Popping/crackling audio on certain software

I recently built a HTPC - here's a list of parts:
-Asus M4A88T-M LE mobo
-AMD Sempron 130 CPU (unlocked to two cores)
-Kingston KVR1066D3N7K2 (2 GB x 2)
-Apex DM-317-A slim HTPC case
-Samsung SH-B123L Blu-ray combo drive

Running Windows 7 Ultimate x64

The mobo I had in my previous all-purpose rig, and everything else is new. My previous build also doubled as my HTPC, and with that mobo everything worked fine - it would pass stereo system audio through the S/PDIF port with no problems, and it would also pass through DTS/DD/AC3 with no problems. The front and rear speaker ports also worked with no issues.
In my new build, I get a lot of crackling/popping sounds from the audio, but not in every application. DTS/DD/AC3 passthrough plays with no issues, as does audio from Spotify (of all the things). Everything else I've tried so far (iTunes, movie files without DTS etc, Hulu, Netflix) cracks and pops without end. The strangest part is, is that I have the same problem through both the front and rear speaker ports: Spotify will play fine, but everything else cracks and pops. I've tried reinstalling drivers, cleaning the mobo, different cables. . .everything I can think of. My first thought was that perhaps I had damaged the mobo, but it seems odd that it would play pass-through audio just fine. What really gets me is that Spotify will play fine through both S/PDIF and the regular audio ports, but nothing else I've tried will. I'm at my wits end.
7 answers Last reply
More about popping crackling audio software
  1. Time for a Sound Card
  2. That's what I was afraid of. . . there doesn't seem to be a huge selection of sound cards that are low profile and have a S/PDIF port.
  3. Okay, now things just got weirder - I found an old USB audio box that came with a headphone/mic combo, and it's still behaving the same way. I get clean sound from Spotify, but everything else cracks/pops/goes in and out. I should also add that when I play the test tones in the properties section of audio playback devices, those also play fine. As well as various driver installs/uninstalls/reinstalls, I also tried a complete clean install of Windows to no avail.
  4. Hmm, Look up your board and see if there has been similar problems. Also make sure everything is updated and your cables are good.
  5. Figured it out - just for kicks I tried disabling the core I had unlocked, and the problem went away. It was running stable under Prime95, so I didn't even consider it when I was first troubleshooting. Who knew. Thanks for the responses.
  6. I've seen people use the default "High Definition Audio Device" drivers that come with Win Vista/7 have these issues several times. Some applications have pops and crackles, and some play just fine. You need to go get the actual drivers for the sound card. Consult the manufacturer's website for the actual drivers. I dont know if it's just me, but it seems Realtek audio seems to have this problem more than other brands when using the default windows sound drivers.
  7. I tried the drivers from Realtek that came with the mobo install CD (worked fine for that board with a different CPU), Realtek drivers from their website, and the built in Windows drivers and had problems with all of them (and also had problems under Ubuntu, as I mentioned). Disabling the unlocked core is the only thing that worked.
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