A question about an issue with white noise and low/no audio - on both speakers and headset

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by Dractyle, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. Dractyle

    Dractyle New Member

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    On my 2 year old PC (Win8 - X99-A motherboard) I have suddenly encountered an odd audio issue.

    A short summary of the events:

    About 11 days ago, my speakers suddenly dipped in volume and then started emitting a white noise. If I turned the volume down, the white noise followed, and sometimes if I maxed out the volume I could barely hear the real audio behind the noise (which remained somewhat constant even on max volume). I tested my headset on the system, both for the front jack and the back, same noise and result.

    This occurred after I had uninstalled a duplicate windows help, and even though I couldn't see why that could be the reason I ran a system restore (made just before the uninstall). This did nothing, so I proceeded to update drivers for audio, which fixed it for a brief moment only for the sound to dip again and the white noise return as I started watching a video. As I tried the volume mixer and slightly adjusted the volume it suddenly went back to normal.. and then one minute later the white noise returned, with regular sound vanishing.

    So I updated all other drivers that might be related, turned off any digital signals, any graphic audio drivers that might cause an interference and en rerouted the cable to cross less power-lines (even if that shouldn't be an issue given the previous 2 years in the same spot). Result: Nothing.

    I then unplugged the speakers (headset was already disconnected), went for windows update and finished everything they wanted to update, and finished the updates while turning the computer off.

    The next day I plugged the speakers in, turned on the computer - went on youtube, found a video with sound and turned on my speakers - no problem. Everything worked, and continued to work for the next 10 days.

    So yesterday I turned on my computer as usual to work, and baam - the exact same issue happened; constant white noise and the audio going from off to very low (only audible at max volume), and sometimes it will briefly return to normal, before going back to white noise.

    I figured okay, I've done this before and maybe another windows update ****** something up, so I did many of the same steps as last time, ending with the computer being turned off with no speaker plugged in. Next day (today), I tried turning it on again, and the problem in all its white noise glory is still here.

    If I plug in a new audiodevice the noise will stop while the audio manager (realtek) asks what it should do with it (type of headset) and then will immediately resume once I've indicated what device I plugged in.

    The machine haven't been moved, everything in the system except for the audio works without a problem and windows audio troubleshooter is, of course, not finding any issues. I have not yet gone for a close inspection of the motherboard yet, as it is somewhat cumbersome to get it out, and I am hoping to get an indication from this forum as to what this sound like.

    My own and those answers for similar issues I found, with a software solution didn't help, so I am hoping someone on here has a good idea for what is wrong, or at least might point me in the right direction. I am hoping that it is not a hardware issue, but if it sounds like it to you, I will have to get the board out.

    Thanks a lot in advance for any advice.
     
  2. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    Go to your motherboard support page and download sound drivers for there. Hopefully it will be stable.
    If not, download older drivers. Make sure to uninstall previous drivers before installing older ones.

    Windows update might be forcing to update to new sound drivers. Disable updates for hardware if possible.
     
  3. Dractyle

    Dractyle New Member

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    Hey, thanks for the fast reply.
    I had already tried (as I wrote) installing various drivers, both the ones directly from ASUS (2015) and newer ones. '
    However the fact that you shared my gut instinct that it must be some form of driver issue made me go more in-depth in regards to my assumption that windows was doing something, even though I had already disabled the driver updates the "official" way.

    So I looked closely in my device manager and noticed that while the audio driver was the one I installed, the audio input and output devices was running on an older driver (2013). So I tried removing all of them, both the latest one I had installed and those for inputs. Upon restarting the computer with what should have been no audio driver, windows instantly installed one (which immediately announced the return of the white noise).

    Hence I uninstalled every audio related driver again, disconnected from the internet & changed group policy to prevent windows from doing any driver installation of any kind (because apparently changing it in just system settings and the registry isn't enough). I restarted my pc again, and well as it booted again I was delighted to note that the audio driver was still missing... However when I tried to install the correct working driver, it couldn't do so - because the same setting that prevented windows from automatically installing a 5 year old driver, also prevented me from doing it :S

    Changing the settings for the group policy required a restart to take effect and upon finishing that restart - the audio driver installed by windows was back, with a twist:
    This time there is no sound at all.

