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Old 04-01-2007, 11:54 AM   #1
Fizzycapola
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Default What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards? and how can it be solved?



Ok so I've changed a few caps (blindly with no knowledge what I'm doing or why I'm doing it), on an Audigy 2 card. (~Elgen to Panasonic/Rubycon)

But "clicking and popping" is still very apparent.

It can be reproduced by seeking in audio playback and stopping starting audio. Occasionally it is possible to hear another type of clicking/pop type of sound whilst the audio is playing right after the first clicking noise after hitting play.

Formerly it occured frequently when network traffic occured (occuring throuougt the playback not just at the start, (specifically when searching ebay listening to high quality mp3 seemed a good test) on populated PCI bus (VGA through PCI graphic - NIC - Audigy). After recapping the PCI VGA card the problem persisted, the NIC (Intel 100Mb MA - is all surface mount componentry).

Commonly mounting the card at the bottom of the board far away from other components is thought to improve the situation.

I've searched occasionally to find a direct solution but usually it returns information not directly related to solving clicking and popping problem at the source directly. (usually searching finds quality improvement or blanket style cap upgrading) I'm not really that intersted in sound "quality" per say, the purpose of these cards is to enable games to run at optimal speed/minimal cost.





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Old 04-05-2007, 10:49 AM   #2
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Default Re: What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

I have heard of this being a problem with the PCI latency. From what I understand, the PCI bus cannot transmit the audio data fast enough or somthing. There is more info on this problem here. (I know you don't have an X-Fi, but this has also been reported with other cards)

If this is your problem, I don't think changing the caps will help.
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Old 04-05-2007, 01:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

I had this problem too, but it turned out to be the old video card- using too much PCI bus. Changed it to a Geforce card and problem solved.
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Old 04-05-2007, 02:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

The problem is that Creative is a shit company, almost every card since their ISA series have had issues like this...

I've seen it first hand many times, solved a few, others never solved

Try moving the card around to different PCI slots (or look in the manual for a slot that is not shared with anything else IRQ wise)

Disabling ACPI sometimes works (which must mean they do not follow the ACPI spec) but this will require you to reinstall windows

Buying another soundcard works, because this is a Creative only issue

I've got an Auzentech X-Meridian myself, audio quality is much better than the X-fi Extreme Music I also have... But it does not support EAX (if that's your thing)
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Old 04-05-2007, 11:55 PM   #5
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Default Re: What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

Do you have a VIA chipset?

Many VIA chipsets have issues with PCI soundcards, due to their overly-conservative PCI bus latency settings. Unfortunately on many VIA motherboards you cannot change the latency thru BIOS setup, so you'll have to rely on the PCI Latency Patch from georgebreese.com in order to fix this. (Doesn't work in Vista AFAIK)

I have a VIA KT133A running an SB Live! with the PCI Latency fix applied, and it seems to work (almost) totally click- and pop-free. (Any remaining popping is usually caused by my weak host-driven NIC whenever a page is loading - I wish I could afford a Killer NIC for every PC in the house.)
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Old 04-07-2007, 02:21 PM   #6
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Post Re: What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

Yep theres alot of info on software/hardware conflict issues. But I'd like to just assume this problem can be solved with capacitors / hardware alterations if not for any reason but for the fun of it. I don't like to take too seriously information from the mass-internet as so much of it ranges from poor quality/vague information to down right total misinformation.



Audigy 2 Large Picture

Ok I test for popping and clicking between 2 of the same Audigy 2, one has worse unwanted noise than the other. (1 which I bought when first available which has Wincap as the NP caps, another bought much later from ebay very cheaply with gold plating and Jamaicon as NP caps, throughout the non-gold version has benchmarked better audio quality (tested with RM5.5 loopback test) and least unwanted noise)

So far I can with quite good certainty confirm "unwanted" sounds has increased since replacing capacitors.

Never one to assume a problem can't be fixed with capacitors. I think this is a good sign/indicator that capacitors have some kind of involment/effect on the "unwanted" noises/sound anomalies. Although this may seem enthusiastic, it could be the capacitor replacement just has changed the sound effect of the normally inaudiable sound glitches. The particular relevance of this start/stop click noise is mainly noticed in gaming where sound channels will turn on and off/change as different sound samples are loaded.

Technical advice on the hardware layout would be most appreciated aswell as suggestions where best to concentrate my efforts, as I'm aware I can't just keep changing the caps forever randomly, eventually those throughholes will weaken. If I was to win the lottery today I'd surely replace all capacitors with solid audio caps and gold content solder and house the card in a emi noise proof cage (with my makeshift backed bean tin cans unrolled and glued to the back benchmark reported 0.01 improvement over 4 tests - not really better than normal deviation/indicative of any effect), whilst this isn't actually as expensive as it sounds, solving a problem permanently as cheaply as possible is always much nicer than spending any real money.
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Old 04-08-2007, 01:59 AM   #7
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Default Re: What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

There's an RFI issue with GSM cellphones and most soundcards - if a GSM cellphone receives a call in close proximity to audio equipment of any kind, there will usually be a series of clicks and pops that die out when the call is taken. There seems to be no workaround (except maybe ferrite beads on the audio-out leads) for this, unfortunately.
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Old 04-12-2007, 02:51 PM   #8
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Default Re: What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

linuxguru
Thankyou for your comments. I wonder if ferrite beads could be integrated on the card itself somehow - maybe on capacitor legs - also what type of ferrite beads would be the best for this.

ilikecake
That could be the case or it could just be something made up to divert blame.

