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Can I fix my sound card so it doesn't make my speakers explode every time I turn on my PC?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Every time I suspend, power off, or turn on my PC, my speakers go POP BANG POP, sometimes loud enough to scare my cats outta the room, depending on where I left the volume knob.  I'm using a Sound Blaster Audigy and the regular old analog line out to my Pioneer amp and KLH tower speakers.  But I know it isn't the amp or the speakers, because at one point I had a separate amp/speaker combo plugged into the REAR line out at the same time, and it had the same pop-bang-pop noise every time I powered on the PC.  The noise doesn't happen when they aren't plugged in.

 

So is there any way I could fix this old beast of a sound card to stop it sending those loud bass signals out the analog wire?  Like giving it extra grounding or EMI insulation or something?  And if that's not possible, could I use the SPIDF digital out to a better digital amp or what I think is called DAC (which the Pioneer is not, it only has coax inputs, I'd have to buy one)?  Since the output would be digital, would there be any difference between using the motherboard's built-in SPIDF out, and using the Sound Blaster Audigy SPIDF out (they are both coax)?

post #2 of 15

Sound cards have a lot of issues if you're using them for high-quality, high-fidelity sound. The power/software in a PC has no facility for muting or tempering the volume upon power up or restoration from a sleep state.  If you have powerful amplification on the output, the result will be what you're experiencing. Common sense dictates that if you're hearing these transients, you should have the volume set low before any power activity is initiated.  This is especially true with powered subwoofers.

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
lowering the volume first is what i do now. but since i sleep and wake my computer a dozen times per day, i was hoping there was a better solution?
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by moeburn View Post
I'm using a Sound Blaster Audigy and the regular old analog line out to my Pioneer amp and KLH tower speakers.

You can swap out the SB Audigy for a $28 Asus Xonar DG sound card.

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

You can swap out the SB Audigy for a $28 Asus Xonar DG sound card.

 

 

Would that really help though?  Because tomb implied that all sound cards will have this problem, to some degree.  The Audigy was a pretty expensive card when it came out (like 12 years ago), that would make me think that a $30 card would have the same problem.  Maybe the problem is not entirely the sound card's fault; I haven't tried it in a different PC.  It could be the combination of my sound card and motherboard and case and shielding that creates the perfect storm of a super loud bass signal every time the computer wakes/sleeps.  The popping noise's signal is loud all on its own; it is loud enough to scare my cats when the volume knob is set to a normal computer usage level (Amp volume: 3/10.  PC Sound card Windows dialog volume: 100%, lowering the windows dialog volume to 10% does not change the popping noise's volume at all)

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by moeburn View Post
 

 I'm using a Sound Blaster Audigy and the regular old analog line out to my Pioneer amp  

could I use the SPIDF digital out to a better digital amp or what I think is called DAC (which the Pioneer is not, it only has coax inputs, I'd have to buy one)?  Since the output would be digital, would there be any difference between using the motherboard's built-in SPIDF out, and using the Sound Blaster Audigy SPIDF out (they are both coax)?

What is the model number of the Pioneer amplifier (receiver?).

By "coax" do you mean RCA jacks, or does the Pioneer amplifier (receiver?) have S/PDIF coaxial inputs?

post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by moeburn View Post
I'm using a Sound Blaster Audigy

That's an old sound card, for $30-$60 you could improve the audio quality.

Asus Xonar DX or D1, used $60, would be a fairly good improvement

An Asus DG, DS or D1 would slide right into the Audigy's PCI slot.

Asus DGX, DSX or DX are for the newer PCI-E slots.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 9/16/13 at 1:48pm
post #8 of 15

There's no guarantee that a new sound card will fix anything. Even with an external card that has a physical volume control, the power on/off transients of the computer may still produce the pops depending just how the sound card is configured.

 

Cheapest/simplest solution: get a small mixer and put that between the computer and amplifier. turn the mixer output down when you're not using the computer. Granted, this is only marginally less work than turning the amplifier down since you can keep your mixer at your desk.

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Armaegis View Post
 

There's no guarantee that a new sound card will fix anything. Even with an external card that has a physical volume control, the power on/off transients of the computer may still produce the pops depending just how the sound card is configured.

 

Cheapest/simplest solution: get a small mixer and put that between the computer and amplifier. turn the mixer output down when you're not using the computer. Granted, this is only marginally less work than turning the amplifier down since you can keep your mixer at your desk.

 

My Amp is on my desk.  And it has an infrared remote.  I am very capable of turning it off every time I sleep and unsleep my computer.  But again, my computer has a 10 minute sleep timeout, because of power-saving concerns.  I'll go to use my computer to look something up, or post a reply to a message board, or play a 30 minute game, or watch a 30 minute tv show, then I'll put it to sleep again and go do something else; end; repeat.  I end up sleeping and waking it over a dozen times a day.  I was hoping there was a more convenient solution then having to press the mute- button on my amp's remote every time I want to press the power button on my PC.

 

To whomever asked, it's a pioneer rx-530.  It has RCA jack inputs for 3 different inputs; CD, phono, and video.  I use video for my computer.  It does not have a DAC, it is an analog-only amp. I refer to RCA jacks and Coax jacks as the same thing.  

post #10 of 15

While they appear mechanically similar, coax connectors are supposed to have a 75ohm impedance and the cables differ in construction. In practice, it probably doesn't make that much of a difference.

