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Electronics Interference

Discussion in 'Modding' started by BlueMax, 23 Feb 2004.

  1. BlueMax

    BlueMax What's a Dremel?

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    A problem started with my computer a week ago. My games, mp3s, and basically anything sound related sounded like trash and was messing up.

    I solved the gaming issue; the newest patches and updates just don't like my computer (the sound is messing up on a friend's computer also, who has different hardware).

    I have formatted 4 times in the past week trying to fix the mp3 dilemma though. Whenever I play mp3s (or any music for that matter, be it iTunes off the network or music CDs) sound distorted at some parts. It basically sounds like I have the Windows volume maxed out and my speaker volume at the lowest setting (audiophiles know what I'm talking about). The sound distorts and sounds just overall trashy at the hard notes of the song.

    So I just finished formatting, and reinstalling drivers for my motherboard (NF7-S V2) and all that stuff. Guess what? The mp3s still sound like crap.

    So I am about to give up when I open the NVIDIA nForce tray sound options thing. The left and right channel for the Speaker Output show a signal coming through! And I have no music playing!

    A forum I visit along with this one suggested that interference could cause my sound to mess up. They also asked if my keyboard and mouse seemed to affect the sound. It definitely did.

    Interference it is!

    No wonder my music sounds like crap, interference is messing it up...

    And I CANNOT find out what is causing it. It didn't start this 'til recently, so I don't know why it's doing it. I haven't put a microwave or anything of the such in my room.

    Anyone have any suggestions?
     
  2. kt3946

    kt3946 What's a Dremel?

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    #1 Have you verified that ALL UNUSED inputs are muted within the control panel applet? This is the #1 problem in most cases.

    #2 Barring that, what KIND of interference are you hearing, and on what input or outputs are you seeing the 'meters go wild on'?

    #3 Verify that all of your PREMIX levels on the SPEAKER SETUP tab are NOT at maximum (set them to about 3/4 of the way).

    #4 Unplug any microphones you may have. That's a common problem too.
     
  3. BlueMax

    BlueMax What's a Dremel?

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    All those checkout, I checked all that stuff first. I was almost sure it was something maxed out too (that's EXACTLY what it sounds like) but I can't find anything! Everything but the Wave and Master volume are muted as well. I don't have a microphone.

    The left and right channel are going wild on the Speaker Output level of my nforce control panel program.

    Right now it's not doing it though. Interesting. It was last night. But the interference is still happening. The "interference" only occurs whenever a loud portion or "hard" portion of a song is in play. It's so much like a volume is maxed out somewhere....but I can't find it anywhere!
     
  4. kt3946

    kt3946 What's a Dremel?

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    I would open the 'regular' windows control panel and hit the 'advanced' button. Also, go into the 'properties' and look at the 'play' section and checkmark every available option. Then verify that any unused items are turned off.

    Sometimes there is like a 'bass management' booster or something that can cause the problem too.

    If you could provide a screen shot that would help a *lot* too.
     
  5. BlueMax

    BlueMax What's a Dremel?

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  6. BlueMax

    BlueMax What's a Dremel?

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    Alright. I took my computer across the entire building and down two stories to the basement, and it still did it. My friend's computer (he has the EXACT same speakers as me) did NOT mess up at all, but mine did. I even hooked his speakers up to my computer and it still did it, and we hooked his speakers back up to his computer and it DIDN'T do it. So it's not interference. It's definitely something wrong with my computer.

    I was thinking maybe the video drivers were wreaking havoc, so I changed out video cards and put his 9700 Pro in my computer, and it STILL is distorted. I'm at a loss of words. It's not the mp3s, because I can listen to Mp3 Radio (such as SomaFM) and it distorts.

    I don't know what to do. The last thing to try is to put my old motherboard and processor back in. See if the sound messes up.
     
  7. The Bodger

    The Bodger What's a Dremel?

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    Put your soundcard into his PC and see whether his machine does it?
     
  8. kt3946

    kt3946 What's a Dremel?