UraBahn
I have PCILatency Tool, changing settings doesn't appear to have much effect.

For my next (kind of random) recap test I'm thinking about replacing the
NP caps but not sure what with.

The 1uF caps I replaced with 2.2uF I plan to replace with 1uF.

The larger caps (47-100uF) I replaced (with a mixture of 100uF and 220uF Panasonic FM & Rubycon ZLH respectively as in picture) I'm thinking about replacing with audio grade Oscons or (ultra low esr) Rubycon ZLG. I'm not sure whether a higher capacitance is needed here though. I read some recommendations suggesting using 1000uF, I wonder where these should be placed, on the X-Fi we know that theres only ~1 capacitor responsible for powering the board. Increasing the caps that supply power sounds ok to me, but the caps carrying audio I should keep the same and change to audio oscons?

Also thinking about removing components from the board such as sockets etc - I wonder if this would make any differences ? - (only the headphone jack is ever used for analogue audio out)
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Old 04-12-2007, 11:34 PM   #9
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Smile Re: What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

Correction:

Soundcard Large Picture

Capacitors I have at hand:

100uF Pan FM
220uF Rubycon ZLH (long life series)
100uF Sanyon SC (10v)
1000 Rubycon ZL

I recall buying a bag of bare ferrites about 10 or so years back I will try looking for these and maybe do some tests if I can stop myself procrastinating on this issue. I still haven't built my new PC yet, I reach a point where it doesn't work properly and just freeze up watch TV and drink beer instead of dealing with it.

Any educated guesswork appreciated on this. Thanks for looking.

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Old 05-05-2007, 02:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

Maybe I should add this note encase a noob like me reads another of my silly topics and takes it too seriously: =)

High frequency sounds seemed to have been totally erased by using the caps I used - basically it's like the sounds in a trashcan. I will continue my experiments and report back if I find anything interesting, I blame the ZLH at the moment and feel I should splash out my small stash of Sanyo's there or try some Nichcon MUSE if I can find a small quantity. =D

Click noise, once the new caps have burnt in for a week of so seems much less noticeable, I've long suspected also it depends on the other component cards, perhaps the quality of caps on them, I know with one graphics card - PCI - the sound was actually interrupted during playback often. With the AGP card which is nearly all OSCONS no interruptions, with another AGP card sound sample clicks started in my games before it eventually suffered a core failure.
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Old 05-05-2007, 03:04 PM   #11
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Default Re: What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

I would suggest to replace all the smaller lytics with some good foil capacitors, and the power decoupling cap with a 470 -1000uF ultralow esr type .
I do have not mutch clue abouth audio circuits, but i certainly know, that lytics should not be part of the audio signal route.
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Old 05-06-2007, 07:30 AM   #12
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Default Re: What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

And no, you can't fix that noise by replacing caps.
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Old 05-06-2007, 07:59 AM   #13
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Default Re: What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

why dont you use spdif or optical out to a home theater receiver?
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Old 05-06-2007, 03:03 PM   #14
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Default Re: What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

Because the DACs & analogue stage in a lot of home theatre equipment isn't as good as those on modern sound cards (although Creative aren't famous for fantastic sound quality)...
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Old 05-07-2007, 11:50 AM   #15
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Default Re: What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Azurael
Because the DACs & analogue stage in a lot of home theatre equipment isn't as good as those on modern sound cards (although Creative aren't famous for fantastic sound quality)...
Yup, can clearly confirm this with an Auzentech X-Meridian and Logitech Z-5500 speaker set

The difference isn't day and night (i.e. the DAC's in the Z-5500 are pretty good)

But the sound still to me sounds better via analog on this setup
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Old 05-08-2007, 04:40 PM   #16
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Default Re: What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

Hey - while I may be a newbie here, reading this thread I can't help but think of the quote (and I don't know who first said this) from the point of view of a hammer, everything is a nail. I've seen these symptoms many times with crappy creative cards and I've never had to re-cap a sound card to fix them. Almost every case I've seen of a soundcard making popping and clicking has been caused by rf interference in the area, a driver configuration issue or a bus latency issue (sometimes these two are related). Unlike video cards, sounds cards are pretty low voltage, voltage which in theory regulated by your motherboard first. I simply haven't seen many situations of bad caps on a sound card unless the motherboard was also shot. (please let me know if others experience is different) Anyway, that's my 2 cents - I would look seriously into some of these other possible causes before taking the time to replace all 47 or so caps on that card.
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Old 05-09-2007, 01:15 PM   #17
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Default Re: What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzo0815
I would suggest to replace all the smaller lytics with some good foil capacitors, and the power decoupling cap with a 470 -1000uF ultralow esr type .
I do have not mutch clue abouth audio circuits, but i certainly know, that lytics should not be part of the audio signal route.
Depends on which caps you are talking about. Small in the electrolytic world (10uF) is gigantic in the film world. Yes, the caps in the signal path should defenitely be changed from electrolytics to film & foil or at least metallized film caps. The power caps don't need to be anything huge because the opamps don't push anything anywhere near even a watt. Most all decoupling caps, such as the ones before the voltage regulators or FET's are typically 100uF or 10uF. In their case, you could use low esr electrolytics and also ADD a small film to bypass the electrolytic; the likes of .1uF.

