High pitched static sound from speakers

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Pyrophyte

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Hi all

I recently had a custom PC built a few months back, and ever since I've got it my powered monitor speakers have been emitting an odd noise only when connected to the computer. If they're connected to any other device the noise isn't there. I can only best describe it as a high pitched "static-y" sound. The noise is always there regardless of what I'm doing, and regardless of what level the computer or speaker volume is at.

The speakers are connected using an RCA to 3.5mm cable to the rear audio output of the computer. I also have a set of headphones connected to the front audio output which I use when I don't feel like turning on the speakers, because I don't get the high pitched sound out of the headphones. I've tried connecting the speakers to the front output but the noise still persists. I've tried swapping the RCA cable for a higher quality cable thinking that the issue may be interference, but that didn't help either.

This leads me to believe that it may be an issue with my computer or sound card but I don't know for sure, and if it is I don't know how to fix it.

Any advice is much appreciated, thanks for reading.
 

imomun

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Most probably You speakers got inbuilt amplifier which interfears with radio/mobile or other frequency in your surrundings hence you hear those noise, Your PC is fine, its a common issue with most cheap PC speakers in built amplifier. For solution get better speakers that doesnt catch on outer radio / mobile signals or vice versa A qualified sound salesman in a reputable shop will be able to assist you better in your selection and placement of speakers.
Thanks
 

Pyrophyte

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Thank you for the reply, but please don't make assumptions about my speakers. They are not cheap pc speakers, but rather high quality self powered studio monitors. I know this because I am a "qualified sound salesman in a reputable shop" ;).

You're correct in the sense that they do have built in amplifiers though. I believe the sound is originating from the pc but is being amplified by the speaker's built in amp. I strongly believe the problem lies in the motherboard or sound card, because I don't have this problem when the speakers are connected to any other device (Including the PC I was using before buying the new one).

 

thee_prisoner

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It is probably the PC(or sound card) because a computer does put out radio waves for the lack of a better term. A good case will shield a little bit but not all. Do you have the speakers right next to the computer?

I would pull the sound card and use the mobo audio connections and see if that solves the problem. Then at least you will know it is the sound card.

the Prisoner...
 

Pyrophyte

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Thanks prisoner :),

I have the speakers on my desk about 2 feet up from the tower which is on the floor. I think I'm actually using the motherboards onboard audio ouput for lack of a sound card. Is it possible that the case not being properly grounded is the issue? The reason I ask is because when I was switching my video cables at the back of the tower the other day I got a little shock! At first I thought I was just imagining it, but I put my arm back down on the case and got shocked again. Nothing too intense, but just a little jolt. If this is the issue how do I go about testing or proving it?

P.S. I noticed that your answer was selected as the solution.. While I do appreciate your input, I wouldn't say that my issue is solved yet... I was under the impression that as the person who started the thread that I was supposed to chose the solution to my problem? I don't use forums very often so I guess I'm just a little confused!:pt1cable:

Thanks,
Pyrophyte
 

thee_prisoner

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I didn't pick it so I don't know who did. That's the way it used to be, that the person with the problem picked it.

Anyways, it could be a ground issue. Ground loop noises are usually a low Hz hum not high pitched. So probably not a ground loop problem.

In terms of the shock, could it be static electricity? The computer could be grounded improperly. I assume you are plugged into a wall socket and/or a power strip with a three prong plug? You may want to take the plate off( turn the power of at the fuse box) and check and see if the ground wire(green wire) is attached the ground behind the electrical outlet.

If the wall plug is a 2 prong, you can get a 3 prong adapter that has a green wire with it to attach to the screw holding the wall plate on.

In terms of the speakers, try moving them farther away and see if that solves the problem. Although that won't solve your long problem but just another thing to check to see what might be the problem.

What model of speakers are you using?

This is all I can think of at the moment, keep us updated.

Happy Listening, the Prisoner...
 

Pyrophyte

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Now my thread is unsolved again :pt1cable: something weird going on there lol.

I'm certain it's not a ground loop, everything is plugged into the same outlet, and it's not the same noise a ground loop would make.

I've tried moving the speakers, 15 feet away on both sides with no discernible difference. I've also tried connecting a different pair of amplified speakers I had laying around, and I get the same issue. When I'm using passively driven speakers such as headphones, the sound isn't there.

This makes me certain that the issue is being caused by something in the computer's hardware producing interference, and whatever strange signal it is giving off is being exacerbated by the speaker's built in amplifier. The motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH. Upon a quick google search, I found that it uses the realtek AC892 audio codec. Could it maybe be a driver issue?