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    I don't think he can... if he's using the NVIDIA sountstorm interface, than it's built into the motherboard chipset (part of the MCP-T version).

    What do you have connected to the output pins on the back of your motherboard. Meaning, which speakers are going to what? Line Out goes to front/back? Etc.

    It could be that you might have it possibly in the wrong connector? Just a thought there, kinda unlikely otherwise you probably wouldn't hear anything.
     
  9. BlueMax

    BlueMax What's a Dremel?

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    I just have my Bose Companion3 speakers going into the green sound port, that's all. It's just a regular speaker jack going into the onboard sound.

    I've found out that if I turn the Equalizer presets to the Default in Winamp, or Windows Media Player, the distortion is cut by around 80%. Meaning, it's only about 20% as bad as usual. But it's still there. Interesting!
     
  10. kt3946

    kt3946 What's a Dremel?

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    Hmmm.... have you tried any OTHER speakers with this setup? Possibly even a set of Headphones?

    There is a possibility that for some reason the drive circuit on your board combo is clipping at certain levels.

    Now, this can *also* happen with DUMB equalizer software (such as the crap included with winamp) as it doesn't do any differentiation between the signal level requested and maximum output. So, in theory, these algorithms can be configured accidently to produce all max values for all bits, thus resulting in crap for output.

    I would suggest the following additional tests:

    1. Run naked. Turn off all equalization, all software level amplification (change all volume control settings to 80%). Run a generic software util for sound output, or turn off all DSP output settings, and equalization settings in WinAMP. Then see if you get the same result.

    2. Run a different set of speakers with #1, try just some generic crap if anything. If you are using AMPLIFIED speakers, make sure you don't set the output sound level too high (and overdrive the input of the amplifier on the speakers), or be sure to use the 'High-Impedance' inputs of the speaker's amplifier (if so available).

    The point here is to attempt to differentiate whether this is a hardware or a software problem. It's difficult in this case, since it's integrated with the motherboard, but if we're careful, we should be able to figure it out.

    You had said previously that it *doesn't* seem to happen with some of the games you play? Am I correct in this? This leads me to believe that it could possibly be a software issue.

    You may also want to run DXDIAG.EXE and run through the sound tests. This can help validate that DirectX is setup correctly, in addition to giving you some soundtests which may help re-produce the problem.

    Let me know how it goes.
     
    Last edited: 24 Feb 2004
  11. ConKbot of Doom

    ConKbot of Doom Minimodder

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    First off, use headphones starting off, no amplification, use a nice pair, not POS $15 headphones or earbuds (my headphones cost me $20 and sound absolutely great, much better than my old set, hard to believe $5 made that much of a difference).

    Play the mp3 with mplayer2 Start>Run type in "mplayer2" nice and basic.

    If it is still there you know it is either hardware or something like the drivers or some of the built in "features"

    I know creatve drivers are a pain, but I did a little rooting around and managed to make it do anything I wan't, no splash screen, EAX taskbar when I want it, none of the programs or error notifications when I click around in the taskbar. Look around and see if you can do the same with your sound drivers.

    You could try to flash your bios, may help somewhat.

    You could try to measure the output impedance of the sound outputs, just get a DMM set it to impedance, and with the comp off, check the resistance between the left and ground and right and ground. All the outputs should be the same.


    This sounds like a stumper.
     
  12. BlueMax

    BlueMax What's a Dremel?

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    Aight I've tried headphones, it still does it. I've tried different speakers, also. No avail.

    On another forum, the guy said to try midis. I did, and it DOESN'T distort!

    Interesting........not sure what that means though.
     
  13. BlueMax

    BlueMax What's a Dremel?

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    Just tried the "mplayer2" thing. It's BARELY doing it with it. I think it's because I don't have the equalizer tweaked (because I didn't see an equalizer TO tweak). Whenever I mess with the equalizer in media programs is when the distortion and static hit hard.
     
  14. kt3946

    kt3946 What's a Dremel?

