Skype white noise ruins call. Interference from fan?

Xilos

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Hi, I am helping my girlfriend troubleshoot an issue she is having with skype. Quite frequently our calls are interrupted by white noise/ running water sounds that appears to temporally correlate with her laptop fan. I hear the sound on my end, she can't hear me (no sound at all) and I can't hear her (overwhelmed by this white noise).

She is using an Samsung NP300E5C on Windows 8. The issue occurs with both the application version and Desktop version of skype. Occurs with and without the use of a headset. She has already tried turning off the "automatically adjust volume" setting. Seeing as the issue occurs with and without a headset, I don't think it is due to actual sound feedback. I am wondering if this is a hardware issue and the fan draws power away from the sound card or creates electronic interference that worsens the signal to noise ratio? I have tried calling from a variety of devices and the problem persists, so I am sure the issue is on her end.
This problem is extremely frustrating and it would be great to figure this out!
 

leeb2013

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if it coincides with the laptop fan, it could be that her mic level is set to high, so it's picking up the noise from the fan. Skype will then try to supress the background noise, but may not be successful, hence the water like effect. Try reducing mic level and sitting closer or using an external mic.
 

anti-painkilla

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I was thinking along those lines, but it happens when using a headset. Headset implies microphone on it, so that should rule out sound interference with the laptop mic.
 

leeb2013

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hmmm, not sure then if that's the case.

Fans can cause radiated emissions, but seeing as though laptops are inherently RF noisy, the mic cables are usually well shielded. Besides trying different setups to try to isolate the problem and opening the laptop to make sure no ground wires fell off, solving electromagnetic compatibility problems in a laptop is incredibly difficult. I would just try to find a setup that minimised the problem.
 

Xilos

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I appreciate the replies but I may have a different lead. Turns out the headset she was using worked fine for audio but the mic is not detected. (Thus the built in laptop microphone could account for the feedback). Couldn't detect the microphone when she went to install it and it isn't listed under the Sound, video and game controllers in device manager. It is a 3.5mm combined headphones/microphone like you would use for your smartphone.

Could this be a driver issue? It would be strange that the playback works fine but recording (mic) wouldn't work. I don't know if 3.5mm jacks use drivers... She has the Realtek audio drivers (Windows 7), as Realtek does not make drivers for her computer for windows 8. Any ideas?
 

anti-painkilla

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It will not work with combined 3.5mm jack. You will only get the audio.

Check this image (cannot be bothered resizing)

The ports on the laptop do not have the connector for 2 which connects the mic. Can you grab another set to test with, either USB or with 2 3.5mm jacks. If it works then it is most likely what leeb2013 is saying with noise cancellation. If it works with the headset, keep the headset, but only use the mic with it and the speakers from the laptop. I do it all the time with my Logitech G35 headset.

Let us know how it goes.
 
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