While if it is an issue with the motherboard, or something else not being properly grounded in the chassis... How can I isolate the issue and prove it?

Thanks again,
Pyrophyte




 

thee_prisoner

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Yeah, I didn't think it was a ground loop problem but some people have that issue so I figured I would bring it up.

It definitely could be an electrical interference problem. But 15 feet away should be far enough not to cause problems.
GPUs have a tendency to put out interference. The fact that you don't have a problem with the headphone sound makes me think it isn't some grounding issues with the mobo because usually you will get that problem also with headphones.

In terms of fixing mobo grounding issues, are you good with a schematic and a soldering iron? Or could be when you built the PC when you attached the mobo to the case it didn't ground properly.

Different drivers may help. Also, I assume you tried going into the RealTek and windows software and made adjustments because to high of gain can make static sounds. Only reason I ask is to help others since I figured you have already done that since you do some kind of audio work.

Did you try hooking it up with an amp and passive speakers? Do you live near a broadcasting tower?

Well, that is my ideas for today, the Prisoner...
 

Pyrophyte

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I've tried hooking it up with an amp and passive speakers, noise still occurs. I don't live to any broadcasting tower that I know of haha.

I've done everything driver related that I could think of.. I've changed the gain settings, shut of the mic input, changed the sample rate. I've even gone as far as to uninstall and update to the latest driver. Still no luck :/

Unfortunately I'm no good with a soldering iron. I didn't put the computer together myself, but rather had someone at my local NCIX computer store do it, for fear I would mess something up lol. I don't want to blame them without having first tried everything I could think of. Even with all your suggestions I still can't make this noise disappear :(

Would it be worthwhile to bring it to their attention?

The only other thing I can think of doing at this point is to buy a cheap sound card and try running the speakers through that. See if maybe that fixes my problem...
 

gunslingor

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I think I know what it is, I'm having the same issue.

Setup:
PC mobo stereo out to presonus HP4
Hp4 to Rane mixer, to Rane Splitter, to monitors

Problem:
Only happens when a gains are set above mid. Its a really high frequency hum, with a crackle of second or so. Goes up and down, and stops entirely for a second or so on occasion.

Analysis:
Things I've done to make it stop for a second only, then it starts again: disconnect an ethernet cable from the PC, pull power from wireless router, jiggle the audio cable coming out of the PC. Again, it only stops for a second. I'm a comp engineer and recognize the tone sound like a digital signal, actually sounds like intermittent data transfer. I've unplugged everything unrelated to this audio chain: lights, TVs, wifi,wifi printer, cell phone, ALL lights, everything. the hum is still there. The only time the hum completely goes away at FULL GAIN is when I disconnect the Presonus completely from the PC, then I only hear a very low frequency hum very faint, completely tolerable and completely what one would expect for high quality rocket 8s at full gain with no signal... perfect.

Interesting scenario:
at full gain on the rane mixer with presonus powered off completely (i.e. no signal out of presonus what so ever) , I still hear it but lower. powering on the presonus it gets a tad loader, agusting gain from 0-12 gets alot loader. Now unplugging the PC from presonus and.....perfect... all gains at 100% and perfect! Plugging PC back into presonus and.... its back and quite load at all full gain. Now lowering gain to 0 on presonus... still there... powering down presonus....no change... unplugging PC from powered down presonus..... perfect!!!

Results:
100% certain its the PC motherboard soundcard, and this aint no cheap board, its a sabertooth. Since the hum is there, but fainter, even when presonus is powered down, I suspect it is a ground issue with the PC, but more specifically it does sound like a digital signal inside the PC (likely near the processor which is close to the line out, no surprise). Note that when I power down the rane mixer... its perfect again even when the presonus is powered on and at full gain... suggesting to me that the grounding issue is corrected by the time the signal leaves the rane mixer headed for the speakers. (note that I tried replacing the presonus with a akai and still the same problem, so that aint it).

Conclusion:
digital signals are leaking out around the processor via mobo grounding plates and wires, which likely connect directly to the line out as well. I suspect any mobo you buy, if you amplify the signal load enough you'll here digital signals. To combat the effect I think there are only a couple options: better grounding of the PC, isolation of the mobo ground from the line out ground via high ohm resistor or (the likely option) buy a new sound card. I think that's what I'll do, get an expensive sound card and hope the MFR isolated the ground from the mobo ground a bit... at a minimum this will get the line out and audio jack quite far away from the processor area and I really think that's the root cause. I already tried a few ugly ways of grounding the PC with little effect. I'll let you peeps know when I get my new sound card in the mail.

