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My hardware sings to me over the headphones!

Last response: in Systems
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September 4, 2007 7:39:34 AM

Hello,
My rig is described in my signature. I use the built in sound under Win XP SP2. From the first boot a strange phenomenon cought my attention:

Whenever I drag or scroll the mouse I hear a well defined buzz in my headphones. The buzz repears my actions with the mouse exactly. Later I noticed that all kinds of other hardware components are also sinning - each with their distinct voice. The hard drive sounds like a punctuated high pitch hiss. The video card counds like a continious deeper hiss whenever it is under 3d mode and is silent whie I'm on the windows desktop. Probably there are other components in this "orchestra", which I can't make out.

So what can cause this strange behaveour? Do I have a broken component?

Everything is brand new - I assembled the rig at home 4 days ago :(  I have to say I had to bend the motherboard to snap on the evil Intel cooler over the CPU. I hear this is normal but still it nags on my brain.
September 4, 2007 8:12:26 AM

Sounds like you have a short on your motherboard, perhaps due to bending it. I would check to make sure that you don't have a loose screw sitting underneath the motherboard, though, first. Make sure there isn't an extra standoff on the motherboard tray that is causing a short. If you still can't find it, try taking the whole system apart and putting it back together, piece by piece, making sure that everything is connected properly. If, after all this, it is still making a hissing noise, contact Gigabyte and see what they have to say about it (might be worth contacting them first, just because they take so long to reply). It may just be that the hissing is a design defect in the motherboard.

On the other hand, maybe your hardware is sentient, and is trying to communicate with you.
September 4, 2007 8:23:39 AM

I heard about this issue before, you must have the new AI components and your PC is trying to establish a network connection via your headphones to you.

On a more serious note, does this problem persist when you use different headphones or different speakers?
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September 4, 2007 9:37:03 AM

I get the same but i got this with both this pc and my old one, are you using a razer diamondback? I am willing to bet you are using onboard sound. Dont worry nothing is wrong, and no you likely don't have a short it is the electro magnetic forces being produced by the current from data transfer that does it, it interferes with the signal you are getting from your sound card. My hard drives (freaking noisy raptor) and my mouse do it too.

I am using sennheiser headphones too which means that they get anything that you hear from your sound card(onboard SUCKS) to you so any interference can be heard. If you buy a sound card you will likely eliminate this problem. I don't know why but i only occasionally get this problem. like right now it is not happening.
September 4, 2007 9:52:32 AM

The hissing and whatnot is actually feedback from other components. Ideally your computer has various filters that remove all of the extra noise you'd hear. Think of it as watching TV while you have your vacuum on. Unfortunately with your computer, you'll ALWAYS want the TV on when the vacuum is on. So the only solution is filters. Buying a better power supply might help(as it might have a beefier capacitor/inductor system to absorb more noise. Most likely though it's a byproduct of either poorly designed components or bad grounding. Hopefully your case is metal as this blocks alot of RF and other noise by having all the sides closed.

Try these options:

1. Close all the sides of your case(if it's metal as plastic doesn't block RF). Your case is electrically grounded out so RF is blocked.

2. Try different speakers, and a different soundcard if you have one. Try going to 2 speaker mode and 5.1 surround sound and see if it changes.

3. Try a different power supply.

4. If all else fails, then the cause must be something either software related(VERY unlikely) or a component you haven't changed out(motherboard, CPU).
September 4, 2007 10:36:51 AM

Mistery solved - my hardware wanted a cookie!

Jokes aside the situation turns out to be:
1) gigabyte decided to place the front panel audio plug all the way at the back of the mobo near the I/O pannel.
2) the wire from the case's front panel headphone plug runs across the width of the mobo and is offset just about 1 cm from it. Also it runs very close across the back of the GPU - almost touching. And at the start of it's journey it passes close to the top of the hard drives cage.
3) obviously this wire is badly shielded.

When I plug my headphones in the back panel plug of the mobo all noise seems to dissapear :) 

So here's something I bet view of you really wanted to learn - you can eavesdrop on your hardware if you run an unsheilded wire arround your case and plug headphones to it.

The question remains what should I do to shield this cable? I do intend to use the case front headphone plug.

Cheers,
Todor
September 6, 2007 7:44:21 AM

If you want to self shield the cable, I'd try possibly wrapping the wire in aluminum foil. wrap it good and tight, and somehow connect the aluminum foil electrically to ground. I've never done this, but electrically it should accomplish the same thing as a shielded cable would. Just make sure that all this extra metal you put in your computer isn't going to short anything out. You COULD also try wrapping it with aluminum foil as tightly as possible and then wrap that in electrical tape. You really don't need more than 2 or 3 full turns of aluminum foil so you don't need to take a foot of aluminum foil and wrap it around and squish it onto your wire and make it an inch thick. If you are patient and work really hard at it, you could probably shield the wire and use electrical tape and the wire would only look about as thick as a SATA cable.
!