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How to tell what's the cause of left speaker noise?

  1. misterfresh
    I've owned for about three years a 2.1 speaker setup that I connect to the PC with a dedicated soundcard.
    Usually I listen to pop music or electronic music, but recently I started listening to Mozart's Requiem in D Minor. The sound on classical recordings is less dynamically compressed than on pop recordings, so I turn the volume up to make up for it. And I can't help but notice a slight crackling, a sizzle, in the left speaker. It's not very loud, but it's definitely there and is distracting me from the music.
    I played the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nklzAUrXSuM to test various frequencies. I start hearing the noise at around 200 Hz and when I set the volume to anything higher than 30% of max volume. I guess with modern recordings, the noise is low enough compared to the level of the music that I can't notice it, but on classical recordings it's very noticeable.
    My question is : is it a problem with my speaker, or a problem with cable connecting? How can I tell if the problem comes from the speaker or if it is something else?
    Thanks for any advice!
  2. MindsMirror
    You say the noise starts at or above 200Hz. That is probably the crossover frequency from sub-woofer to the speaker, so the cause is probably the speaker or speaker cable. Do some troubleshooting. If you can, try switching the left and right speakers.
    If the noise switches to the right, then it is that speaker or cable that is bad. If you can replace the cable, try that. If you are confident in taking apart the speaker and testing / troubleshooting / soldering wires, you could try that also. Otherwise you would probably just have to replace that speaker.
    If the noise stays on the left when you switch the speakers, it's something else. Try a different sound card or different source.
  3. misterfresh
    Yes definitely the problem is with the left speaker not the subwoofer.
    It seems to be almost gone now. Maybe it's some kind of electrical interference that caused it. Or maybe the speaker needs some burnin time for classical music, which I almost never played until now??
     Or maybe above a certain volume the speaker saturates a bit.
    The issue seems to really show on records that are not too much compressed, because it forces to push the volume higher.
    Anyway I can't hear the buzzing noise at the moment, I hope it does not come back.
    Edit : very strange : I checked again with the above linked youtube video and the sound is crystal clear. It must have been some kind of interference, the only way I can explain it. Big relief
  4. cel4145
    Yep. Probably just a bad connection or interference of some kind that you settled somehow in messing with your equipment and shifting cables around.
  5. misterfresh
    I'm hearing the noise again.
    I plugged my headphones into the speaker setup (there is a minijack out) and I hear the noise.
    I switched the RCA cables on the soundcard output.
    Now I can hear the left speaker working fine, but the right speaker gives the noise.
    From this I believe that the speaker setup is ok, but there is a problem either with the cable, or with the soundcard. Next I'll try buying a cheap cable and cleaning the dust inside the PC case.
  6. cel4145
    Might definitely be some kind of EMI if it's intermittent like this. Hard to say. I'm sure it's annoying.
  7. misterfresh
    Ok problem solved.
    It was the soundcard. Possibly buggy Asio drivers for M-Audio Audiophile 2496.
    With the Asus Xonar the noise is definitely gone.
  8. cel4145
    If you feel like you have any driver problems with the Xonar (which one did you get?), try the unified drivers. Most of us on Head-Fi use them. http://maxedtech.com/category/uni-xonar/
  9. misterfresh

    I got the STX. So far the sound is the best I've had on my PC. I installed the latest official driver. I haven't noticed any problem with it so far, but if I do I'll keep in mind that there is also an unofficial one. I looked at the uni-xonar page and what I understand is that this is mainly fixing bugs not adding new features or better sound? So if I have sound coming out of my speakers, I should probably not fix what isnt broken (yet).
    I'm using it with foobar, with the xonar asio driver selected. The only thing I'm confused about is, with 24/96 files, what's the actual playback frequency of the stx. Not that it would really matter, as my speakers are not good enough to show the difference.
  10. cel4145
    I don't know enough to know if it does any more than just fix bugs. Or your question about 24/96. But all the STX enthusiasts use it. You could ask questions here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/421890/the-xonar-essence-stx-q-a-tweaking-impressions-thread

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