    So how in the world do I install the driver without windows 8.1 insisting on installing the wrong driver.
     
  4. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    Usually when installing newer drivers, older shouldn't be used. Guess this issue gets too complicated.

    I think I had similar issue with my previous motherboard. Couldn't solve and got cheap sound card (Xonar DG).
    USB DAC/AMP could also come in handy.
     

  5. 386SX

    386SX Maha Guru

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    Hi there.

    I got a few suggestions to add:
    - Did you change anything in BIOS which may have a relation to this? Anything sound related?
    - Do you overclock? If yes, remove the OC for testing purposes and run stock.
    - Is there any error in device manager or are there devices which are not installed at all?
    - Did you check the audio settings for suspicious things like uncommon profiles (sound set to 5.1 system but your only have 2.1 for example)?

    Things I would do (in order) to get a hold of this error:
    - Uninstall ANY sound related ASUS software (I did a search and I think X99-A is an ASUS board, right?) like for example CrystalSound 2, any AISuite or SonicSuite or whatever these are called. Your board has CrystalSound 2, I suspect the issue within this somehow, don't ask me why. ;)
    - Reset (like you already did, but be sure it is still like this) all drivers, so remove old ones and let Windows install its inbox drivers if it thinks this is necessary.
    - Reboot
    - Download the newest driver from ASUS (you did that, right?) and EXTRACT (!!) it first, so you have the folders to look into. Click through the folders and search for additional instalelrs like CrystalSound or SonicSuite. DELETE those EXE files, but leave the main ones (setup.exe in the root folder) untouched. You need an INF, some SYS and some DLLs probably to hear audio, any "enhancement" is not needed right now.
    - When you are absolutely sure you deleted any additional software, run setup.exe (=the installer) but please DO NOT run "ASUSsetup.exe", as this may throw up errors probably.
    - Follow the setup instructions, afterwards reboot right away.
    - Check in device manager your devices are installed properly and most important ALL of them. If you find any device where the driver wasn't applied, manually try to update it and point it to the directory structure you cleaned up, exactly where INF files are located. Windows should find a newer driver and install it autoamtically.
    - If you DID manually install something, do another reboot, otherwise continue without.
    - Test the sound locally first by playing an MP3. Works? Then go to Youtube. Does NOT work? Then please post here, if existing, post screenshots of possible error messages.

    If everything works with this config (only drivers installed, no "suite" or else), your issue was caused by some additional software from ASUS. You may then try to add those one by one to find the bad program.
    If you hear this white noise again in this config (double check if no "suite software" got installed by accident) I only can think of three things:
    - Other software is causing an issue. You could either ty to find it or do a reinstall of Windows to check if this solves your issue. Because if this does NOT solve your issue ...
    - ... it could be a config issue, hidden in the settings of your soundchip. Quality set too high or too low (16bit, 44100Hz should be standard and be some kind of "safe setting"), profiles which kick in ("hall" or "living room" or "toilet" :D), therefore set everything back to defaults, if there is an option. Otherwise look for "suspicious settings" which don't seem to be correct. If that doesn't help you ... well ... then ...
    - ... it seems it is indeed a hardware issue (but right now I don't think so) and you may go through hardware diagnostics the "usual way" (remove / unplug anything what is not needed, so the only booting components are basically CPU, board, GPU (if no iGPU, otherwise remove the dGPU, too), 1 stick of RAM and your OS SSD or HDD) before sending in (RMA) the board. There is nothing worse than sending in a mainboard to get it back a month or two later with a letter telling you they couldn't find any error. My ASUS board was away for almost two months back then (2012) only to get it back without any repair or modification, the issue wasn't my board but my discrete soundcard which had some contact "shortened" and because of this my computer rebooted after a BSOD (interrupt not less or equal), which sounded A LOT like it is the board. I just bought the soundcard, so I didn't expect it to fail this easily. But yeah, this happens if you buy too cheap (9,99 € for the soundcard).

