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HELP! extremely loud buzzing from speakers when GPU is "active"

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
important system specs:

windows 7 x64
seasonic x660 psu
hd6950 video - latest drivers
xonar essence ST - latest unified drivers

mcintosh mc250
klipsch la scalas



i get the buzzing from scrolling on websites, moving the mouse, and basically doing anything on screen. the noise gets extremely intense when i load up a game and get a high framerate.

1) problem was present on old motherboard/cpu/power supply/memory/hard drive (rules them out)
2) problem still present on brand new RMA'd xonar essence ST
3) problem persists, but is not as loud when the soundcard is disabled in device manager (i hear it click off)
4) problem is NOT present when using onboard audio

basically everything in this system has changed except the videocard. i am having a hard time blaming the videocard because the problem is not reproducible when i use onboard audio.

also, the problem is not present when the computer is posting and halfway into windows loading. it only begins about half a second before i hear the soundcard physically "click" on while windows is loading the audio drivers during boot. i thought it may have been a audio driver issue, but i have the same problem in safe mode. perhaps it is another driver that loads with windows?



i have reset the bios to default settings, disabled pci clock spread spectrum (if that has anything to do with it), and reset my video cards voltage and clock settings to default. NOTHING helps.

i have tried different RCA cables which did not help either.

I have the latest chipset drivers for my motherboard.
Edited by tofu - 2/9/12 at 8:16pm
post #2 of 34

I had similar problems and what solved my buzzing noise was to use a different power strip and outlet for my computer/screen and my audio equipment. So you want keep those seperated and not use the same outlet and definitly not the same power strip.

post #3 of 34
Thread Starter 
the problem persists even when my monitors are unplugged from the video card and power strip.

i have ordered a furman line conditioner to see if it helps. i need a new surge protector either way.


i'm not too familiar with electricity and emi, but can the computer basically be throwing interference into the outlet, and the speakers are picking it up when a loop is made between the two devices (amp plugged into soundcard)?

i tried a different outlet for the computer alone, and it wasn't AS bad, but the problem persisted. leads me to believe maybe the interference is coming from the outlet when the computer is drawing more power.

i think the fact that the xonar st draws power directly from the psu and not the motherboard like other onboard or pci cards is actually working to my DISADVANTAGE in this case frown.gif. perhaps onboard and my chaintech card do not have this problem because the motherboard is filtering the power going to the card.
post #4 of 34

I don't know (have you tried an off-board soundcard/Dac via USB, just out of curiosity - it is also possible the vidoe card and the soundcard share a resource, causing the issue - that the onboard doesn't share), but La Scalas? damn! I've been lusting after a pair of those for over a decade. 


Edited by liamstrain - 2/10/12 at 9:53am
post #5 of 34
Thread Starter 
i checked for irq conflicts and there doesn't seem to be a problem there frown.gif

i'm starting to believe that it is my outlet introducing some kind of noise loop because the level of noise changes from outlet to outlet. the noise is always consistent with how hard my video card is working though. although as i said before, i get noise from scrolling websites and mouse movements as well. then again, everything is gpu rendered now (win7 aero and firefox).

i really hope the furman works to correct this!


and thanks, the la scalas make great pc speakers! biggrin.gif i upgraded to steep slope passive crossovers and altec 511/902b midrange too


edit: i don't have access to an external DAC, but integrated audio and my other sound cards are fine. no noise at all actually. only difference between them and the xonar ST is that the xonar's power is fed directly from the PSU and not the pci port or motherboard.
Edited by tofu - 2/10/12 at 11:35am
post #6 of 34

The noise could be coming from electromagnetic interference from the components inside your computer case.  An external DAC would solve this problem. 

 

It could be the PSU causing all the noise.  You could try a higher quality power supply and see if that helps.

 

Another (experimental!) possibility is covering the back side of your sound card with one layer of foam padding (or something non-conductive that would be safe inside your computer), then a layer of aluminum foil, then another layer or something non-conductive/safe to shield your card from electromagnetic interference.  Make sure that aluminum foil isn't touching any contacts or it could short something out (hence the non-conductive wrapping).

post #7 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by haejuk View Post

The noise could be coming from electromagnetic interference from the components inside your computer case.  An external DAC would solve this problem. 

It could be the PSU causing all the noise.  You could try a higher quality power supply and see if that helps.

Another (experimental!) possibility is covering the back side of your sound card with one layer of foam padding (or something non-conductive that would be safe inside your computer), then a layer of aluminum foil, then another layer or something non-conductive/safe to shield your card from electromagnetic interference.  Make sure that aluminum foil isn't touching any contacts or it could short something out (hence the non-conductive wrapping).



wouldn't the EMI affect my other sound cards when swapped in, as well as my onboard audio?

the seasonic psu is pretty much top of the line in the 650 watt range. it replaced my old pcp&c silencer 400, which was a good psu as well. same problem on both PSUs

i've tried the foil and cardboard home made EMI shield thing, didn't make any difference frown.gif
post #8 of 34

This doesn't sound like EMI to me. Maybe a ground loop being created somewhere as the GPU draws more power (since the other cards are not using the PSU directly but via the slots, maybe that is grounded separately). Can you run a separate ground from the sound card? 

 

(It should be noted, that I am a huge proponent of off-board sound cards, as a result of this kind of mess inside computers). 

post #9 of 34
Thread Starter 
i will try powering my soundcard off my spare psu and just "hot wire" it to start up. before i start going nuts again, i'm going to see if this furman line conditioner does anything (should arrive tues). if not, i'll try the second psu to isolate the problem.
post #10 of 34

The DAC or grounding on the soundcard is probably bad.  First check to make sure you have a 3-pronged power cord for you PC ( Ground post needed ).  Make sure you speakers are plugged into the same outlet as your PC.  This will help prevent ground loop interference.

 

The last thing I can think of is that the connector for you speakers or whatever is feeding them a signal is not a true stereo connector and is missing the ground.  Try to use a TRS ( Stereo ) plug if you are using a questionable adapter or cable such as a Y-splitter or RCA.

post #11 of 34

Sounds like floating inputs, double check and make sure your mic, line inputs are all muted and the mic boost is off if you have one.

 

That is usually the cause when you hear noise from moving the mouse or other activity as the cards inputs are sensitive to noise from the bus.


Edited by ROBSCIX - 2/10/12 at 1:44pm
post #12 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBSCIX View Post

Sounds like floating inputs, double check and make sure your mic, line inputs are all muted and the mic boost is off if you have one.

That is usually the cause when you hear noise from moving the mouse or other activity as the cards inputs are sensitive to noise from the bus.

already tried frown.gif

sorry, should have included that in my original post.
post #13 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NA Blur View Post

The DAC or grounding on the soundcard is probably bad.  First check to make sure you have a 3-pronged power cord for you PC ( Ground post needed ).  Make sure you speakers are plugged into the same outlet as your PC.  This will help prevent ground loop interference.

The last thing I can think of is that the connector for you speakers or whatever is feeding them a signal is not a true stereo connector and is missing the ground.  Try to use a TRS ( Stereo ) plug if you are using a questionable adapter or cable such as a Y-splitter or RCA.


i have tried the first solution, no go on that.

in response to the second part: are you suggesting i use a trs cable with rca adapters on both ends? both my amp and soundcard (xonar essence st) are 1/4" rca.
post #14 of 34
I would just try buying another el cheapo soundcard, installing it in place of the xonar, and see if the same thing happens. It just sounds to me like your xonar is messed up. (defective noise isolation circuitry)
Edited by Joe Bloggs - 2/11/12 at 1:15am
post #15 of 34

It is probably not EMI, especially if the level of the noise is very high. The most likely cause is grounding problems (part of the current drawn by the GPU - which can be extremely high for "gamer" cards - leaks into the audio signal path through the ground wires), or maybe the power supply. What happens if you do not use that graphics card, and use onboard video (if available), or some low end, low power card instead of the HD6950 ?

 

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