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Old 28th May 2013, 12:35 PM   #1
Kev06 is offline Kev06  England
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Default PC noise through internal sound card

Hi,
I've got an Asus Xonar Essence STX sound card which I've been very impressed with, and I like it even more after installing the third party UNi Xonar drivers mentioned elsewhere on this site. But I find that theres still some noise making its way into the RCA audio path, which is noticeable during quiet tracks or silences in the music.

It could be something to do with the grounding, but its certainly not just that as I can hear sounds that directly correspond to actions on the PC. The card already has a metal case around it, and swapping around the PCIE slots hasn't helped. I'm thinking of upgrading my hi-fi amps and speakers, and this is something that would take the shine off it.

Is there anything else I should try to solve it, or would I be right in thinking that using the card's S/PDIF output to an external DAC would be the best bet?

Thanks
Kev
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Old 28th May 2013, 01:12 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Kev06 View Post
Is there anything else I should try to solve it, or would I be right in thinking that using the card's S/PDIF output to an external DAC would be the best bet?
Unfortunately, you won't solve the problem. I have the same noise using an USB DAC...

Searching for a solution

Gianni
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Old 28th May 2013, 01:24 PM   #3
Face is offline Face  United States
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Originally Posted by gianxdiy View Post
Unfortunately, you won't solve the problem. I have the same noise using an USB DAC...

Searching for a solution

Gianni
Asynchronous USB? I have the same issue, it only disappears via an Asynch connection.
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Old 28th May 2013, 01:25 PM   #4
Kev06 is offline Kev06  England
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Originally Posted by gianxdiy View Post
Unfortunately, you won't solve the problem. I have the same noise using an USB DAC...
Searching for a solution
Gianni
Oh dear, I'd been hoping it would work - maybe the interference isn't necessarily though the analogue output stage as I'd imagined, then. A switchable S/pdif dac would be a neat solution for integrating some of my other sources so I'll probably try it anyway, but it appears I'll probably still have this problem to wrestle with.

Guess I could try to build a dedicated, electrically quiet media PC; aside from this small issue I'm so pleased with the move to the computer that I can't see myself wanting to go back to disk spinners.

Cheers
Kev
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Old 28th May 2013, 01:27 PM   #5
Kev06 is offline Kev06  England
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Originally Posted by Face View Post
Asynchronous USB? I have the same issue, it only disappears via an Asynch connection.
Perhaps if Gianni's issue is a USB-related one, perhaps my intention to use S/PDIF could still be a solution..

Cheers
Kev
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Old 28th May 2013, 04:45 PM   #6
marce is offline marce  United Kingdom
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What frequency is the noise?
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Old 28th May 2013, 05:46 PM   #7
Kev06 is offline Kev06  England
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What frequency is the noise?
There are two types of noise really:

When the PC is at idle, there's a sort of general background 'data' type noise - I remember years ago some early computers loaded games through a cassette player and it made a noise like a very fast fax machine, this is similar only considerably faster - its much higher frequency than a 50hz buzz (although theres a faint one of those as well if I really crank up the amp). If I run processes on the PC (like play a video) this noise changes - it can pause for moments, get louder, and usually gets higher in frequency; almost becoming a whooshing hissing noise.

The other noises are varied, I get crackling/hissing noises and pops and clicks but only when the PC is working at something; opening/closing windows for example. When its idle these never occur.

Apologies for my rather rubbish descriptive abilities!

Cheers
Kev
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Old 28th May 2013, 07:31 PM   #8
marce is offline marce  United Kingdom
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Cheers, trying to decipher all the noise sources from a PC is interesting, all audible noise will be 20-20KHz, which means the digital noise is getting rectified and adding to the noise floor. The other problem is economics, one of the main culprits being the main SMPS (SMPS PSUs are not noisy if done right) but a PC one will be often built to a cost, single or double sided PCB with PTH components, compared to a top rate industrial one (where power failure is more costly than a PC going down), multi layer in built planar transformer, capacitive screening between layers, etc. The motherboards don't help, they get away with as few layers as possible so a lot of high speed signals run on the outer layers, the pretty squiggly patterns!
So a combination of noise sources, exasperated usually by a power supply well below the standard required, a comparison, again some more critical stuff, the power supply was 40% of the cost.
Oh often over specifying a SMPS can cause problems, depending on the topology, during low current requirements they can enter burst mode which lowers the frequency of the noise, even into the audio band in some cases.
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Old 28th May 2013, 08:15 PM   #9
Kev06 is offline Kev06  England
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Interesting stuff; thanks! Not sure how much control I have over those things, though when I built the PC it wasn't intend for music so i didn't try very hard I guess. I did get a Corsair SMPS rather than some unbranded effort, but I've no idea what kind of noise performance it has.

Cheers
kev
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Old 28th May 2013, 11:37 PM   #10
Wombat is offline Wombat  Germany
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Some easy way for noise coming thru is the front-panel connection. They are often badly or even non-shielded. Did you connect it in your case to the SC?
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