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Windows 7: Sound Cracking (Z77-D3H)

30 Sep 2012   #1

Windows 7 Enterprise 64 Bit
Sound Cracking (Z77-D3H)

Hi everyone,

I installed my new PC (Specs stated) this time last week. Ever since, i have been having really horrible crackling sounds coming from any audio output device (Headphones, USB Headphones, Speakers), in the beginning it slowed the pace of the sound with a sort of wauble and extreme crackling effect, and later on it became intermittent, as it is now. It's really getting on my nerves because i have no way of enjoying music without crackling, it interferes especially with game sounds or coordinating with clanmates ingame.

I have updated my drivers, i have disabled AMD HDMI with no fix, EasyTuner6 is not installed, this motherboard does not use Realtek, and many other fixes do not work for me.

This motherboard (Gigabyte Z77-D3H Rev 1.0) uses VIA Onboard sound and Atheros Ethernet/LAN. A thing i have noticed is that, for one, Sometimes when Atheros LAN is disabled, there is no crackling, but that does not apply 100% of the time.

I use USB Headphones (They work fine with other PCs and Setups), so it's definitely not my output devices.

I would really appreciate some help with this problem, it's driving my absolutely crazy. I have searched up fixes for the past week, with no avail.

Please try and help me out if you can. Thanks.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

30 Sep 2012   #2

Windows 7, 64 bit Home SP1, Win 8.1.1 Pro 64 bit

First, there is no "one fix" for this problem. If you look at what has been posted here (the many posts on this subject) you will see there can be many potential causes.

The EasyTune is one (and it got me on my new Gigabyte motherboard install as I had high latency spikes until I uninstalled it). Wireless adapters is another. Device Drivers can be another issue (check Gigabyte and update any needed drivers). Video card drivers are another. External to the PC, wireless devices can cause interference.

Disconnect the front panel headphone and mic connection from the motherboard and see if that makes any difference. Dell had a problem with one model a while back due to the routing of the front panel headphone/mic cables. Rerouting the cables fixed the Dell problem.

Also, since you have an i5, it has built in video. Although not as good as your video card, remove the video card and use the Intel video, if your motherboard has a video out port, just to see if the video card is causing anything.

Running the DPC Latency Checker will show if there is a problem (it showed mine and as soon as I uninstalled EastTune my latency dropped down to consistently under 100uSec). DPC Latency Checker
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Sep 2012   #3

Windows 7 Enterprise 64 Bit

Hi fireberd,

Thanks for the quick reply, i have downloaded the DPC Latency Checker, and i am waiting to test it when the crackling appears.

This motherboard does not Support WiFi, and all of my processor/motherboard/discrete graphics drivers are up to date. The front panel has also been disabled, with no avail. I have also checked if it is my graphics card by disabling it and the problem is still at large.

I have one more thing to add.

Earlier on this week, i disabled my ethernet adapter while the crackling was at large, and the crackling immediately stopped. I have however, installed all the latest updates for Atheros Ethernet/LAN and there has been no fix. I think there must be a problem with the adapter in that case, but i am not completely sure, but it is a helpful pointer towards a solution.

EDIT: Disconnecting the adapter does not solve this problem at all this time
My System SpecsSystem Spec

30 Sep 2012   #4

Windows 7, 64 bit Home SP1, Win 8.1.1 Pro 64 bit

Try this and see what happens. The sound is on a shared IRQ (Interrupt) with a higher priority device. Sometimes when its uninstalled/reinstalled Windows will put it on a different shared IRQ and symptoms can change.

Go to the Device Manager, RIGHT click on the entry for the sound then LEFT click "Uninstall". DO NOT check the box to also uninstall the drivers. Restart the PC and when Windows starts it will detect and reinstall the sound.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2012   #5

Windows 7 Enterprise 64 Bit

I did as you advised, but that did not fix the crackling sound. I have also gone through device manager and disabled most of the drivers while the sound was present, and that did not help either.

Another thing to add is, that yesterday for a while the sound crackling was not present, but my headphones kept on getting disconnected and reconnected by windows itself, which shut off all the sound, microphone and made them have to be reconfigured again. I'm not sure again, but i don't think the sound crackling was present during those moments.

EDIT: On the DPC Latency Checker, i get two kinds of crackling. Short, occasional pops/cracks which show up on the DPC Latency Checker, and a persistent static/crackling sound which does not show up on the Checker.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2012   #6

Windows 7, 64 bit Home SP1, Win 8.1.1 Pro 64 bit

You have done all the usual things that help or minimize the problem. As this is a new build, a problem with the motherboard is not out of the question.

You noted you do not have EasyTune6 installed, how about other utilities that Gigabyte supplied (that you aren't directly using)? Or maybe some other software such as an Antivirus (I use the free Microsoft Security Essentials).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2012   #7

Windows 7 Enterprise 64 Bit


The Gigabyte Facilities i have installed are: @BIOS, 3D Power B12.0208.1, Etron USB 3.0 Host Controller, Intel Management Engine Components, Intel USB 3.0 eXstensible Host Controller Driver, ON_OFF Charge B11.1102.1, QualComm SmartNet Controller, QualComm Atheros Communications Inc. (R) AR81 Family Ethernet Gigabit Controller, VIA Platform Device Manager

Most of them have been updated with gigabyte drivers directly from their website.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2012   #8

Windows 7, 64 bit Home SP1, Win 8.1.1 Pro 64 bit

I don't see anything there that would cause your problems. I have basically the same thing installed in my Gigabyte system. I didn't install the USB port charging option but I don't think that would cause any problems. I have dual Ethernet controllers and ports (an Intel and an Atheros (I only use the Intel).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2012   #9

Windows 7 Enterprise 64 Bit

Could you link me where to download the intel ethernet controller? (If it works with my motherboard)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Oct 2012   #10

Windows 7, 64 bit Home SP1, Win 8.1.1 Pro 64 bit

If you don't have an Intel NIC the drivers will not work (or install). I have an upgraded model Gigabyte board and it has an Intel NIC, along with a second (Atheros) NIC.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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