Buzzing sound within headphones while using intensive software

Bobbyis

Estimable
Dec 15, 2015
5
0
4,510
0
Hi all, I put together a new computer with relatively top of the line parts back in April, and haven't had any problems with it. However, in the recent months I've noticed that there's a constant slight static in the background of my headphones. It increases while moving the mouse, and grows to unbearable levels when running some intensive programs, such as the unreal engine development studio and Final Fantasy XIV. Having done some basic searching, most people seem to say the issue lies with interference from within the case, making it seem like a problem not easily solved. Just to test, I switched my headset out for a cheap 5$ pair we had sitting around the house, with a noticeable decrease in static. Does this mean that the static issue is a result of the headphones wearing out, and if so, would simply buying a new pair alleviate this problem?
 

basroil

Honorable
If the issue is the PSU or motherboard, replacement is the only real solution. You can patch the problem away with a sound card, especially USB ones that have their own power filtering, but it won't solve the root cause (though might be just fine in your case as long as there are no other issues like unexpected crashes)
 

basroil

Honorable
No, it's more likely that the cheap headphones are just so bad that they distort the "noise" away.

If you happen to have a Gigabyte gaming motherboard, it's a common issue that gets reported and might be a bad motherboard audio chip. Low quality PSU is also a common issue, what PSU are you using?
 

Bobbyis

Estimable
Dec 15, 2015
5
0
4,510
0
The motherboard's a Z97S SLI board by MSI, while the psu is a 850 watt corsair RM series. It is refurbished, but I don't know whether or not that's an issue.
 

basroil

Honorable


It certainly can be an issue. I would always avoid second hand power supplies.

Here's a test you can do. Go to the advanced power settings and set your minimum CPU frequency to 100%, and then open the graphics card driver and set the card to always prefer performance. Test the headphones. After that, select the opposite (all min) and test again. If either setting reduces or eliminates the noise, you have power related interference.

Another test you can do is unplugging all USB except for keyboard and mouse, and if your keyboard and mouse have lighting effects disable that.
 

Bobbyis

Estimable
Dec 15, 2015
5
0
4,510
0
I ran the test using unreal engine, and I haven't been able to detect any noticeable difference in tone/volume of noise. Not sure if that means anything. I also performed the USB test, but as my headphones run both a USB and the two audio cables, I wasn't able to remove that to be certain.

- Assuming that it was the PSU, is there anything I could do to alleviate it? I'm not really in a situation where replacing my PSU would be ideal.
 

basroil

Honorable
If the issue is the PSU or motherboard, replacement is the only real solution. You can patch the problem away with a sound card, especially USB ones that have their own power filtering, but it won't solve the root cause (though might be just fine in your case as long as there are no other issues like unexpected crashes)
 

Bobbyis

Estimable
Dec 15, 2015
5
0
4,510
0
Alright, so a sound card would clear the direct problem up, even if it doesn't actually fix it. Do you have recommendations for one to install/attach?
 

basroil

Honorable


It's not a definite thing, but might help. Here's a few you can look into depending on what you plan on using:
Fiio E10K USB DAC (headphone)
Creative Labs Sound Blaster Omni (5.1)
ASUS Xonar U7 (7.1)
Fiio K1 (cheaper headphones)


There's plenty of devices for all sorts of price ranges and quality ranges, so the best thing to do is check bhphotovideo for devices and reviews.
 

Bobbyis

Estimable
Dec 15, 2015
5
0
4,510
0


I tried a relatively simple test today, and started up an intensive program. Sure enough, when I put my ear near the back of my PC where the PSU is located, I could hear a similar whine/buzz to what was being picked up in my headphones. It fluctuated at the same rate, and adjusted in tone/pitch at the same time the noise in my headphones did. I'm assuming this means it's almost certainly my PSU, so would you recommend I replace it?
 

basroil

Honorable


You can try plugging in your computer into a different circuit in your house to make sure it's not an issue with your house (especially for low to medium noise hums), since sometimes house wires are set up in crazy ways and you can get line noise from things like vacuum cleaners, fluorescent bulbs, ceiling fans, etc. If you can confirm its indeed the PSU, replacement will likely solve the issue. I suggest something like the EGVA G2 series if you're on somewhat of a budget, you can usually get a G2 650W for <$90.
 

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