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Onboard audio, static, and speakers (oh my!)

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Sorry if the numbering seems odd. It prevents a wall of text and is easier to comment on thumb.gif

1) Minimal issues with desktop before swapping out a few parts
2) Installed new CPU, aftermarket heatsink/fan, SSD, and second HDD; it's been one problem piled onto another
3) Currently trying to resolve static noise I get through headphones and monitor speakers
4) Most prominent through headphones (Audio-Technica ATH-M35) when plugged into front panel headphone jack
5) Only recently noticed static through speakers (had to know what to listen for) which are plugged into the back
6) No static when headphones are plugged into rear port - I unplug the speakers entirely and plug the headphones into the same jack
7) Uninstalled all audio drivers found under "Device Manager" - currently using whatever Windows automatically installed when I restarted my computer (issue persists)
8) No change when I unplugged my webcam, Rocksmith USB cable, or even my monitor's speakers from the rear port
9) I believe the motherboard/PSU/aftermarket heatsink might be generating stronger EM interference than before (if the headphones are insulated well, that would explain why I can only hear static through the speakers when plugged into the back) - the problem exists for both the front and rear headphone jacks and there's too low of a chance for both the front and rear jacks to be going bad simultaneously
10) With no access to another desktop, how can I test my hypothesis (of the motherboard/power supply/heatsink being the culprit(s))?
11) I would like to buy a speaker system (I've only experienced stereo computer audio, sadly), but I have no way of knowing if the static will show up again through a new system


The static issue seems very prevalent and I'm surprised so many people have similar issues, but I've seen very few solutions. Guess I should spend more than $60 on a tower next time (also my first/last mid-tower). Anyway, any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

EDIT: My apologies. After some reading, I assume 99% of you will tell me to get off onboard sound, anyway, and will reference the stickies for recommended sound cards. Nevertheless, I'd still like to try to get this problem sorted out as it could even affect a sound card! sadsmiley.gif
Edited by Metallica93 - 3/19/14 at 9:30pm
    
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post #2 of 10
Audio-Technica ATH-M35 - Impedance: 65 ohms
Note that the Realtek ALC889 chip has an output impedance of 2000 ohms ALC889

Those headphones won't work with that on board sound.
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post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billbartuska View Post

Audio-Technica ATH-M35 - Impedance: 65 ohms
Note that the Realtek ALC889 chip has an output impedance of 2000 ohms ALC889

Those headphones won't work with that on board sound.
Thank you for the reply, but two things:

1) That can't be right as the headphones and onboard sound worked perfectly before and
2) I don't know what link you posted because it requires a password. Isn't "ftp" related to Linux or something?
    
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post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metallica93 View Post

Thank you for the reply, but two things:

1) That can't be right as the headphones and onboard sound worked perfectly before and
2) I don't know what link you posted because it requires a password. Isn't "ftp" related to Linux or something?

Impedance is kind of like resistance, except impedance changes as the frequency of the signal changes.
V=IR (Ohms Law) states that In an electrical circuit (like an amplifier), as resistance (or impedance) goes up, voltage goes down and as resistance (or impedance) goes down, voltage goes up. So, low impedance loads cause higher voltage. It may be that your on board sound finally succumbed to that higher voltage.

Sorry about the link, it was just a PDF about the specs (impedance) of your onboard sound processor.

The usual drill is to try different headphones/speakers with the amp and a different amp with the headphones/speakers.
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post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
< Used to be a physics major. No need for the explanation (save for the last sentence), but thank you, nonetheless smile.gif

That being said, I'm fairly confident my results from using my two sets of headphones on a different computer will yield the results I expect: they'll work perfectly. I'll still test them, just to be sure.

It's looking more and more like I won't be able to fix the onboard audio issue and I've seen enough threads trying to explain the difference a sound card will make. Sound card + speakers (unless I use my headphones 24/7 to bypass my terrible computer monitor speakers) = $$

Looks like I have some saving to do frown.gif
    
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post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metallica93 View Post

< Used to be a physics major.

