Terrible audio static in different ways through FOUR different motherboards, and 2 sets of components, 100% working speakers

vinny1001

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So I got the new skylake 6700k, 980 ti by Gigabyte, PSU, RAM, and liquid cooling.
I've gone through many Z170 boards:
2 matx Gigabyte boards
Asus VIII Gene
Returned ALL hardware, got ALL new hardware (cept GPU, that works 100% fine on previous build no issues)
Got the Asus VIII Hero
Got the Gigabyte Gaming 7
new ram again which works great
new psu again (will test it with a PSU tester soon, but should be good)

All have static audio issues.

The Gigabyte boards have it constant under CPU or HDD/CD Usage, unless you turn off the EIST/C State power savings in BIOS, but still get it a little. 5.1 speakers work 100%, but using ANY headphones, I get the constant static and extra static under CPU/HDD usage, or moving the mouse. Even uninstalling the audio drivers, headphones give off this hissing/beeping interference noise. Yes I've eliminated interference, plus my previous build works 100% fine with the speakers/headphones in the same exact spot, even used the 980 TI and worked great. The front audio port gives off extra static, where as the motherboard back panel port gives it off minor, but it's still there. I've moved wires, and made sure everything is plugged, no avail. I used the OC software to OC to ANYTHING reasonable, then the static popping wouldn't be there much, it was so minor.

Then The two Asus boards both were fine with headsets, but the 5.1 speakers gave a static pop for the first second any audio played. So whenever an audio channel "opens" it would introduce it with a static pop. Headphones worked fine though.

How weird is this? I've tried so many bios settings, so many windows settings, using the boards without the GPU, switching ram slots, using one/two sticks, moving cables, different ports/speakers, testing elsewhere, using my previous build PSU (works 100%) on the new components

No matter which board I get, there's audio issues, and in different ways. I've tried different BIOS's, different drivers, the latest drivers, etc etc etc

FEW other people seem to be having this issue among a couple boards.

Can anyone clear this up? Who has any of these new Z170 boards, and has used 5.1 surround as well as headphones without an issue? I'm pretty sure I've tried it all... My next step is to try to use the MSI Z170 board.
 

InvalidError

Titan
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Is the amplifier and everything else connected to it also connected to the same power bar your PC is connected to? Is everything your PC connected to also connected to the same power bar as your PC? If not, you may have a ground loop issue in your multiple ground setup and this can make the amplifier extremely susceptible to picking up all sorts of noises.
 

vinny1001

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Yes, PC, Speaker amplifier, and monitor are all plugged into the same power trip. I just tried another power strip and same issues. Everything literally works on my previous build. Even if stuff wasn't on the same power strip. I know my headphones and speakers are working as should. GPU wasn't giving issues on previous build either. I'm sure this new motherboard audio stuff is picking up more interference.

Also, when a CD runs in the disc drive, the hissing/buzzing goes CRAZY. Like I said before, any CPU usage or HDD activity, spikes it up.

LatencyMon usually shows small spikes in dxgkrnl.sys, but that's for most people I think. Also not giving me issues on previous build. Ataport.sys has large spikes rarely at 5995.24 latency

I have enough watts too. First one was a 1k watt, now I'm on an 850watt.

I've also ran boards out of the cases, and had the issues. No matter what I do, it's the same issues coming up.

Also, the HD's/CD drive and SSD don't give interference off on my previous build, so why this board/cpu?

This sucks. I can't get my new build going without this issue on every one. I use anti-static wrist straps and build on the cardboard boxes so I don't mess anything up. I've built plenty of PC's before and never had this issue.

Any other ideas? I've tried so much. Literally if you look into this issue, I've tried everything that's been suggested on all forums. I've moved USB's, ethernet cables, and fans even. I disabled/muted any audio that's not being used.

So what else could it be?
 

InvalidError

Titan
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Since the noise goes away when you turn off C-states, it is pretty much certainly caused by the fast load transients from the CPU waking up on interrupts and going back to sleep. This causes a fair amount of noise to come from the CPU VRM and the PSU but the motherboard layout should have done a reasonable job shielding audio signals from what happens on power planes. Still, even the best shielding in the world is only as good as the signal ground between two pieces of equipment. If the amplifier chassis is made of metal, you could try running a ground strap along your audio cables from one of your PC's case screws to one of the amplifier's chassis screws if it has no dedicated grounding post.

