TechSpot

Mouse/windows movements cause buzzing sounds

By CirTap
Jan 27, 2005
  1. Hi,

    I'm about to re-install my DAW (see profile) hoping to solve the phenomenon.

    Here are the symptoms which are driving me nuts, and which is the MAIN problem I need to solve:
    If I raise the sound volume (and I mean "medium") I can hear
    a) a deep sonic "heart beat" through the subwoofer
    b) some Star Wars Jedi sword fight like "buzzing" sound when moving the mouse or a window is being resized, dragged or scrolls

    If I turn up volume to 60-70%+, a crackling sound adds to the "heart beat" in the subwoofer which makes it sound like a turntable reaching the end grooves of a vinyl record (turntable and vinyl records = hardware/media used in the pre-CD area ;-> )
    Speakers are Tannoy monitors for the front channels, Heco for the rear, a Canton subwoofer, and a 2nd set for audition recordings with a cheap vanilla 5.1 PC desktop set. Both speaker sets buzz along with my mouse and any windows actions on the desktop ...

    The PC is supposed to be used as a DAW (digital audio workstation) for video editing, music recordings, and (serious) 3D graphics (not games)

    I was able to drill down the "heart beat" problem to the onboard LAN card: as soon as I disable the device (BIOS or device manager) the beats are gone.

    The former setup (XP pro SP1) caused the very same problems, but apparently a *new board* and replacing the video card didn't solve this. I still have another ATX power supply here with "PFC" -- whatever that means -- which I'm still due to replace (all those wires...)

    OS + drivers:
    - fresh install of XP-pro (en) SP2 (installed via slipstreamed SP1 CD)
    - .NET 1.1 framework w/ SP
    - latest ATI Catalyst drivers (not the older Sapphire)
    - latest Audigy2 ZS driver updates and apps incl. THX console (EAX console is not installed - I use VST for F/X)
    - DirectX9c (as part of SP2 I think)
    Using XPLite pro (1.5) I uninstalled some of the M$ kids-toys such as NetMeeting, crappy Movie Maker, and Media Player; then reinstalled the WMA9 codec distributables as they're req. for the playback of some footage.

    what I tried so far:
    * reinstalled all from scratch as noted above; initial install was XP SP1 having the same problems
    * searched the ATI and Creative forums/boards for similar effects; found some old entries mentioning
    - to disable DMA(!) on the harddrives (tried - didn't solve)
    no DMA woudn't make sense on a DAW anyway ...? wrong?
    * tried MSKB search but no success
    * to find out if it's the mouse driver, I wrote a script that resizes windows programmatically: still buzzes, ergo it's not the mouse
    * my audio editor scrolls the window if ot plays a wave, and thi scrolling causes the same effect w/o my interacting

    I believe that as the heart-beat comming from the LAN cand it's all somewhat related to the hard drives or AGP/IDE bus, because any activity on the drives (not the CD/DVD!) adds a low frequency equivalent (< 100 Hz) of the old-fashion "hard drive spin-up rattling" we know from noisy SCSI devices.

    Many audio-pro forums discourage having ACPI active in the BIOS for DAWs, and as this is not a laptop I'll probably do a 3rd installation of this w/ ACPI disabled. Good? Bad?
    In the M-audio newsletter archive they recommended using "MPS Multiprocessor PC" in the XP setup routine (DOS part) instead of "ACPI Multiprocessor PC".

    I don't care saving 20W a year with ACPI enabled: it'll never save me the money I allready invested in the hardware and software and I donÄt mind keeping this machine up and running all-day-long.

    However, I somehow doubt that ACPI is the true source of this phenomenon, but rather the combination of the ATI X800 and Creative Audigy2. But hey: I'm not an expert :)
    They're now connected to
    - AGP
    - PCI slot 4, the last one
    the Audigy2 has been pluggininto PCI2 before - same prob -, unfortunately PCI3 is almost unavailable, as the card will then cover the Floppy connector ... pretty impractical mobo design.

    I do not need any of the "goodies" or tools these manufactorers provide, esp. all those game-related tweak settings in their control panels. I'm complete satisfied if I can make fast renders (in OpenGL, too) and create & listen to high quality (surround) audio, and do some regular "work" with this otherwise nice machine.

