Alright, so before I moved into where I am now, I had my 5.1 surround sound hooked into my dell xps 720 no problem, however, now I just finished hooking the system back up (with much frustration), and I am getting a buzzing sound from the speakers whenever audio is playing. This has also happened with another set of speakers on the front panel. I used some aluminium foil over the power strip and outlets (since the cords pass over them) to shield EMI but that did not change. What's going on?
My last house was apparently not grounded, this one is, is it possible that the grounding is causing this?
It could be any number of items causing the buzz. If you want to be 100% sure to eliminate it, use balanced connections. If your equipment doesn't offer balanced connections then use a balance buddy to interconnect them. Like this - http://www.rane.com/bb44x.html#gpm1_1
A simple fix you can try is to remove the ground pin (3rd pin) from the 3-prong power connector on the plug strip the computer is connected to, that goes into the wall. You might want to try that with an inexpensive one just in case it doesn't provide a benefit in audio quality. Sometimes a bad ground or ground loop causes the hum/buzz.
I wouldn't rip out the ground prong from your power strip but instead buy a 3 prong to 2 prong adapter.
A buzz is different from a hum. A ground loop problem is a 50-60Hz sound. Ground loop problems generally occur when the house is grounded at two spots. If you have cable, the cable company grounds their wires. You could try un-connecting all the cables wires in the house from any equipment first.
If it is really a buzz, that could indicate other problems. If it is really a buzz, respond back after trying the fixes and we can recommend something else.
Well, I grabbed a random old audio card, a Creative SB Audigy and threw that in my system, low and behold, no buzzing, so something happened to the on board driver or something. (had an older dell xps where I had to do the same thing)