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X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champion I/O heaphone buzzing issues in Win 7

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March 12, 2012 11:42:09 AM

Hi All, have gotten a lot of help from these boards via searching but first time posting a question.

I recently purchased an X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champion (long name...) almost entirely for the front panel connections (my Antec 900 doesn't seem to play well with the front panel).

Audio through my speakers sounds great, no problems whatsoever (other than occasional driver issues which I have since fixed), and I had thought the front panel I/O headphone jack sounded beautiful as well. That was until I put the cans on to play some games. Once I had jumped into Mass Effect 3 I got a nasty buzzing sound, very steady, not like induced sound from a hard drive or mouse. I exited and checked my connections, all solid, tried other games (seems to be present in ME3, ME2, Source games, basically every game I tried). Unlike simple static and hisses from grounding/case issues (endemic to Antec 900s), this constant buzzing is constant in certain situations. I use ME3 as my example since it is the most I have tried it with. During the splash screen for Bioware/EA, as well as the opening splash screen, no buzz. When the main menu is loading, buzz occurs, but stops once it loads. During the loading screen, no buzz, but once in game, the buzz doesn't go away unless I enter a loading screen (and of course it returns when back in game).

This buzz does NOT exist, as far as I have been able to replicate, outside of a game. Browsing, listening to music, chatting online, does not cause the buzz. Another odd thing I noticed, is that the buzz has nothing to do with volume. No matter what I turn the volume to, the buzz always stays at the same exact level. AKA, the buzz seems to be entirely independent of audio volume.

Suffice it to say, I bought the Champion version for the I/O to replace the shoddy Antec front panel audio, not to mention superior sound quality from on board. I need headphones occasionally to either isolate my noise from the rest of the house, or to appreciate the sounds that my non-surround sound speakers won't pick up.

Any help would be appreciated.

Rig Stats:
Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
Intel I5-2500k
ASrock Extreme4 Gen 3 P67 Mobo
16GB 1866 DDR3
EVGA GeForce GTX-570 2.5GB
3x Seagate 7200RPMs (2 in RAID 1, one for media, all connected on SATA)
X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champion series (with I/O panel)
Antec 900 case

Thanks again!
March 12, 2012 11:40:19 PM

OK, I played around a little bit and found a couple of things.

It is most definitely related to my graphics card. Older games and less graphically involved games have less buzz (Plants VS. Zombies its audible if you really listen but my ambient office noise is enough to make it unnoticeable). Games that seem to use more graphical power make the buzz VERY loud, and only ear-busting volumes mitigate it (Mass Effect 3 is unbearable, but BF3, which I imagine has more efficient use of the GPU or memory, is audible but less noticeable).

After wondering if its the graphics card only, I opened up the case and played with the cable connecting the front panel to the X-fi, and low and behold, when I move it around, the unmutable buzz is affected by moving it around. Ironically, the more I moved it, the worse it got until I put it back the way I had it, coiled up. Even if I pulled it free of the case away from the GPU it seemed to get worse. I will have to try and position the X-fi away form the GPU, but all the PCI-E slots are next to it. Hopefully someone else has a potential fix?
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March 15, 2012 5:50:48 PM

FWIW I have the same sound card as you and the same problem through the front panel only.

I hear the bad noises through my right headphone only. They comprise crackling, beeping (from a USB device providing access to wireless networking), and horrible squealing depending on how hard the GPU is working.

When I move the internal HD audio cable around it has no effect. I have no real solution yet :( 
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