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Question Distortion persists in both computer monitors' speakers - tried various software and hardware tricks, no luck

Jul 1, 2020
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Hello. I have a persistent distortion problem coming from both of my computer monitors - an LG 27'' UK850 and an Asus 27'' "Tuf Gaming" VG27A. It's the telltale sound like someone just put the pin down on an old record player. My GPU is the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, CPU is Ryzen 3900x, and I'm using the latest version of Windows 10.

I've done extensive testing both on hardware and software. I've come to the conclusion that it's either a driver issue or simply that both monitors have shoddy audio speakers whose sounds, when amplified, produce crappy audio. If it's the latter, I would be interested in getting some recommendations for replacement computer monitors with good built-in sound.

Hardware tests:

1) Isolating the problem down to the monitors' speakers: I unplugged and replugged my headphones into both monitors. Distortion happens straight from the monitor's speakers, and no added distortion can be heard when headphones are plugged in, suggesting to me that the monitors are the source of the problem. But since both monitors are of different manufacturers and models, I strongly think it is a software / driver issue.

2) Using a ground loop noise isolator: I plugged a ground loop noise isolator (the Mpow 3.5mm model) between my headphones and the computer monitor speaker out, which did not seem to make a difference in distortion and slightly reduced overall volume of the sounds / music.

Software tests:

1) Installing the latest driver manually: I went to Device Manager -> Sound, video and game controllers -> High Definition Audio Device. I did the same for NVIDIA High Definition Audio. For both, I have gone to the "Details" tab, copied the name of the device driver ("High Definition Audio Device" and "NVIDIA High Definition Audio") and found the latest driver online, installed, restarted. When I installed the NVIDIA High Definition Audio driver, I got a message saying essentially the driver already exists. And when I installed the High Definition Audio Device, nothing changed or improved.

2) Updating the driver automatically: Going into the "Driver" tab, I had Windows search for the latest driver automatically for both High Definition Audio Device and NVIDIA High Definition Audio, and restarted computer. No dice.

3) Uninstalling the driver, restarting: Uninstalling both drivers and letting Windows reinstall upon restarting also didn't yield results.

4) Disabling the driver: I disabled the High Definition Audio Device and saw that my audio must be coming from the NVIDIA driver, since I could still hear music from either monitor. Disabling the NVIDIA driver confirmed this. But neither option fixed the distortion.

5) Disabling all enhancements: Speaker Setup -> Advanced Setup -> "Properties" of either computer monitor -> "Enhancements" tab -> "Disable all enhancements" turned on yielded no improvements.

6) Toggling "Exclusive Mode": Speaker Setup -> Advanced Setup -> "Properties" of either computer monitor -> "Advanced" tab -> "Exclusive Mode" toggling on and off (and hitting Apply) yielded no improvements.

7) Adjusting Hz: In the "Advanced" tab for either monitor, I could not adjust the "Default Format". It is currently at 16 Bit, 48000 Hz.

8) Trying out the Troubleshooter for audio: Settings -> Update and Security-> Troubleshoot -> Playing Audio. The troubleshooter installed a different generic audio driver but it still produced distortion. This different driver actually removed the LG monitor's audio as an option in the volume list, so I troubleshooted it back to where it was.

9) Adjusting Windows and monitor volume: I adjusted monitor volume and Windows 10 volume in various ways - max volume for monitor and min volume for OS, vice versa, and balanced volume - but distortion persists.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
There are no computer monitors with good speakers. I think some company made something with a decent brand speakers inside, but really nothing will be close to even a mid quality standard speaker and I can't think of which monitor(s) it was.

I am guessing you are talking about sound that goes through the HDMI cable correct? You are not using any adapters or anything? A good way to check on if the issue is your computer is to connect the thing to a TV designed with OK speakers and audio in mind, see if the same thing happens there.

Do you have a space issue on your desk or something? There are many options to mount speakers in a limited space. Behind the monitors, using a soundbar in front of them, on sides on stands, on wall mounts, etc...
 
Jul 1, 2020
13
1
15
0
There are no computer monitors with good speakers. I think some company made something with a decent brand speakers inside, but really nothing will be close to even a mid quality standard speaker and I can't think of which monitor(s) it was.

I am guessing you are talking about sound that goes through the HDMI cable correct? You are not using any adapters or anything? A good way to check on if the issue is your computer is to connect the thing to a TV designed with OK speakers and audio in mind, see if the same thing happens there.

Do you have a space issue on your desk or something? There are many options to mount speakers in a limited space. Behind the monitors, using a soundbar in front of them, on sides on stands, on wall mounts, etc...
I do have each monitor connected to the desktop through a Display Port cable. In addition, one of the monitors has an HDMI connected to a video card reader, and another HDMI from that reader to a console, for streaming purposes. Come to think of it, I don't have any kind of distortion for the sounds of the game.

I'm wondering if there is just some kind of incompatibility with the two audio drivers since one is primarily for Intel (my CPU is AMD) and the NVIDIA drivers which my GPU (the two Display Port cables) handles.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
I do have each monitor connected to the desktop through a Display Port cable. In addition, one of the monitors has an HDMI connected to a video card reader, and another HDMI from that reader to a console, for streaming purposes. Come to think of it, I don't have any kind of distortion for the sounds of the game.

I'm wondering if there is just some kind of incompatibility with the two audio drivers since one is primarily for Intel (my CPU is AMD) and the NVIDIA drivers which my GPU (the two Display Port cables) handles.
So you have a bunch of things to try, use HDMI on the monitors see if they play fine, test with one monitor at a time, test with HDMI to a TV see if the sound is good there.
 
Jul 1, 2020
13
1
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So you have a bunch of things to try, use HDMI on the monitors see if they play fine, test with one monitor at a time, test with HDMI to a TV see if the sound is good there.
Thanks for the tips, hang. I tried the following:

Switched to different DisplayPort cables (both of my computer monitors use different DisplayPort cables), no luck.
Switched to HDMI cables for both monitors, no luck.
Took out audio jacks for both monitors to hear sound (spoken word, at the time), and the distortion was still there.

I don't have a TV so I can't test that out, BUT the sound of my PS4 when a game is playing doesnt produce distortion. This is the only solid lead I have. So it does seem to be a computer issue, probably driver, but I've already tried all the driver solutions listed at the top. Is there anything I'm missing?

I have the Zoom L-12 Livetrak mixer hardware that all of my audio is plugged into, though I don't think the livetrak is the issue since I tried out the audio straight from the monitors (by taking out the jacks).
 
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