Noisy SoundCard - Any advice?

Discussion in 'Mac Help/Tips' started by arothman, Mar 26, 2002.

  1. arothman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2002
    #1
    Whenever I use my built-in soundcard on my new G4 tower for listening to CDs, gaming, sound editing, etc., there are these really annoying little digital noises the whole time. Every mouse movement, scrollbar drag, window opening or cdr spin is accompanied by a high pitched clicking and whining. Is there any way to prevent this from happening? I have an ASIO pro soundcard installed for recording, but I can't use that with sound manager apps like SoundEdit or CD player. Isn't there anything I can do to keep the soundcard from picking up these noises from the rest of the hardware?

    Thanks,
    Drew

    http://www.arothman.com
     
  2. AlphaTech macrumors 601

    AlphaTech

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2001
    Location:
    Natick, MA
    #2
    Are you 100% certain that the drivers for your other party sound card is compatible with the Mac OS version that you are running??? Do the sounds happen when that card is not in the system?? You mentioned new G4, which one? How many third party extensions are you running?? I would pull the secondary sound card out first and see if the noises are present. If they are not, then I would suspect the card is the culprit. Otherwise, turn off all non-essential extensions and see if it still happens. If not, then turn them on one at a time until you find the offender.
     
  3. arothman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2002
    #3
    The secondary card is an Echo Digital MIA 24/96. It's quite compatible with my system and works superbly with Digital Performer and Reason. The drivers are the most recent and are supposed to be compatible with OS 9.2.2 (which is what I'm running). I get crystal clear sound from the output of that card. I don't know if the noises are there when the card isn't in because I put the card in the day I got the computer... it's my audio workstation - a dual 1ghz G4.

    As for extensions, when I'm running audio apps I use a very minimal set of extensions to reduce memory useage. I don't think any of the ones I'm running are 'third party' though - they came with the computer with the exception of OMS and FreeMidi, which are required to run audio software.

    My old G3 had little noises like this in the standard card too, but not nearly as prominent. It's as if the sound card is picking up electrical interference from everything else in the case... creates this high digital squealing like radio squelch. It's not too loud, but it's constant...

    Drew
     
  4. Choppaface macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2002
    Location:
    SFBA
    #4
    do you have a dialup and are you on the net a lot? you can hear noise from my internal dialup modem on my blue and white G3 when I'm connected.. its not very loud though
     
  5. arothman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2002
    #5
    I do have a dialup, but this noise happens regardless of what I'm doing. In any application, if I have the Mac connected to my stereo ('cause the internal speaker is useless), I hear digital noise...

    Drew
     
  6. 3rdpath macrumors 68000

    3rdpath

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    2nd star on the right and straight till morning
    #6
    same problem

    my beige g3 makes the same noises when i use the mac audio port.

    my 2408 audio card is fine but when i use an app that isn't supported thru digital performer( old version of bias peak) i monitor off the crummy 1/8" audio jack. every mouse or scroll move generates a noise. also, theres a clicking noise that fades out as my audio fades in ( and vice-versa at the end of a soundbite). it didn't always do this. i rarely change my system once it's rock solid so there isn't anything that i can pinpoint as the source of this phenom. ( don't change my extensions, etc) the only things i've added are a twin monitor card and an uw scsi card with cheetahs.

    i feel your pain....was kinda hoping it was related to the vintage status of my mac-but guess not. i'm upgrading soon ( or maybe waiting till july...) and had hoped to kiss that annoying sound goodbye!
     
  7. AlphaTech macrumors 601

    AlphaTech

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2001
    Location:
    Natick, MA
    #7
    Have you tried using good, well shielded speakers? I have had noise on sub-standard or poorly sheilded speakers. Price is not always an indication of quality when it comes to speakers, since the ones from a few years ago usually sell for a song today. I have a pair of Cambridge Soundworks speakers at home, mid level, that have no noise when connected to any devices and ran in the $100-$125 range. I picked up a pair of the top end ones not too long ago that will be going onto the computer, so that the lesser ones can go onto the music works system that I picked up.

    On the other end of the spectrum, I have a pair of Yamaha computer speakers that I use for my iPod at work that ran about $40 or so when I picked them up. No sub-woofer on those, which is why they are that little. Any three speaker (or more) system that runs less then $100 makes me question the shielding of the units.

    There could also be some stray electricity in your area causing the noise. If possible, try putting everything onto a good UPS system. If you are in an older house/apartment building, it could be the wiring there. New construction (in the past 10 years or so) should be fine. In my old place, I had horrible sounds, whenever someone turned a light on or off, come through the speakers. In the new place, I had a new line run for the computer system as well as the AC (when I need it in the summer) put onto a new breaker. I still get an occasional pop when something cycles, but not nearly as bad as the old place.

