Sound Card Swapping Channels


I currently use a Creative Soundblaster Z soundcard in my Win 10 64bit PC. I’m running it in a 5:1 external speaker setup. Over the last few months I’ve started having an issue with the sound being swapped to different channels, for eg Centre changing to SubWoofer, LF becoming RR, LF changing to no sound at all, and RL coming out of the centre speaker. It happens completely at random as far as I can tell and it’s most noticeable during YouTube videos. It also happens during games - it might also happen during DVD playback, but I don’t use it often enough to be sure. A temporary fix is to open the SB Control panel, switch the output slider from speakers to headphones, pause a second, then slide it back. This restores the correct channel output until the next time. Which might be next day or 10 mins later or anything else at random. I have checked and I have the latest drivers from Creative - although they are a couple of years old now as this soundcard is now on Creative’s “legacy” list.
Has anyone else experienced this or has any idea what might be causing it, and more importantly, any clue how to stop it. Although not critical, it is annoying, especially those times when it happens several times in a session.

Any help gratefully received. Thank you.


Certainly could be a legacy issue.

You don’t necessarily need a dedicated card. I’m assuming you have onboard sound available on the motherboard, have you tried that?

Long time ago I used to have a sound card for my 5.1 speaker setup until manufacturers started adding that capability to motherboards, I switched and couldn’t tell a difference so just stuck with that. At some point I switched to using USB 5.1 headsets, so haven’t had to connect 5.1 speakers for at least six years.


I have the same card although mine is set to 2.0/2.1. I haven’t experienced anything like that. I looked at Speakers/Headphones, and I don’t have a slider but a drop down menu. The latest drivers and software are March, 2017. Is that what you have?,VARSET=CategoryID:1


The slider I referred to is not listed under the Windows Speakers/Headphones - it’s under Creatives own Sound Blaster Z-Series Control Panel

The actual driver date listed under Device Management/Sound and Video Devices/Sound Blaster Z/Driver is 29/12/16, but the link you sent me is the software currently installed on my machine, so I believe that it’s the most up-to-date.


To be honest, no. The mobo does have a sound system, but I have it disabled in the BIOS to avoid any possible conflicts. I’m so used to the idea of the onboard sound (like onboard graphics) being so much poorer than a dedicated card, so have not used onboard for years :slight_smile:


I would try it.

When I was still using the card I started having issues when I moved the card to a new system (I think it was similar to your case where the old card didn’t have newer drivers for the new OS), so when I was considering getting a new card I remembered thinking at the time “why not see if the onboard sound will suffice?”


I wasn’t clear enough, I was referring to the Z-series Control Panel. That’s why I was wondering why yours is different if we are both using the same updated software.


I’ve had a similar issue with a slightly older creative card going back to the launch of windows 8. it’s still in my machine, but i haven’t used it in maybe a year, and i really doubt there will be a fix for either of our cards, and i spent a fair amount of time trying.


Apologies for the misunderstanding. The version of Sound Blaster Z Control Panel I am using is the Pro Studio 2.15.04. Is this the same version as yours?


Same one, I’m still curious as to the slider/drop down menu in the Speakers/Headphones section.


How odd. I don’t think I have made any alterations to the preferences when I installed it, just installed all features. It appears under the Speakers/Headphones tab, which I’m sure you have looked at, but on mine, you have Speakers/Headphone Configuration (which on mine is set to 5.1 Surround) which has a drop down menu with Stereo (2.0/2.1)/Headphones/Stereo Direct
Above this there is an option to select output with a pictogram of speakers on the left and headphones on the right with a moveable button between like this :-
Speakers.O…Headphones (or) Speakers…O.Headphones
Depending which side the button is against, it quickly selects between speaker output and headphone output, without making a dedicated change under “Configeration”
Sorry to be so simplistic, but it’s the best way of trying to show what I am looking at :slight_smile: