Fix Creative Sound Blaster Z Sound Not Working in Windows 10 – Solutions for version 1507 to 1703

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Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card drivers are required for smooth functioning of digital sound in Windows 10.

One can visit the manufacturer website page to download them. But after latest Update (Creators or 1703 version) , users are having problem with sound not working properly in June 2017.

Creative has released a more recent version of the driver on 03/03/2017 with file name – SBZ_CD_L13_1_01_10.exe. The size is around 157 MB (approx). But users complain that this driver update and Creators update are not compatible.

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Some of the problems include

  • Silent sound coming from the device.
  • Audio settings getting mixed up.
  • Sound Control Panel of Windows and Sound Blaster Z failed to recognize the microphone.
  • Sound Indicator going green, but no sound.
  • Mic may be working, but no sound through headset.

What is the Solution?

Installing Sound Blaster Z drivers will create two entries under Device Manager > Sound, video and game controllers.

1. Sound Blaster Audio Controller
2. Sound Blaster Z

Since you are having compatibility problems with the latest driver version, do a roll-back of both the driver entries.

The last Sound Blaster Z driver before the current version was released on 24/06/2016. The file name is - SBZ_CD_L13_1_01_08.exe. So when you roll-back to this version, your sound and settings should come back to normal. Don't forget to do a Restart of the computer.Click To Tweet

Download Working Creative Sound Blaster Z Driver (24/6/16)

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Also after making this fix, you may find that Windows may turn down all system sounds to 0. So you just need to raise the volume back to the default level.

You may also need to go into Sound Blaster Console speaker settings and switch to Stereo mode, if you using the 5.1 channel. The latest working Creative Sound Blaster Z version is (from 7.Feb.2017).

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Problem with Windows Update and non-working Microsoft driver in Nov 2015?

Just after the release of Windows 10, it soon released a new update called Threshold 2 in Nov, 2015. So if you have updated your computer with this version, it might be possible that Windows replaces the Creative drivers with it’s own generic drivers.

So from build 10240 onwards, you might have this problem. So for this error, you just need to uninstall the generic Microsoft drivers and update with the June, 2016 drivers. Even if you upate to 10586 build, the problem persists.


How about the November 2015 Update problem?

Creative Sound Blaster Z users using the Aug 2015 drivers may face a different problem.

The following type of problems may crop up.

1. Crossed up channels in the middle of a PC game.
2. Movie sounds suddenly all go to the Sub-Woofer.
3. DTS/DOLBY codec packs give irritating sounds.
4. Switching encoders is not possible.

For these kind of problems, it could be an hardware issue rather than software. You can try a few things, to settle this Aug, 2015 driver problem.

– Enable VT-D in the BIOS
– Enable legacy boot and legacy USB support in the BIOS
– Disable fast boot
– Re-seat the card, preferably into a different PCI-E slot


Why No Sound from SPDIF or S/PDIF Out of Sound Blaster Z Card in Windows 10 in 2016?

Using both analog and fiber optical cables to connect to SPDIF OUT may not be a logical thing. The Creative Sound Blaster Pro Studio test shows the “SPDIF-OUT” is getting audio signals, but the audio is not working.

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Also, Dolby Digital Live supported by Creative Sound Blaster Z, may not detect the supported speaker device like Logitech Z906.

The solution for these kind of problems are like this –

1. Make sure the Creative Control Panel works somehow.
2. Uninstall Windows Update drivers and install the June 2016, Creative Sound Blaster Z drivers.
2. You may need to make the speakers the default playing device, instead of SPDIF-OUT.
3. The Analog cables may need to be disconnected. Only the Optical cable should run through.
4. Do not disable “Speakers” in Windows 10 Sound Control Panel.
5. Both SPDIF-OUT and speakers should be enabled in sound control panel.
6. Select “Cinematic” in Creative Control Panel and check “DTS”.
7. Sometimes, you need to enable or disable “What you Hear” in the recording area and select SPDIF as output.

The following fix may also work sometimes.

Unplug all outputs and inputs. Plug only the Optical in. Open Sound > Manage audio devices. Set SPDIF - Out as Default. Set Digital Output (optical) as Communications Device. Only Properties on SPDIF are testable (Communications Device does not respond but system should work)Click To Tweet

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Problem with Cold Boot with AMD Ryzen Systems in April 2017?

On the Creative forum, I could find some users having problem with the Ryzen systems.

To make it work they have to shut down the computer and start again i.e cold boot only works.

So to fix this issue, you can insert the Sound Blaster Z card in the PCI-E slot, after completely turning off the computer. This is a hazzle if you would like to do a restart or hibernate your Windows 10 computer.

So installing the June, 2016 drivers should fix this, probably.

In Intel systems, users have other problem. If the boot time is too quick, the sound card cannot be initialized. For this the fix is to disable the Fast Boot on BIOS. You can also boot your commputer in Legacy Boot, the option available in BIOS. One can also disable Fast Startup under 'Power Options' in Windows 10.Click To Tweet


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Mess Up of Sound after Windows 10 Upgrade?

After the July 2015 release of Windows 10, it was free for upgrade for 7 and 8.1 users. So if you are one of those and Sound Blaster Z was working before, try to upgrade the Creative drivers to the June 2016 version.

You may hear vocal voice of music as though it is coming from tunnel and other mix up.
For all these kind of problems, you could try the above solutions.

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Upgrade of GPU and Change of PCI-E slot?

Sometimes you install a new CPU, RAM, graphics card etc.

Then for reasonable reasons, you plan to shift your Sound Blaster Z card to a new slot, like from PciEx1 to PciEx8. Then you may face some ugly problem like sound working but the Control Panel is not working.

You may get this kind of error.

“The current selected audio device is disabled, not present,not supported by the application, or has unplugged jacks.”

The simpel fix is to uninstall the Creative Software, drivers and reinstall the working ones.


USB Rode PodCaster Mic Problem with Sound Blaster Z

Sometimes the PodCaster USB Mic is connected to the sound card using the 3.5mm output. In the Audio Control panel, you may see both the Sound Blaster Z and USB mic, which may confuse you.

The simple fix is to connect the USB Rode PodeCaste to the USB port. In the Sound Manager, make the mic as the default recording device.

This will technically mean that you can use the mic to speak and listen through the speakers, for example in an event etc.

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One Response

  1. R. Freeman

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