    I wish you good luck in finding the issue. This can cost you a lot of nerves ... stay cool. ;)
     
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  6. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    Yeah, you can try walltext above or just buy $20 soundcard :p
     
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  7. toasty

    toasty Member Guru

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    Not running 8.1 anymore but for 10 I need only disable the ethernet to allow me to boot and install the driver of choice, it will install old gfx drivers before windows even has time to boot fully if I don't.

    Maybe try 10?
     
  8. Dractyle

    Dractyle New Member

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    Some great suggestions there. I'll be going through the text wall, see how it goes and then report back. (And likely go for the Win10 option, which I had also considered, but given my distaste for the OS I would love to avoid.. not that win8.1 is much better though).
    Its always nice to have some fresh/other eyes on a problem.

    That will be my backup plan if everything else fails (and before refreshing windows).

    Thanks. Not having proper sound is quite annoying :D

    (A complete sidenote, just because you mentioned your problems with the the motherboard): I had a an issue a few months back where my pc was basically ******.. the temperature went crazy, the fans stopped spinning on both CPU and GPU.. with the logical results of a shutdown. Spent more than a week trying to solve the issue, including a complete bio upgrade, replacing parts and so forth to no avail. Until I finally noted a random number code just before the computer turned off, and again by some miracly was sitting with a driver disc in hand to realize that the number code matched the first part of my wifi dongle driver (NETGEAR). A quick search revealed that there was (and still is!) apperently a host of issues with that driver and anything newer than win7 - on win10 it sometimes deletes lan, requiring a complete reinstall of everything to fix and apperently on win8.1 it chrashes the system hard. So instead of doing what I had been just about to do (taking it to a good repairman 3 hours drive away), I went to my nearby electronic store and bought another dongle. I replaced the one I had, uninstalled the old driver and reinstalled the one from the different company and everything worked perfectly. Heck my internetspeed even doubled. So yea, for me the morale of that story was that issues can arrive from the most absurd places...Oh and never use netgear's drivers.
     
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  9. 386SX

    386SX Maha Guru

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    Your pc gets more sex than myself, shame. *lol*

    With the situation in mind, I would at least try a reinstall if nothing helps. If you ****** your pc this badly (hahahaha, just joking ;) ) so you received BSODs or sudden shutdowns, there can be the possibility that something broke in the process due to some "hardcore shutdown" or something. Sio if you are willing to take this step, try a reinstall of Windows.

    Better: If you have a "spare disk" laying around, mount this instead of your current OS drive and install Windows (8.1 or 10, as you like) to exactly this HDD (or SSD). Because you only changed the drive, there is nothing changed otherwise, so either the error is back after your reinstall (then it's a hardware error) or you hear the best sound you've heard for weeks and find out it is a software error. If it's software based, reinstall Windows on your current OS drive.

    EDIT:
    Just for completion:
    There is a service called "power". I cannot think about this could happen to you, but please take a look if this is enabled and running. It sounds crazy, but without this "power" service I get no sound at all. I wondered what it is for because I thought "Come on, a Windows SERVICE for POWER? What will Windows do if I disable it? Shutdown?" and stopped it. Had no sound at all since then until I enabled it again. Just fyi and completion.
     
  10. Dractyle

    Dractyle New Member

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    Hehe, well I went through the wall of text - with some extra steps.. uninstalling all drivers (nvidia for instance) that might even be closely related in safe mode, uninstall all version of my visual studio (just because the last thing I did when this first started was remove a help file from the 2013 version of that program), then a few days of testing (until now) and things seems to be working. Fingers crossed that it will stay that way.

    As to what exactly was the reason for my problem, and what may have solved it - I have no clue. Software related no doubt, but other than that :S

    Anyway thanks a lot for all the suggestions and help. If things change again for the worse, I will be back :D

    Hehe, power service? I've never seen that, but nice name haha.
     
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  11. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    I guess good thing is that hardware not failing.

    Good luck!
     
  12. mbk1969

    mbk1969 Ancient Guru

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    And good f@ck!

    Sorry, failed to restrain...
     

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