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Essence stx static when idle

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I just installed an essence stx yesterday, and I'm running Sennheiser HD650's with it. The sound has been great so far, but I get a static in the background whenever there's no sound coming through. As soon as I start a song or unpause a movie it stops. Is this a configuration or driver issue?

post #2 of 15

It's certainly not EM interference, or else it would be present during playback too.

 

Fiddle around with the driver, maybe some microphone/input related settings, see if one of these settings has an influence. Also, if you set your player to use ASIO, does it make a difference?
 

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitor Machado View Post

It's certainly not EM interference, or else it would be present during playback too.

 

Fiddle around with the driver, maybe some microphone/input related settings, see if one of these settings has an influence. Also, if you set your player to use ASIO, does it make a difference?
 

Haven't installed ASIO yet. I'm sure the cause is something I haven't tweaked correctly yet, or else I would have heard complaints about it from other people. I'm finding it during music too, but it comes on as a background hiss. When songs get quiet it gradually gets louder, then drops out when vocals or a guitar come in. What exactly does ASIO do for the stx? I know it helps cut down latency, but is that its function in this scenario?

post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by meeklo062704 View Post

Haven't installed ASIO yet. I'm sure the cause is something I haven't tweaked correctly yet, or else I would have heard complaints about it from other people. I'm finding it during music too, but it comes on as a background hiss. When songs get quiet it gradually gets louder, then drops out when vocals or a guitar come in. What exactly does ASIO do for the stx? I know it helps cut down latency, but is that its function in this scenario?

I was interested in the ASIO results, because it would be working in exclusive mode, thus bypassing the Windows mixer (I'm assuming you're using Windows). It would further indicate it's some kind of software setting if you got different results with it. WASAPI exclusive mode would work too.

 

But now you're saying you CAN hear it during playback too, so I cannot discard EMI anymore.

 

If I remember correctly, the Essence STX has a setting to adjust the amount of gain on the headphone amplifier, have you tried setting it to the lowest possible (I think it's called "Normal gain")? Does it help?


Edited by Vitor Machado - 8/22/12 at 9:40pm
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitor Machado View Post

I was interested in the ASIO results, because it would be working in exclusive mode, thus bypassing the Windows mixer (I'm assuming you're using Windows). It would further indicate it's some kind of software setting if you got different results with it. WASAPI exclusive mode would work too.

 

But now you're saying you CAN hear it during playback too, so I cannot discard EMI anymore.

 

If I remember correctly, the Essence STX has a setting to adjust the amount of gain on the headphone amplifier, have you tried setting it to the lowest possible (I think it's called "Normal gain")? Does it help?


Yeah, I'm running windows 7. The playback sound is more of a hiss, and the idle sound when I listened closer almost sounds like some sort of interference. It's odd because as soon as any app that is running sound is closed it goes away immediately and goes back to dead silent. It happens with VLC, Foobar, and WMP. I tried the different gain settings and get the same result, and also tried the line out y splitter and got the same thing. I tried installing the asio driver, but I'm assuming that got goofed up somewhere, because there's no sign of it running anywhere. I used it before with FL Studio, and it started working immediately.

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

Also, I guess this is something I should have done some checking on sooner. But it said to disable all other audio devices to use the card. Do nnvidia hi def audio items in the device manager need to be disabled too? It just never dawned on me because I never even noticed that they were there before.
 

post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by meeklo062704 View Post

Also, I guess this is something I should have done some checking on sooner. But it said to disable all other audio devices to use the card. Do nnvidia hi def audio items in the device manager need to be disabled too? It just never dawned on me because I never even noticed that they were there before.
 

Actually, you wound want to disable the onboard audio in the BIOS setup.

But to be honest, I don't think it'll make a difference. At least it shouldn't make a difference.

 

Did you try muting microphone/line-in?

 

Also, please check if you hear more interference during HDD intense tasks. While playing no sound, increase the volume and go browsing through various folders on your hard drive (preferentially folders with many photos and videos), and listen for any clicks or pops, or hissing.

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitor Machado View Post
If I remember correctly, the Essence STX has a setting to adjust the amount of gain on the headphone amplifier, have you tried setting it to the lowest possible (I think it's called "Normal gain")? Does it help?

 

It should not, as it does not affect any analog gain, it basically adds a -18, -12, or 0 dB offset to the digital volume control. However, if the noise comes from not muting the line/microphone input, then it would have an effect.


Edited by stv014 - 8/23/12 at 9:47am
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by meeklo062704 View Post

I just installed an essence stx yesterday, and I'm running Sennheiser HD650's with it. The sound has been great so far, but I get a static in the background whenever there's no sound coming through. As soon as I start a song or unpause a movie it stops. Is this a configuration or driver issue?

 

Are you using the built-in headphone amplifier, or an external one ? In the first case, do you use the front panel, or the 1/4" headphone jack ? Do you have any high power components (e.g. high end graphics card(s) for gaming) in your PC ? Does moving the card to another slot (if doing so is possible) make a difference ?

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

 

It should not, as it does not affect any analog gain, it is basically a simple digital volume control that divides every sample by 1, 2, or 8. However, if the noise comes from not muting the line/microphone input, then it would have an effect.

Wow really? One would expect a setting called "gain" to actually work as such (especially because some headphone amps do have an actual gain switch)... Bad move Asus, should have called it a limiter.

post #11 of 15

Well, it was obviously cheaper to implement it using the digital volume control of the DAC (the PCM1792 supports 0 to 120 dB digital attenuation in 0.5 dB steps). This does make the signal to noise ratio worse at the lower gain settings compared to an analog gain control, but with the HD650 the noise normally should not be audible. By the way, the front panel line output mode that passes the signal through the TPA6120 also uses digital attenuation to achieve a 0 dBFS level of ~2 Vrms.


Edited by stv014 - 8/23/12 at 10:01am
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

Are you using the built-in headphone amplifier, or an external one ? In the first case, do you use the front panel, or the 1/4" headphone jack ? Do you have any high power components (e.g. high end graphics card(s) for gaming) in your PC ? Does moving the card to another slot (if doing so is possible) make a difference ?

I have a gtx 460 in there too. I was worried about interference from it, so I have that in the top slot to run at x16 and put the stx in the furthest slot away at the bottom. I tried both the headphone out in the rear as well as the 2 speaker with the y splitter and got the same result. I haven't hooked up the front panel yet.

I haven't tried muting the mic yet either. I'll check that when I get home.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 

Muting the mic/line in didn't stop it. The only thing that I've found to get rid of the hiss is switching the dsp from hifi to music, but the sound quality isn't as good that way. I've tried shuffling through folders in explorer and didn't notice any effect from it. I'm still having trouble with asio. I installed the asio software on the asus website and the asio4all driver, but haven't been able to get a control panel for it. Is Wasapi pretty much the same as asio?
 

post #14 of 15

If you did not use ASIO or WASAPI, did you set the Windows audio configuration so that mixing and volume control are done with 24 bit resolution ? Additionally, the sample rate could make a difference, although with the HD650 the 44.1 kHz noise problem should not be audible.

post #15 of 15
Turn "smart volume" in AC off...
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