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Weird crackling/hissing noise inside PC and headset while playing games

As of a few months ago I started experiencing this cracking sound in my headset (Hyperx cloud alpha to whom it may concern). Didn't think much of it as it was fairly quiet and it would disappear for days and weeks, only to appear for like 10 seconds and be gone again for some time.

Around a week ago the situation changed, the crackling is appearing more and more while I'm in a game (be it CSGO or F1 2020) and it's absolutely unbearable. It has also now started to hiss inside the PC case (which wasn't a thing before)

 

I'm quite clueless on these matters, I've seen it could be the splitter cable from the headset (I replaced it with a different one, problem still stands) or coil whine or a screwed up sound board.

I've reinstalled audio drivers, installed different ones, played with audio enhancements and even changed the audio format around. Tried both the sound jack at the back of the case and the front one too. Same problem.

 

Now today I have found a stupid fix for it and thus I'm not satisfied and coming here for help. The fix is to unscrew the side panel screws and create just a tiny little air gap between it and the rest of the case. Then hissing inside the case and the headset stops completely. When I attach the panel properly again, it's back.

 

So I'm guessing it's some sort of electric interference stuff happening inside the case (or whatever else of the sort). Now what could be causing it? How do I go about fixing it? Because as much as this panel dettaching thing works, it's dumb and I would much rather a proper fix.

 

Many thanks for all the help in advance, I'll answer any additional questios anyone may have

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This problem is common when connecting to the front panel audio, and the recommended solution has always been to use the back panel audio. (This was because the problem was that the front panel audio header on the motherboard is typically right above the PSU. And the PSU was creating interference causing crackling to the end user. Especially when you cable managed and sent the cable literally lying across one of the panels of the PSU.)

 

But your problem remains with both jacks, making it not the normal problem. You are right that this is very likely a EMI issue, but I would also like to suggest a grounding issue. Voltage is somehow finding it easier to get to ground via your headset then it is going to the PSU's common ground point (the third pin on the wall socket, or 3 and 4th if u are in Europe). Another theory is that your case is also a grounding point (thats a fact), and by removing the side panel, you are changing the direction the electricity finds it easiest to travel to ground, in a direction away from your audio cable (either the internal cable and/or the wire coming from the headphones), reducing interference. 

 

Did the audio cable make any tight corners or rub against the case when it was connected to the PC, specifically to the mobo's audio? And if it ran up against the case, did it run up along the side panel that you detached? 

 

Now this isn't a proper solution either, but I would like you to run an experiment that won't fix your issue, but I am very curious about and could improve my troubleshooting skills. And maybe it can lead some insight to improve my hypotheses so I can help you further, IDK. 

  1. Split the side panel away from the case
  2. Use duct tape to cover up the gaps where you detached the panel, leaving only a little bit of breathing room. My hypothesis is that this will return the hissing, but at a different pitch, and your crackling will be gone.

Fuck you scalpers, fuck you scammers, fuck all of you jerks that charge way too much to tech-illiterate people. 

Unless I say I am speaking from experience or can confirm my expertise, assume it is an educated guess.

Current setup: Ryzen 5 3600, MSI MPG B550, 2x8GB DDR4-3200, RX 5600 XT, 1TB WD SN550, 2TB Seagate Barracuda Compute, Corsair 4000D Airflow, 650W 80+ Bronze. Razer peripherals. Also a 500GB 2.5" HDD I found. 

Also have a Alienware Alpha R1: i3-4170T, GTX 860M (basically a 750 Ti). 2x4GB DDR3L-1600

My current projects: VR Flight Sim: https://pcpartpicker.com/user/nathanpete/saved/#view=dG38Jx (Done!)

A do it all server for educational use: https://pcpartpicker.com/user/nathanpete/saved/#view=vmmNcf (Cancelled)

Replacement of my friend's PC nicknamed Donkey, going from 2nd gen i5 to R5 2600X: https://pcpartpicker.com/user/nathanpete/saved/#view=WmsW4D (Done!)

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24 minutes ago, Nathanpete said:

This problem is common when connecting to the front panel audio, and the recommended solution has always been to use the back panel audio. (This was because the problem was that the front panel audio header on the motherboard is typically right above the PSU. And the PSU was creating interference causing crackling to the end user. Especially when you cable managed and sent the cable literally lying across one of the panels of the PSU.)

