Opening Audacity changes volume/balance of soundcard: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi 5.1 Pro

Occasionally (but not every time) when I open Audacity it will lower or mute my overall soundcard volume & other times it will automatically adjust the balance of my left/right speaker settings.

I’ve tried multiple versions of Audacity (older & recent) as well as two different drivers for my soundcard (the most recent one + one from 2016).

Is there any setting in audacity or my soundcard that could be triggering this? Why is it so random?

Any help is appreciated.

There’s no setting in Audacity, because it is not Audacity that’s changing levels.
I’ve never seen sound card settings related to this - it just seems to be something that some sound cards (notably Sound Blaster cards) do.

When Audacity is launched, it scans the computer’s sound systems to see what devices are available. It then instantiates a new connection to the sound card that it used last (if available), or to the computer’s default (if the last used device is not available).
When Audacity requests a new connection, some sound cards reset themselves, some don’t. Whether it resets or not should be determined by the sound card’s drivers - unpredictable behaviour is buggy behaviour. Updating the sound card drivers “may” fix the problem, though I’d not personally bother updating the drivers unless I really need to do so. (If it 'aint broke, don’t fix it).

So if this is a known issue with Sound Blaster cards, I’ll have to get used to it I guess.

Thanks for the information.