It came with absolutely no documentation on how to use the software and Dell support also had no idea how to find documentation. The technician insisted that the program manual must be on the installation CD, but it wasn't. He even reinstalled the entire program but it still was not either on the CD or on the computer.
The problem with identifying which sound card jack is for line-in is because the diagram in the computer owner's manual doesn't match the layout on the back of my sound card. Dell support didn't seem to be aware of that or have a clue beyond saying the line-in is the first jack, just before the speaker jack. If that's true, then I'm using the correct jack for line-in.
But the bigger problem is that I can't record off my stereo because I can't get the line-in to work. I've run Creative's (manufacturer of Sound Blaster) diagnostic program, probably a dozen times and it always checks out perfectly. My speakers work just fine with internal software programs like Windows Media Player and work fine with external USB devices such as playing a CD in a USB CD/DVD player/burner. Plus the speakers pass the diagnostics test too.
How can I troubleshoot this? My hookup from my Harman Kardon stereo is from the "audio out" RCA jacks and those wires go into a stereo mini-plug for plugging into the sound card. This hookup was working perfectly on my previous Dell Dimension with XP. It has never worked on the new computer with Vista. I haven't found Creatives' support to be any more help than Dell's.
I took the connecting wires off the stereo receiver and tested them for resistance and both wires test fine. The mini plug tests OK too. The Harman Kardon is about a year old and plays fine through the speakers hooked up to the stereo. Since the audio out jacks from the stereo were working on the previous computer it's not likely they just up and stopped working when I changed computers.
So if there's no problem with the stereo, the wiring going to the computer's sound card, or with the sound card itself, why can't I hear my stereo play through the computer's speakers like I could with my old computer? I've checked all the sound properties in control panel, device manager, checked that the volume is up in the control panel and on the speakers, checked that "digital-in" is actively selected with the volume up in the recording section of the sound properties menu, all the common sense things one would expect to check first. And still after three months I can't get sound from my stereo to the computer so I can record off my cassette deck or turntable or stereo. I've even tried just recording anyway with Creative's Smart Recorder and with Vista's built in Sound Recorder, to see if maybe the program might pick up sound even though that I can't hear any through the computer's speakers, but that didn't work either. There is no evidence of a sound signal reaching either of those programs when the sound source is through the sound card line-in.
According to Dell support there is only one line-in jack on the sound card. All the rest are line out. I actually tried plugging the line-in mini plug into all the jacks at one time or another. That shouldn't hurt the sound card, or if it might it should show up when doing the diagnostics test. Right?
One thing about the Sound Blaster X-Fi card is that they call the line-in a
Performs a 3-in-1 function, supporting Microphone-in, Line-in and Digital I/O connections. Connects to one of the following:
- analog devices like cassette players and other line-level sources
- an external microphone for voice input
- external digital audio devices that accept stereo PCM Bitstream from the S/PDIF output
That's all pretty much gibberish to me because I don't know what a PCM Bitstream is or what a S/PDIF output is, but I don't find any settings in the software to pick and chose, so I suppose the program just knows what you've plugged into the sound card.
I know this is long, but I wanted to cover everything I've done so far. Any suggestions would be appreciated.