Static Ticking Noise from USB into DAC - Help!
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holden4th

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I've had a static ticking noise issue when running my uDAC2 from the USB ports which I solved very simply. On boot up I left the uDAC unconnected to the USB port and as soon as everything booted up then I simply reconnected the uDAC. Great sound from WASAPI.
 
Now this is where the story changes. I've just got an HRT Music Streamer II, have the same issue (that tick, tick, tick) but the solution I used for the uDAC doesn't work. The ticking only starts when the player starts to play music, if I'm not playing anything then there is no ticking. Do you think that a powered USB hub would solve this problem? or is there another solution. Do I have to send my PC to get it checked for ground loops or similar?
 
What I'm running is listed below.
 
 
 
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RingingEars

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holden.
I had an HRT II also and ended up just returning it. I researched for a week straight on how to get rid of the "tick tick tick". Ran it through a powered USB hub, turned the latency down... Every trick I read about and just could not get that thing to play nice.
 
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holden4th

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My worry is, apart from my uDAC, I won't get anything to play nice because reading through these forums this issue also occurs with iBasso DACs and therefore I suspect with another DAC.
 
Why does the rhythmic ticking (once per second) make me think there is some sort of clock involved somewhere? I know W7 has a clock that you can bring up and when I first struck this issue with the uDAC the ticking synchronised to the second hand of the W7 clock. I can't find a way to disable this clock at all. If anyone has any ideas regarding this I would be interested to try them.
 
I am about an hour away from heading on a 9 day safari into the OZ outback with 100 11 year old kids so I might not be able to immediately get to any posts even though I am taking my laptop with me. I'll do my best. I just think that the clock might be the issue here. I am also quite certain that this is a problem specific to W7 (maybe x64 as well). The other thing that puzzles me is why leaving the reconnection to the uDAC works?
 
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jmvdigital

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I get random pops and clicks when listening through USB on my MacBookPro, but only if the charging cable is hooked up. If I unplug the laptop from the power source, the audio signal is clean and perfect. Strange?! 
 
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Iniamyen

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If you can, check electrical continuity between your particular DAC's output signal ground and the USB shield. If there is continuity, then you might have a ground loop that looks like the following:
 
computer USB shield -> computer PSU ground -> mains ground -> DAC PSU ground/DAC signal ground -> DAC USB shield -> (computer USB shield)
 
I don't know if your problem is caused by a ground loop (for me, usually, symptoms are 60Hz hum.) But it's worth considering, because ground loop interactions with audio are very complex, especially when digital signals are involved.
 
This ground loop is very common on DACs and I've personally tried to investigate why DAC design doesn't eliminate this loop. I haven't had much success; I wish I knew more. My workaround is to use my computer's optical signal instead. This breaks the electrical connection between the computer and the DAC on one side of the loop, effectively breaking the loop.
 
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MD1032

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Here's what I would do:
 
Firstly, do you have a laptop, or a desktop? Laptops are inherently chock-a-block full of noise and simply moving your DAC farther away from your computer and other power sources will alleviate the non-ticking sounds you mentioned.
 
I've had this problem before with other devices, and I hate to say it, but it took me a while to troubleshoot every time I ran into it. The bottom line is that you need to spend a lot of time trying different drivers and uninstalling and reinstalling both the DAC and the USB ports. The first thing I would do is unplug the DAC, eradicate all associated software, and uninstall all of your USB ports. Start the computer up with as little running as possible. This includes antivirus...turn that stuff off, turn off all memory-heavy applications, period, and do not run any video games.
 
Think about it, the fact that it only happens when it's playing means that your computer is either sending it a bad signal or it's taking that signal and processing it incorrectly. Are you using upsampling or a weird bitrate in foobar? Turn all that crap off and use the default settings. Go into windows 7's sound panel and force everything to run at 16-bit and 44.1 khz. (Windows 7 by default uses 48 khz....stupid!!)...you may have to dig a while to find those settings, but they are in there.
 
Still not working? Go into the BIOS, disable the onboard sound (I always disable this on my desktops and it works out extremely well). Start up the computer and delete all sound-associated software, especially the onboard sound software, uninstall everything, restart, install necessary drivers, etc.
 
And when you're prompted to auto-install things, go for it. If you can get the windows universal drivers to work rather than the proprietary drivers it can either help you or hurt you, but it sounds to me like at this point things can't get any worse.
 
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holden4th

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Thanks for the reply. I'm due back on Thursday and will give this a try in the weekend. It's a PC. I'll be interested to se what happens when I link this with my laptop.
 
Another thought - many people who have complaints have an ASUS motherboard running W7x64.
 
