buying this gear and not being able to use it for capturing audio.

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My System :

AMD Ryzen 3950x @ 4.2 ghz
AMD Radeon 5700 XT
X470 AORUS Ultra Gaming ( latest bios )
16 GB Corsair ram @ 3,000 mhz
 

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Hardware & Sound in Control Panel>Sound>iFi (by AMR) HD + USB Audio
 

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In your case if it were me I would try a PCIe USB card - so that it's not actually tied to your X470 Gigabyte boards AMD Chipset. Not everyone has one of those lying around however. When you say you disabled other sound sources I'm assuming you also tried disabling onboard sound in your BIOS.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hardware & Sound in Control Panel>Sound>iFi (by AMR) HD + USB Audio
Yeah.. I've tried all the obvious such as a setting it to default and making sure it's all correct properly cable wise and what not. It works fine in that regard, but capturing just does not exist and I have no idea why.

In your case if it were me I would try a PCIe USB card - so that it's not actually tied to your X470 Gigabyte boards AMD Chipset. Not everyone has one of those lying around however. When you say you disabled other sound sources I'm assuming you also tried disabling onboard sound in your BIOS.
All my alternative sound cards are jack outputs unfortunately, unless you mean an actual PCIe card with USB out's.. like a dock or something.

And yeah, I've manually flipped them all off at the bios to see if it was affecting it too.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here is a bit more context as to the issue, below is a recording with AMD Relive to show you what I hear when I try to capture desktop audio with any type of USB DAC, currently this is the iFi Zen DAC.

- You may need to turn up the sound a bit as it records it very low.

- The same is for any recording software, OBS, Streamlabs, Xsplit.. anything that records desktop audio.

 

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Discussion Starter #6
An Update :

So I bought a PCIe card that has USB's and I can capture audio with the DAC's so the problem is most likely my motherboards chip set or perhaps something to do with the USB controllers.

However, when I capture with any of the DAC's with that PCIe card the audio is barely a whisper even on max volume, that as well as it almost sounds " mono or reversed ", as the audio is much louder in the right ear than the left.

The same headset Is used for capturing desktop audio with the Creative sound card and it works perfectly so it's not as if the headset is failing or any of the related connectors, though I have tried other headsets and it's the same. All other values are the same as well, the same volume, the same cables the same audio rate, everything is fixed with the only major difference is that one is a USB interface and one is a jack interface.

But both the sound card and the USB dock are PCIe and the DAC's going through that dock are still effectively not working.

Creative Sound card


iFi Zen DAC


A different USB DAC

 

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It shouldn't make a difference, but you have 2.0 jacks and the new card is probably 3.0.
 

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The DAC setup works on other PC's just not mine so I've no clue as to what the actual issue is, it's driving me mad.

Short of replacing the motherboard i'm at a loss as to what I should do next, I really wouldn't want to replace it.
 

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And there's no guarantee that a new MOBO would solve the problem.
 

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I'm using the x470 AORUS motherboard, so it's the realtek onboard sound I guess but I disabled that from the device manager / bios.
You can enable the Realtek and use it as your default audio card. Then you can record anything using Audacity...even by switching to your DAC. Look for directions to do this on Google/Auadacity/how to record.
 

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An interesting workaround to which I believe I've done to an extent in terms of actual recording, but I would still like to be on my DAC as default to be able to capture normally.

Apps like ReLive or some streaming app such as Streamlabs or OBS. I know there are ways to achieve recording by using the method you suggest but I would like to also fix my current issue and be able to do it normally.

I guess what I'm saying is that I wish to do it live so to speak, my sound card is able to do this with zero issues and I would like to be able to do the same with the DAC and I know that I can be done on other's PC's.

The issue is clearly down to my PC and I would love to get to the bottom of it.
 

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An interesting workaround to which I believe I've done to an extent in terms of actual recording, but I would still like to be on my DAC as default to be able to capture normally.

Apps like ReLive or some streaming app such as Streamlabs or OBS. I know there are ways to achieve recording by using the method you suggest but I would like to also fix my current issue and be able to do it normally.

I guess what I'm saying is that I wish to do it live so to speak, my sound card is able to do this with zero issues and I would like to be able to do the same with the DAC and I know that I can be done on other's PC's.

The issue is clearly down to my PC and I would love to get to the bottom of it.
You can record off the DAC with Audacity by using the settings very quickly and set your DAC as the default. But you have to set the Realtek to “stereo mix.” I don’t know what you mean by “doing it live.” I simply turn on my DAC and it becomes the default source. Hit record and voila...there is a perfect digital recording!
 

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The DAC setup works on other PC's just not mine so I've no clue as to what the actual issue is, it's driving me mad.

Short of replacing the motherboard i'm at a loss as to what I should do next, I really wouldn't want to replace it.
I see your machine is a Ryzen. When you say it works on other PCs, are they also Ryzen or are they Intel? Sometimes AMD systems can be finicky. Just an idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I see your machine is a Ryzen. When you say it works on other PCs, are they also Ryzen or are they Intel? Sometimes AMD systems can be finicky. Just an idea.
Yeah, It's been tested on both AMD and Intel machines and it's all fine.

You can record off the DAC with Audacity by using the settings very quickly and set your DAC as the default. But you have to set the Realtek to “stereo mix.” I don’t know what you mean by “doing it live.” I simply turn on my DAC and it becomes the default source. Hit record and voila...there is a perfect digital recording!
I guess live is the wrong word, but what I mean is if you use an app such as ReLive or OBS or Streamlabs it's essentially plug and play and you press it and it's good to go with no problems ..ish.

With the sound card this is true, with the DAC it is not as the audio is mega low and louder in one ear than the other for some reason. ( The same is true when recording with the DAC through Audacity but at least I can balance it then and there, as well as applying gain so the end result is the same as using the sound card. )

I can record like this and I can add it to a video that was captured via one of the capturing apps above and I'm very grateful for the suggestions people have made, but I would like to do this with my DAC using the app like I can with my sound card.

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Capturing with the DAC using Audacity.

 

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Discussion Starter #18
Still not able to record normally with the iFi Zen DAC, it's quite frustrating.

Yes I can use Audacity, mix it, balance it and make a finished product that resembles recording / capturing with any non-USB sound card / device. But what I can't do is capture desktop audio normally as I would with said other sound cards.

To recap in brief ; Yes I'm able to record / capture desktop audio perfectly with my PCIe sound card using jacks, no I am not able to record / capture desktop audio with any USB DAC even if I use a USB PCIe card without some heavy alterations such as above.

Is there nothing else I can try ?
 
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