Yes, I’m certain it’s a digital signal inside the PC, If you listen carefully you can mudulate the signal just my moving the mouse. Out of curiousty, I’m going to run a performance test without moving anything, to see if I can here the processor signals getting denser or something…. Yeah, it sounds like a lawnmower when I’m playing bioshock, suspect this is the various clocks of the 8 core AMD interfering… sometimes sounds really really high pitches, sometimes lower like a lawnmower… 95% the cause is the processer and getting an isolated good quality soundcard will fix it… we’ll see… tata!

Watch the first minute of this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOCbuYfvW-U
 

makkem

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Hi
This is definitely EMI or RFI from the motherboard,GPU or PSU.
A couple of points, you need to check the grounding to the case as the metalwork of the case acts as shielding for this interference only if it is efficiently grounded.
You need a good quality well shielded (preferably individually screened and an overall screen) cable between computer and speaker as the cable can act as an antenna.This will also be affected if ground is not good.
 

gunslingor

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What's the best way to ground the chassis then? Thinking about it now, the psu is the ground entry point but I think the psu has feet so it isn't touching the chassis. So I guess ground is going thru the power cables to all the components, then to the chassis thru the motherboard. What's the best way to ground chassis directly to psu?
 

makkem

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I would assume the PSU is screwed to the chassis so the ground would be through these screws.
How about trying a different power cable in case there is a high resistance to ground with this one.Possibly even try it in a different outlet.
 

gunslingor

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The PSU is mounted to the back of the chassis via 4 screws. I pulled them out, scraped some paint and twisted and turned them in... The paint was acting as an insulator causing poor grounding of the chassis so I removed it under the screw to make better contact. Before the hum was intolerable at about 55% gain, now it can go up to 75%. I'm certain it helped, and I'll keep messing with it to get everything better grounded. Plus I got a new sound card on the way and the problem should be gone.

Thanks peeps.
 

gunslingor

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Well this sucks, I bought the Xonar Essence ST soundcard, the hum is still there. Every port. It's definitely the PC and I'm starting to suspect its a mobo defect. I'm contactin Asus.
 

gunslingor

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Well this sucks, I bought the Xonar Essence ST soundcard, the hum is still there. Every port. It's definitely the PC and I'm starting to suspect its a mobo defect. I'm contactin Asus.
 

FearOfSilence

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So I have this same problem. The noise can be heard at a higher frequency when the web browser was open (Chrome, IE, FireFox, Safari didn't matter). When the browser is closed it almost goes away but makes noise when the desktop background changes I did what you did by removing the paint on the PSU and the noise was still there on my pc monitor speakers when its connected to the same outlet as my tower. I ran an extension cord from another outlet (separate circuit) and the noise was gone. So I thought ok I have a ground issue still. I took this one step further all my MOBO screws are painted to I removed the paint from the mating surface so the MOBO could be grounded to the case now the noise is occurring all the time on the same or even different circuits and it drives me crazy. I am thinking I need to isolate the MOBO from the case ground possibly. Any suggestions?

Specs:
Asus Crosshair V Formula Z
AMD Vishera Processor
Asus ATI HD7770 GPU
16GB Gskill Memory
Using the Onboard audio Supreme FX which I read was designed by Creative But drivers are Realtek.
 

makkem

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To test this you could remove the motherboard and expansion card screws and lift the motherboard slightly away from the standoffs.
If this does fix it you would need plastic printed circuit board standoffs.
 

FearOfSilence

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So I tried removing the board and had no change. I ran out this weekend and bought non painted standoffs and screws, removed the paint under the standoffs on the case and installed the new ones and installed the screws. This at first seemed like it helped but then the noise started to occur constantly again I plugged in headphones where my speakers connect and the noise was also heard through them. Interestingly after playing with he system for a few hours, updating the BIOS and playing with settings and resting them back because they made no change it stopped and went back to how it was in the beginning with the high pitch noise on the same circuit but when the monitor or computer is on a different circuit it is there but less. So I am at a loss. I tried to contact ASUS but waiting for them to get back to me also waiting for another friend to get back to me as well. Since the noise occurred at my buddies house and using my monitor on his PC on his computer made the same noise I find it hard to believe it is a MB problem but it still is in the back of my mind. I am looking at buying the Sound Blaster ZX since I found a good sale on it but since it did not help gunslingor I am worried it will not help me.

