Last Updated on November 12, 1999
Live! Experiences Review
Live! CT4830 (OEM)
My original retail Live! Value has a Creative product code of 'CT4670', and differs from the non-Value card in the following ways: colour-coded plastic 1/8" mini-headphone jacks, a missing Audio Feature Connector, no second card with S/PDIF nor MIDI connectors, no 'I2S-In CD' internal connector, and a simplified Live!Ware 1.0 driver package.
This new OEM Live card turned out to be a 'CT4830' product with several notable differences: a fifth yellow 1/8" connector on back plate, standard line-out connectors but with odd 'PC98'-style motherboard connector colors, the internal S/PDIF 2-pin connector is missing, and lastly the back edge of the card has the full Audio Feature Connector, commonly found on the full retail Live! card. Apart from its newer CT product code and a copyright date of 1999, there were no other identifying marks.
At that time, I had no clue as to what this was. Several people on the newsgroups had similar experiences with this card - notably no drivers - several claimed that this card was the OEM version of the European market Live! Player.
What the heck - may as well fire the puppy up. I cracked open the case and inserted the CT4830 in my upgraded server and went on to install my Value's original Live!Ware/EAX 1.0 drivers. To my absolute horror, the Live! Value's drivers would not install on the CT4830 card! Out of sheer panic, I tried over and over again, in different ways - not once could I get this card to acept drivers nor play any sounds. I skipped off to the sblive.com website and searched for any references or drivers for the CT4830. None. Zilch.
Before my anxiety attack could take root, I checked-out the Internet newsgroups and stumbled upon 'creative.products.sound_blaster.live'. There were over 4500 messages, but after a few minutes, it became quite apparent that I wasn't the only one with this CT4830 and missing drivers.
It seems as though several retailers are purchasing bulk-packs of this European and Asian market-only OEM card and selling them off without drivers to poor sods like me. A message from a Creative Labs support technician on the newsgroup stated that this is frowned upon by Creative and that they will not provide end-users with drivers for the CT4830 on their site - ever. Unlucky buyers should contact their retailer and demand drivers, or return the product under the guise that it is incomplete.
Unsatisfied with this issue and too proud to return this 'enhanced' Live! Card, I kept it and tried my utmost best to get the card to work. I read on the newsgroup that installing the unreleased Live!Ware 3.0 driver set on the CT4830 will work, but at the time the public download of Live!Ware 3.0 wasn't out.
I called Creative and was placed on hold for an eternity before I hung up. A support e-mail to Creative about the CT4830 drivers was never replied to or returned. After over 3 hours of frustration and dozens of reboots, I managed to get the drivers to load and sound to work on the CT4830.
The 4830 Driver Trick
The trick is to erase all traces of the driver and device manager parts without a reboot. Then I re-downloaded and launched Live!Ware 2.0. Before it had time to cancel the driver install (as it can't find a compatible card) and delete its temp files (because LW2 INF doesn't have support for the CT4830), I went to C:\Windows\Temp and copied the temp install dir to another location on my hard disk (You should try this on a P3-550 with ATA-66 hard drives and controllers - seconds after launching the installer, the temp file gets deleted)!
Inside this folder was a Win98 directory with the *.inf and *.vxd driver parts. I then installed the driver by pointing to this *.inf file, and pointed it to a Mapped Network drive of my gaming PC (with Live!Ware 2.1) when it asked for missing pieces. Directing the install wizard to files in my C:\Windows\System across my home network did the trick.
A reboot later, and the sound worked fine! None of the Creative Miscellaneous Devices came up in the Device Manager, but the card did work in the OS and in Games without a crash. This tied me over for some time, but I eventually fixed the problem for good - the public download of Live!Ware 3.0 came out about three weeks later and installed without a hitch. Talk about 'unified drivers'.
The Yellow Jack
Now, as to the fifth and yellow connector on the back-plane of the CT4830, it is labelled as 'Digital Out'. Upon closer inspection, it's a 4-post jack, versus the standard 2-post of stereo mini-headphone jacks. I've never seen a 4-post 1/8" plug or adapter before - I smell the stench of a proprietary connector.
Upon further newsgroup research, I came across a post from someone that claims that you can call Creative customer service (at 1-800-998-1000) and get a Digital DIN to Mini-8 gender-bender cable shipped to you, but provided that you can supply them with serial numbers from both your sond card and your creative speaker system.
The big catch is that if you buy Creative's FPS 2000 Surround or DTT2500 Dolby Digital speaker system, it requires this special cable to interface with the 4-post Digital S/PDIF jack. Likewise, if you want to take the Digital-out signal and pump it through your Dolby Pro Logic or AC-3 receiver, you'll need this extra cable - at the very least.
Next: The Live! X-Gamer
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