Soundblaster XFI surround 5.1 usb

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Editor-, Dec 13, 2009.

  1. Editor- macrumors member

    Dec 13, 2009
    Hello everyone

    The new iMacs finally convinced me to swap from Windows to Mac. There is one major question that I have though: I always have been a big fan of music and got myself a logitech x540 installed in my room. At the moment I am on a laptop and connect the speakerset through a SB XFI 5.1 Surround USB -

    I have googled the internet and many people do confirm that Creative does not have drivers for the Mac world so I might not be able to use that XFI on my mac. The question is, what external soundcard is worth buying?

    I've heard good things about

    Numark Dj i/o -
    Fireware -

    Can someone help me out?
    Thanks !
  2. dzleo macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2010
    Actually the SB X-Fi 5.1 Surround DOES work for Mac. I just bought mine and connected it to my Logitech X540 and it works like a charm. Only thing that doesn't work is the volume control. You have to set it up using the Audio MIDI Setup BTW. I'm using Snow Leopard, so i'm not sure if it'll work on older versions of Mac OS.
  3. nazariof macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2008
    For sure???

    Did you get working all the 5 speakers.. i'm reading in other places that only front left and right work... did you have any problems in the beginning...

    I also have a logitech 5.1 set and the only product that i can actually buy easily is this... the firewave is no longer available.
  4. heidelfuchs macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2010
    all channels work.

    Hey there,

    despite this is an old thread I felt like answering the last question because I have this card and it actually works great (but not the Volume control)

    To use all Channels go to applications -> utilities -> audio/midi setup and configure the card with all channels (16 or 24bit!). After that everything should work fine, also in Traktor.

    My personal question would if there is any possibility to control the Mastervolume. The OS-Integrated control doesn't seem to work for the card and the controller on the device does nothing too. So in my case all channels are at 100% without any chance to adjust it. Does anyone have a solution for this problem?

  5. mcmood macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2010
    Hi, I did the audio/midi setup and made sure it showed 6 channels and configured the speakers. But my itunes still plays my cd's through only the left and right speakers. Any clue why, or what I have missed out. I didn't get what you meant by Traktor.
    Thanks in advance!
  6. heidelfuchs macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2010
    you're right. I face the same problem. Itunes will play on all speakers only if surround information are available. So this is an issue of itunes, not of the soundcard. DVDs and in my case Traktor should therefore work fine with all channels.

    I really miss the function in Itunes to set 2x2Stereo for listening to the Music with four speakers. I would be happy if someone got a hack for that.
  7. mcmood macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2010
    Any other players...

    Would using an alternative player for audio cd's work then? Do you or anyone know of good alternatives?

    Secondly, in the audio/midi setup section. I can test sound from all individual speakers in the speakers configuration section. That works. But on the main screen, where there seems to be individual controls for each speaker, where I believe I would be able to individually amplify or reduce the sound output of individual speakers. Despite seeing those options, I am unable to change those individual options. Is that the case for you too?

    I am guessing an audio cd, doesn't generally include more than stereo information? (It's just a voice audio cd - i just would like in the absence of surround sound info that it plays through the other main speakers too like on my PC)

    Thanks in advance.
  8. heidelfuchs macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2010
    yes I face the same with the mixer in audio - midi controls and in general with the apple mixer. For some reason the mac is not able to control any volume adjusters of the card. But the Channels are there and it should rely on the software to use them. In other words, I would say yes, it could work with another player where you can use 2-4-6 speakers for stereo sound. But I have to admit that i haven't found such a software by now. VLC which is in windows perfectly capable of that misses any deeper possibilities for the configuration of audio on my mac.
  9. beepp macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Hi, what is the quality of sound compared to build in one? Does mic an line in work?

    Is there any latency when using live instrument in garage band or other audio apps?

