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Windows 7: HP m8120n speakers buzz after installing Windows 7

25 Oct 2013   #1

Windows 7 Professional x64
HP m8120n speakers buzz after installing Windows 7

Hey all,

I have an HP m8120n with the P5BW-LA (Basswood3G) motherboard. Ever since I wiped the drive clean, and installed a fresh copy of Windows 7 Pro x64 bit, the sound on the computer has started acting up.

My speakers buzz whenever I plug them in the rear port on the computer. It's just a constant, static buzz, regardless of whether I have anything else plugged into the computer.

I've moved the computer out of the room and into a friend's house, and the buzzing was completely gone. The speakers are a pair of Alesis Prolinear, and they work fine in other computers. The buzzing occurs regardless of whether I use the front or rear jacks.

Thinking it was a driver issue, I decided to update my audio codecs. Getting the drivers for this machine proved to be easier said than done. There is absolutely no Windows 7 supported audio driver on the m8120n's download page. The Vista version, whether for 32 or 64 bit, does not work at all on my OS, even when running in Vista compatibility mode wth administrator privlidges enabled.

Asus doesn't support OEM boards, so they didn't have any downloads for me. I finally had to go straight to Realtek and use their Windows universal download. It seems to have installed the right driver version: Codec ALC888S, which matches the codec listed on the mobo specs page: (Motherboard Specifications, P5BW-LA (Basswood3G) | HP® Support).

I do have an amp in my room, which I have a guitar hooked up to. However, the amp is off, and it never caused any issues with the computer when I used Vista

I don't use a sound card or any other drivers that would interfere with the onboard audio or Realtek driver.

Thus, I think I can safely rule out any interference. I think it is the audio driver, because when I disabled the Realtek driver I had installed, the buzzing stopped. Do you know of another driver I could install that would still be compatible with my system?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

25 Oct 2013   #2

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

This sounds like a classic "ground loop hum" problem that we musicians face all the time with different AC powered devices connected together (I used to be a guitar amp tech).

It could be the AC power you are connected to, even if both are connected to the same AC power source. If you do not physically connect the speakers to the PC, but plug in a headset do you get the buzz? If not that goes back to a suspected ground loop hum problem. IF the speakers have a three prong (grounded) AC power plug, use a "ground lifter" adapter that eliminates the ground on the speakers and see if that fixes it.

As far as the drivers, Vista drivers are applicable to both Windows 7 and Windows 8 as they use the same identical drivers. You should not have to install in a compatibility mode. The RealTek audio drivers for my Gigabyte motherboard are for Vista/Win 7 (and work in Win 8). I have a recording studio and some older devices that only have Vista drivers and they are working OK in Win 7 and Win 8
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Oct 2013   #3

Windows 7 Professional x64

Hey fireberd! Thanks for your prompt and helpful reply!

I'm beginning to think you are right - it has to be some sort of ground loop interference. Here's why: when I took the computer to a friend's house, and hooked up both headphones and his TV to the rear and front audio ports, I had no sound problem whatsoever. So it might be an environmental problem.

I have turned off the amp, but could it still be sending a hum even if it's plugged in?

To answer your question about headphones vs. speakers, it depends. Sometimes I don't get the hum sound with headphones, other times I do.

I know you are right about the Vista drivers being applicable, but what I meant was, the Vista driver won't run at all. If I simply try to launch it, it gives me the error message that it isn't supported for my version of Windows. I've ensured that the version I downloaded was a 64-bit driver for my 64-bit Windows. I've also tried the 32-bit version as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

25 Oct 2013   #4

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

The amp, if not connected to the PC or speakers should not cause any problems powered on or off.

But, that it sometimes does it and others don't leads me to believe its either a ground loop hum or some problem with the AC power.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2013   #5

Windows 7 Professional x64

Right, that might explain it fireberd, because even turned off and unplugged it still gives me the hum.

I did apply this suggestion from the HP forums:

Step 1. Click Start
Step 2. Click Control Panel
Step 3. Click Hardware and Sound
Step 4. Click Sound
Step 5. On the Playback tab click Speakers
Step 6. Click Properties
Step 7. Click the Enhancements tab
Step 8. Select the Disable all enhancements check box
and that did help with audio leveling and removing a flat sound from the sound. I'm wondering if a similar set of steps would fix this issue?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Oct 2013   #6

Windows 7 Professional x64

OK fireberd I tried some things out and this is what I found:

1.) I removed the amp completely from the equation, taking it out of the room and leaving it unplugged.

2.) I tested the speakers where they are now with a laptop, and I had no sound issues whatsoever. The laptop was running Windows 7 Home Premium x64.

3.) The HP worked fine with the speakers under Vista. I'm wondering if there is an old driver or some other sort of setting that I must change in order to fix the static sound.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 HP m8120n speakers buzz after installing Windows 7

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