 

But your problem remains with both jacks, making it not the normal problem. You are right that this is very likely a EMI issue, but I would also like to suggest a grounding issue. Voltage is somehow finding it easier to get to ground via your headset then it is going to the PSU's common ground point (the third pin on the wall socket, or 3 and 4th if u are in Europe). Another theory is that your case is also a grounding point (thats a fact), and by removing the side panel, you are changing the direction the electricity finds it easiest to travel to ground, in a direction away from your audio cable (either the internal cable and/or the wire coming from the headphones), reducing interference. 

 

Did the audio cable make any tight corners or rub against the case when it was connected to the PC, specifically to the mobo's audio? And if it ran up against the case, did it run up along the side panel that you detached? 

 

Now this isn't a proper solution either, but I would like you to run an experiment that won't fix your issue, but I am very curious about and could improve my troubleshooting skills. And maybe it can lead some insight to improve my hypotheses so I can help you further, IDK. 

  1. Split the side panel away from the case
  2. Use duct tape to cover up the gaps where you detached the panel, leaving only a little bit of breathing room. My hypothesis is that this will return the hissing, but at a different pitch, and your crackling will be gone.

The audio cable doesnt make any tight corners nor does it rub against the case.

 

I've done as you asked, the hissing did come back after covering up the air gaps with tape in the same pitch. Crackling inside the headset was also back but much quieter, almost impossible to hear if I focused on the game's audio.

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1 minute ago, bernardhere said:

The audio cable doesnt make any tight corners nor does it rub against the case.

 

I've done as you asked, the hissing did come back after covering up the air gaps with tape in the same pitch. Crackling inside the headset was also back but much quieter, almost impossible to hear if I focused on the game's audio.

So that confirms that the hissing isn't the fans or the GPU, but that your case is so incredibly negative pressure that the turbulence from pulling in air from every tiny hole is causing lots of noise. What is your case, where are your fans located, and what direction are they blowing in?

 

As you introduce more air gaps, the pitch of hissing will decrease. That is why I wanted you to not tape over the whole gap, just most of it. By moving the panel away form the case on a hinge, you introduce enough access to air to make the fan mostly inaudible again. 

 

I'm afraid I'm not really able to help with your crackling issue though. I sure hope my duct tape experiment didn't leave any nasty residue on your case. 

Fuck you scalpers, fuck you scammers, fuck all of you jerks that charge way too much to tech-illiterate people. 

Unless I say I am speaking from experience or can confirm my expertise, assume it is an educated guess.

Current setup: Ryzen 5 3600, MSI MPG B550, 2x8GB DDR4-3200, RX 5600 XT, 1TB WD SN550, 2TB Seagate Barracuda Compute, Corsair 4000D Airflow, 650W 80+ Bronze. Razer peripherals. Also a 500GB 2.5" HDD I found. 

Also have a Alienware Alpha R1: i3-4170T, GTX 860M (basically a 750 Ti). 2x4GB DDR3L-1600

My current projects: VR Flight Sim: https://pcpartpicker.com/user/nathanpete/saved/#view=dG38Jx (Done!)

A do it all server for educational use: https://pcpartpicker.com/user/nathanpete/saved/#view=vmmNcf (Cancelled)

Replacement of my friend's PC nicknamed Donkey, going from 2nd gen i5 to R5 2600X: https://pcpartpicker.com/user/nathanpete/saved/#view=WmsW4D (Done!)

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The case is SilentiumPC Gladius M35 Pure Black. 3 fans, one at the front, one at the back. Both blowing inward. 3rd fan is on the CPU radiator blowing onto it.

I was wondering whether an external USB sound card or a ground loop isolator would help with atleast the crackling noise as the hissing I really don't care about. It's not as loud and if I'm gaming (that's when the issue rises up, when I listen to music or watch something on Netflix, no crackling, no hissing. Might also wanna add that whenever I tab out of the game onto the desktop screen, both sounds stop until i tab back in. Lowering the framerate drastically to 30 helps with the volume but doesnt kill both sounds) I won't hear it anyway because of the headset. Just the crackling sound I'm really annoyed at as it recently has worsened to the point of being 3 times louder than game audio itself.

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