I was frankensteining my Live!, again last night. I had replaced the two electrolytics in the signal path on the front channel with non-polarized lytics, which was a small improvement, making the soundstage seem a bit more spacious. I had since changed to using the kX drivers and switched to the rear channel, which is obviously better sounding. So last night I moved the non-polarized lytics to the rear channel, which yielded a little better soundstage, again.

I started rummaging through my pile of parts from disassembling monitors, etc. and found a pile of film caps. They're nothing special, I'm sure, but they are films. So I snagged a couple of .1uF and added them to the non-polarized lytics. This yielded better defenition in the highs and helped remove some of the harshness as the highs seemed to be on the attack most of the time, causing listening fatigue pretty quickly. Now, still at the same volume mind you, you could listen and the highs seemed more tame and didn't hurt my ears, even though it was loud. So then I decided to just chuck the lytics altogether and see what happened. It sounds cleaner without the lytics! I thought doing this would cause me to lose low end because the lytics were a large 10uF, but it sounds better... the low end actually sounds more defined and some of the tones now sound more like an actual instrument instead of some blurry, droning bass tone. lol!

Films don't age the same as electrolytics, but these were pulled from an old monitor, which we know gets hot inside. I'm hyped about putting some quality films in here. Oh, I also went in and bypassed three of the four bypass caps at the bottom of the card, which at the moment are 47uF, but were originally 100uF, and which I had changed to 1000uF at one point lol, but I bypassed them with .01uF or 10,000pF films which seemed to make the sound blacker.(meaning silence is quieter, less of that slight hiss in the background)

It's really a treat to have a CD which is obviously recorded very well. I don't have tons of CD's like this, but one which is obvious is Shakira's first album, Donde Estan Los Ladrones, which for the most part has very well defined instruments, the soundstage being very spacious. This is one of my most pleasant sounding CD's. I rip CD's into WAV because I noticed a big difference between even 192k's and WAV's. Everytime I compare an MP3 to a WAV, I notice that the MP3 sounds mixed or overlayed and blurred... just plain cruddy in comparison.

I can't wait to recap my broken PSU. The cleaner power should help as well. Remember, you PSU is another instance in which you can benefit from bypassing the large electrolytic bypass caps with small films, and replacing cermamics with films will also benefit.

Long winded, I know, but I just wanted to say I'm listening to some more tracks I hadn't since goofing with the caps again, and I keep hearing voices and instruments I don't remember hearing before. VERY. NICE. YOU-KNOW-HUH?
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Old 09-01-2007, 04:11 PM   #18
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Default Re: What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

Theres no question about mp3's being a tier lower than wave, no matter what compression, lossy-compressed audio is lossy-compressed audio (even if you use lamerz 320kbps mp3 compressor or something simlarly cool sounding) just like when you save a picture into jpeg it always will lose details and mess up the colors (just use a color picker and see if it's the same hex value - no it usually isn't - vibrancy for some reason gets kicked first thing)(in most applications I have used - depending on the jpeg encoder the app uses). I also put waves on my MP3 players (when I really want to enjoy what I listen to and not just block out other noises or look cool)(if they allow it and their cpu's powerful enough), much better.

Glad you can hear even the individual instruments, sounds like you have a nice setup of equipment, last time I had setup that good I think was atleast ten years ago, my favourite $1 earphones broke other day now on this weeks pair cannot make out much apart from they should be sponsored by headache tablet manufacturers - but blocks out noise ok, go profitable consumer goods! (not).
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Old 09-01-2007, 04:18 PM   #19
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Default Re: What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

Quote:
my favourite $1 earphones broke other day


get some Sennheiser cant believe the improvement. although diminishing returns as they get more expensive. i have HD590s. pretty awesome and not that expensive.
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Old 09-02-2007, 09:15 PM   #20
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Default Re: What causes "clicking and popping noise" on Audigy cards?

As others have stated, it's a PCI bus issue. Disable any integrated PCI devices you can do without, try a different Creative driver, adjust the PCI latency in bios or with a utility if needed, and consider removing the NIC or video card if possible. Creative sound cards do not play nice with anything else that demands much concurrently on the PCI bus, and with a Via chipset it can be all that much worse.

I suppose the other obvious solution is to replace the sound card. Creative cards are primarily desirable for their gaming performance in reducing CPU utilization but it's less likely you have a CPU bottleneck if gaming with a PCI video card.

Thus, there may not be much benefit to this audio card in the system, especially if you were willing to mod other cards you might find plenty of others that sound close enough in quality if not better once these stray noises are gone. Getting rid of the Creative driver is just icing on the cake.
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