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Computer audio troubleshooting help

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  • Sound Cards
  • Audio
  • Computers
  • Components
Last response: in Components
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September 20, 2011 5:26:32 AM

Hi all,

I am at my wit's end. After moving apartments about 3 months ago, my computer's audio began glitching periodically. It occurs in all audio sources I've tried (mp3, flac, flash, video game audio) and it changes from instance to instance, sometimes more of a skip (slightly distorted audio, then silence, then resumed audio all in the span of ~1/2rd of a second) and sometime more of a "grinding" sound (still for ~1/2 a second). During this brief period, it sounds like the audio is halting, rather than continuing but not (eg, when it happens in the middle of a lyric, the first half of the word will play, then it will glitch, then the second half of the word will play). For instance, if a

Before I go into what I've done to troubleshoot it, here is my set up:

CPU: Intel i7-930 @ 2.8 ghz
Motherboard: Asus P6X58D-E (Realtek High Definition Audio)
Memory: 2x 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 1600
Sound Card: Creative X-Fi Titanium
Video Card: XFX HD 5850
Primary (OS) drive: OCZ Vertex 2 60GB
Storage drive: Haitachi SATA II 2TB HDD 7200RPM
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Speakers: Logitech Z-5500
Headphones: ATH M50

Here is what I've done to troubleshoot (in chronological order):

- Tried various Realtek High Definition Audio drivers (R2.65, R2.42, R2.22) The latest drivers caused the glitch to occur less frequently, but it still happened.
- Full reformat of OS drive
- RMA motherboard
- Tried various Realtek High Definition Audio drivers again
- Tried new memory (Crucial 2GB DDR3 1066)
- Installed discrete sound card (Creative X-Fi Titanium)

Unfortunately, none of this solved the issue. I have also verified that it isn't a problem with my Z-5500s or my ATH M50s by reproducing the problem on both and by playing hours of music on both out of an ipod and -never- hearing the glitch.

There are really only two other things that I can think of:

- There is something wrong with one of my hard drives. I am disinclined to believe this as audio glitches are the only symptom. Video and games play perfectly (other than the audio for video and games which glitches and skips). I also used HD Tune Pro and watched the I/O from my storage drive as I played music and there didn't seem to be anything special about those moments when it was glitching.
- There is something wrong with my CPU. I have no idea what could possibly be wrong with it that it would do everything else fine but not audio, but it is the only part of my PC that I haven't swapped out yet (I tried and Intel made it such an impossible hassle to RMA that I gave up for the time being)

I really can't think of anything else that it could be.

The only remaining shred of information I have is that it (very anecdotally) seems to happen slightly more often when my computer is "doing something" (opening a new program, moving between tabs in a browser, etc.). That said, it also happens when I'm not doing anything else at all and it does not correlate to high CPU use (I've never seen CPU usage higher than 50% when it happens).

If you can think of -anything- that could be causing this, even if its a 1 in a million chance, please please please let me know. I'm completely desperate at this point as I listen to music most of my waking hours. The glitch happens 15-200 times an hour and it is slowly driving me completely and totally insane.

Thanks for the help!

Morgoth314

More about : computer audio troubleshooting

September 20, 2011 12:07:44 PM

I've heard of this happening, and first remember hearing about it a few months ago. Basically, for about half a second, the audio either stops or stutters, then recovers again, right? Is it happening constantly, once per boot, etc?
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September 20, 2011 3:57:20 PM

Thats a pretty good description. And it happens constantly though it tends to happen in clusters and can range from 1x every 4 minutes up to 15x a minute. Rebooting doesn't seem to make much of a difference.
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September 20, 2011 6:30:55 PM

Hmm...I have that issue, but only once per boot, and only in games. Started about 3 months ago, which matches the time I started to hear about the issue...

First and formost, for debugging purposes, ditch the soundcard. [Especially since Creative cards tend to do the same exact thing...]. Makes it easier to test whats going on.

Secondly, try another format, but make sure to NOT install any windows updates [disconnect your ethernet cable, just to be safe]. I'm wondering if its a windows update problem.

Thirdly, if you have any motherboard monitering utilities, turn them off, just in case they are conflicting.

Not sure whats causing it, but you've tested just about every component you could test. Its not hte CPU; if it was broken, you'd know it. Could be PSU related, but if its happening with low CPU loads, thats doubtful [but still possible].
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