    Thanks in advance!
  10. gohabsgo30 macrumors newbie

    Sep 1, 2010
    Very cheap alternative

    Hey guys!
    I have a MBP as well and since getting it I've been researching solution to my soundcard problem as well. I have an altec lansing 5.1 sound system that is just great and couldn't bear with the thought of replacing it just to connect it. So I came to try plugging 2 Y splitters into my minijack and simply connecting my three 1/8 plugs (from the speakers) into the 2 Y's and plugging the First Y into my computer. Honestly it works perfectly. I'm not an absolute audio freak so I can't hear the difference, that is probably there. I get very good 5.1 sound from all my songs in itunes, except some videos online that don't go 5.1 sometimes.
    I see that the creative looks ok but probably won,t give me anything better than this.
    Could anyone tell me if they see something wrong with my setup? as in if it,s bad for either my speakers or mbp please? thanks alot! :D
  11. scottzer0 macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2011
    Just purchased this device hoping to to solve my desire to have both a 5.1 surround experience out of my Mac Mini as well as a something to virtualize the surround audio for headphones and gaming.

    I've found that in addition to setting to 6-ch in Audio Midi Setup, you have to also select "Multichannel" in the Configure Speakers... dialog. From there, if you select "Stereo", "5.1 Surround", "Quadraphonic" and "Hexagonal" you switch how the Sound Blaster uses the output channels. Quadraphonic should do what you want, 2x2 stereo. The Hexagonal uses all 6 channels, so 3x2.

    I'm disappointed that the the volume is stuck at 100% and the knob doesn't to anything. I'm on the lookout for hack to control volume and switch speaker setups quickly.

  12. mamun217 macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2011
    After all the above settings also, rear speakers are not working. Once I save information in Audio/MIDI setup then close and open again, 5.1 speaker setup resets and shows stereo again.

    Any idea?

  13. mamun217 macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2011
  14. soundguy15, Jun 15, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011

    soundguy15 macrumors member


    Dec 9, 2009
  15. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
  16. soundguy15 macrumors member


    Dec 9, 2009
    Thanks for the warning. I'll be sure to remove it before I update.
  17. jammingator, Sep 22, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011

    jammingator macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2010
    Just plugged my Creative X-Fi card in and like reported it works....but at 100% volume with no control. So I'm googling trying to find a solution.

    I'm curious on Soundflower as my install of Plex asked for a Soundflower download as well -- can't remember why. Audio syncing maybe.

    Would Audio HiJack Pro or the others listed serve just as well?
  18. steven0601 macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2012
    Finally Worked it Out!

    Hi all

    Just bought my Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro Yesterday,

    After much challenge and looking around i figured out the best way to run the sound blaster in 5.1 Full surround using two pieces of software and still have control on the mac keyboard and apple remote for sound.

    First Download and install Xcode from apple...

    Second: Download AU Lab & Soundflower from...

    Install AU Lab then Soundflower... (easy bit done)

    Setting audio up in AU Lab

    Open SOUND PREFERENCES in Mac control pannel and select 'Soundflower (2ch)'

    open up AU Lab using the spotlight menu

    In the left sidebar (factory configurations) select 'Stereo In/5.1 Out'

    In 'Audio Input Device' select the 'Soundflower (2ch)'

    In 'Audio Output Device' select the 'SB X-FI Surround 5.1 Pro'

    And click 'create document'

    Thats it...

    If you want your audio to be louder simply click 'Edit' and 'Add Audio Input' then click 'OK'


    You should have full control using apple audio buttons and menu

    p.s. dont forget to save your document... and you must run AU Lab to have your audio output (easiest option - right click over the AU Lab in the Dock, click Options then 'Open at Login'

    Thanks and i hope this helps a lot for those who are struggling in 10.6.X - 10.8.X
  19. USINGH macrumors newbie

    Aug 30, 2012
    Getting sound from only two speakers out of 5.1 speaker


    I am using Creative x-fi surround sound with Logitech z506 speaker connected to Mac Mini Early 2009 (10.6.8). I have enabled 5.1 multichannel in MIDI setup but sound comes from only 2 speakers and subwoofer. I also tried configuring soundflower both 2 channel & 64 channel. set them as input device in AU LAB and x-fi surround as output. Also selected soundflowerbed with 2 channel & 64 channel for respectively for the two test but it again gave only 2 channel output. What I am doing wrong? can some one help me with detailed instructions.

