Hi, I'll begin saying that I'm not an audiophile but just a normal guy who wants a good audio quality.
I'm having a lot of noise issues with my Soundblaster Z card, expecially after I've bought a GTX970.
I've done lots of testing and experiments to try to get rid of the noise but it just won't go away, but at least I've identified the various interferences:
1) Microphone interference: I've ALWAYS had this interference on the mic input, even before I got the soundcard (that btw I didn't buy, I won it with a Soundblaster wallpaper contest) but it didn't solve with the Soundlaster. I was quite happy when I got it because I though it would have solved all my noise problems...
The noise is quite low at 100% mic volume and 0 boost but the microphone is just too feeble to be heard, so I need to set it at least to 20db and the noise gets terribly amplified. To remove the noise I need the noise reducion tool from soundblaster driver but then I have to turn the "smart volume" feature and voice quality gets simply terrible.
I've been trying to understand what could be the problem for ages but it never goes away, and it also affects front connectors no matter if they are plugged into the Mb or into the soundcard.
Description of the problem would suggest some sort of ground loop but it doesn't sound like that.
2) GPU interference: that's unfortunately a new one, apparently my new GPU has terrible EMI shielding (and so does the soundcard unfortunately...) and every time it gets used I hear this chirping/buzzing sound in both the headphones and the microphone input (even if the 2 are not related). For example, i start a game and the noise starts.
This interference is kinda weird because it doesn't get amplified by changing audio volume, it's constant no matter if the headphone volume is 0 or 100.
That's a video so you can understand better what I'm saying: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/98051460/Sundblaster%20audio%20noise.mp4
Things I've already tried:
- Change Pci slot, it just changes a bit the amount of GPU interference
- Change power supply
- Changing headphones
- Unplugging things to avoid ground loops
- Every BIOS setting that could affect audio
- Changing microphone, even plugging an adapter or headphones into the mic has the same noise.
- Turn off mobo integrated soundcard
- Various mobo drivers
- Moving PSU out of the case (it's actually on the floor now).
- Changing GPU only solves GPU interference, mic is unaffected.
Now, I guess a solution would be to buy a DAC or an external soundcard, but I'd like to know if there was a way to solve the problems and to ensure that they won't happen even with external audio (I guess not, but I'd like to be sure...).
You know, this pisses me off because, GPU noise apart, the audio quality is really great for the price, expecially with my Sony MDR-XB30EX, I know it isn't a premium setup but it sounds really good and I'd like to keep the same quality!
Hope you can help me, thanks!