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SoundCard interference noise

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SoundCard interference noise

Postby Luís » Thu Aug 25, 2005 12:02 pm

I've just got a V6V-8088P notebook (1.86Ghz Sonoma, 1 Gb DDR2, 80 Gb 5400rpm, radeon x600 128 Mb, AC97 Audio).

When I plug headphones or external speakers to the line output, I hear a loud and horrible noise from the computer, like the processor and/or hard drive working. There's a constant noise, but when I start an aplication, you can hear (very loud) the processor or hard drive working. This doesn't happen with the onboard speakers. I've tried the asio4all drivers, but the problem continues.

I've used a Toshiba notebook, with AC97 audio, and there wasn't this noise.

It looks like an interference, or hardware problem.

This is very dissaponting. I hope you can you help me please.
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Re: SoundCard interference noise

Postby Sle » Thu Aug 25, 2005 1:10 pm

This noise is always present to a greater or lesser degree in non-professional audio hardware, especially if it's built into the motherboard. It's also more noticeable in headphones.

If reading this brings cries of "No, you don't understand" you need to claim a new laptop under warranty - maybe the shielding on the headphone connection isn't up to scratch.

Or buy a nice little external audio interface.
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Re: SoundCard interference noise

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Aug 25, 2005 1:57 pm

Agreed - some motherboard soundchips are better than others (the one on my Compal CL50 isn't at all bad) but you tend to hear tiny noise far more when under headphones than when listening on tiny built-in laptop speakers.

However, I bought an Echo indigo PCMCIA audio interface to provide me with even better 24-bit audio quality.


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Re: SoundCard interference noise

Postby Luís » Fri Aug 26, 2005 3:13 pm

Even when I move the mouse or touch the touchpad, you can hear interference while the mouse icon moves...

yaaccchhhh...
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Re: SoundCard interference noise

Postby Sle » Fri Aug 26, 2005 4:12 pm

Yes, that's what it's like.. Though remember - if you *render* your music to a file, your bog standard soundcard isn't even involved. :D
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Re: SoundCard interference noise

Postby James Covell » Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:25 pm

Hi Luis and all,

Just reading the thread with interest... I have been experiencing similar problems. I've just bought a Toshiba M40X-189 (solely for music production). I'm running Cubase SX 1, I have a 7200rpm USB2 hard drive for audio data and I'm using a M-Audio FireWire Solo audio interface.

After a few tweeks here and there, the whole system runs perfectly - even with 30 tracks of audio, waves compresser+reveb pluggins and Halion running a 1Gb sampled piano! I am very pleased with the performance. There's just one major problem to be overcome now... bloody INTERFERENCE!!...

I get a truly awful two-tone hum constantly + additional noise when I move the mouse etc. Probably exactly the same noise Luis is getting. Even when using the M-Audio interface the noise to signal ratio is still unacceptable. What is really weird - even if the channel fader is down on the mixer, the noise still gets through!! -the mind boggles!

The only thing that stops the interference is unplugging the power supply and running the laptop off the battery (worth trying Luis).. which obviously isn't an option for long sessions. I've tried different manufacturers of power supply with no success.

Can anyone offer any advice?

Cheers.

James
PS. I was using an Echo indigo I/O card at first - I thought the FireWire Solo would solve the problem...
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Re: SoundCard interference noise

Postby Luís » Mon Aug 29, 2005 10:43 am

Hello James,

Runnig with batery > there's no noise.

The problem only is I just have 2 hour batery life, so that's not a solution for me :frown:

So, there's a ground loop in the notebook.

Could a DI or a ground loop isolator like this (http://www.xitel.com/product_gli.htm) solve the problem?

Anyone have already tried one of this solutions?

Cheers.
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Re: SoundCard interference noise

Postby Loudbox » Mon Aug 29, 2005 11:31 am

I had exactly the same problem with my Acer 1670 laptop. No problems with my RME Fireface firewire soundcard which is powered externally. However I had loads of noise and interference with my Echo Indigo PCMIA card when powered by mains. I spoke to a guy I know who runs Orchid Electronics . This is apparently a common problem and he has built a transformer isolator box. It has jack inputs and male XLR outputs. I ordered one for £44 inc vat & postage and it worked beatifully. Very well made and very robut for gigs.
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Re: SoundCard interference noise

Postby James Covell » Mon Aug 29, 2005 4:51 pm

Hi Loudbox,

Cheers for the reply.

Does the isolator box effect the audio in any way?

James.
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Re: SoundCard interference noise

Postby Loudbox » Mon Aug 29, 2005 5:00 pm

James Covell wrote:


Does the isolator box effect the audio in any way?


No, the sound isn't affected in anyway at all. In fact it provides a very clean, isolated, balanced signal to your mixer, pa, soundcard etc.
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Re: SoundCard interference noise

Postby Luís » Tue Aug 30, 2005 9:26 pm

Hello James,

I've tried this:
I plug the notebook to a wall plug in other room of my house (where isn't pluged any piece of my studio) and there was no hum

Then I remembered:
I've got an old Zeck DBA10 DI box. I plugeg the notebook back in my studio and there was hum again... Them I put 1 chanel through the DI (I only have 1 DI box) and guess what? THERE WAS NO HUM

Is this the best solution?

I'm going to buy anohter DI box (or a stereo one) for the other chanel.

Cheers.
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Re: SoundCard interference noise

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:56 pm

Yes, in many cases this is the best solution, and many people here have bought stereo DI boxes like Behringer's Ultra DI20 and been well pleased with them.


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Re: SoundCard interference noise

Postby jammer » Wed Aug 31, 2005 6:29 pm

Martin Walker wrote:Yes, in many cases this is the best solution, and many people here have bought stereo DI boxes like Behringer's Ultra DI20 and been well pleased with them.


Martin

hi martin,

is there no way that the power into the laptop can be cleaned up?

so using this with my motu traveler i'd need a transformer isolator / DI box for every cable going to/from the traveler?

tia,
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Re: SoundCard interference noise

Postby James Covell » Wed Aug 31, 2005 10:06 pm

Hi all,

Yeah, I've been experimenting too... if I plug the outputs directly into my powered monitors I get a perfectly clean sound. If I touch the earth pin of my Yamaha motif synth into the socket the interference comes through it's output into the desk (even when it's turned off!!- madness!)

As my audio interface has balanced outputs, I'm going to try some balanced jack-XLR leads tomorrow. I'll report my findings.

James.
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Re: SoundCard interference noise

Postby jammer » Thu Sep 01, 2005 2:43 pm

i've just spoken to a couple of people about various solutions to this problem and it seems that using an adaptec fireconnect card and powering the traveler using that could be the best (neatest) solution.

according the the adaptec knowledge base online the fireconnect can power 3 devices

http://tinyurl.com/c9wkh

apparenly the pci system will filter the the noise from the laptops internals somewhat.

people have suggested DI boxes and so forth but this strikes me as a very messy solution, not to mention doubling the number of cables you'll need ... not good for a mobile recording solution, at least to my mind anyway.
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