View Full Version : [ubuntu] Report on Sound Blaster X-Fi Go USB Audio as Acer Aspire microphone workaround

August 30th, 2011, 05:31 PM
Like many others I have had trouble with my Acer Aspire's microphone capabilities. The internal mic and the mic jack each have different problems. After six months of googling and forum posting I decided to try USB audio as a workaround and wanted to share the results with others here, since Acer mic issues affect many of us.

Summary: 3 out of 5 stars. Works on 11.04 with no additional setup. Signal/noise ratio not ideal. Decent value for the money.

The Sound Blaster X-Fi Go is a tiny sound card the size of a thumb drive. It plugs into my USB port. It has standard computer size jacks for headphones and mic, plus a mono/stereo toggle switch. On 11.04 it Just Works upon being plugged in. Hooray! I go to Sound Preferences and there it is as one of my input and output choices. I happily throw out the installation CD.

I now have audio input on my Acer and I am happy.

The only drawback is the signal/noise ratio. I like to have the input volume turned up relatively high so as to capture lots of dynamic variation. But even at the "unamplified" level of sound input (that's on the Sound Preferences menu) there is a faint hiss, much like the hiss you get on a homemade cassette tape recording, or from having too many cables/adapters between an instrument and an amp. It is possible to eliminate the hiss by turning down the input volume below "unamplified," but then I start to lose information from the signal, especially the dynamic range. There is a similar hiss through the earphones. Luckily, I finally got the earphone jack working on this computer so I don't have to rely on the Sound Blaster for audio output.

For $40 this isn't a bad workaround. It will work great for Skype and making electronic music or any other project where the sound quality doesn't have to be the best. For making classical music recordings, though, I'm sticking with my old Thinkpad T60.