Workaround for Audigy 2 ZS recording problems on Windows 7 64-bit

Those trying to record on systems with 4GB or more of RAM with an Audigy 2 ZS, possibly X-Fi and other models too, have probably come across the problem with distortion, noise, or choppy sound (like talking through a fan). This affects the microphone, line-in and also 'what u hear', important for capturing audio that is currently being played.

The trouble stems from Creative's drivers not being entirely 64-bit compatible, Creative have no date for any fix to be implemented, and haven't even announced if they're working on any such fix.

As it does require 4GB or more RAM for this problem to show up, it only affects 64-bit systems. For those with similar issues on 32-bit systems, this is not a workaround.

There's a few different options, none of which are particular pleasant. First up, you can pull RAM out of your system, or enable a memory hole feature if your BIOS supports one, enabling the memory hole in the BIOS will cause your RAM to max out at around 3GB.

However there is an easier solution, that doesn't require you to open your case like removing the RAM physically but it does still require a reboot. This involves setting the operating system itself to set the maximum amount of RAM.

Press Start, type in msconfig and press enter.

System Configuration tool

This will launch the System Configuration tool. You'll want to click on the Boot tab, then click on Advanced, and set the maximum memory to a number under 4096. Unfortunately setting it to a figure like 4095 in practice will probably limit you back down to about 3GB as it looks like it disables an entire channel on the RAM.

Then reboot, record what you need to, then when you want your RAM back, just undo the change and reboot again. Not the best workaround but it'll have to do until Creative fox their drivers.


Comment from: dave [Visitor]  
3 stars

i have the same problem with my audigy card since i moved to window7 64bit. i had the same choppy noise any time i tried to record anything until i installed the SBAX_PCDRV_LB_2_18_0017 driver just now. there is no more choppy sound but there is a high pitched whine and the volume of it is way too quite, so its still un-usable.
i was hoping this workaround would do the job but no luck at all. its a bit of a joke that creative still havnt fixed this yet

12th July 2010 @ 23:12
Comment from: S [Visitor]
5 stars

This worked perfectly! I have been pulling my hair out for awhile now trying to figure this out. I had finally convinced myself I was going to have to upgrade my sound card...and I wasn't really okay with that.

Thank you so much!

29th July 2010 @ 02:39
Comment from: sothi ponn [Visitor]
sothi ponn
4 stars

really good

17th September 2010 @ 20:20
Comment from: Guy Inco6nito [Visitor]
Guy Inco6nito
5 stars

Thanks for posting this! I bet it will help a lot of people.

I actually knew of this fix from using some Hauppauge PVR-500 tv-tuner cards that have the same limitation.
I guess the industry is at a crossroads between 32 and 64 bit computers, so old hardware will be swept under the rug.

Still, boo on Creative for releasing 64-bit drivers that work (...unless you have more than 4 gigs of ram)

1st December 2010 @ 22:05
Comment from: Anonymous [Visitor]
5 stars

Confirmed. This solution worked for me on my Audigy 2 ZS Platinum. The front panel mic2 input was all noisy and garbled until I changed the maximum RAM to 4096. This is a really stupid bug to have and I hope Creative fixes it.

27th April 2011 @ 08:54
Comment from: MIke [Visitor]
5 stars

thank you

13th June 2011 @ 22:26
Comment from: Evoeater [Visitor]
3 stars

One Question on this,

I have 8gb of saying I need to move my max memory down to 4GB just to get rid of the distoration? That seems like it will be a huge performace hit.


19th July 2011 @ 15:59
Comment from: Geoff Ledak [Visitor]
Geoff Ledak
5 stars

I was having the same problem and your method fixed the problem for me.

I use Cakewalk Sonar for recording and after i used your workaround I changed the audio driver from WDM to ASIO and it helped with my latency quite a lot. I went back to msconfig and enabled all my ram and now the soundcard records properly and I can use all my ram!

So if you just use the ASIO driver (which is much better than WDM anyway) your card should record properly with all your ram.