Are your 5.1 speakers connected with analog cables or digital/optical? The popping when something starts playing is likely from the DACs and related circuitry waking up. If the connection is analog and you aren't hearing the

When you said "using my previous build PSU (works 100%) on the new components", does "works 100%" mean you don't hear any noise from your new builds when using your old PSU? That might indicate either a weak ground or worse transient behavior with the new PSU.
 

vinny1001

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Here are links to each of my items if it helps
Asus: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012NH1SK8?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s01
Gigabyte: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128835
PSU: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EB7UIXM?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00
RAM: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0134EW7G8?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00
Liquid Cooling: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A0HZMGA?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00
Case: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008B6ONXA?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00
Speakers: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003VAK1FA?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00

That's what I was thinking and what I have read. This is for the Gigabyte board. The Asus board I had didn't do that at all, but I think in BIOS it had those options off, if I recall correctly.

I don't fully understand the ground strap idea, so if you can explain further. My case is metal. Which audio cables? Audio cables screws? What? lol. Speaking of this grounding issue, I just received my ground loop noise isolator, and plugged that into my computer, and to my headphones, and there's no more static, at all. It's dead silent, normal. But I shouldn't have to be using one of these just to use headphones..

The Asus I had didn't have this static through headphones? Why the Gigabyte? The Asus one had perfect audio through headphones, but had that static buzz/thump anytime audio began to play for external 5.1. This Gigabyte doesn't have that. I'm not sure which to do.. sigh. I love Asus but I couldn't stand that audio pop for external speakers. This Gigabyte is good but shouldn't have bad quality interference stuff through headphones.

These are the speakers I got, working perfect on my previous build, no static on the Gigabyte, but the audio pops on the Asus.

They are connected directly to the PC with the green/black/orange 3.5mm jacks.

Correct, 100% working, meaning not a single issue. Literally. That's why I plugged in my old 750w into the new stuff and the same issue was there. Same with testing speakers and headphones, as well as the GPU on my previous build. I got a PSU tester so I will try that soon. I'm busy currently but will get to it soon.

6 days ago Asus just released a new bios to improve system stability, but I already returned that board, but am willing to reorder it off Newegg and test it again if there's a way to fix that audio pop. The Asus board also created a static pop on boot/shut down which came from that relay to avoid speakers popping on boot/shut down. Others said they never got that static pop.

Please give any suggestions to this situation. Thanks.
 

InvalidError

Titan
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Since you got a "ground loop isolator" and that solves your issues with the headphones, I suspect it would also solve your issues with your amplifier and that would prove beyond all reasonable doubt that there is a ground loop between your PC, amplifier and possibly other stuff causing the noise.

There are only two ways to deal with ground loops: break them with signal isolation transformers or shorten them by connecting everything to a single nearby ground point and if that does not work, connect their grounds with a beefier, shorter wire to reduce ground impedance between connected equipment and the associated common-mode noise.
 

vinny1001

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Ok, but with the Asus board, headphones worked perfectly fine, but the 5.1 speakers had that audio pop anytime audio played. How can that be explained? Does that mean the Asus had no ground loop issue? Then what is that audio pop out of the 5.1 speakers for the Asus? The Gigabyte doesn't get that.

This is a single 3.5mm male and female ground loop isolator, so idk how I would plug that into the 5.1 speakers with them having green/orange/black 3.5m connectors to the PC.

I just don't get why there is a ground loop issue with EVERY Z170 board I get, considering all else works. I've tested all out of the case, as well as keeping my monitor unplugged and listening for the noise.

I tested my PSU with the tester, and it's 100% on the dot with it's voltages. So the PSU is working great.

How could I connect everything to a single ground point? My previous build never had this issue and everything had long regular cables, nothing was beefy or short.

Aside from this, I'm debating on whether to try the Asus VIII Hero again, or stick with the Gigabyte Gaming 7 I have now. Which would you suggest? I've always gone with Asus but that audio pop was killing it. Would the grounding have to do with that too? Because it doesn't have issues with headphones, just 5.1 speakers. Also, the Asus had a taser like pop on boot/shutdown from the pop relay, but many others said they don't get that. Would that be caused by the grounding issue too?