 

Get yourself an external sound card/dac that is AC powered and has the coax input to feed it from the sound blaster. This will isolate it entirely from the power on/off transients of the computer.

post #11 of 15

I'm a little surprised a SB card would be misbehaving like that. Those I've seen usually had muting transistors installed. Maybe the Audigy 1 didn't yet, but e.g. a SB Live! 24-Bit does.

 

I did have one card once that produced a big POP upon powering up and down, an Audiotrak ProDigy 7.1 HiFi. It wouldn't work in my trusty old P2B-D either where it would have been intended to be used, so I returned the card at the time.

 

Honestly, an Audigy 1 is pretty long in the tooth, and fixed at 48 kHz to boot. I'd give something a little more modern a shot. Make sure it actually fits the system, which I presume isn't exactly the latest and greatest either.

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgrossklass View Post
 

I'm a little surprised a SB card would be misbehaving like that. Those I've seen usually had muting transistors installed. Maybe the Audigy 1 didn't yet, but e.g. a SB Live! 24-Bit does.

 

I did have one card once that produced a big POP upon powering up and down, an Audiotrak ProDigy 7.1 HiFi. It wouldn't work in my trusty old P2B-D either where it would have been intended to be used, so I returned the card at the time.

 

Honestly, an Audigy 1 is pretty long in the tooth, and fixed at 48 kHz to boot. I'd give something a little more modern a shot. Make sure it actually fits the system, which I presume isn't exactly the latest and greatest either.

 

No, the system is pretty good, I've got a radeon 5770 and an AMD Athlon II X4 620 and 4GB DDR3, enough to get me the latest games.  But I wanted quadraphonic sound, and my motherboard's onboard sound doesn't have a rear output (I use a second smaller set of speakers with a built-in amp for the rear two.  I know, it's an ugly set up, but it gives an advantage in games to have rear sound). 

 

But that doesn't mean I have any money.  The only thing in that system that I paid for myself was the video card, everything else was scavenged and donated and handed down, including the 12 year old Audigy.  I actually used to have an SB Live 24bit, but I gave it away, thinking the Audigy would be better.  Oh well.  I did once successfully make a C-Moy, and I have experience making guitar effect pedals, maybe I could make my own amp and DAC.

 

Maybe the Audigy does have muting transistors, but my PCI slot or motherboard is misbehaving?  I'll investigate bios settings, but I'm doubtful there's anything I could do.  I was hoping it would be as simple as installing a ground wire or replacing a capacitor or something.


Edited by moeburn - 9/16/13 at 12:58pm
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by moeburn View Post
 

Would that really help though?  Because tomb implied that all sound cards will have this problem, to some degree.  The Audigy was a pretty expensive card when it came out (like 12 years ago), that would make me think that a $30 card would have the same problem.  Maybe the problem is not entirely the sound card's fault; I haven't tried it in a different PC.  It could be the combination of my sound card and motherboard and case and shielding that creates the perfect storm of a super loud bass signal every time the computer wakes/sleeps.  The popping noise's signal is loud all on its own; it is loud enough to scare my cats when the volume knob is set to a normal computer usage level (Amp volume: 3/10.  PC Sound card Windows dialog volume: 100%, lowering the windows dialog volume to 10% does not change the popping noise's volume at all)

Normally sound cards do not make a "pop" noise loud enough to scare the cat and you said you have the same problem using different audio equipment with the same sound card.

So for the price of the Xonar DG, $27.99 (with a $10 mail in rebate), you can try to fix the problem.

I would hope you would spend $60 for a used Xonar DX or D1 sound card, it would improve audio quality over the Audigy sound card.

 

Did you disable the on-board audio, when you installed the internal sound card?

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by moeburn View Post
 

 

No, the system is pretty good, I've got a radeon 5770 and an AMD Athlon II X4 620 and 4GB DDR3, enough to get me the latest games.  But I wanted quadraphonic sound, and my motherboard's on-board sound doesn't have a rear output (I use a second smaller set of speakers with a built-in amp for the rear two.  I know, it's an ugly set up, but it gives an advantage in games to have rear sound). 

Have you tried removing the Audigy sound card and connect the motherboard's on-board audio directly to the Pioneer amplifier, see if you get the same poping noise?

 

What is the make and model of your motherboard?

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Normally sound cards do not make a "pop" noise loud enough to scare the cat and you said you have the same problem using different audio equipment with the same sound card.

So for the price of the Xonar DG, $27.99 (with a $10 mail in rebate), you can try to fix the problem.

I would hope you would spend $60 for a used Xonar DX or D1 sound card, it would improve audio quality over the Audigy sound card.

 

Did you disable the on-board audio, when you installed the internal sound card?


Never tried disabling on-board audio, since I use the front-panel ports occasionally, but I just tried disabling it in the BIOS now.  No difference.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Have you tried removing the Audigy sound card and connect the motherboard's on-board audio directly to the Pioneer amplifier, see if you get the same poping noise?

 

What is the make and model of your motherboard?


I didn't remove the Audigy, but I tried out the motherboard's onboard sound.  It works!  It doesn't make a peep whatsoever when I turn the computer on and off, even if I crank the amp's volume waaay up.   So clearly the fault is with the Audigy.

 

I'm going to be coming into $100 spending money soon (rent and food and services = most of my pay at the moment), so I might look for a new external sound card.  But it's not like I have the amp or the speakers to make a really nice sound card worth it.  I just want one that doesn't try to explode my speakers a dozen times a day.

The motherboard is an Asus FRS780M, but I guarantee you there is absolutely no information out there about it, because it's an OEM-only motherboard that I traded from someone's OEM computer, because it has a nice quad-core CPU on it.

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