Any word from ASUS for you gunslingor?

makkem Thanks for you suggestion. I wish it would have helped. One question I have about you mentioning to isolate the MB from the case using the insulators. To my understanding I thought the MB was supposed to be grounded to the case through the case screws is this wrong? I thought that by grounding the MB to the case it is supposed to help reduce EMI but in my case and a lot of others on the web none of it seems to help. It to me makes sense that it should be grounded. every pre-built PC i have owned the cases have all been unpainted inside and on the back and the screws on the MB do not have insulators under them. To me this lead me to believe it is grounded to the case but maybe this is different between pc's.

If ASUS contacts me I will be sure to give an update and if I get this sound card.

 

gunslingor

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Hey guys, sorry for the late reply, been waiting on parts and such. Okay, where to begin. Just to let you know I'm a computer/electronics engineer, so if I can't figure this out no one should be able to, lol.

Since I've been working this problem, I've done a great deal of review of grounding, grounding loops and similar issues. This research resulted in a few axioms:
1. Always ensure EVERYTHING is properly grounded.
2. Grounding loops can occur in any closed loop system, and are likely susceptible to certain types of external noise.

There are a few ways to handle ground loops when you find them:
1. Break the loop. I know the problem is the PC, the graphics card for that matter... latter.

I tried this product 20 seconds ago, been waiting on it: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/DTI/. It pretty much isolates the grounds of the IO cables, which is fine since the audio cables are grounded thru the other end, thus breaking any possibility of a grounding loop inside the audio cable which I'm sure is the worst. They can affect frequency response though, but if this one does its barely hearable if at all.

It works quite well to reduce the noise, 3 gain knobs... 2 at 100% and one at 50% can't hear much but it is there, at 3x100% its intolerable and I can do better, but the speakers are pretty loud at that level 2x100% and 1 at 50% so it does help anyway. I'm going to buy this next:http://www.amazon.com/Ebtech-Hum-Voltage-Filter/dp/B0002E4YI8/ref=sr_1_10?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1385505887&sr=1-10&keywords=ground+isolator. Will likely return one, the other or both depending on the results of the next items few potential solutions. This one I think works by putting a big inductor on the ground outlet, dissipating most noise thru the ground before it has a chance to loop... I didn't try this first because I'm pretty sure it won't help with this problem but I'll let you know.

2. Try EM shielding (on sound card): http://www.overclock.net/t/571718/how-to-make-emi-shielding-for-your-sound-card

Just found that, haven't tried it yet. worth a shot, couldn't do it when the mobo was the output. doubt it will help, I think think the signal is in the circuitry.

3. Reroute ground looped signal thru another loop, shorten the loop or similar loop reconfigurations.

I essentially have 3 active splitter/mixers between my PC and monitors, and I know the PC is the issue. So I thought, lets connect the PC ground to the last splitter ground in the chain. All I have is a dinky 14-16 gauge wire so I connected to PC ground and the rane mixer ground, it helps a lot... but more importantly, it REALLY helps a lot when its grounded directly to the GRAPHICS CARD! and guess what, I was getting so tiered of dealing with this shizzle that I did something drastic, as a test. I unplugged the graphics card power supply while the system was running.... this was all prior to any of the tests conducted in this thread...it was B E A utiful. Really, if you want perfect sound, you have to sacrifice the graphics card, lol. The digital sounding signal is originating from the graphics card and entering every ground in the system, some grounds more than most. The ART device does help, but I suspect I need another for between the other two splitters, and I probably don't want 2 of these in the system... cost is running upsies. First thing is to change that dinky wire to a big ol soldered ground cable... I suspect that will really help a ton.

With the grounds connected with this dinky wire, and the art device, I got my gains at 2x100% and 1x75% and the actual loud noise is gone, its like... below 75% the main ground loop is no longer the problem... but then there's a tiny tiny barely hearable problem somewhere else... I say that because, below 75% on that last knob the noise is there, barely, but the level doesn't change as you go less than 75%, even 0% its still there.

So it's getting better but really, I want to address the root cause... the graphics card. How the heck can I do this though... ugh, help... I guess this is why peeps typically go with external interfaces. I will when they get one that's USB 3.0 capable but currently PCI is faster than any on the market so screw that.

You say you have the Asus board, isn't yours the intel version of mine? I have the sabortooth. Could be a mobo issue.

Some have suggested I have to many components in the setup... they are wrong, these are high quality professional mixers... and I get the same noise with an isolated PC thru the PC headphone jack.
 
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