21st July 2011 @ 03:10
Comment from: Erik [Visitor]
5 stars

I have an alternative solution for this issue.
Just like the autor, I have a 64 bit Windows 7 and 4gb RAM installed.
Try this thing bellow.
1 - Reboot your system

2 - Open Control Panel
3 - Double click in the icon Sound
4 - Click on the tab Recording
5 - Click in Microphone and before the Properties button
6 - Click on listening tab and mark the box "listening device" and press Aply button

At this step you now are listening your microphone is capturing.
If your microphone does not make any distortion, noise, or choppy sound, good !!! If not, try closing others prograns and repeat the steps from 2 to 6. In my computer, after all these steps, my mic does not make any distortion, noise, or choppy sound.

Well, now let's shut up the sound that is been captured by mic. (Stop listening what the mic capture)

7 - Click on the sound icon, that is in the side of the Windows clock. A volume slide bar will show above the icon.
8 - Below the slider control, click in Mixer.
9 - when mixer open, you will noticed there is a slider bar to Microphone.
10 - Just click on Mute button, below the microphone slider.

That's it, just close the mixer and test it with any application who use the sound captured my mic.

I belive that this solution works with all recording devices (Microphone, Analog Mix, CD Digital, S/PDIF IN, Wuat You are Listening).

I hope this solution work for all.

5th August 2011 @ 02:52
Comment from: Adrian [Visitor]  

My system is Win7 ultima x64, 8GB ram
audigy 2 zs

I installed driver download from creative but I could not able to configure speaker to 5.1. It will automatically switch back to 2.0.

24th November 2011 @ 12:46
Comment from: ateadaze [Visitor]
5 stars

Thanks! I can record audio and run Spectrogram in Windows 7 now. I can confirm that this works on my setup:
- SB Audigy 2 Platinum Ex (What U Hear)
- Windows 7 64-bit
- 8 GB RAM (w/ the 4095 KB memory limit)

I wonder if there's a way to make a .bat file to automate the 4095 memory limit-- I'd like to make a desktop shortcut to make this process even quicker.

12th May 2012 @ 00:43
Comment from: Randolph [Visitor]

Hi, I took my Audigy2 Zs Platinum card from my old XP machine and installed it in a Windows 7, 64 bit, 4 GB RAM
machine and downloaded the W7 drivers from Creative.

Now, I can feed audio into the Audigy inputs and hear it, but cannot record. In Control Panel> Sounds > Recording, the Audigy inputs show up but are marked "Currently Unavailable." Any ideas?

14th August 2012 @ 20:59
Comment from: Shawn [Visitor]
5 stars

Hi, I just want to add another thanks for sharing this info. I am (was) another Audigy 2 ZS/Win7 x64 user that couldn't figure out why my recordings were almost always choppy even after tweaking all sorts of settings in 3 or 4 different audio capture programs. This jury-rig did the trick, so thanks!

18th November 2012 @ 21:00
Comment from: Jaime [Visitor]

Thank you very much for this info. I was going nuts with this problem and the 4GB trick solved it. Shame on Creative!

10th May 2015 @ 00:25
Comment from: Cornelius [Visitor]  

Hi, I did not expect that this really would be a solution for me after installing the lastest drivers for audigy. Today is oct 2015, the blog entry dates 2010, wow!

10th October 2015 @ 08:15
Comment from: Cornelius [Visitor]  

It's me again! This is very strange!! I reset the msconfig to normal RAM (4GB), did a reboot an now the recording for audio is still working and not choppy. I have no explanation for that.

10th October 2015 @ 08:29
Comment from: Freddy [Visitor]

Hi All

This has worked for me by changing the Systems Configuration. I knew there was a reason why I cut my hair short, to stop me from pulling it out, because I would have none left if it was not cut short.
It appears there are many problems that affect various computers with sound, one has to keep searching and trying to understand beyond basic, if possible to fix there sound problems.

Thanks a million.

4th December 2015 @ 22:55
Comment from: Gusto [Visitor]

Limiting the RAM solved the problem for me. I had been struggling with this quite a while, thank you very much!

My system information: Windows 10 / 8 GB RAM / SB Audigy

30th March 2016 @ 20:02

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