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Sound Blaster Z Crackling noises - Need help

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by Four Dyce, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. Four Dyce

    Associate

    Joined: Oct 7, 2014

    Posts: 43

    Hello, recently within the last 2 or so days that soundcard has begun making cracking/crackles/crackling noises. I don't know what caused it but I had the machine running just as I wanted it until the windows update (creators?) decided it wanted to install despite me turning off updates, but it happened anyway so that's that. After setting things back to how I wanted bit by bit after the update reverted many of my changes, thanks MS, I'm confronted by this.

    I've tried changing the default format (from 24bit - 48000hz), in fact I tried them all. No joy
    Turning on/off exclusive mode and audio enhancements. Nothing.
    No setting fiddling in the SB control panels helps.
    Disabled all other sound devices like the realtek and Nvidia ones. Nothing.
    Headphones are the same, thought this might stop it but I hear it wearing headphones too.
    Cleaning/reseating, nada.
    Read somewhere v-sync on can do it, well on or off it still does it.


    And probably tried some other low-impact easy things to try and solve it that I can't remember but still nothing. I've searched and googled like crazy, nothing I've read helps anywhere, so now I'm here on my knees asking for help, because whatever it is is beyond me. I mean I know my way around a computer but my knowledge is limited, I'm like an orange or maybe a blue belt.

    I put the blame squarely on the windows update. Which may or may not be the culprit.

    Quick Update: The onboard realtek doesn't produce any crackles so far, guess I'll use that for now until I figure out what the SB's problem is. Maybe I could try another slot?
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018
  2. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,632

    Location: Finland

    Wintoys 10 and its updates have regularly caused problems for someone with sound card, both Asus and Creative.

    Too high DPC latency would certainly cause problems so try checking that.
    http://www.resplendence.com/latencymon
     
  3. Four Dyce

    Associate

    Joined: Oct 7, 2014

    Posts: 43

    Scratch that, the realtek device started doing it as well. Great, it was fine yesterday.

    Anyway I let latencyMon run for 5 mintues, it says my system is suitable for handling real-time audio without dropouts. I don't know what I'm looking for but here are the results.

    Current measured interrupt to process latency: 31.4
    Highest measured interrupt to process latency: 624.6
    Highest reported ISR routine execution time: 826.7
    Highest reported DPC routine execution time: 783.6
    Reported total hard pagefault count: 0
    Highest reported hard pagefault resolution time 0.0

    Don't know what any of that means.
     
  4. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,632

    Location: Finland

    Too high DPC latency would mean CPU can't deliver new packet of audio data in time to sound card, which could cause crackling etc.
    Usually it would be caused by some buggy driver.

    So that pretty much means Microsoft updated something broken.
    No wonder they want to prevent people from having updates disabled.
    I mean its bad for PC repair businesses if PCs actually kept working instead of occasionally something stopping working...

    Did you try removing card from PC and completely uninstalling drivers/software?


    History really repeats itself. Now we only need those illegal operation errors back...
    http://windowsreallygoodedition.com/
     
  5. Four Dyce

    Associate

    Joined: Oct 7, 2014

    Posts: 43

    Not yet but that was going to be my next step. Having googled that some have had success, others have not. I guess we'll see.

    Yeah I did disable updates, had to do it from disabling Windows Updates in services, yet the creators update still came through and ruined a lot of my changes and actually made things worse.

    Honestly if there was an decent alternative to windows I'd be so there.
     
  6. Four Dyce

    Associate

    Joined: Oct 7, 2014

    Posts: 43

    Well some success, which I hope doesn't change its mind tomorrow. At first I updated the drivers/software with the onboard realtek, there's a particular game I use which seems to really draw out the popping, and it seems to be fine so far. But where have I heard that before. Let's hope I get the same success with the SB-z.
     
  7. GinGo

    Gangster

    Joined: Mar 5, 2014

    Posts: 169

    Location: South Shields

    I have this issue currently also, it used to happen previously for me every time i boot my PC up, the only fix at the time for me was to change it from my Mixamp to my speakers and then that stopped working. It was fine for some time and then it came back and that fix i used to do didn't work anymore, i then had to goto the properties and run the "Test" that would play its little tune and it was fine after that. Now the crackle has come back and both of these don't work for me. The only thing i've found that seems to have stopped it again is to change the Sample Rate in my Xonar DX Audio Center software to "PCM 48KHz" from "PCM 96KHz". Not sure how long this will last or if that is any help to you to try?

    As i tried updating my software but my card hasn't had an update in forever.
     
  8. Four Dyce

    Associate

    Joined: Oct 7, 2014

    Posts: 43

    Yeah I tried all the hz, 16bit, 24bit, and 32bit on the realtek onboard sound, none of that worked. Updating the drivers from the device manager was successful only if I kept the PC on afterwards. Booting up the next day and the popping came back, so something about that way of updating it was not sticking.

    As for the SB-z, today I did what EsaT suggested, completely uninstalled the drivers/program for it, removed the card and reseated it and grabbed the latest drivers from their site (which was March 2017) and reinstalled them. Afterwards it wanted to restart so I let it and it has been fine so far. Touch wood it'll stay that way after the next restart.
     
  9. Four Dyce

    Associate

    Joined: Oct 7, 2014

    Posts: 43

    Didn't have any wood to touch seems....(not that wood)

    I don't believe it but it came back....even after doing all that. I kept the SB-z update exe file just in case and it's a good job I did, so I ran it again and this time I had the option to repair the installation (which wasn't an option yesterday) so I choose repair. So it did its thing and restarted, now again the audio is fine. So is this what I'm going to have to do everytime I boot, repair the SB-z drivers? If so then I thing I'll put the exe file on my desktop, right in the middle where the mouse icon begins, and make it part of the boot routine.

    Another thing which caught my attention, in device manager the driver date for my sound card is in 2016, the date for the drivers I downloaded yesterday are from 2017, yet when I update it still says 2016. Something is not sticking.
     
  10. Four Dyce

    Associate

    Joined: Oct 7, 2014

    Posts: 43

    Think I solved it, that was the most googling I've ever had to do.

    It was one of two things, automatic windows update which I disabled following this: http://www.intowindows.com/enable-or-disable-automatic-driver-updates-on-windows-10/
    because I thought it might be screwing the reinstalling of the SB-z drivers, or disabling fast start up. I suspect it was fast startup though, it helps the PC startup faster after a shutdown, but it says a restart isn't affected by it. Which is what my PC wanted to do after installing the drivers, after which the sound was fine, until the next shutdown and reboot afterwards.

    The guy that I read that from said a shutdown with fast startup enabled is more akin to sleep or hybernation, so it must keep things in memory unlike a restart. There was something about that which was causing my poppong/crackling issues.

    Anyway whatever, an absolutely dumb thing MS needs to look at methinks. Hopefully anyone reading this will get some benefit from it too. (Control panel, use large icons, power options, choose what the power buttons do, change settings, turn off fast boot)
     
  11. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,632

    Location: Finland

    That fits to Wintoys force installing bad/old/wrong drivers.

    I think some people have had similar issues also with graphics card drivers.

    Unfortunately someone would likely have to put business end of fire arm to Microsoft's face for these user tortures to end.
    This just starts being more familiar than ever. (check date)
    https://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/top10.html
     
  12. CaptainRAVE

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Nov 21, 2004

    Posts: 29,133

    I have been having this problem too and just found this thread. I will give some of these suggestions a go. It was fine at first, so I suspect windows update messed up the drivers.