1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

White-ish noise

By oranjjjg · 9 replies
Aug 31, 2008
  1. Since about a month ago my speakers have randomly (when not listening to any audio) been making a soft white static noise for about a second, and then it stops.

    This has happened on two computers in my house, the speakers on one of them being relatively high end, and the others are definitely not bad.

    I don't have any cell phones around the computers and TVs are a good distance. I've tried lowering all volumes, including wave etc. under volume control panel.

    Any ideas?
  2. oranjjjg

    oranjjjg TS Rookie Topic Starter

    bump, anyone? this is a nightmare
  3. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,532   +2,318

    Resistance is Futile......

    Electrical resistance is the primary cause of noise in a system. Here you might check/ substitute different patch cords. Also, try cleaning the plugs and jacks with rubbing alcohol. Many surge suppressors have noise filters build into them and if you suspect the friendly local power company might be at fault, try one of these. I think the presence of noise in the power line is an overstated sales pitch, and on board power supplies are generally well filtered.
    ICs (chips) can get noisy also, and this is the worst case scenario.

    Any boosting of the treble, via tone control or an equalizer can exaggerate the presence of noise, since any noise that is annoying you is centered in the high frequency range. Dull and quiet or bright and hissy has long been the trade off of music listeners everywhere
  4. oranjjjg

    oranjjjg TS Rookie Topic Starter


    thanks for the reply. I actually have a surge protector on both computers

    the noise always happens when I'm NOT listening to music, which is why its weird. I havnt adjusted trebel or bass or anything.

    Its weird because the exact same noise happened on both computers
    what is this electrical resistance?
  5. oranjjjg

    oranjjjg TS Rookie Topic Starter


  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,532   +2,318

    Electrical resistance is anything that impedes the flow of electricity. a resistor, or a bad connection. Bad connections, such as a corroded jack or plug, tend to inject a lot of "white-ish" noise.

    Incidentally, IDK if you know this but, true "white noise" contains equal energy per frequency, while "pink noise" contains equal energy per octave.

    If the problem you're having occurred all of a sudden, and in two different machines, it would seem that the problem could be environmental. IE your neighbor bought some kind of electrical POS that's generating electrical noise, somebody has a dirty ham radio rig, the electric company isn't filtering the power as well. (That last one might be a stretch). But it does make sense that the same defect in hardware didn't crop up with exactly the same symptoms in 2 different machines.
    You need to investigate what's different. Perhaps some RFI filters from Radio Shack might help.

    This is a great part of why OTA TV is going all digital. There is so much RFI that analog TV, especially VHF, is unwatchable due to interference.
  7. oranjjjg

    oranjjjg TS Rookie Topic Starter


    well i know we have electrical outages around here more often than we should. Maybe it is the electrical company?

    what exactly do RFI filters do? and investigate whats different, you mean between the speakers on the different computers?

    i feel like an *****. I have no idea what I'm talking about when it comes to computer hardware, especially speakers. I know that it happens a lot when I'm on instant messaging programs. Does this imply a program could be doing it? ALso what about a virus/hacker?
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,532   +2,318

    Seek and Ye Shall Find.........

    RFI = Radio Frequency Interference.
    Electrical resistance is anything that impedes the flow of electricity, either by design or by accident. A corroded terminal, or a "resistor" which is part of almost every piece of electronic equipment made, for the express purpose of limiting the flow of electricity. Different materials have different resistance characteristics. Water, pretty good, salt water, way better, a dry block of wood, not at all, it's an "insulator", the same as the covering on wires.

    Any search for noise in a system requires a process of elimination approach.
    From your description you're suggesting that this noise began in 2 different systems simultaneously. This would lead one to believe that the environment has somehow changed. The alternative is that both systems suffered a failure that exhibits the same symptoms. Or that two systems have encountered different types of failures simultaneously that exhibit exactly the same symptoms. It's certainly not impossible, but it seems unlikely.

    So, the most likely (at least from your description), is that somehow an environmental change has occurred. The problem is that many things generate broadband noise. A sparking armature on an electric motor, a bad electrical connection, an improperly filtered power line. a dirty ham or CB radio and so forth.

    In my neighborhood you can't watch analog OTA TV below channel 9, since there is so much crap in the airways, you can barely see the picture.

    So, you do have to investigate, and possibly purchase filtered surge protectors, or RFI filters if you honestly believe that it isn't in the equipment isn't at fault..

    I honestly don't have enough information to make even an informed guess. If you say you have noise in both systems, are you using the same source materials, (CDs) or whatnot 'cause it could be there
  9. oranjjjg

    oranjjjg TS Rookie Topic Starter

    well they're different brand computers and different brand speakers. So i'm assuming its environmental. I guess I should try those filters too
  10. oranjjjg

    oranjjjg TS Rookie Topic Starter


    seems to only happen when im on messaging programs
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add New Comment

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...