    You also might want to check and see what else is on the same breaker as your computer system. If you can, put it onto a less used one (might mean relocating to a new room). Since you say it happened before, that could be the issue, unless it also happened in another residence. It also could be that the shielding on the secondary audio card is better then what Apple uses for it's internal. Is there a reason why you don't use the audio card for all your sound needs?? I have only used the stock Apple audio in my Mac's since I was waiting for the soundblaster card, and then I sold my tower. I might get something when I get the new tower (hopefully soon after MWSF next year) but haven't decided just yet.
     
  8. mischief macrumors 68030

    mischief

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz Ca
    #8
    Ummmmmm.................

    About the only thing I can come up with is grounding the case directly via a thick-ass wire to a 4 or 6 foot grounding rod sunk into the earth outside a window nearby.

    The ground provided by the third prong on your power supply is a common ground to every circuit on it's panel (the panel is grounded then all grounds run out from there). This may not be sensitive enough to stop your case from functioning as a localized antenna for local EM noise. If this is the case your card is just modulating this "case noise" into sound. Grounding the frame directly and independantly may solve the problem. I have no idea what such a case mod would do to the power supply though so I'd check with Alphatech before attempting it.
     
  9. arothman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2002
    #9
    This happens when I'm going through headphones as well... my signal path is 1/4 output through a 1/4-RCA cable to the tape input of a Macki mixing console. The headphones are plugged into the console. Haven't tried plugging the phones right into the soundcard yet... will do that tonight.

    I live in a building that was built in the 90s I think... but the electricity there is dodgy. I've got everything on surge protector strips, but that's it. Might be a good idea to at least get a better power rig. I live in a 1-bedroom apartment, so my outlets (and outlet selection) is limited.

    Yeah! Pro audio cards use ASIO drivers and aren't compatible with SoundManager apps like the CD player, SoundEdit, games, etc. Unless you know of a way to make regular apps use ASIO drivers, I don't use it for all my sound needs because there simply isn't a way to do it!

    Thanks for the tips though...
    Drew
     
  10. 3rdpath macrumors 68000

    3rdpath

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    2nd star on the right and straight till morning
    #10
    a thought

    drew-is the noise problem consistent or does it mysteriously come and go? my similar noise problem comes and goes....

    i know its not my speakers (shielded reference monitors) or my electricity
    ( new grounded sub-box for my studio) so what gives?

    my only thought is that it only shows up when i'm using my mastering software-which i only get into after i've finished something ( usually around 2am) so...could it be heat related? after this thread first posted today, i went to my studio and fired up bias peak and NO noise whatsoever. i've been burning b/u cds for about 2 hrs and i'm going to check peak again to see if the noise returns. btw, my studio has a/c so it doesn't get hot but i figure the mac has got to get warm over time.

    what do you think alphatech? you're the guru of all mac knowledge.
     
  11. arothman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2002
    #11
    Well, I figured out a LARGE piece of the issue. I had the computer's output going to the "tape" input on my mixing console... i.e. unbalanced RCAs. When I put ¼" adaptors on the wires and ran them into the channel inserts, the volume level of the noise dropped to almost nothing. If I crank the volume knob way up, the noise is still there... and it's constant... but it's now at a level so low that it's really a non-issue. I'm assuming that there's just no way to eliminate all noise from a built-in Mac audio card...

    Thanks for the tips everyone!
    Drew

    http://www.arothman.com
     
  12. TheT macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
    Location:
    Germany
    #12
    Could it possibly be a poorly-shielded cable? I had some noise on my system due to a audio cable that wasn't good enough. Did you plug headphones in the back of your G4, to see if the noise is still there?
     
  13. magneto465 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    #13
    samething happens to me on my new DP867 G4 running 10.2.1
    I get those damn clicks, squelches and noises when i click, scroll, open a window, or do any other normal process.

    I have a back ups thing and I've had the noises happen to me at different locations with the same computer


    but I just got some super monstercable® rca cords that are triple shielded with goldplated tips and it solved the problem.

    [​IMG]

    and look they even market cables for us mac folk http://www.monstercable.com/computer/mac.asp

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Location:
    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
    #14
    Try researching this at www.xlr8yourmac.com. I have heard of this and in most cases is an OS problem. This problem started all the way back with the first OS9. They fixed it with updates and then it came back for some users/models of macs in different versions of OSX including 10.2. It could also be a hardware conflict. If you have any PCI cards besides you video card plugged in try unplugging them. Also if you have any haxies or system modifiers installed uninstall them.
     

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