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holden4th

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OK, this is where it's at. I've disabled onboard sound, worked with all the USB ports and also bought a powered USB hub. The HRT still has the same issues. The uDAC2 is working very well but while I'm online if I change pages a very slight sound is heard via the uDAC/E9. While it's a bit disturbing I can live with it.
 
I took the HRT to work and plugged it into my laptop and used my PA2V2 as the amp. It works perfectly and once I found out how to disable the mouse click sound I was in audio heaven. My laptop runs XP and I still think that W7x64 is the root cause of the audio problem. Every person who reports this is running this OS. I also wonder if Firefox might be an issue as mentioned above regarding changing of pages, etc.
 
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MD1032

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I'm starting to think there is some kind of USB electrical issues. I've had problems like that before where clicking on something with one of my Razer mice made audio blips occur. Disconnect all other USB devices and use only a PS/2 mouse or a build-in touchpad or something like that. I can't believe that you're hearing audio blips with both of your DACs just doing nothing but surfing the internet...that's bad. Could also be that your universal driver is corrupted...hope that isn't the case!
 
Oh, and have you tried these on a different computer?
 
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holden4th

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Quote:
I'm starting to think there is some kind of USB electrical issues. I've had problems like that before where clicking on something with one of my Razer mice made audio blips occur. Disconnect all other USB devices and use only a PS/2 mouse or a build-in touchpad or something like that. I can't believe that you're hearing audio blips with both of your DACs just doing nothing but surfing the internet...that's bad. Could also be that your universal driver is corrupted...hope that isn't the case!
 
Oh, and have you tried these on a different computer?
Yes, blipping describes this exactly! In do have a port and keyboard to try this out.
 
Could I have some more information regarding the Universal driver please? Do I uninstall and reinstall it? Where do I get it from  (MS?)
 
Apart from the laptop I have not tried this on another PC but a friend of mine recently got a new PC running W7x64 and I'd be interested in taking the uDAC2 around to his place and see what happens. Also. I have my old Win XP PC still hanging around. Could I somehow connect it to my current PC and run it solely as a music centre to see if this solves the problem.
 
Finally, in a thread on this site but in another forum (Portable Amps) this exact problem was discussed in relation to the iBasso D6. One poster claims to have solved the issue by running the DAC from the spare port for his monitor. At the moment I am using the digital port but there are two others available. The old trapezium shaped one and also a very slim port that looks like a USB but has a slightly different shape. Could I run my DAC out of one of these. Someone also mentioned optical out but I am not sure if I have this.
 
I am determined to solve this problem and all advice, however strange, will be considered and tried.
 
A last resort would be to buy an E7 to go with my E9 to see if that solves the problem but it does not appear to be as good a DAC as either the uDAC2 or the HRT Music Streamer.
 
 
 
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holden4th

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I took my uDAC to a friend's place to try it out on his system. He has a 6 month old Medion PC with 4Gb RAM running W7 64bit. The only real difference between his and mine is that he has an AMD chipset. To cut a long story short, the uDAC worked perfectly.
 
I currently have the HRT running from my work laptop which runs XP and that is also working perfectly. So I'll need to box on in trying to find out what is causing the issues with my home PC. I read somewhere that If I increase the amount of buffer from upwards of 100ms this might significantly improve (if not remove) the little audio blips that emanate via the uDAC but I haven't had a chance to try this yet. I have also installed J.River media player but while it will do kernel streaming it gives me an error message whenever i try to output using either ASIO or WASAPI. Any ideas about this?
 
Update:
 
NO ARTIFACTS whatsoever with the J River MC running the uDAC2 via kernel streaming. The HRT does have the static ticking still but it's a lot quieter than it was with Winamp so somehow either J  River or KS (I suspect the latter) has solved some of these issues.
 
Looks like the HRT is destined to stay at work but I might buy another E9 to go with it as I do like listening to music when I get the chance. I am impressed with the quality of the sound and the way that the E9 has brought my HD580s to life. I've got the Shure 840s at work and listening to them I began to miss that extra clarity that the Senns bring.
 
So in some sense kernel streaming seems to be a solution and with this in mind I might look at getting the E7 to go with the E9. All that said I can't work out why this method of output might make a difference.
 
BTW, the J River is an excellent media player with so many built in options that came as standard that other pro media players require you to download and install plugins.
 
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holden4th

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...and another possible solution. Looking at the back of my PC where the DVI and VGA ports are I have another port which I believe is, joy of joys, an HDMI port. I am not sure if it is the full size one or a mini version suffice to say that it is the width of a USB port, a lot thinner and with that typical trapezoid shape. I wonder if I get an HDMI to USB/B connector and see what happens with that. It will hopefully bypass any grounding issues or otherwise that I might have.
 
Any thoughts
 
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