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Thread: What's the crackling noise in my PC?

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    swords's Avatar
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    What's the crackling noise in my PC?

    So I'm playing around with my synth & recording software and I notice that I can hear a very faint static crackle. It's not just the software, not just the headphones (have 3 diff brands/styles) and it's not just the desktop as I can hear it in the laptop as well.

    If I set Audacity to record and don't do anything I record what seems like a very faint analog tape hiss flickering about the -24db level.

    I get the same noise if I wear the headphones and click on links around on the web or open programs. With headphones off you can't hear it because of the PC fan. But Audacity proves to me it's there by showing an input level. Anybody know what this noise is? does your PC do that if you have the headphones on but no music and click on things? Is it the processor?

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    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    Hard drives emit RFI/EMI that sometimes gets picked up by the soundcard. This can usually be solved by rearranging cables. Why your laptop would pick it up also is a mystery and might indicate another source.

    Try moving the laptop to another room and see if you still get the noise. Then look for sources of interference like a space heater or some other electronical gear you may have running.
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Vibrations from your fridge, dishwasher, neighbors, cooling fans, disk drives, etc. (Do you ever tap your feet nervously?) Also could be interference from your cell phone, fluorescent lights, poorly shielded wires in the wall, power or data cables crossed over your audio cables, a beefy or cheap CPU power supply... It could sound the same because it's an artifact produced at the lowest frequency your sound card supports.
    The processor itself is unlikely to produce much signal interference - at least I don't think it should. Microelectronics isn't something I've had a chance to do a lot of real study on. My quasi-informed guess is any EM radiation it produces would be at much higher frequencies and lower effective power than most interference-causing devices, because of the relatively low power of most processors and their extremely high rate of oscillation.
    ~Joe
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    Lucky Greenhorn Lil Stinkpot's Avatar
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    My cell is the biggest culprit here. Anywhere within 5 feet of any speaker, and I get noise. Try removing the cell from the room, and see what happens.
    If you shake a rain stick, you get rain. I need a hamata stick.
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    swords's Avatar
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    Thanks folks,

    I don't have a cell phone.

    There are plenty of fluorescent light banks in here but there's not much I can do about that! lol But they are only on until about 9:30 pm and I still get it when they're off.

    I will see if moving wires around (gently) does anything.

    Yeah it's weird how it's the exact same sound on the laptop. I haven't put Audacity on the laptop to see if it's the same -db or louder but I can hear it even without headphones on the laptop if I listen close since it has a far quieter fan.

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    Drew's Avatar
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    do you have a cordless phone ??

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    swords's Avatar
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    No cordless phone and no phone in the room with the PC. I keep the phone in the pantry by the front door and the PC is in the bedroom on the opposite side of the apartment. At least 50 feet according to the amount of wire I had to run to the bedroom.

    My DSL modem is on top the desktop PC case for want of somewhere to put the thing. However the laptop is not hooked up to online at all (except when the desktop goes kablooey) and it has the same noise.

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    You're a crafty type. Perhaps you could build a Faraday cage?
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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