Overall, I just want to know the final fix for this so I don't have to forcefully use other items to "avoid" the issue. I never had this issue before. Which board will do me better, and what's up with that taser-like pop on the Asus?

Thank you for the help so far, sorry for saying so much, I just have put so much time into this and can't figure it out.

Thanks!
 

InvalidError

Titan
Moderator
You get the 'pop' on the Asus boards but not on the Gigabyte boards probably because they use different sound chips or do something different with how they designed the circuit around them.

When I said to plug the speakers through isolation transformers, I meant plugging each output into its own isolation or only plugging in wire at a time to test each output.

As for why every z170 board does the static thing, it most likely has to do with the VRM and PSU as I said earlier: every CPU since Haswell has fast deep-sleep mode and when it is enabled, this puts very fast load transients on the VRM and PSU which generate noise. I suspect that is where the bulk of your noise is coming from and that also explains why disabling C-states in the BIOS makes the noise go away - it eliminates those large fast transients, at the expense of wasting 30-40W of power when the PC is idle.
 

vinny1001

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Alright.

I am getting the Asus board back in tomorrow so I will try it all over again.. I found some forum that a guy explains the order of installing drivers for the audio to fix the pop, so I'll see if that works.

And yeah, I have known that about the C states and the static for the gigabyte, but I need a solution. You're telling me a lot of what I already know for what the issue is and why. I've gone long ways on troubleshooting and research, and knowing what causes it and what "hides" it, but what FIXES it?

Many others DON'T have the issue AT ALL. I never had this issue on my previous build, and I had my previous build up to test some parts, and no issues. I used the previous builds PSU on the new hardware even, and still got all the hissing and pops on the boards. So the new PSU isn't the issue, plus I tested it and it 100% passed.

Please be a solutionist, not a teacher. I'm hearing what I already know, so time for a solution, which I've done a LOT from what MANY others have suggested doing, but no avail.

Thanks
 

InvalidError

Titan
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There is no miracle cure. Nearly a hundred amps are being switched on and off on the motherboard when the CPU wakes up and goes back to sleep. Some of that current is finding its way to audio ground, gets into your amplifier through the audio cables' ground and becomes common-mode noise.

Either you shore up the ground bond between your PC and amplifier to bring them closer to same ground potential and reduce common-mode noise, you eliminate grounding from the equation altogether by using signal isolation transformers, you keep replacing motherboards and PSUs until you find a combination that does not cause the issue with your amplifier, you buy an AIB or external sound card and hope that fixes it, or you disable C-states.

Other things to consider are that your amplifier might be excessively sensitive to common-mode noise or that you have defective cables.
 

vinny1001

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Alright I scrapped the GIgabyte, got the VIII Hero by Asus again.

I did everything literally one by one, out of the case. I installed the cpu/fan, installed windows, tested good. installed drivers ONE by ONE, all good cept the Audio driver created static pops anytime audio played, so I uninstalled that, got the realtek driver 2.79 off their own site, and that was working 100%. 5.1 and headphones. I installed updates, tested the GPU in, with the driver, audio still 100% working. Both ram is working, the BIOS is updated, all HD's (one by one) work 100% tested. No issues.

Same case, same PSU, same hardware except just a different mobo. The asus has the power saving features on too, so not sure why the GIgabyte one was terrible.

All was well, I threw it into the case, plugged fans in, had the GPU at first, tested it, works 100%

Put the GPU in, tidied everything up, 100% working fine.

As soon as I installed steam, audio issues rose. Anytime I'd open steam, I'd hear a slight static crack (this was on the previous Asus one as well, cept it was with every program). It's only with steam this time.

So anytime I open steam, it spits a static crack. Anytime I navigate through windows explorer clicking through folders, there's a background "thump" as soon as the audio plays.

Great. issues all over again.

What would this be?

Obviously all my hardware works, RAM is fine too. I tested everything with the asus testing software, and XMP works too, not a single BSOD or anything. Literally static opening up steam fresh from the HD, and also the thump behind the audio, and then windows sounds get cut short.

If I have any audio playing, such as watching a movie on windows media player, or a youtube video, clicking through windows navigation sounds normal, like it should. As soon as it's dead silent (no audio channels open) the windows click sounds get cut short and have a thump.