    Also I followed instruction given by Steven0601 but it did not help. sound control does not work
  20. nox-uk macrumors regular

    Apr 11, 2012
    I have this card, and I am sure the mic socket used to work fine under Mac OS, can anyone with this card confirm it works? and if they have ML or not - thats the only thing thats really changed on my Mac recently :/

  21. karystxr macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2013
    Not working

    Man I did everything and still doesnt work.There is no sound coming from anywhere!!
  22. 1251division macrumors member

    Oct 8, 2012
    karystxr--I'm getting ready to set this up on my new iMac running ML also. I'm transferring over my x-fi from my previous windows laptop. From steven0601's post, what is the purpose of installing Xcode? It doesn't seem to be used from his instructions as far as I can tell. :confused:
  23. Muscle macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2010
    reviving an old thread.

    I'm looking for a USB solution to get surround sound on my headphones for FPS games. I'm currently using Soundblaster Recon3d, but its performance is a bit lacking.

    Was wondering if the X-Fi would be a better fit for headphones (Audio Technica AD900 / Sennheiser HD598).

    I understand the device is not supported by OS X but there are ways to work around it.

  24. si77hay macrumors regular

    Nov 29, 2008
    Did you ever buy the X-FI? Have some Tritton 5.1 headphones and thought the optical output would work from my late 27" iMac, but I can't get to work. Wondered if the relatively cheap X-Fi would solve the issue.
  25. johntheartguy, Aug 15, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014

    johntheartguy macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2014
    I hope this is a good workaround
    To get 5.1 Surround sound working:

    *) You must connect your surround speakers to the Green/Yellow/Black 3.5mm connections on the X-Fi Surround 5.1 device!!!

    1) Utilities >> Audio MIDI Setup >> Audio Devices ... find " SB X-Fi Surround 5.1" output device (you likely have two listed, one will be input only and the other is output)

    2) Set the Source to "External Digital Audio Interface" and make sure the encoding is one of the 6ch options "6ch-16bit Integer" or "6ch-24bit Integer"

    3) Click Configure Speakers button, select Multichannel and then "5.1 Surround" from the drop down list on the right and click apply
    (be sure you verify each speaker, my Logitech z-5300 channels didn't match up with the defaults)

    4) Once you click done, double or right click the "SB X-Fi Surround 5.1" and select the bottom two options to use the X-Fi Surround device

    5) Once this is done fire up iTunes or your favorite music app and you should have standard audio coming from the speakers hooked up to the X-Fi plus you will have 5.1 surround audio for surround-enabled audio sources

    To get more than one audio output device going simultaneously (ie X-Fi Surround + Built-in Speakers):

    1) Utilities >> Audio MIDI Setup >> "+" on the lower left and select "Create Multi-Output Device"

    2) Set the Master Device to the "Built-in Output" {trust me} and check the "use" boxes for your USB soundcard and the Built-in Output audio devices

    3) Click "Configure Speakers..." and be sure it is set to "Multichannel" "Stereo" and apply it -- this is pushes sound to selected audio devices simultaneously

    4) Click on the > beside "Multi-Output Device" to expand the details on the associated devices and verify the settings for the audio devices (make sure the X-Fi is still 6ch-24bit Integer and the speaker channels are correct)

    4a) You may want to adjust the volume of the built-in speakers by sliding the volume level for ch1/2 to your desired setting

    5) Once you are satisfied with the settings, double or right-click the "Multi-Output Device" and set it as the sound device and enjoy sound from your surround speakers and the built-in speakers at the same time!

    5a) You can alternatively select this new audio device from the Sounds menu in System Preferences.


    The volume knob on the X-Fi doesn't work in OSX as advertised. I push up the volume on the built-in speakers inside the multi-output audio device to a level that lets me still hear iTunes and system sounds when I turn off the Logitech Z-5300 speakers. This lets me still manage the sound volume and have all the speakers working as desired.

    I have noticed in a couple of movies that I've watched that I had to switch to the dedicated SB X-Fi Surround device to get actual surround sound. Looks like it's a function of which Dolby/THX encoding is used on the movie I am watching. Pretty easy to toggle back and forth and I don't have to restart anything to change the audio output.


    Hopefully this helps some who might have been trying to get something similiar setup on their MAC.
    I really like some of the SPDIF/TOSLink DAC's out there, but this setup worked for what I was trying to do and it only cost me the X-Fi Surround USB "card".

Share This Page