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    Have you tried DirectX's DIRECTDIAG utility? If you can get it to distort with that, then you are 'definately' looking at a hardware problem.

    However, if *not*, then you are looking at a software condition, either by the drivers or some other piece of software in-between.

    You can generally find the DirectX diagnostic utility in the:

    %windir%\system32\dxdiag.exe

    location.

    Run this and let us know what the results are. The fact that Windows Media Player seems to minimize this problem, smells of a software issue, but we won't be sure unless you run DXDiag.
     
  15. BlueMax

    BlueMax What's a Dremel?

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    Alright, I tried the DirectX thing. The Test Sound distorted minutely. We're talking like a normal person wouldn't be able to hear it, but an audio phr34k like me heard it definitely. It did the same thing as mp3s, but just on a lesser scale.
     
  16. kt3946

    kt3946 What's a Dremel?

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    How long have you had this MBoard? Is this something you noticed the minute you bought it? Or is it something that appeared over time?

    I would suggest the following:

    1. Verify that you have the LATEST nVidia soundstorm drivers (I believe v3.13 is the latest).

    http://www.nvidia.com/object/nforce_udp_winxp_3.13

    You can also use the NVSwap utility to figure out if you have something connected wrong on the output connections.

    2. Test out a few more sound sources (try a microphone/line-in, etc.).

    If you only hear the problem when you are running certain software, then it is likely a software bug/problem.

    However, if you hear it, when using a line-in, microphone, or other type of input, in addition to hearing it during wave audio....then you should probably see if your board has a good warranty. It could be then, your motherboard has a bad chip on it.
     
  17. kt3946

    kt3946 What's a Dremel?

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    Ya know... one thing I was thinking, that completely escaped me until now is this:

    Go to the Sound and Audio Device Properties (right-click on the speaker icon in the task bar, otherwise goto the control panel).

    Goto the speaker settings: click the 'Advanced' button. Then goto the Speakers section and verify that you are using the Desktop speaker setup (or whatever best fits). Then go to the 'Performance' tab. Make sure that both sliders are set to FULL/BEST.

    What could be happening is that if the SAMPLE RATE CONVERSION slider is set to 'crap/low' you could be hearing distorted WAVE output.

    Try that...
     
  18. Pandalet

    Pandalet What's a Dremel?

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    I had a similar problem with my onboard SiS soundcard, when I hibernated windows. After I'd hibernated and restored a few times, the sound would distort in exactly the way you've described. I'd have to reset the PC, which would fix the problem. Obviously, this isn't a solution for you, since you've reinstalled stuff.

    You might try an earlier version of winamp? Or, if you have access to one, try the same setup, but with a different sound card (or motherboard, if it's onboard)? From what you've described, it sounds like a hardware problem somewhere along the line, with winamp amplifying it.

    Might be worth checking your warrenties...
     
  19. BlueMax

    BlueMax What's a Dremel?

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    Tried that too. Also tried a different soundcard and different versions of Winamp.

    Get this:

    I swapped out the RAM, same thing happened.


    my brother and my friend put the old mobo and processor in while I am at work (right now).

    guess what? the sound distortion still occured.

    but my brother manipulated some options in Winamp, and it didn't fix it. until he restarted. NOW IT'S FIXED!!!!!!!!!!

    I didn't know you had to restart for Winamp settings to take place (the input settings).


    We changed around the settings last night in Winamp with the NF7-S and Barton, but we most certainly didn't reset. I wonder if it was actually fixed, and we simply forgot to reset the computer?

    so I guess this means it's winamp that was messing everything up?


    interestingly enough, now that Winamp is fixed, Media Player seems to be fixed too.......without changing anything in Media Player.



    ok, I don't know if I'm less or more confused than before
     
  20. BlueMax

    BlueMax What's a Dremel?

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    great. my brother just IMed me and said it's doing it again. apparently he had the decibels turned down to -10 on the Preamp in Winamp. When he puts it back to default, it does the static again. Not as bad as usual, but it's there. I hate my life :waah:
     

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