Strange noises coming through speakers on new build

By Will_m
Jul 9, 2009
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  1. Hi there, I've recently built a new comp for audio work and everything is finally working except my now I can hear a strange garbled audio noise through my speakers once booted into windows. There is a constant ticking or whirring noise and when I move the mouse a I get a sound similar to a dial up modem noise. Halfway between a screech and a scrape.

    Things I have tried:

    • Isolating the mobo and all the components from the case placing the mobo on an anti static bag and then a card box.
    • Updating Bios, soundcard drivers and graphics card drivers.
    • I've also tried using the onboard sound and this produces the same results.
    • I've also tested the soundcard, video card, PSU, and HDD in my old computer and booting from the same HDD produces no unwanted noises what so ever, the only things I can't test are the CPU, RAM and obviously the mobo itself.
    I'm going a bit insane over this after about 8 phone calls to the retailer and numerous emails to gigabayte who don't seem to understand the problem.

    I have no way of testing the CPU but I can't see it being the cause of the problem

    Anyone's thoughts on this would be more than welcome. I even considered asking PC world (the only computer shop near me) for help, that's how desperate I'm getting.

    Here's the spec:

    Gigabyte EX58-UD5 Mobo
    Intel i7 920
    Noctua CPU cooler
    12 OCZ Ram 1600MHz
    ATI Radeon 4670 Graphics card (passive)
    EMU 1820 Soundcard + Breakout Box
    Be Quiet Dark Power Pro 650w PSU
    Sony DVD rw Optical Drive
    Western Digital system drive
    Samsung audio drive
    Seagate video drive

    Hope that's enough info for now and like I say if anyone can help please let me know as I meant to starting work on a friends music project soon.

    Regards,

    Will.
  2. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Suggest you begin unplugging cables and power sockets to see if you can make it stop... that may be a strange way of trouble shooting... But you may have audio feedback from a defective device... and first you have to find the device.
    I assume you have carefully checked each and every cable and connection... an assured that everything is fully plugged in...
    I would suspect the Sony optical drive, as we have seen noise emissions linked to that unit.

    Try to get down to power supply, hard drive, one memory module, audio socket, and speakers... And also test the speakers on a friend's computer.
    There are a great number of devices that, when defective, will cause this... so a systemized approach, with notes, may be helpful.
    This happens to broadcast engineers all the time... and it is usually a mistake they have made with one cable or connection or another.
  3. Will_m

    Will_m TechSpot Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 102

    Hi Raybay, thanks for the reply. I've got the system down to just CPU, PSU, 1 stick of RAM, the graphics card and obviously the HDD. I can actually hear the noises without the speakers being connected and I've tested the speakers in another system too so it's definitely not them.

    If I press my ear to the PSU I can hear the ticking/whirring noise described earlier and then when I move the mouse or open a program I can hear the screeching noise inside the PSU.

    From this I presumed it was the PSU but then I tried my old PSU (which works in another system and produces no noise) and this also could be heard making the same noises inside so that would suggest although the PSU is making these noises it's not the cause of the noises.

    So as I say I'm rather stumped,

    I've also tried the new PSU in my old system and there is no noise except at very hight volumes and even then it's more of a constant hum and mouse movement has no effect on it and that's at seriously high volume ie speakers on full.

    To me it almost seems like it's the mobo or the CPU as these are the only components I haven't been able to test in another machine.
  4. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    I am stumped as well. I am actually a licensed broadcast engineer with a lot of years in. It seems like we are always tracking down strange sounds telegraphed to new parts of the system... Anytime you have any component that can act as a crystal, you can sometimes have this event... but I don't really have a guess.
    Would you mind listing all the components... Motherboard, cpu, power supply, hard drive and whether SATA or EIDE, optical drive, and memory modules... I will put it to the sound engineers network. Somebody must have experienced this problem.
    If you have a strong magnifying glass and a lot of time, maybe you can carefully scan the motherboard, and capacitors (The little barrel-like things on some motherboards)
    I suspect your onboard audio is outof whack ... I am not familiar with your EMU card... nor the Be Quiet Dark Power PSU... But the motherboard has been faultless in our experience. We have seen a lot of behavioral problems out of Sony DVD players in the past two years... which model is it?
    More in the morning.
  5. Will_m