    There's no data to keep on this machine, so I though about
    - just ripping all the unneeded hardware off
    - do another - 3rd - fresh install of XP
    - install the ATI and Audigy2 drivers
    - add the "extra" hardware one by one
    - and if I find the mood: use the other PSU

    I dunno if there are some "common"
    - IDE / ATA drives issues
    - AGB video and PCI sound card troubles
    - with ASUS boards ...
    I don't do and care of PC video games, so FPS is no goal, but good audio quality and fast data processing (I'm satisfied with the general speed of this machine)

    I'd also like to know about the minimalistic install for the ATI and Audigy2 cards. Their CD setup alsways installs a lot of crap I don't want and need - in fact I don't even know *what* I "need" to run the _system_.
    I somewhow "lost" the ASIO control panel for the Audigy since I only installed the drivers only - now it just gives me a small dialog box with the ASIO logo sitting there. I saw a "bigger" one before with input-output channels assignment, when I made a full install of the Application CD.
    But I certainly do *not* need any of their cool looking applications, like another fancy looking Media Player/Manager or useless CD/DVD Burning software if I have Nero ...

    So beside trying to get rid of the buzzing, any hint's on what to install *at least* to work with this hardware and to configure their rudimentary settings would be nice to know of.

    Any help is highly appreciated, and thanx a bunch in advance!

    Have fun,
    CirTap
     
  2. The Best Alias

    The Best Alias TS Rookie Posts: 147

    Greetings!

    This thread might be of interest to you. http://www.techspot.com/vb/showthread.php?t=17179
    If you are going to start clean, you may want to try this approach, especially if you plan to shell out for some REAL audio hardware. Someday I paln to get some REAL audio hardware too.

    I've read a ton of posts here lately about people having issues with Creative Labs sound hardware. The most common problem seems to be incompatable drivers with OEM packaged hardware. I have a hard time knocking Creative Labs. You usually get a lot of bang for the buck out of their products, but they've become just a freaking huge outfit, and with that comes issues a new. I'm still using a rather old Sound Blaster Live for my stereo mix, but it's connected to a California Audio Labs DAC because the SB's DAC is completely unacceptable.

    From reading your system profile, I do not see any obvious hardware conflicts. I would look at IRQ sharing via system information. WinXP tends to stack sound hardware and everything else on IRQ11. If you are using a USB mouse, and XP has USB and sound hardware sharing the same interrupt, I'd bet you a pair of twinkies that's your problem. I have NOTHING USB on my audio work station. I had a USB printer that was causing audio glitches once upon a time. Under normal circumstances, WinXP views sound hardware as low priority. It'll cough up resources for even a NIC before audio. The thread I linked will explain how to work around this and make XP look at the PCI bus like a standard PC. Then you can assign IRQs to PCI slots from BIOS and prioritize your audio.

    Best of luck to you. Please post back how you resolve your issue.
     
  3. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 9,431

    My first ideas were hanging the mouse and keyboard protocols too. Also, set the NIC to 10Mbit speeds.

    Many PCs also have a "spread spectrum" setting in BIOS. Turn that on.
     
  4. nein

    nein Banned Posts: 226

    Your problem required Electrical Engineering, by your posting contents as point of reference - you definitely are not an EE.

    Go find a forum with EEs for your questions, you'll get better answers.
     
  5. CirTap

    CirTap TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    Hi y'all,
    thanx for your tips.
    @nodsu: the LAN card is no prob, I can easily disable it anyway and only activate it if it's really needed. I usually don't "surf and conduct" :) and i still have my laptop to download stuff if I'm in a hurry. But I'll try the 10MBit trick.

    @nein: ja - I'm no EE :) I hope I do *not* need one, and as I blame the PC hardware for all this (remember, this box was running in different locations with the same trouble) I dunno if an EE may help me anyway. We'll see ...

    @best alias: the lpost you refer to kinda mirrors the tips and tricks I found in the M-Audio forum; no AHCI, fixed PCI/IRQs. I didn't know about this IRQ11-thing.

    I now have a USB mouse connected, however I used a PS/2 one before - same buzz.

    Yesterday I successfully killed XP :) so I'll install all the stuff from scratch, AHCI disabled using the "F7" setup feature mentioned in the article. This makes three sources recommending this procedure ;-)

    I'll be back if it's back running. (I dunno why, but for some reason I didn't like the idea of aving a SB card inside ... but this was not my descision ...)