This all makes no sense..
 

InvalidError

Titan
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It makes perfect sense. The pops when sounds start or end are almost certainly due to the motherboard turning off the audio circuitry when no sound is playing to save power and turning it back on when something starts. If you are lucky, there may be an option somewhere in the drivers or audio configuration software to disable that.
 

vinny1001

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Then explain how others aren't getting that issue with the same boards?

I've went through multiple components, all tested too.

Also, doing a component one by one had no issues, therefore none of those components prove they're an issue. Also tested with other boards.

Many others, and other boards, don't experience these issues. Even others, like I said, that have the same board experience no issues.

I've gone through six Z170 boards by now, and two sets of components, all operating the same way.

**I think I figured out what was causing the thump on the 5.1**

In Sound>Playback>Speakers>Configure
I had set windows audio in sound settings to 5.1 which caused the speakers to output a thump n the background during the clicking windows sound through folders in explorer.

I turned it back to 2.1, kept realtek at 5.1 and have no issue with the thump anymore. Games output 5.1 surround sound.

Guess windows 7 doesn't like having it's own settings at 5.1, and just better to stick with the software/realtek to output 5.1

The Sonic Suite software cuts off sounds with windows 5.1 audio, but will re-test that with 2.1 on windows audio, and 5.1 on realtek/sonic suite and will post results.

And what you're saying, yes, makes sense. I knew that from day 1. That's no exception that a motherboard in this time should be doing that, otherwise it's clearly inferior technology/hardware, or faulty, or incompatible. With working hardware/software, those issues shouldn't rise because it'd be functional the way it was made to be, unless it's some mistake.

Otherwise, I have a temporary fix or the actual fix, as I believe windows 7 doesn't like having 5.1 set on the windows settings for surround sound. Just stick with realtek drivers and or the software (will test after work later today).

Other than that, opening steam (for gaming) still has a very micro static/hiss. All other programs are fine, and don't have that static. I have programs on the same HD as steam and they don't get that static either, so the HD is fine.

I will try to do a fresh install of steam, as I left everything on it from the previous system.

Also, I am using DDR4 for the X99 boards, which is said to be compatible with Z170, but the x99 ram runs on quad channel if I recall, and can cause issues. So I just purchased some G.Skill ram optimized for Z170 boards specifically, so it can run in dual-channel.

I will post results for..
-Changing to the new ram (next couple days)
-Seeing if the new ram gets rid of the Q Code 00 on booting up at times (over the coming week)
-Seeing what clears up the steam opening hiss/static, either new ram, audio fixes, or reinstalling steam
-Installing the Sonic Suite Software again and seeing if keeping windows at 2.1 and Realtek/Sonic Suite at 5.1 will get rid of that static pop

I have looked through the software to check for options to disable that power savings on the audio, but didn't see any that stood out. I will look further into that. I looked for that weeks ago when I got my first board :\ Will read into it more!
 

vinny1001

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I checked during lunch..

So.. never mind, I didn't notice the windows audio was linked with the realtek audio. 2.1 doesn't necessarily have the thump but I think it's still there just very low.

Turning to 5.1 causes the audio to have a muffled thump when audio plays.

Reinstalled steam at lunch and I still get the static.

Now, which wasn't there before, when clicking a link on IE, so if I open a new tab and type in a webpage, as soon as I hit enter, and the first split second the page starts to load, it has a static crack too, just like steam starting. Both are on different HD's.

Had NO issues before on my previous build with these HD's.

Great, so now I have more static from literally doing nothing other than turning my pc on TWICE since the other day, where IE was fine = no static.

Yes I switched RAM slots and tested all slots.

Great.. here we go again with this audio crud what rarely anyone else gets, yet I got it with 6 boards, and 2 sets of hardware/components
 

InvalidError

Titan
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If by static you mean faint noises similar to GSM interference or the noises you were getting from moving the mouse, those noises coming back with Steam or IE open are likely simply from animated GIFs and anything else that puts a significant CPU load on a timer or other interrupt source. Just as before, those should go away if you disable C-states.

At this point, I think it would be reasonable to think your amplifier might be excessively sensitive to common-mode noise and you will get the 'static' with just about every Skylake motherboard you will try since they all have similar high-performance VRM with similar high-performance 12V transient response from the PSU.