    Will_m TechSpot Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 102

    Hey Raybay, current components attached are as follows:

    Motherboard = Gigabyte EX58-UD5
    CPU = Intel core i7 920 (D0 Stepping Edition)
    CPU Cooler = Noctua NH-U12P SE1366
    Ram = 1 Stick of OCZ Gold PC3-12800C8 (1600MHz)
    Graphics Card = Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4670 Ultimate (Passive)
    System Drive = Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB SATA-II 32MB Cache
    PSU = Be Quiet Dark Power Pro 650w
    Soundcard = Emu 1820 (pro soundcard with breakout box)

    The Sony DVD drive has not been attached so it's not that. Also the noise still occurs even if I change to onboard sound so can't be the soundcard. The noise is definteley coming from within the PSU but like I say when I swap it for a PSU I know produces no noise in my other system the noise appears in that PSU too.

    This leads me to believe that it's something the motherboard is doing to the PSU. Also the noise does not happen when using headphones as opposed to speakers.

    I'm creating a video of the problem which will be up on youtube very soon so I'll add the link when it's uploaded.
  6. Will_m

    Will_m TechSpot Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 102

  7. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    I know this is a long shot, but are you old enough to remember the old "Crystal" sets of basic radio that Scouts used to play with to get merit badges?
    This sort of thing happens sometimes with TV sets and VCR's where one frequency will be picked up and resonate in an electronic device... it would all be one channel or "station" and would be of extremely poor sound quality... but I suppose there is no reason why it would not happen on a computer component.
    It almost has to have motherboard involvement... but all those diodes and such in the power supply could have one little device acting as a crystal. You would expect that it would happen across other similar Gigabyte boards.
    Nothing like this is recorded anywhere in our broadcasting newsletters or tech sites that I can find, and none of my broadcast friends has recent recollection of such a thing.
    Can you try changing or removing from the case all other devices... sound cards, graphics cards, even memory... even if not yet installed or turned on.

    Also, could it be as simple as one component resonating or amplifying a vibration from radio, stereo, iPod, or TV broadcast somewhere within 100 feet of the place where you live?

    We have had our hands in somewhere around 8,000 computers, not to mention other electronic gear, and have not come across this problem.

    Power supplies have lots of super cheap components from Asian... so it could be a crystal resonating, or other device resonating from something it picks up at a certain frequency... and of course the sound would change based on what becomes the resonator.

    I think Gigabyte will think you are nuts if you send the board back. But then again... like Rosanne Rosanna Danna said, it is always something.

    Changing out the power supply would be the obvious choice.
  8. Will_m

    Will_m TechSpot Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 102

    Hey Raybay thanks for the info, like I say I've ruled out the power supply as I have used it and all the other components (minus CPU and RAM) with a different mobo and no problems at all. Here is a vid I took today that shows the my old mobo with all the components from the new build:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PUP2WlrwiI

    So I guess that also rules out radio interference etc as it's in the same room in the same power sockets through the same speakers etc.

    I think I'm going to have to return the mobo and just pray it's defective, otherwise I have no idea what it can be.:confused:
  9. raybay

    raybay TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    Neighborhood interference?
    It has to be something, right?
    FM radio goes 50 Miles in a straight line. AM radio can go 2,500
    It IS interference...
    It could be the Commies or Al Quaida or that weird church across town or that stuff your woman fixed for dinner, or a gang of female terrorists from Canada or Fuji.
    Did you move the computer to a different room? Up stairs, basement, put it out in your Lexus?
    You send it back, and we will always wonder whatever happened to Ol Will M and his unlaunched spy satellite... or the...
  10. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 2,278

    I've noticed that if I leave my cell phone near one of my speakers, there will occasionally be some interference and some hissing/buzzing. Not sure if it relates to this problem, but if you have some other wireless equipment nearby it might be something to look at. Hopefully replacing the motherboard fixes it because that would drive me crazy.
  11. Will_m

    Will_m TechSpot Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 102

    ha, this made me smile. Just for you raybay I shall give it a go in another room (with my phone off).

    I still can't get why if it was interference then it would only happen with one mobo and not the other? Or do you mean that one mobo could be more susceptible to picking up interference?
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