    C y'all!!
    CirTap
     
  6. CirTap

    CirTap TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    Hi,
    i just wanted to let you know that I'm not yet done with this. I had to do some "serious work", which kept me pretty busy since my last posting.
    I even haven't had the time to cleanup the piles of disks, hardware and cables laying around, and XP's still as dead as it was when I left.
    As soon as this baby is up and runnin' again I'll let you know, and hopefully by then I got rid of the annoyance which led me to this place.
    "I'll be back..."

    Have fun,
    CirTap
     
  7. CirTap

    CirTap TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    Soved - Audigy2 + ASUS suxx!

    Hi y'all,

    it's fixed :) After all the prob was more or less caused by IRQ conflicts. But it's been very tricky to get around this due to this goddam "plug and play".

    The procedure ...
    - booted with BartPE from CD and used Everest (former "AIDA32") to check the current assignments and really identify the conflicts at all. MSINFo32 was no real help. The results differed slightly from the MSINFO32 output and were much more detailed.

    BIOS:
    - reserved IRQ 3 and 10 for "legacy PCI"
    - disabled "USB legacy"
    - disabled "onboard Sound" (anyway)
    - enabled "onboard LAN" ('cos required)
    - disabled "ACPI support" (but keep APM)
    - disabled "assign IRQ to VGA" (as this is an AGP card it's not req.)
    - checked "external AGP" ( I *think* this was "auto" before)
    disabling COM1 (IRQ4) may also help if COM ports are not needed (modem, old Palm-cradle and such), this gives another available IRQ.

    Audigy2 is plugged into PCI4 - the last one(!)

    XP Setup:
    with ACPI disabled, there's a need to select another "HAL" during the text only setup part. This is described in http://support.microsoft.com/kb/309283 - typicaly MS, always hiding options %-/
    - I tried to hit this F7-key in the text setup part to select "MPS Multiprocessor PC"; missed that point somehow or it didn't work, however, the PC now runs as "Standard PC"*) w/o Hyperthreading :-(
    - after XP setup has completed, I installed the Audigy WDM drivers, reboot, next: WDM driver update dated July 2004, reboot
    - in BIOS, freed the previously blocked IRQ3 and 10
    - Audigy2 now uses (shared) IRQ3 alone - as COM2 is neither req. nor used here there's no real physical conflict and as such no problem
    - then with super-extrem-turbo volume settings a very, very decent "humm" was still audiable but far from than the previously extremly prominent buzz
    - installed latest ATI Catalyst inc. Multimedia drivers (not the older Radeon ones)
    - reboot ...

    pmp up the volume ... silence ...
    me smile -- me happy :)

    *) I'll try this F7-thing later again to have "dual CPU" support back

    So the "trick" was to block some IRQs first incl. the correct AGP settings (external, no IRQ to VGA), then install the audio driver, then free the blocked IRQs again and install the graphics driver. Maybe one can interchange these two steps (ATI first them Audigy -- dunno)
    However, the ATI card does not req. an IRQ *now* due to the correct BIOS setting, so this setting seems more important to me. Maybe obvious to other, but hey: I'm a hardware-DAU, remember?

    As a result, I now only have the "native" 15 IRQs listed and not a set of shared 20-something as before.

    Well, sadly to say, but this is *not* the perfect solution for the long run:
    - when I activated the USB "legacy support" - the buzz slightly reappeared and IRQs were partially "shifted" to other numbers
    - when I move the Audigy to PCI3 - the buzz came back...and I also had to reinstall the drivers (???) stupid Windoze ... or stupid SB drivers?

    Nevertheless, it IS possible to get away with the buzzing and it's reproduceable [on this box], and if I install with the settings above things are fine.
    But I'm pretty shure that there'll be no way to add any other PCI card later which renders the other slots useless! No 2nd audio card or anything else!

    My summary: it can be done, but MHO this hardware configuration really sucks.
    I cannot recomment this board (due to it's shabby impractical layout) nor the Audigy2 card for "pro audio" usage for several reasons [****ty ASIO support is one of it] -- The Audigy2 IMHO is for games only. Period.
    I really dunno why we got this card in the first place ... %-/ no good and Ill kick this crap asap to eBay and use something right.

    BIG THANK YOU to The Best Alias who pointed me into the right direction. It's sad that using USB 2.0 will cause problems among other things, and my next DAW will be better planned :)

    Have fun,
    CirTap
     
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