Since you said you can hear some of the noise on your headphones using the front jacks, try disconnecting the front audio cable from the motherboard and see if that helps with noise on the rear jacks: if the front jacks are grounded to the case, there might be a ground loop between the motherboard, case and PSU ground through the front audio cable.
 

vinny1001

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Ah ok to clear something up real fast. The Gigabyte gave constant static from mouse movement in headphones, and any use of CPU (so everything lol), but crystal clear 5.1 external speakers. Yes disabling the C states and EIST solved that, but I shouldn't be hiding the issue, power savings should work as intended. BUT...

I am currently on the ASUS board (VIII Hero Z170) and I have no issues w/ headphones, but the 5.1 external speakers get that static hiss opening few programs. EIST and C states are on, yet no static like the Gigabyte was giving.

Yesterday and the day before the Asus was seemed fine, IE worked flawless. (I use chrome but for now I'm sticking with defaults) All of a sudden today with nothing changed, literally, I was at lunch, turned my PC on, checked my email, and upon loading any webpage, that same static pop sizzled up, just as it does opening a program. Nothing has changed since.. so why now? Literally is sounds like a sizzle if you threw water on a hot pan and it sizzles off, but like a drop or two of water. It's fairly faint but very noticeable.

Using the audio drivers from Asus, with sonic suite, that completely shorts out the audio. Even on the ROG forums, many experience this. Some don't at all. Apparently it's a huge problem right now and as we've been saying, it has to do with how the board handles the channels and power savings, etc.

I have the 1102 bios, but they shortly released after that the 1202 BETA bios, and according to this one guy
https://rog.asus.com/forum/showthread.php?78840-Maximus-viii-hero-beta-bios-1202/page2
updating to that BIOS fixed it for him.

Just look at the Asus Maximus Hero Z170 board forums, and search within that forum "audio" and many people are experiencing the issues I am. few don't get it at all.
https://rog.asus.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?201-Maximus-VIII-Motherboards-(Z170)
and on the right side search in the forum "audio" and click through some posts - they talk about this issue or how terrible the audio is handled.

Someone even installed separate Intel chip drivers for Win10, and that seemed to have helped. I'm on Win7 though, trying to stay away from 10 lol.

I messaged the guy, "JET" to see if the BIOS was for sure the fix. There are some other minor suggestions in other forums so I will try a few when I get home, but I'll start with the beta BIOS.

AND the front audio jacks are all good on this board/my case, there doesn't seem to be any interference like I had on the Gigabyte board. Asus is as smooth as it can be aside from the static pops from audio channels opening/closing with 5.1 speakers, or with sonic suite - then it does the audio channel pop in headphones-, and a few programs opening with a slight sizzle of static through speakers.

I really hope this BIOS update is the fix to help improve the C states / power saving features to not screw the audio up.

I appreciate you sticking around on this and hope others can get use out of this information too. Sorry for typing a lot, but every detail counts, as it can help others too.

I will post about the BIOS once done. If it's not a fix, I will post on the ROG forums to further find a solution for this issue and give the link out on here if you or anyone would like to see more info on it.
 

vinny1001

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The beta bios did not do anything. Everything is still the same. I contacted ASUS and I will have further assistance tomorrow with a tech analyst. I'm also reconsidering this board after looking at benchmarks on a few sites. I'm curious how the Asus Z170 Deluxe would do! I will update more after I get help from the Asus rep. The one I spoke with was thinking it's a driver issue as well, considering running default windows audio drivers, everything works perfect. I explained all what I've done and he feels it's a driver issue too. We will see. Idk if I want to go through an RMA or just grab a different board.. sigh
 

DanielMZXG

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How the deluxe mobo?
I have Gigabyte Ga-Z170MX gaming 5 which has weird buzzing/static noises from the board it self whenever I open IE or every other problem..
Got any solution yet?
 

Zurich_1

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Hey I also have Asus VIII Gene and the problem I was having with it was constant hissing noise from headphones (both on the back port and case port connected to its internal port). What helped for me on linux was setting /sys/module/snd_hda_intel/parameters/power_save to 1.

Update: also "loopback mixing" needed to be disabled with command: amixer -c PCH set "Loopback Mixing" Disabled
 

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