... the difference a sound card will make. Sound card + speakers

Looks like I have some saving to do frown.gif

Well, I used to be a Chemist!

As for a sound card, I'd just skip over that. Go directly to a DAC and an amp (or DAC and powered speakers). An amp off of ebay, Craig's list, house sale, or from a high end audio dealer. If music is part of your life, that's where you're going, eventually. Just skip the steps (and $$$) in between.

And, yes, better SQ is more $$$.

One last shot in the dark. Check your computer's latencies with DPC Latency Checker


Edited by billbartuska - 3/20/14 at 8:26pm
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post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
A chemist, huh? Well, does this rag smell like chloroform to you? tongue.gif

I still haven't installed the other audio drivers, but the DPC Latency Checker had me anywhere from 80-120 microseconds and I didn't have to disable any drivers. According to it, everything was hunky dory.


From what I've learned, sound cards tend to have decent DACs, but not so good amps. It's still better than my current setup, but since music is the intended career path I'll wait to get something medium-to-high-end, at the least. For now, it looks like I'll have to live with using the headphones 24/7 as I can't stand even the occasional static from my monitor speakers... A DAC/amp combo with a pair of good monitors sounds like a good starting point to save up to. I'm just confused on where you would plug headphones into if you had a separate DAC and amp (I assume the amp since it drives the signal further?). Lastly, should I look into a headphone upgrade along with the other audio gear or is that all personal preference once you get past the ~$80 range?

Thanks for the help, thus far, [billbartuska]. Muchly appreciated.

EDIT: And Chicagoland area? Same here. Can't wait for construction season thumb.gif
    
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post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metallica93 View Post

From what I've learned, sound cards tend to have decent DACs, but not so good amps.
That's like saying "Blue shirts are more comfortable.". Maybe some are (do) , maybe some are not (don't).

since music is the intended career path See below

Lastly, should I look into a headphone upgrade along with the other audio gear... ? Again, below

When music is a part of you life you are always looking forward do the next upgrade.
As I see it, in the lifelong journey to the ultimate SQ, we are all just at a particular stopping point based on what we can afford at a particular time, with the next addition to our systems carrying us further on down the road.

That being said, stepping away from on board sound and sound cards is usually the first step people take. A combination of an external DAC and separate Amp is where you want to be (whether its a headphone amp, powered speakers, or an amp to power speakers ).
And yes, its all personal preference. If there was a "best" what ever, at the ??? price point, everyone would be buying it. and there soon would be no other brands on the market.
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post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billbartuska View Post

When music is a part of you life you are always looking forward do the next upgrade.
As I see it, in the lifelong journey to the ultimate SQ, we are all just at a particular stopping point based on what we can afford at a particular time, with the next addition to our systems carrying us further on down the road.

That being said, stepping away from on board sound and sound cards is usually the first step people take. A combination of an external DAC and separate Amp is where you want to be (whether its a headphone amp, powered speakers, or an amp to power speakers ).
And yes, its all personal preference. If there was a "best" what ever, at the ??? price point, everyone would be buying it. and there soon would be no other brands on the market.
So that was just a misinformed generalization about sound cards, got it. And I like that analogy regarding "the ultimate SQ". The only addition I would make is that you have to factor in the Law Of Diminishing Returns. It's not even 'our' ears, as humans, but different people will only be able to hear different frequencies (i.e. higher/lower than the norm) or detect clarity up to a certain point. I don't know much about the physics of acoustics (yet) so I'm not sure what that cutoff would be and when we could know we're just wasting our money tongue.gif

Out of curiosity, if everything is preference, why did you mention an external DAC and a separate amp? Were you just using that as an example or do DAC/amp combos usually not perform as well as the devices separate? I'm actually inclined to believe the latter as I'd rather have two objects that excel at performing their function than one object that can't do as good a job.
    
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post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by billbartuska View Post

Audio-Technica ATH-M35 - Impedance: 65 ohms
Note that the Realtek ALC889 chip has an output impedance of 2000 ohms ALC889

Those headphones won't work with that on board sound.

For clarification the data sheet says its 200 ohms non-amplified and 2 ohms amplified.
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