Question Constant crackling and extremely loud static hissing

Jul 9, 2019
Good morning dear Tom's Hardware community,

10 days ago I received the Philips Fidelio X1 headphones as well as the amplifier FiiO E-10K from my brother. Both ran perfectly on his system. With me then the following 2 problems have crept in.

Problem 1:
After connecting both components, I noticed immediately that the sound in many scenarios always cracks unpleasantly loud. And it always cracks very often and quickly in succession, as soon as I hold down the skip forward key (tested in VLC and Windows Media Player) and if I change the volume. No matter if on Youtube, VLC, Windows controller, etc., so to speak everywhere. However, turning the knob of the DAC up and down doesn't create a crackling noise.

A single loud crackling sound almost always occurs in every application as soon as the sound stops abruptly. For example, when I jump from one song to another or pause a video. Even when booting, I hear the crackle, although no sound is running.

Another weird problem is that if I pre-spool songs on VLC, the melody is much darker immediately afterwards. Like if it's pitched down. As if the song is only half as fast. After 1-2 seconds, the pitch normalizes again. However, I consider this problem to be irrelevant in relation to the other occurrences.

Problem 2:
At irregular intervals it often happens that when playing audio the sound hisses extremely loud and static. This is so loud that I almost fall from the chair or throw the headphone off my head in shock. For example, when I play a song fresh or jump to a specific spot with my mouse, it happens quite often. As soon as a piece of music is already running normally, it usually does not hiss. But once it even happened that it hissed out of the blue, without any sound playing.

What I have tried so far:
-The amplifier connected to all USB ports (including USB port of the keyboard)
-Headphones connected to front and rear jack (without amplifier of course 😄)
-Cable and connections cleaned
-DPC Latency Checker tried (everything in the green / sometimes yellow area)
-In the output source properties everything disabled, sample rates tested, all channels in the Advanced tab tested, Exclusive mode off, etc.
-Onboard sound disabled in the BIOS
-Reinstalled all drivers and removed the amp driver as a test and tried it with the windows standard driver
-Bios update
-Windows 10 completely reinstalled.

My next step would be to buy a USB hub with its own power source, on the recommendation of a friend.

After I removed the amplifier from the system, it no longer hissed. However, the unpleasant loud crackling (problem 1) is still present. When I connect my old headphones (Superlux HD-681B) directly to the PC, the problem still remains, which I find very odd because the whole spectrum of problems occurred once I connected the DAC and the new headphones on the PC,

Since both headphones on the PC have these issues and the DAC does not get along with the computer, I suspect some voltage problem on the motherboard or power supply. However, I'm just a noob when it comes to hardware and can therefore be better taught.

If there is any expert here who can take care of my problem and even help me, then I am infinitely grateful to this person!

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