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Degraded sound quality in games

Last response: in Components
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June 3, 2011 11:21:43 AM

Hi guys,

I have been having this problem for a while. Basically, sound quality goes down (think of random crackling sounds or sound skipping, but this happens every few seconds).

I have the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R (Rev 2.0) motherboard and am using its onboard soundcard (Realtek ALC889, I think). I've read on the board that people have had similar issues with this motherboard but it happens to them all the time. In my case, it only happens when games are being played (especially noticeable if I have games and mp3s playing at the same time). So I'm not sure if the motherboard is in fact the culprit.

What I have tried:
- Playing with speakers (via 3.5mm jack)
- Playing with headphones (via 3.5mm jack) and via the headphone jack in my speaker volume control pod.
- Played using a USB DAC (Fiio E7)
- Output Game Sound to Onboard Sound to speakers + Output MP3 Sound to USB DAC to headphones (Result was similar sound degradation through both speakers and headphones!!)

Nothing has worked so far, as soon as I exit the game, audio quality returns to normal. I was thinking of getting a new soundcard, but since the USB DAC failed, I'm almost convinced that getting a new soundcard wouldn't help at all.

Any advice guys? Thanks!
June 5, 2011 1:03:18 AM

Forgot to also mention that I had this problem when I had two different graphics cards:
- Previously: Gigabyte GT 240
- Currently: Gigabyte GTX560

As the problem existed with my old graphics card, which was a low-end budget card (which I presume doesn't take much to power), would it be safe to say that the power supply shouldn't be the issue with this sound problem?
June 5, 2011 1:42:05 PM

does anyone have any ideas? o.O Or could I have posted this in the wrong section?
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June 6, 2011 12:37:28 PM

Well, of course using .mp3's at the same time would cause some degregation; onboard doesn't have the best mixers avaliable, so your probably sending more audio signals then the chipset can physically take.

Likewise, any particular games that have issues?

Finally, just for kicks, CPU? Could be seeing a CPU bottleneck, though I doubt it...
June 9, 2011 1:14:33 PM

Sorry for the late response, guys!

I have the same issue with games in windowed mode and full-screen mode :(  I currently play World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2 and Crysis 2. All these games have the problem.

The issue occurs even without playing mp3s, it just seems to happen more often when MP3s are playing. Or at least its more noticeable when they're playing in the background.

Any ideas?

June 30, 2011 4:44:05 AM

As strange as this sounds, when this happened to me, it was the first sign of my PSU dying. I upgraded to a new PSU and suddenly everything worked better.
!